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Valley of the Shadow

Franklin Repository: May 31, 1865

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-Page 01-

Andy Johnson Says The Debt Must Be Paid
(Column 6)
Summary: The article supports President Johnson's contention that the nation's debt should be paid off as soon as possible.

-Page 02-

Our Returning Soldiers
(Column 1)
Summary: Though the war has ended and the ranks of the army will soon be thinned, the legacy of the soldiers' valor will never be forgotten, insist the editors. They will forever "be recognized as worthy descendants of the illustrious men who made immortal the names of Bunker Hill and Yorktown."
Full Text of Article:

Since the national cause has triumphed and peace is restored, we have no longer any use for a large military force. All that the public service requires now is a force sufficiently large to garrison a few disaffected districts where treason and rebellion are chronic. Beyond this there can be no necessity for any formidable military power. Public sentiment in this country has always been averse to a large standing army in times of peace, and we think with good reason, inasmuch as it is a constant and exhausting drain upon the resources of the country with no compensating advantage, since our citizen soldiery are always enthusiastic in answering the call of the government and as effective as any when properly organized. As soon as our triumph was known to be complete, orders were issued providing for the immediate reduction of the military force. Thousands of soldiers who have been absent from their regiments in hospitals and elsewhere have already been mustered out, and the work of mustering out entire organizations will be commenced in a few days. The several divisions of the army will lose their distinctive organizations and remnants of each will be consolidated into one body known henceforth as the ARMY OF THE UNION.

The armies of the Potomac, the James, the Ohio, the Tennessee and others, all of which have won for themselves imperishable renown, will pass into everlasting history, and the brave men who compose them, abandoning the weapons of war, will return to the peaceful pursuits of life. These different divisions were but parts of one grand army, the end of whose existence was the suppression of rebellion and the rescue of the Republic. The end having been gloriously attained, it is fit and proper that it should pass out of existence. The world has seen armies that could rival it in mere numbers, but in nothing else. The mighty hosts that centuries ago shook the earth with their tread were too often under the bondage of gross superstition, and those of more modern times have too often been the tools of power and the unwilling followers of ambitious men.

There is nothing of this kind to detract from the fame of this grand army of ours. It was an army of free and intelligent men, with a cause to vindicate which of itself was sufficient to inspire all engaged in it with true courage and fortitude. Its soldiers fought not for empire, nor were they actuated by any but the noblest motives. They fought to defend and maintain a Republic which was the object of their pride and affection, and were animated by a lofty patriotism and sustained by a noble faith.

The debt the nation owes them can never be repaid. To their heroic valor and patient endurance it owes its existence, and it stands to-day a monument of their devotion to liberty, dearer to us all because of the sacrifices by which it has been preserved. With its history they are inseparably linked as are their fathers who struggled to establish it. History will accord them equal honor, and the heroes of Gettysburg, of Petersburg, of Chattanooga and the hundred other battlefields of this war, will always be recognized as worthy descendants of the illustrious men who made immortal the names of Bunker Hill and Yorktown.

All honor to these brave men! And now that those who have survived the fierce struggle are about to return to their homes, let the people who applauded them when they joined their fortunes with their imperiled country, and who have reaped incalculable benefits from their toils and sacrifices, manifest their gratitude by extending to them a cordial welcome. Let us show to them that we are willing to accord to them all that they have earned.

(Column 1)
Summary: Having emerged victorious from the conflict with the South, the government should strive to ensure that such treason will never again threaten the nation's foundations, assert the editors. To prevent such a reoccurrence, the editors insist that the leaders of the rebellion should be punished appropriately. Should justice not be meted out to the perpetrators of "the great crime" that "drenched the land in fraternal blood," they maintain, it would not be surprising if the "bloody scenes of the past four years" were "re-enacted at some future period."
Full Text of Article:

The great drama of rebellion has closed and the government is now starting on a new era. If that era is to be concluded as the last was, by rebellion, it will be because we failed to profit by our experience and refused to make the proper use of the victory we gained.

