The Civil War… 150 years ago today… June 22, 1861

June 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

Page 3 of today’s paper (June 22, 1861 issue of Harper’s Weekly) has a comic design “for a new coin for the C.S.A.”, noted at the top: “Owe Ever – Pay Never”. One of the prints shows soldiers in the Zouaves uniforms, taken from the soldiers of Algeria in Northern Africa. They seem to be a strange sight in our Yankee army. The centerfold print actually has ten prints, one showing a wagon with lager beer, another showing soldiers putting up telegraph wires, and another showing Arlington House, which is the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Another print shows a huge crowd at divine services at Camp Dennison in Ohio, and another has a partial view of the Pensacola Navy Yard in Florida. Two other prints show the action at Fortress Monroe in Chesapeake Bay, apparently a strategic location to protect this important harbor.

The back page cartoons–when they appear–are always interesting. This issue has one showing: “The American Eagle surprising Jeff Davis in his attempt to rob her next.”

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… June 15, 1861

June 15, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

The front page of this June 15, 1861 Harper’s Weekly has a dramatic illustration showing the shooting of Col. Ellsworth in Alexandria, the first conspicuous death in the Civil War. We had read of Ellsworth’s heroics to take  down the Confederate flag atop the Marshall House in Alexandria, but he was shot down by owner when descending the stairs. This print certainly brings the event to life.

There are many war-related prints in today’s issue including three of scenes at Fort Pickens in Florida.  The centerfold print has a nice view showing the City of Cairo, Illinois with many troops in the foreground, and also has a print showing a tremendous cavalry charge through Fairfax Court House in Virginia. Yet another print in the centerfold showing many soldiers digging a trench at Arlington Heights. It must have been a massive undertaking as it appears over 5 feet deep and 10 feet wide. Obviously there is more to fighting a war than firing rifles & guns.

Other prints show camp scenes at Freeport, Illinois and Detroit, Michigan as well as St. Louis, Missouri. Yet another camp near Washington shows small buildings which must have been the soldiers’ huts. I would have  thought only tents were used.

“…one of the vilest scoundrels that ever lived…”

May 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Samuel Medary was the publisher of the controversial newspaper “The Crisis” from Columbus, Ohio, a Civil War era newspaper from the North which was supportive of the Southern cause. Obviously it met with much opposition during its brief life, at one point raided by a hateful mob. When Medary died in1864 it was not surprising that his death would not be treated nicely by other Northern newspapers, but this report went to the extreme. Keep in mind that this appeared in the Jan. 25, 1865 issue of “The Crisis“, so the introductory paragraph would be expected:

The ultimate optimist…

May 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I’ve always enjoyed reading the editorial on page 2 of the “Richmond Examiner” newspaper, as the bias shown by the writer was often strongly in favor of the Confederate cause. But in the issue of July 25, 1863 the editor stretched his optimist about as far as it could reach. With  the Confederate failure at Gettysburg and their advance into the North stopped, all might have seemed hopeless for the Confederate forces. But the editor tried to put a positive spin on the events by stating:

“…failed by a single accident, by a single mistake–that sad one at Gettysburg…But after all, the depression which its failure produced on the public mind was more than was warrantable. The result was not a defeat, it was not a loss; it was only not a victory, not one of the most brilliant triumphs ever recorded. It was little else than a disappointment of extraordinary expectations…”.

Please enjoy…

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… May 4, 1861

May 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

The front page of today’s May 4, 1861 issue portrays what seems to me an eerie sight. It is captioned: “The House-Tops In Charleston During the Bombardment of Sumter” and shows what appears to be hundreds of men and women watching the battle in the distance, smoke rising from the forts & what appears to be bomb blasts as well. It is as if they are watching fireworks on the 4th of July–but this is war!  Several of the women are shown doubled over in grief. It must have been a distressing event to witness.

The maps are always helpful in providing a geographic perspective of the war. A full page map shows: “…Part of Maryland and Virginia, Showing the Probable Theatre of the War”. It’s a great view of Chesapeake Bay, showing Baltimore to the north and Norfolk to the south, and including Washington, D.C. & other towns as well. I didn’t realize the nation’s capital was so close to the Bay.

Another full page shows: “The Great Meeting in Union Square, New York, to Support the Government” which includes both soldiers and citizens. Two other prints show the support for the war with the “Boston Regiments Embarking for Washington…” and a parade of “The Seventh Regiment, Marching Down Broadway to Embark for the War” with cheering fans along the way, even hanging from the windows and cheering from the rooftops–flags everywhere. It must have been a very special sight!

