Search the
Browse Newspapers
by Date
Articles Indexed
by Topic
About the
Valley of the Shadow

Semi-Weekly Dispatch: May 14, 1861

Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

-Page 01-

Description of Page: The date of the issue is wrong; the date printed is May 17, 1861, but the proper date should have read May 14. Advertisements, column 1; poem, column 2; "a valuable table," column 3; article about the properties of light, column 5

War Items
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that conditions for citizens in Harper's Ferry are bad, with all out of work and many out of money. Also reports that Iowa has furnished a regiment "to serve in the war of freedom."
The Attempted Poisoning
(Column 3)
Summary: Reports that venders sold "cakes and goodies" to troops in the Relay House in Maryland that contained strychnine. Offers an excerpt from special orders given by General Butler that denounce the "few insane enemies among the loyal men of Maryland." Claims that when General Patterson's regiment marched through Baltimore, they were not greeted with harassment, but with "the cheers of the populace at many points, as they passed along."
Instructions from the Treasury Department
(Column 4)
Summary: Prints the instructions directed by the secretary of the treasury, S. P. Chase, to customs officers in Northern waters. Chase instructs customs officials to examine all vessels departing from U.S. ports to determine whether they are carrying materials intended for Southern ports that are under Union blockade. He reminds customs officers that insurrectionaries are "engaged in levying war against the United States" and thus are guilty of treason.
Fugitive Negroes Passing Through the City
(Column 5)
Summary: Estimates that, in a "stampede of slaves" from the South, two hundred African Americans have passed through Philadelphia since the capture of Fort Sumter.
Origin of Article: Philadelphia Press
Full Text of Article:

One disastrous effect of the rebellion will be the loss of property to slaveholders. The stampede of slaves from the South has not been confined to a particular locality, and the fugitives have not taken any special route. A great number have been passing through this city during the last few weeks. Of course, no citizen or official will interest himself to send fugitives back to enemies of the Government. Last night, the number that reached the city was said to be twenty. A number of these lodged in the station-houses, and were assisted to go further. The story that they tell of the condition of things at the south should be sufficient to intimidate the rebels, for they exhibit a consummate knowledge of the questions at issue, and state that the blacks are ready to make use of any exigency that may arrive. It is fair to compute that two hundred negroes have passed through this city alone, since Fort Sumter was captured.

Phila. Press, May 10th.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Articles on a local disturbance at St. Louis, the reinforcement of Fort McHenry, an expected attack on Relay House, column 3; articles on a minor skirmish at Perryville, a report from Baltimore, a presidential proclamation concerning Florida, column 4

The Right Doctrine
(Column 1)
Summary: Proclaims that the recent resolution presented in the Pennsylvania legislature denouncing the neutrality of several "border" states conveys the appropriate attitude toward the position those states have professed.
Honorable Warfare
(Column 1)
Summary: Denounces Southern sympathizers for conducting an underhanded and dishonorable brand of warfare. The poisoning of Union soldiers constitutes a particularly despicable tactic. The editor entreats Northern soldiers to "let our warfare upon the Rebellion in their midst be characterized by humanity and magnanimity as our cause is by justice and fidelity."
Full Text of Article:

The was upon which we have just entered, it appears, is to be characterized by every species of fiendishness. Incendiarism and secret poisoning are to be weapons used by our enemies against us. Notwithstanding these things were threatened months ago, should our Government attempt to retain its authority upon Southern soil, yet our hearts repelled the idea, not supposing that even Secessionists had become incarnate fiends. As our experience with them progresses, however, we are becoming more and more convinced, that, with all their boast of Chivalry, and First Families, our foe is entirely unscrupulous respecting the means employed for gaining their end. The attempt to poison the troops at New York and at Anapolis, was scarcely credited by any of our people not cognizant of the facts; but the firing of Willard's Hotel, and the officially certified fact of the attempt upon the lives of the troops stationed at the Relay House, by means of strychnine placed in refreshments offered for sale, put their lack of honor, and entire Vandalism and inhumanity, beyond a doubt. If these are the means of their warfare upon us, terrible will be the retribution. A few such examples and the worst passions of our people, and especially of our soldiery, will be aroused, and then woe to the South!