The recent triumph of the national arms ought not only to give to the Republic a new lease of existence, but with it an immunity from treason evermore. This much it will certainly do if we are but faithful to the laws and true to ourselves. But, if on the other hand, in taking counsel from our impatient desires for a return of the era of general amity and good feeling that existed before the war, we overlook the great crime that has drenched the land in fraternal blood, we need not be surprised if the bloody scenes of the past four years be re-enacted at some future period. It will not do to say that the failure of a rebellion so powerful as the last one was will deter men in future from attempting to subvert the Government, and that we can rest in perfect security in the newly acquired strength of that Government. This may be true today, and yet the events of another year may falsify it all. Heretofore we have relied entirely upon the good and friendly disposition of men's minds and hearts towards the Federal Union for its stability, and it needed a great rebellion to teach us that an additional safeguard was necessary. Let us learn still further from our bloody experience, or our security is but fancied. The law must be clothed with majesty and terror, and its vengeance must not be thwarted. We have a constitution which makes treason a crime and which affixes the penalty for its commission. Unless we enforce what is here decreed we rob the law of its virtue and the crime of its ignominy. If we wish to prevent a repetition of the offence we must unalterably determine it now, that they who trade in treason must expect to pay the penalty of their traffic. The course of the Government has determined to pursue in regard to Davis and other leading Southern conspirators is the one we think most likely to subserve the interests of this country in this particular. It is known that at least several of them are to be arraigned and tried for treason. The indictments have already been drawn against Davis and Breckinridge, and a true bill found by the grand jury of Washington. The next thing in order will be the trial. Apart from any consideration of the guilt or innocence of the prisoners, it will be of the greatest importance. We trust that it will be conducted with deliberation, and that a due regard will be paid to every legal formality, so that its adjudications of the many important questions involved may afterwards be recognized as the true and proper construction of the constitution and the laws. We ask only that the efficacy of the law be fully and fairly tested. Let it be determined now what treason is, and by whom and under what circumstances it can be committed. If Jefferson Davis and his associates have not been guilty of treason let them be acquitted of the charge, and let us so amend the laws that hereafter the offence will have its proper penalty. If their guilt is relieved by any constitutional or legal rights they have acquired during the war, let them have the full benefit of all such rights and let us do what we can to provide against such escape in the future. But if on the other hand they shall be adjudged guilty of treason and the law demand its victims, let it have them. If we interfere to thwart its vengeance we will be treasuring up danger for the future. In the language of Thomas Jefferson, "let us hear no more of confidence in man, but bind him down from future mischief by the strong chains of the constitution and the laws." The law must be made a terror to evil doers.

[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: It is reported that the Attorney-General has determined that the Amnesty Proclamation was "a means only to secure" the "suppression of the Rebellion." Consequently, the Amnesty is now void since the war has ended and, thus, the President no longer has the "power to pardon except for what is past." Moreover, the "decrees of confiscation" pertaining to land in the South "must stand."
Legal Tender Notes
(Column 2)
Summary: The article relates that the State Supreme Court ruled on the case of William Shellenberger vs. Mary W. Brinton, which concerns the constitutionality of the United States' legal tender notes. Judges Strong, Reed, and Agnew affirmed the constitutionality of the bills while Judges Woodward and Thompson dissented from the majority opinion.

-Page 03-

Local Items--Gossip With Our Friends
(Column 1)
Summary: Gossip laments the passing of "old Chambersburg," which was destroyed during McCausland's raid, and cautions local residents to avoid shoddy construction practices when rebuilding the town.
Full Text of Article:

Gossip With Our Friends--I have once more been amid the ashes of old Chambersburg, and have soiled my fingers in rooting among the debris, obtaining as precious relics sundry broken tea cups and plates, fused goblets, and con-fused masses of bottles, nails, door knobs, locks, keys and lamp stands--trifles in themselves, but how priceless to the homeless, but thank God, not friendless. Let any one search through the mass of cinders and bricks, all that is left of his once happy home, and see if he can pick up any little thing, however defaced, if only recognizable, with which there may not be some association, whether it be the baby's doll, or the marble topped table upon which one or more children may have lain for the last time before being placed in the coffin that hid them forever from their parents' eyes. It is sad beyond description; and as anxious as we may be to have the houses rebuilt, yet we know the homes are gone, and we feel it to be almost sacrilege to have the shapeless mound of ruin removed--like the removal of a tablet from the grave of one dear to us. Thus the stir and bustle incident to rebuilding has something repulsive in it; for alack and alas, in a few short years the young will have forgotten the bitter story, and the old will die, their deaths hastened by the terrible calamity; and the whole history will occupy one paragraph, "In the year 1865, July 30, Chambersburg was fired and destroyed by a body of Rebels, under command of General McCausland." Your gossip has taken notes by the way, and thinks the rising generation is not inclined to trouble itself even now about the condition of the town; for happy faces and merry laughs and gay dresses meet him at every step. Perhaps it is well; but it grates upon the thoughts of one who looks back. Well, well, let it go, the sooner the old fogies are laid aside, the sooner will the town be itself again. Itself? Ah, never, never--"a town again"--that is better. Will the old trees grow again, the old rose bushes and honeysuckles put forth, the rare old ivy be green, the cedars that grew before the town was in existence, will these same ever make us happy to give us shelter or make us swell with pride again. Let the young enjoy themselves, we old folks will meet unostentatiously, and will remind each other of our losses, not of our houses and lands and books and clothing, but of our associations, that are gone forever. And as we repeat our Jeremiads, we cannot even point to a tree "planted by a forefather's hands."

