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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Vindicator: February 09, 1866

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-Page 01-

(Column 03)
Summary: Laments the "thousands on little mounds of earth" throughout the South "beneath which moulder the remains of our gallant defenders, with no stone or monument to designate the pale sleepers."
Origin of Article: Jackson (Miss.) Standard
Full Text of Article:

In the Vicksburg Herald of the 11th inst., we find the following couplet, said to be an inscription over the grave of a Confederate soldier, in the Alexandria cemetery:

"Unknown"-is all the epitaph can tell,

If Jesus knew thee, all is well.

Those touching and simple lines are suggestive of many sorrowful reflections. They bring up, from the mighty past, thronging memories of the thousands of noble and ardent soldiers of the South, who went forth wit flashing eyes and springing steps in defence of their native land, but who never more will return to gladden the hearts of their kindred. Some of them sealed their devotion to liberty with the blood of their young and gallant hearts. Others, toiling through the scorching rays of summer, and shivering in the cold blasts of winter, without food or adequate clothing, yielded to privation and disease, and finally perished on the terrible march, in a land of strangers, with no gentle hand to alleviate the agonies of death. Others, taken captives on the red field of battle, were immured in Northern dungeons, and, like caged eagles, drooped and died.

All over this broad Southern land are hundreds of thousands of little mounds of earth, beneath which moulder the remains of our gallant defenders, with no stone or monument to designate the pale sleepers. We know they are soldiers' graves-we know nothing more. Many of the nameless dead were volunteers from other States; and in many cases the very mothers who nursed them in infancy are ignorant of their fate. Perchance even yet, at many distant homesteads, mothers and fathers and sisters sustained by illusive hope, peer through the gloom of twilight, trusting that they may bear returning footsteps, destined never more to be heard in the walks of men. The little hillocks which mark the resting place of the "unknown" soldiers of liberty will soon be leveled and obliterated. Over their remains the buzzing multitude will tread. The memory of themselves and their deeds of valor, and their terrible sufferings and sacrifices, will fade from all minds, and oblivion will add thir names to those of the innumerable multitude of Adam's sons who have thus perished and been forgetton. In the language of the epitaph which heads this article, we reverently say,

"If Jesus knew thee, all is well."

-Page 02-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: Lauds the recent decision by the state legislature to approve the construction of a railroad from Winchester to Strasburg, calling the decision "one step, and a very important one, toward the development of the Valley section."
(Names in announcement: Baylor, Col. Baldwin)
Full Text of Article:

The bill to amend the charter of the Manassas Gap, and Winchester and Potomac Railroad Companies, allowing the Manassas Gap Company to construct a railroad from Winchester to Strasburg, passed the House Friday last, by a large majority, and, having previously passed the Senate, is a law. This is one step, and a very important one, toward the development of the Valley section. The bill elicited quite a discussion, in which Messrs. Baylor and Baldwin, delegates from Augusta, took an active part. Mr. Baylor expressed the sentiment of the people of the Valley, when he declared his willingness to vote for any charter, which did not involve an appropriation, thus leaving it entirely to those interested to determine whether they need a railroad and can construct it. This is the right view of the case. Charters for railroads will be asked for in different portions of the State, and the State is unable to aid in their construction, but, if the people of the sections interested desire their construction and can build them, the charters should be granted. By our one sided and selfish policy in the past, Virginia, though one of the oldest States, is now far behind many of her younger sisters.-Nothing will so promptly aid in the development of her material resources, or so certainly ensure her future prosperity, as the construction of her much needed channels of inter-communication.

In many States, very few important points are without railroad communication, and these railroads do not centre at any point within their limits, but traverse them in every conceivable direction, and their towns are prosperous and these States and greatly benefited thereby.

No matter if railroads do traverse our State from side to side, if we furnish the inducement the trade will stop within our borders. Without an inducement it will never benefit us, railroads or no railroads. This road is but the beginning, we hope, of a system of railroads in every desirable and available direction in the State, upon the completion of which we shall see Virginia, the richest State in the Union in resources, no longer a laggard in the race for prosperity, but boldly leading the van.

In regard to the short sighted policy of Virginia in the past, we commend to our readers the following remarks of Col. Baldwin:

"MR. BALDWIN vacated the chair and advocated the bill. He thought that a community was the best judge of what was for their interest. The gentleman had applied this principle the other day to private enterprises, and surely when applied to neighborhoods and communities it holds equally good. The parties presumed to know best what is their interest, the representatives of the Manassas Gap road, the only road to be affected by the road asked for, are here anxiously awaiting the passage of the bill. The gentleman from Richmond says Virginia has a commercial policy. Yes, she has. Hinc illae. In '36 she rejected the proposition of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, which agreed for the right of way through her territory, to give her fifty cents per head upon all passengers, with the additional privilege of tapping said road at any point along its line. This was in pursuance of the commercial policy alluded to, which amounted nothing more nor less than to make the entire agricultural and mineral wealth of the State tributary to the city of Richmond. Next in furtherance of the same object, which was to keep Balti- out of her borders, she builds the Virginia and Tennessee and Covington and Ohio roads, and then taps them at more than one point. Afterwards she constructs a road from Gordonsville to Alexandria, and another up the valley to Harrisonburg, at all the expense of the State, at least to the amount of three-fifths, thus doing, at an immense expenditure, what the Baltimore and Ohio road had agreed to do for nothing. The proposition of this road, already referred to, if it had been accepted by the State, would have paid all the expenses of our State Government, and would have built every mile of railroad in Virginia. And now we have an appeal from the city of Richmond at a time when the State is financially prostrate, to continue this commercial policy, and to defeat the bill, because, forsooth, Baltimore is again to be kept out. While he was unwilling to call any town a one-horse town, he though it would be policy in the State to burn many of them, and pay for them, rather than that they should continually stand in the way of the development of the graat interests of the State."

