The Civil War… 150 years ago today… June 29, 1861

June 29, 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:

With the summer months upon us I can imagine that havelocks are a necessity on the battlefield. The front page print (of my June 29, 1861 issue) shows a woman making them for the soldiers.

Not surprisingly there are many war-related prints on the inside pages, including a nice view of Camp Slifer & another showing troops marching from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.  Movements of rebel troops are particularly interesting, and one of the prints shows rebel troops arriving & departing from Martinsburg, Virginia.

There is much drama in two full page battle scenes, both of the battle of Great Bethel but one showing the Zouaves soldier charging in their unusual uniforms. Another print shows the moat around Fortress Monroe–it is massive and must have been difficult to cross in the heat of battle.

From long before he would become famous…

June 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The “SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN” issue of  November 5, 1892 includes an extremely inconspicuous item that would never be noticed for what it is. Near the back of the issue the editor would answer various questions of writers, and this issue includes response to five inquiries from a nine year old boy by the name of Walter P. Chrysler. Yes, this is the same Mr. Chrysler who would found the car company some years later. Obviously he was a bright & inquisitive young boy destined for great things in life. See the hyperlink for the reference from the book “Life Of An American Workman” which verifies the mentioned questions were from him…

What to do with Adolf…

June 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With an historical perspective of the hunting of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden it is interesting to read this piece in the “Stars And Stripes” military newspaper of April 6, 1945, less than one month before the death of Adolf Hitler. They wonder what to do with him once captured…

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 Traveler… permission to buzz the dome… if things could be redone…

June 20, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Today’s travels found the front page of The Christian Science Monitor dated June 20, 1911 with a nice variety of articles. Harry Atwood was resuming his across the country flight in his Burgess-Wright biplane, carrying different passengers on each leg of the journey.  While in Concord, New Hampshire, “Atwood glided down toward the dome of the New Hampshire state capitol and circled three times about the capitol building.” I wonder if he had permission to buzz the dome? There are additional articles pertaining to the raising of the U.S.S. Maine which had been sunk in Cuba and also of the celebration of President Taft’s silver wedding anniversary.

I found within the issue an article “See Philippines Passing As Naval Base for U.S.” The article identifies which state-side naval bases would remain open and which would be considered for closing. They also referenced Pearl Harbor calling it the “Gibraltar of the Pacific”.  It further mentions it would be the base of operations for the Pacific… “no foreign power would be able to land a large force of men in the Philippines.” Interesting to see how this statement played itself out over time.

~The Traveler

Warnings of climatic changes…

June 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With much attention today given to climatic change and how mankind is affecting weather patterns around the globe, it was interesting to find this article in the  “Daily State Journal” newspaper from Austin Texas, May 10, 1871. The article paints a rosier picture in terms of mankind’s affect on climate than most environmentalists do today…

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.

For a good cause… preserving our Civil War heritage…

June 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

While Rare Newspapers does not typically promote causes from this platform, we do have a collector friend who brought to our attention an item which will likely be of great interest to the History’s Newsstand family.  The Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, America’s Premier Regional Civil War Battlefield Preservation Organization, is participating in a contest, which if victorious, would provide them with $25,000 to be used toward their battlefield preservation efforts.  All they need is your vote.  For additional information regarding how you can help, go to  It only takes a few seconds to vote.

He could cure almost anything…

June 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Advertisements for physicians have certainly changed much over the last  270 years. This ad for “Richard Rock, Practitioner in Physick and Surgery” has a curious list of ailments he treats. This ad appears in the March 30, 1734 issue (and others) of “The Country Journal or the Craftsman” from London. Note that he keeps officers hours of 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m…

The Civil War… 150 years ago today… June 8, 1861

June 8, 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 the June 8, 1861 issue) has a great print of the “Uniforms of the Fifth Regiment N.Y. Vols…” showing them in garb with very baggy trousers and interesting headgear. I never fail to be amazed at the variety of uniforms worn during the war! Had “Harper’s Weekly” never existed I would not have known of this fascinating variety. There is another nice full page on the “Zouave” soldiers, showing four scenes of “Ellsworth’s Zouaves” in camp, showing them relaxing by their tents, “Getting Rations” and “Cooking Dinner” among other scenes.

Another one of the great map is found in the centerfold, this one being simply terrific! It shows much of Eastern portion of the United States south of Baltimore including the cities of Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Raleigh Savannah and even the Florida peninsula. It is a somewhat three-dimensional rather than topographical map, showing the dramatic cliffs of the Potomac River near Harper’s Ferry. I’ll keep this map handy as I read of war events in the daily newspapers.

Many more war-related prints are inside, including a nice full page of “Sherman’s Battery of Light Artillery”. This print has a nice print of one of the cannons used in the war.

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