But I suppose the wishes of the old folks will not be regarded, and changes will be made; and if changes must come, I do hope that better, instead of worse houses will be erected. Already have some buildings of the accidental order of architecture gone up--only to tumble down, in the first high wind. Taste costs nothing--indeed it often saves money. A good two story house is cheaper than a poor one of three; it is desirable that doors should shut, and windows slide; a house with a leaky roof is dear at any price; a serpentine wall is undesirable, either for beauty or safety; green timber indicates a similar mental condition in the builder; convenience is always economy, in the long run; and above all, it is not fair or honorable to rear a tumble down shanty along side of your neighbor's handsome mansion; for by doing so you injure his property as much as he has enhanced the value of yours. Temporary houses have been allowable under the circumstances; but they should all come down when the necessity is past.

We should all feel truly grateful to the Trustees of the Academy for protecting the grounds with so substantial a fence; for the beautiful yard ran a risk of returning to the commons it had been [illegible]. Doubtless the academy will be rebuilt, when the proper time comes.

The occupation of Richmond, the surrender of Lee and Johnston, and the capture of Jefferson Davis, have given new zest to the old town, and the sound of hammer and saw lasts the livelong day. If only Uncle Sam would give us a little help; we could soon show the world how much of recuperation there is in Americans.

Yes, the war is over. Now who doubts that the roar of Niagara is the rustling of the American Eagle's wings; that the lakes are his washpots; that the Rocky Mountains were made for his resting place; that thunders are but the sound of the flapping of his wings, that the lightning is the flashing of his eyes. The London Times will please copy. Already we hear Europe shriek with Trabb's boy, "Hold me, I'm so frightened!"

John Thomas Fitz Gerald (some say his name is Gerald, and that his wife, who is rather high minded, gave him "Fitz") visited me last evening, looking very low spirited, and handed me the following for publication "in our esteemed journal:"

You can't, I can; you aren't, I am;
You won't, I will;--I'll not be still;
You may'nt, I may; I'll strike dismay
Where e'er you go, with sounds of woe;
Your "yes," my "no;" your "head," my "toe;"
I'll scratch, and bite, and scream, and fight
And spit, and howl with language foul.
Until you cry, "I faint, I die,
Unless I fly--" Thus argue I.
"John Thomas, beware!"

I have not heard from my southern correspondent this week, though I hear she landed safely as Fortress Monroe.

New York, May 29, 1865

Local Items--In Memoriam
(Column 1)
Summary: A short piece memorializing William U. Bayne, who died in the Andersonville POW camp during the war. Prior to enlisting in the army, Bayne was employed at the Shippensburg News.
(Names in announcement: William U. Bayne)
Origin of Article: Shippensburg News
Local Item--Serious Accident
(Column 2)
Summary: Rev. Joseph Clark broke his arm in an accident that occurred while he was hauling logs with his wagon. Although the pain is severe, he is expected fully recover.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Joseph Clark)
Latest News
(Column 3)
Summary: Reports that an ordinance depot exploded in Mobile on May 26th, levelling eight square blocks of buildings and burying five hundred people.
Origin of Article: Chicago Tribune
Latest News
(Column 3)
Summary: Arrangements for the surrender of General Kirby's forces in the Trans-Mississippi have concluded.
Origin of Article: Washington
(Column 4)
Summary: On May 13th, Benjamin A. Fahnestock and Frances R. Sellers were married by Rev. Jacob Hassler.
(Names in announcement: Benjamin A. Fahnestock, Frances R. Sellers, Rev. Jacob Hassler)
(Column 4)
Summary: On May 25th, Rev. John J. McAtee, of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and Louisa M., daughter of Jesse Craig, of Welsh Run, were married by Rev. Thomas Creigh.
(Names in announcement: Rev. John J. McAtee, Louisa M. Craig, Jesse Craig, Rev. Thomas Creigh)
(Column 4)
Summary: On May 23rd, Robert Snyder and Martha Robinson were married by John Eshelman, Esq.
(Names in announcement: Robert Snyder, Martha Robinson, John EshelmanEsq.)
(Column 4)
Summary: On March 31st, Sarah Murray, formerly of Franklin county, died in Urbana, Ohio. Murray was 38 years old.
(Names in announcement: Sarah Murray)
(Column 4)
Summary: On May 16th, William H. Nicklas, a member of Co. D. 207th, Penna. Vols., died of typhoid fever at the 3rd Division, 9th Army Corps Field Hospital. Nicklas was 21 years old.
(Names in announcement: William H. Nicklas)

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