Let this short sighted policy be thrown aside, and the opportunity be give to develop our resources and our lands will increase in value, our towns in size and business, and our cities in trade and prosperity, (altogether impossible if our people be kept in their present greatly reduced circumstances, by refusing them a small modicum of aid asked, without cost to the State or themselves, for the impropenient of their condition.) and then, in the language of the Dispatch, Richmond will proceed, undismayed by disaster, unsubdued by misfortune, to rebuild her warehouse upon a more extended scale than ever, and will apply herself with renewed industry and enterprise to increase her commerce and manufactures." Then "she will triumph over all hostility, and with a more solid wealth and prosperity than ever, she will continue to be an ornament and pride of the old Commonwealth.

[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: Responding to a letter from William Dews, who has been distributing a petition in the area, in another column of the Vindicator, the editor argues that "its publication needs no further reply than a careful perusal at the hands of our readers."
(Names in announcement: Wm. J. Dews)
Full Text of Article:

We publish, in another column, a communication from Wm. J. Dews, intended as a reply to an article in our last issue protesting against a petition, which is being circulated among a certain class in this community.-Were we disposed to controvert this subject, it would require but little trouble, at our hands, to show up its lame and impotent conclusions, but, feeling disinclined to open wider the door a newspaper controversy, which we think is the desire of the writer, we leave our readers to form their own conclusions upon this, as it seems to us, weak production. Although not a legitimate reply to our article, we insert it for two reasons, first, that no pretext may be afforded these who claim to be the "real Union men" in this section for asserting that they can not be heard through the papers, and, secondly, that its publication needs no further reply than a careful perusal at the hands of our readers.

"That Petition."
(Column 03)
Summary: William Dews responds to an article in a previous issue of the Vindicator which criticized his efforts to circulate a petition among the Union men of the county. Dews argues that it is the editors of Southern newspapers who are "contributing vastly to the animosity between the two sides" by continuing to celebrate the Confederate cause. Instead of "pandering to the bitter emotions which are presumed to exist with regard to the past," Dews pleads, "let us bury the past so deep that vilest agitator cannot exhume it."
(Names in announcement: William J. Dews)
Full Text of Article:

"We understand" that the Editor of the "Vindicator" remarks, in his issue of last week, that "a petition is being circulated among those men, who profess to be, par excellence Union men in this community."-Does my learned friend, the Editor profess to know that the Union men regard themselves as par excellence, or perhaps he has placed himself in communication with the "Falstaff" Editor of the "Metropolitan Record," thereby learning the profound secret penetrating the very thoughts of the Union men of the South? I am not aware of the interesting fact that they "profess to be par excellence." But if the Editor so decides I cheerfully give him due credit for his superior powers of penetration, his nice discrimination and his frank and honest appreciation of a class who are supposed to be par excellence.

I hereby publically make our most profound obeisance to the Editor for this frank admission, and would entreat those nervous gentlemen who have an ague when they hear the soothing exclamation "that petition," to refrain from "gobbling up" or "blotting out of existence" the worthy person of the Editor.

The Editor further remarks of a certain class, who, "are as loyal to the Constitution and Government of the United States as any people in the Union." If such is the fact why did not the citizens of this town obey an order, or request from a representative of the U. S. Government with reference to their holding a meeting with the view of electing a Commissioner in the Court of Refugees Freedmen, &c.?

The Editor further says that "that petition" is calculated to create an unnecessary animosity between the Union men and a "large majority of our people." This is a simple assertion-we must have the evidence. I can say positively, however, that the "unnecessary animosity" is not, nor will it be on the side of the Union men, who are noted for their quiet demeanor, and who are rapidly forgetting their trials, their persecutions, and their sufferings because of their conscientious love and devotion to the "Broad Stripes and Bright Stars" of their whole country.

Now are not the Editors, with exceptions, contributing vastly to the continuation of the animosity which may have existed between the two parties? They reproduce articles abounding with insult and abuse of Union men. They recall to memory daily the incidents of the "glorious field," on which a "just" cause was fought and lost. They daily point to the laurel crowned Confederates who have lost all but honor, and insist that they are the great and good, whose examples should be religiously followed.-They open the very graves of father and brother who fell in the Confederate cause, which again arouses the bitter feelings of the unhappy past. Editors of the South will you again place in jeopardy the best interest of the South by pandering to the bitter emotions which are presumed to exist with regard to the past. Let us bury the past so deep that the evilest agitator cannot exhume it.

