When notable news breaks in today’s world, regular television and radio schedules are canceled in favor of newscasters bringing the world the latest on the event as it happens. During the Civil War, a newspaper would put out a “broadside” edition, a quickly-produced piece on a single sheet and printed on the front side only, with text limited to the event being covered. Waiting for the next day’s edition was not an option for the most competitive of newspapers.
A recent addition to our inventory is one of the best Civil War broadsides we have seen. Using type dramatically larger than found in any regular edition the broadside screams: “LATEST! The Final Blow. RICHMOND TAKEN.” The brief text provides a same-day report of the capture of the Confederate capital, with a date stamp of 11:20 noting: “…General Grant states Petersburgh has been evacuated and believe Richmond also.” And then another date stamp just ten minutes later reports: “A dispatch from E. M. Stanton announces the capture of RICHMOND by our troops under Gen. Weitzel, they having taken it about 8:15 this morning.”
The immediacy of the report along with the dramatic, graphic presentation are what excite collectors. Add to this the significance of the fall of the rebel capital and you have a terrific newspaper just perfect for display.
The “Daily Appeal–Extra” newspaper from Memphis, Tennessee dated April 20, 1861, contains content which is over two years apart. This is a “broadside extra” edition meaning the narrow sheet was published to report a specific event, and printed on one side only. But in this case, the reverse is not entirely blank.
First, it’s curious that this is a newspaper from a city which was only “Confederate” until the battle of Memphis, June 6, 1862, after which it was in Yankee control. The front has a very nice graphic devise at the top of the first column showing a cannon and Confederate flag, with heads: “THE WAR NEWS ! ” “Star of the West Taken As A Prize ! “and other related heads & reports.
But the most intriguing aspect of this issue is the back page. Although I am convinced this was issued in 1861 with the reverse blank, it nonetheless has a print of a map of the Vicksburg vicinity, and nothing else. Now, let’s keep in mind that the siege of Vicksburg didn’t happen until mid-May, 1863 thru its fall to the Yankees on July 4, 1863. Note that the heading of the map reads: “Position of the Fleets Above and Below The City” showing the positions of both Porter’s and Farragut’s fleets. Their appearance in the Mississippi did not happen until 1863. I surmise this “Extra” edition was lying around the printing office and since the back side was blank they used it as a test sheet for printing this map, which likely appeared in a the “Memphis Appeal” newspaper at some point in May, June, or July, 1863. Consequently this becomes a truly fascinating curiosity to have printings from two different periods in a single issue, and one being a map.
Do any fellow collectors have another explanation?