In the name of Religion, Humanity and Patriotism, we hope it may not be so; that whatever excesses may be attempted by the Rebels, our own soldiers may ever remember that in becoming soldiers they have not ceased to be men. Let all undue excesses be upon the part of the rebellion; while we, knowing our strength and the rectitude of our cause, proceed calmly and deliberately to destroy the treason, and bring the revolted States to their rightful allegiance. Let us ever remember that many loyal hearts still beat beneath Southern bosoms, and, remembering it, let our warfare upon the Rebellion in their midst be characterized by humanity and magnanimity as our cause is by justice and fidelity.

[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: Writer from the Tribune asserts that Northerners have exhibited almost universal enthusiasm for the war. He believes that most are willing to fight not only the three years all enlisted men are required to serve but "thirty if necessary."
Origin of Article: New York Tribune
Editorial Comment: "A writer in the N. Y. Tribune, who has been spending some time traveling in the South, speaking of the enthusiasm, both North and South, says:"
Let Us Finish It
(Column 2)
Summary: Argues that disunion and slavery have infected the United States long enough. Asserts that war is the only way to "eradicate" this "disease" from the nation, and that it must be done.
Full Text of Article:

From the New York Tribune.

For more than thirty years, Nullification and Disunion have afflicted the land. For nearly the same period, Slavery agitation has disturbed the general repose. To appease the former, and silence the latter, all conceivable expedients have been tried. Presidents have issued anti-Nulification [sic] proclamations. Senators have sung paeans to the Union. Tariffs have been repealed and gag resolutions adopted. Mobs have howled through the streets, and compromise measures of varied hues have dragged their slow lengths through everglades of Florida, and chased runaway negroes clear up to the Canada line. We have acquired Texas, and fought about it, and backed down from 54' 40', lest we should have to fight about that. We have sacrificed great statesmen and elevated paltry politicians. We have dissolved old parties and formed new ones; discarded ancient doctrines, and set up novel tests of orthodoxy. But all has been in vain.

We will not stop to inquire how, nor whence, nor why Nullification, Disunion, and Slavery Agitation, were originally precipitated upon the country, nor by what means, nor from what motives, their lurid fires have been kept burning till now. We shall not try to apportion the blame nor the praise which belongs to this party or that faction. All this belongs to the past. History will pass its unerring judgment upon it. Our present purpose is simply to say, that we are very sure that all parties at the North have had enough of these disturbing questions, and most heartily desire to see them brought to an end. The disease has reached a crisis. It must be eradicated, or a speedy dissolution of the body politic is at hand. Threats of disunion have ripened into acts of open rebellion. Nullification, covert and cautious, within the Federal Government, has given place to armed resistance to its authority and defiant secession from it.

Men of all shades of opinion this side the Potomac long to put a final finish to the causes which have engendered these interminable, distracting, and now most portentous controversies. Even those who are moved by no higher motive than a desire to be relieved from an agitation which, for a whole generation, has absorbed so much of the time, talents, and temper of the country, eagerly hail the present exigency as the Heaven-ordained opportunity for striking an exterminating blow at the root of the evil. Others who regard the existence [sic] of our free institutions as staked upon the issue, demand that the tree which has borne such noxious fruits be now levelled [sic] to the earth. Cut it down, say they; why cumbereth it the ground?

It can be done! Peaceful expedients have failed. War is the only remedy. Let timidity stand aside, and leave event to flow on in an uninterrupted channel. Let us listen to no compromises. Let us stop at no halfway measures. In his recent speech, Daniel S. Dickinson has given voice to the Northern sentiment: "Let us," said that veteran National Democrat, "settle this thing speedily and surely. It may ruin this generation; but we owe it to the next that they should have no such troubles as we have had. Let us strike now in our might, and, if necessary, wipe the rebels from the face of the earth.--Let us finish things while we are about it, and leave nothing behind us."