Remember that "into each life some rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary." Perhaps the "Great Father" ordained that the past days should be dark so that we might more fully appreciate the brightness of the glorious future.

Consider the consoling words of Leather Stocking (in Cooper's novel) to the disconsolate widow of Arrowhead. "Dew of June, you are not alone in your sorrow. When the Manito of the pale face wishes to produce good in the pale face heart, he strikes it with grief, for 'tis in our sorrow, June, that we learn to look upward."



Trailer: William J. Dews
[No Title]
(Column 03)
Summary: "Sueb" praises the formation of the Churchville Farmer's Club and urges the formation of more such organizations in the area since the profitability of farming "now certainly )second only of course to the immortal Sambo,) demands the most serious consideration.
Full Text of Article:

Mr. Editor:

I was glad to observe, in a modest corner of your last issue, a card signed by a committee of the "Churchville farmer's Club," inviting a meeting of the farmers of the County at Churchville, on the 15th inst.

It is really refreshing to hear of something which has not the odor of politics (surely no one will deny that there is an odor in the present political atmosphere.) and which looks like getting back again to business and enterprise.

The "Churchville Farmers' Club" was organized Nov. 1860, and consists of twelve members, all practical and thrifty farmers, who are willing to adopt an improvement, despite the sneers of those who still believe in going to mill with the corn in one end of the bag and a stone in the other. The Club meets monthly at the house of some one of its members, taking them in rotation, so as to meet on each farm at least once a year; and notwithstanding the inconvenience of "reporting," "refugeeing," &c., during the war, it is said the Club missed but three meetings during the four years, --a fact which speaks well for the personal interest of the members, and for the good dinners accustomed to be provided form them.

At their meeting they discuss subjects pertaining to agriculture, inspect the farm and stock of the member at whose house they met, and interchange opinions and suggestions. Now all this has proved both pleasant and profitable, demonstrating that "in union there is strength."

Would it not be well if there were similar organizations in every neighborhood in the County? They would serve to stimulate and encourage that department of business to which we must look for real, solid wealth, on which every county must be ultimately dependent, and which now certainly (second only of course to be the immortal Sambo,) demands the most serious consideration.

Then let every intelligent and enterprising farmer in the county attended this assembly if possible and give his voice and influence to whatever good project may be started there.


Trailer: Sueb

-Page 03-

Local Items--A Smart Thief
(Column 01)
Summary: A thief decieved a freedman in the employ of Col. Skinner into helping him steal a set of horse wagon springs.
(Names in announcement: Col. Skinner, Ben. Crawford)
Full Text of Article:

On Monday morning, the 5th inst., about 10 o'clock, while a freedman, in the employ of Col. Skinner, was in the Col's wagon house engaged in putting a horse to a light wagon, he was approached by a white man, who remarked to him that "he wanted a pair of two horse wagon springs," which were in the carriage house that "the Col. said he could get them," To this the negro man, who supposed all was right, made no objection. The white man then told the negro, that he wanted toe springs taken down the street in the wagon, which the negro was engaged in hitching up. To this also the negro agreed. The springs were accordingly put in the wagon, and the negro drove off slowly.-The white man following on foot. When the wagon reached the corner of the McAdamized Street on which Mr. Ben. Crawford's house stands, the white man told the negro that he wanted the springs put off there, as he, the white man, had a wagon in town in which he intended carrying the springs to the country. The springs were thereupon put off on the street, and the negro drove on. This is the last which has been heard of the springs. The Colonel had never authorized any one to take them, and the whole story was one of an artful contrivance of the thief. There is no evidence that the springs were taken by the fellow to the country, though such may have been the case. The public should be on the lookout for such cunning rogues, as every one is interested in their detection and punishment.

Local Items
(Column 01)
Summary: Capt. Waters of the local Fire Company recently returned from Baltimore where he purchased materials "to place our fire company in good working condition."
(Names in announcement: Capt. Waters)
Local Items
(Column 01)
Summary: Washington Dudley, who lives near Churchville, recently suffered a compound fracture of his leg while repairing his barn door.
(Names in announcement: Washington M. Dudley)
Local Items
(Column 02)
Summary: Philander McCutchan, who lives near Middlebrook, was thrown from his horse last Monday, fracturing his skull. Dr. Fauntleroy predicts a full recovery.
(Names in announcement: Dr. Fauntleroy, Philander McCutchan)
Local Items
(Column 02)
Summary: Wednesday evening a group of freedmen entered the Boot and Shoe Store of C. N. Williams and stole about 60 dollars worth of goods. Most of their identities are known and they are expected to be arrested soon.
(Names in announcement: C. N. Williams)
(Column 02)
Summary: Barbara Coyner and Lieut. W. A. Hanger were married on January 28 by rev. Samuel Kennerly.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Samuel KennerlySr., Lieut. W. A. Hanger, Barbara A. Coyner)
(Column 02)
Summary: Mary Freeman died at her home in Staunton on February 4 after two weeks sickness with typhoid fever.
(Names in announcement: Mary E. Freeman, Jos. W. Freeman, Lewis Harris)

-Page 04-