Wounds from the Civil War were still very fresh in the hearts & minds of the Southerners in the months after the Civil War, and perhaps sensitivities were no more acute than among the residents of Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy up to the closing days of the war.
With this in mind, a new newspaper was begun in the city of Richmond during the closing day of April, 1865, the same month the capital fell to the Yankees. The newspaper was announced in the April 20 issue of the “Richmond Whig”, the announcement headed: “A New Morning Paper – The Richmond Times” and the text including: “…The paper will be under the exclusive editorial charge & control of Mr. H. Rives Pollard, late of the Richmond Examiner, and the first number will appear on Friday…will be devoted to the honor and interest of Virginia…For the present at least–until Virginia shall have emerged from the existing chaos and confusion–the Times will studiously refrain from all editorial comment & will be devoted exclusively to the news of the day. It must be obvious to every reflecting mind that the present is no time for editorial comment or stricture, and that it would only serve to fan the flame of excitement…”.
It is nice to read that there was compassion among the victorious Yankees as the occupied Richmond. There were certainly options that could only have hurt the cause of reunion, but the publisher wisely opted to consider discretion as the better part of valor.
Editorials from the 19th century were often quite frank and not afraid to mince words, and perhaps the most scathing comments were found in newspapers during the Civil War years. The “Daily Examiner” newspaper from Richmond, Virginia, January 20, 1865, has an editorial which begins with some very biased words about Andrew Johnson:
The Southern Illustrated News (Richmond, Virginia) was the Confederate counterpart to Harper’s Weekly Illustrated (NY, New York). While its distribution and duration were limited, the issues have become quite collectible. Portraits of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, John S. Mosby, J.E.B Stuart, John H. Morgan, along with nearly every other notable figure from the Confederacy adorned the front page of this highly sought-after publication. Rare & Early Newspapers has taken on the task of posting images of every issue on Pinterest. While this project may take years, feel free to enjoy the progress to-date at: The Southern Illustrated News on Pinterest.
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…”.
This interesting report In the “Richmond Examiner” issue of August 27, 1864 shows some creativity by the preacher: