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Valley of the Shadow

Semi-Weekly Dispatch: May 28, 1861

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Listing of national, state, and local officeholders, column 1; prospectus of the Semi-Weekly Dispatch, column 1; advertisements, columns 1 and 2; poem, column 3; short article from the National Intelligencer about the particulars of the blockade, column 3; long article about the failure of the Armstrong gun, columns 4 and 5; article about the French invasion of Syria, column 5.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Article excerpted from the Knoxville Whig stating that the true purpose of the was is to restore the government of the United States, column 2; short article on how the death of Col. Ellsworth was received in his hometown of Mechanicsville, New York, column 4; article detailing the capture of Alexandria, columns 4 and 5; advertisements, column 5.

[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Governor Curtin has dispatched Benjamin Haywood, Esq., of Schuylkill County to visit the Fourth, Fifth, and Twenty-fifth regiments and ascertain whether they need clothing. "No doubt many of the evils complained of have grown out of the want of an established military system in Pennsylvania, and the unexpected demands upon all men having charge of the military arrangements."
Occupation of Virginia by Federal Troops
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that federal troops have taken over the cities of Alexandria and Arlington Heights in Virginia, near the nation's capital.
Assassination of Col. Ellsworth
(Column 3)
Summary: Reports that assassination of Colonel Ellsworth just after he had removed the "Secession flag" from the roof of the Marshall House in Alexandria. Col. Ellsworth was the only person among Northern forces who was killed at the seizure of Alexandria.

-Page 03-

Description of Page: Prices current, column 3; advertisements, columns 3-5

[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: States that the members of regiments stationed at Chambersburg have been supplied with overcoats.
[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that the 2d and 3d Regiments of the Pennsylvania volunteers arrived in Chambersburg this morning. The 2d Regiment is made up of men from Chambersburg, so "many a glad heart was in our town, on meeting sons, brothers, husbands and friends." The paper remarks that the men all look well.
Full Text of Article:

We stop the press to announce the arrival this morning, of the 2d and 3d Regiments Penna. Volunteers. The troops from this place belong to the 2d Regiment, and many a glad heart was in our town, on meeting sons, brothers, husbands and friends.--Our men all look well; some have much improved in health and appearance. They cheered loudly in the Square on passing the flag. Both Regiments were accompanied by excellent brass bands.

Sick in Hospital
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports two or three additional cases of soldiers in the hospital since the last issue. Remarks that the case of Peter Plaster of Lancaster County is particularly severe. He was taken to the house of Mr. G. Etchberger when he fell ill at midnight on Saturday and then was removed to the hospital in the morning. Plaster has the same disease that those who died had suffered from.
(Names in announcement: Peter Plaster, Mr. G. Etchberger)
Lying Telegrams
(Column 1)
Summary: Reprints a telegram reported to have been sent from Chambersburg, expressing fear among the people of Chambersburg that an invasion from Virginia would occur. Reports that General Williams at the military headquarters in Chambersburg declared that the telegram was a "fabrication" and was "highly indignant" at the author and at the press for having published it. The editor goes on to state that Chambersburg is fully prepared should an attack occur and that "the people feel perfectly secure from any invasion on the part of the Virginia Secessionists."
Full Text of Article:

The following, which has appeared in several widely circulating and influential newspapers, is part of a telegram purporting to have been sent from Chambersburg on the 24th inst.:

"Great apprehension prevails in Cumberland valley of an invasion from Virginia. Ten thousand head of cattle and five thousand horses along the Valley could be seized by a sudden irruption [sic] of an expeditionary corps holding the Valley for five days, even if driven back into Virginia.

Forward movements of the Virginia troops may be expected immediately.

Campbell's Flying Artillery of six pieces has positively been ordered back from York to Chambersburg. Two additional infantry regiments must be moved to this point and a battalion of cavalry added, or devastation will overtake the whole Valley. We want at least three batteries of six and twelve pounders."

Appended to the above appeared the following:

"The officers, who recently made a reconnoisance as far as Harper's Ferry, report that they learned there that a sentinel had been captured by means of a lariat, about a week before from the camp here, and was carried to Harper's Ferry. There he had been hung up twice to force him to impart information to the rebels, with what success was not known."

Having serious doubts respecting the truth of these statements, we went with them to head-quarters to ascertain the facts. Gen. Williams declared them both fabrications, and said they were never sent over the telegraph wires from this place. The General was highly indignant, both at the author of such falsehoods, and also at the Associated Press for the employment of such reckless or at least gullible agents.

The following dispatch has been sent by Gen. Williams to the Associated Press:

CHAMBERSBURG, May 25th.--We desire neither of artillery, dragoons, nor infantry, as mentioned in the dispatch published in this morning's papers, but are prepared to repel any invasion of the soil of Pennsylvania, promptly.

per John J. Patterson, Aid-de-Camp.

Three Months Volunteers
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that the companies stationed at Camp McAllen, which enrolled themselves for three years were disbanded and made into companies of three months recruits. These companies are now busily attempting to reorganize for the three years service.
The Commissariat
(Column 2)
Summary: Cites articles from other newspapers that have complained about the insufficient rations and poor clothing furnished to Pennsylvania volunteers. The editor applauds these other papers for exposing those who deserved to be prosecuted for how they have treated Pennsylvania's troops.

-Page 04-

Description of Page: Article about a piece of shell used in the bombardment of the Citadel of Messina by Victor Emanuel, column 1; article promising a grand celebration at the next Fourth of July, column 1; article on how to cleanse gun barrels, column 1; advertisements, columns 2-5.

Soldiers' Rations
(Column 1)
Summary: Details the amount and kind of rations that soldiers are allowed per day.
Full Text of Article:

There has been much said about what constitutes the daily rations of the soldier and the cost of the same, and yet the mass of the people know very little on the subject. We therefore gather some interesting items in relation to army subsistence from the official Regulations of the Army of the United States, and publish them, that the men may know what they are entitled to, in case grasping contractors should attempt to practice impositions:

One hundred complete rations consist of--
32 rations fresh beef is 40 lbs, or 1 1/4 lbs per man.
68 " pork, is 51 lbs, " 3/4 lb "
100 " flour, is 11 lbs, " 18 oz. "
100 " beans, is 8 qts.
100 " rice, is 10 lbs.
100 " coffee, is 6 lbs.
100 " sugar, is 12 lbs.
100 " vinegar, is 4 qts.
100 "candles, is 1 1/2 lbs.
100 " soap, is 4 lbs.
100 "salt, is 2 qts.

When the officers of the Medical Department find anti-scorbutics necessary for the health of the troops, the commanding officer may order issues of fresh vegetables, pickled onions, sour krout, or mollasses [sic], with an extra quantity of rice and vinegar. (Potatoes are usually issued at the rate of one pound per ration, and onions at the rate of three bushels in lieu of one of beans.) Occasional issues (extra) of molasses are made--two quarts of one hundred rations--and of dried apples of from one to one and a half bushels to one hundred rations."