Reported Negro Insurrection
(Column 4)
Summary: Reports that three to four hundred African Americans are rumored to have formed a company in Owen County, Kentucky, and to be committing "depredations." According to reports, several whites attempting to disarm them had been killed.
Full Text of Article:

Frankfort, Ky., Friday, May 10.

Messengers arrived here this morning, from Owen county, saying that three or four hundred negroes had armed themselves and formed into a company, and were committing depredations; that the whites undertook to disarm them, and that several were killed. The Governor has sent Gen. Buchner to ascertain the truth of the matter. He has not yet returned. The military are in readiness.

[No Title]
(Column 4)
Summary: Reprints a resolution whereby the Confederate Congress commends General Beauregard, his officers, and his troops for their "skill, fortitude, and courage" in capturing Fort Sumter. The editor points out facetiously that Beauregard and his men must have been "exceedingly honored thereby, especially when he reflected that the aforesaid Fort contained almost 90 full grown men; also, that they had eaten a tolerably good meal two days before capitulating upon their own terms."

-Page 03-

Description of Page: Article on what other newspapers have printed about the new Semi-Weekly Dispatch, column 1; current prices, column 2; advertisements, columns 3-5

Distinguished Visitor
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that distinguished "Surgeon Oculist" of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. P. R. Everett, is visiting W. S. Everett of Chambersburg.
(Names in announcement: W. S. EverettEsq.)
[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Notes that another supply of ammunition was received at Chambersburg the previous Saturday.
The Crops
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that the recent end to the cold weather and disappearance of the snow on the 7th have led "crops of all kinds" to take "a fresh start." States that it looks like it will be a plentiful year and that the fruit appears to have been undamaged.
[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Remarks that companies of the troops stationed at Chambersburg, headed by their officers, visited various houses of worship in the town the previous Sunday.
On Furlough
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that Col. Stumbaugh and Capt. Elder, with one or two privates from the 2d regiment have arrived in town on furlough.
(Names in announcement: Col. Stumbaugh, Capt. Elder)
The Troops
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that the 7th Regiment paraded in Chambersburg on Saturday and that the 10th Regiment, accompanied by the Chambersburg Brass Band, was marching when the paper went to press. Comments that the troops have improved rapidly, both in marching and in handling their weapons.
Serious Affray
(Column 1)
Summary: Describes a fight at the hotel owned by Mr. A. J. Brand between two allegedly drunk Irish volunteers and the proprietor of the hotel. An innocent bystander also became involved and was cut in the face by one of the soldiers. Mr. Brand ultimately shot one of the volunteers outside the hotel.
(Names in announcement: Mr. A. J. Brand)
Correspondence between the Governors of Maryland and Virginia
(Column 2)
Summary: Reprints an exchange of letters between Governor Hicks of Maryland and Governor Letcher of Virginia in which Governor Hicks complains that troops and groups of citizens from Virginia have seized property, entered houses, and insulted and threatened citizens of Maryland who live near the Virginia border. In his response, Governor Letcher promises to order Colonel Jackson to restrain those in his command "from all acts of violence and lawlessness."
(Column 2)
Summary: Mr. John M. Rohrer and Miss Julianna M. Borner, both of Franklin County, were married on May 12.
(Names in announcement: Mr. John M. Rohrer, Miss Julianna M. Borner)
(Column 2)
Summary: Mrs. Shoop, widow of the late Christian Shoop (pumpmaker), died in Philadelphia on May 7 at an advanced age.
(Names in announcement: Mrs. Shoop, Christian Shoop)
(Column 2)
Summary: Dorothy Steppler, age 7, died of scarlet fever on May 10. She was the eldest child of Andrew and Maria Steppler.
(Names in announcement: Dorothy Steppler, Andrew Steppler, Maria Steppler)

-Page 04-

Description of Page: Poem, recipe for whitewash, article on mixing soils, column 1; article on rifles, anecdotes, column 2; advertisements, columns 2-5