The drama & tragedy of war is certainly depicted in the print: “First Blood–The Sixth Mass. Regiment Fighting Their Way Through Baltimore”. It shows nearly hand-to-hand fighting, long rifles involved with killed & wounded on the ground. The daily reports can’t relay the violence a single print portrays.

Other prints are interesting as well showing the huge size of the “Stevens’ Bomb-Proof Floating Battery” (but made out of wood: how can it be bomb-proof?), “The Heroes of Fort Sumter” and soldiers preparing for war.

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… April 27, 1861

April 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

We continue our weekly feature of reflecting upon the appropriate 150 year old issue of “Harper’s Weekly” from the perspective of a subscriber in 1861:

Although there is some frustration in waiting two weeks to see the events of the conflict, the prints definitely help in understanding all that is going on.  The front page of today’s issue (April 27, 1861) shows “General Thomas Swearing In the Volunteers Called into the Service of the United States at Washington, D.C.” There is also a front page article on “The Bombardment of Fort Sumter” which provides some detail  I did  not read in the daily papers of two weeks ago. But the real drama of the skirmish comes to life with the full page print: “The Interior of Fort Sumter During the Bombardment” showing bombs exploding and being hurled through the air by the massive cannons. What a horrendous experience that must have been! The full page “Map of Charleston Harbor” shows how surprisingly small Fort Sumter seems to be, on a small island right in the middle of the harbor. I can not understand what it is a strategic installation for the protection of the city.

Then, golly, I turn to the center fold to see a terrific print showing the “Bombardment of Fort Sumter by the Batteries of the Confederate States”. It’s full of action, showing the soldiers at their positions next to the cannons and the destruction being done to Fort Sumter in the distance. This print certainly brings the event to life!

Further on is a print of Abraham Lincoln taken from a photograph by the famed photographer Matthew Brady. He looks just like the earlier images I recall from his inauguration. And a special treat is a full-figure print of  “General P. G. T Beauregard”, the Confederate commander of the forces in Charleston.

The text in this issue is interesting as well, but the prints are what keep me looking forward to next week’s edition.

Confederate “Extra” with content from two eras…

April 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Finding oddities from the newspaper world is part of the fun of the hobby, and recently one came our way which I found to be very unusual.

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?

War makes “sad havoc” among the newspapers…

April 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

This item provides some interesting facts on what war does to newspaper publishing. It appeared in the “Daily Richmond Examiner” issue of February 4, 1864.

One newspaper, nine cities…

December 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Memphis Daily Appeal” newspaper was one with a fascinating history during the years of the Civil War. Memphis was a Confederate stronghold up through the Battle of Memphis on June 6, 1862, at which time the Yankees moved in and it became a Yankee city. The “Appeal“, very much dedicated to the Southern cause rallying both civilians & soldiers, was the most important newspaper of the region & was soon famously known as the “Moving Appeal.”
On June 6, 1862, the presses and plates were loaded into a boxcar and moved to Grenada, Mississippi, where it stayed for a few months until approaching Federal troops threatened again, forcing a move in November 1862 to Jackson, Mississippi, where it published until May 1863, when Federal troops again arrived. By this time, the “Appeal” had gained notoriety among Union forces as a rebel sympathizer while it remained on the run. The next stop was Meridian, Mississippi, from where, one issue and two days later, the wandering journalists moved on to Mobile, Alabama, then to Montgomery, and ultimately to Atlanta, the economic heart of the Confederacy. Publication from Atlanta began in June 1863 and continued through July 1864, when it returned to Montgomery, where it published from September 1864 to April 1865. Its final move was to Columbus, Georgia, where Federal forces finally caught up with it. It resumed publication following the war in Memphis on November 5, 1865. During just a four year period this newspaper published in nine different cities. (credit: Tennessee State Library & Archives)

What could have been…

December 13, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

One might wonder how some significant events in history might have been responded to had reaction been different from what the history books note. During the Civil war the “Albany Atlas” decided to fool with history a bit following the Emancipation Proclamation, and supposed a “Counter Proclamation” by the Confederate President, Jeff Davis. The article shown–which appeared in the Confederate newspaper “Memphis Daily Appeal” of January 23, 1863 (while printing in Jackson, Mississippi at the time)–makes for some interesting reading on what could have happened in history (see below).

« Previous PageNext Page »