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Valley of the Shadow

Semi-Weekly Dispatch: January 24, 1862

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Advertisements, columns 1-3; poem, anecdote, column 4; news from Ship Island, column 5

Our Government a Success
(Column 5)
Summary: Defends the republican form of government from the criticism of European nations who argue that the Civil War in the United States is evidence of the ineffectiveness of a state based on republican principles. Argues that the mobilization of troops and supplies on a large scale in the U.S. actually proves the effective operation of republican government in this country.
Origin of Article: Exchange
The Weather Against Us
(Column 5)
Summary: Reports that mud, snow, sleet, and ice have slowed down Union efforts.
A Virginia Snow Storm
(Column 5)
Summary: A letter from Fortress Monroe reports the first snow storm of the season in Virginia. Expresses the hope that the snow from the North that has descended on Virginia will portend the conquering of the state and the South by the North.
Full Text of Article:

The first snow storm has at last come. Saturday I gathered tea roses and other flowers blooming in the open air at Hampton, but to-day the storm king has come in all his fury, and adieu to lingering summer and her sweet flowers. It is the North visiting Virginia with fearful vengeance. Well he comes to cover her stains and nakedness and shame with a pure white robe. May this North king, triumphing today so sternly but so beneficently, be but an omen and pressage of a triumph till all Southland shall be covered with a robe of righteousness and purity, and her present shame and nakedness no longer disgrace America.--Letter from Fortress Monroe.

The Contrast
(Column 5)
Summary: Points out that the states fighting for the Union cause spend much more to send a much larger proportion of their children to school than do the disloyal states of the South.
Full Text of Article:

The loyal States pay twenty millions of dollars for schools annually, and have five millions of children at school, while the disloyal do not expend one fifth of that sum, and have but six hundred thousand children in Ohio, in school, than in all of the eleven disloyal states.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Particulars of the battle at Somerset, Kentucky, column 3; news from Washington, column 4; brief items of news, including a proclamation by Secretary of War Stanton ordering the War Department be closed Tuesdays through Fridays to all business unrelated to "active military operations in the field," column 5; advertisements, column 5

What Is an Abolitionist?
(Column 1)
Summary: Protests the Valley Spirit's characterization of abolitionists as "fiends." The editor of the Dispatch argues that the paper is not abolitionist in sentiment, but asserts that any person who upholds the institution of slavery to the detriment of the Union, as the Spirit seems to do, is at best misguided.
Full Text of Article:

What is there so hideous, so odious or so terrible in the term Abolitionist, when applied to an individual or a party, to distinguish it from another party, that induces the new editor of the Spirit to howl so terribly about it? He cackles more over it than would a pullet over her first egg. There must be something terrible in it--perhaps it does mean more than we have any idea of. An Abolitionist, judging from the manner in which the fears of the Spirit are wrought upon, cannot be anything less than a monstrous, hideous hobgoblin, the sight of which would not only frighten children into spasms, but would make ignorant men--such as the Spirit only can influence--tremble with mortal fear.

Every body pretends to know what a man means when he says he is a Whig, a Democrat, or an American; that is, every body knows how to classify a man who claims to be designated by one or other of these destinctive [sic] appellations--but to the term Abolitionist, our neighbor wishes to attach a more than ordinary degree of political sin and deformity, and whose policy, if adopted by the Government, would be the greatest monstrosity ever imposed upon any people. So delighted does that pitiable journal seem to be with the frightfulness of the term, that it has altogether dropped its former favorite epithet of Federalist, with which it used to designate all opponents, and now rolls Abolitionist, "like a sweet morsel under its tongue." It has given the term Federalist the go-by, probably, out of consideration for the feelings of the "favorite son of Pennsylvania," who, in his retirement, is now contemplating the exquisite horrors that he was mainly instrumental in permitting to obtain headway in our country, and who was such a terrible Federalist that it is said he boasted of not having even a drop of Democratic blood in his veins. We say, it may be out of respect for the feelings of James Buchanan, that prince of the Federalists, that it has dropped the one and adopted the other.

But what is an Abolitionist? According to the Spirit, an Abolitionist is a fiend! and a fiend, Webster says, is "an infernal being"--"the devil." Well, we will again refer to Webster to see what his definition of the word Abolitionist is one who favors "the immediate emancipation of slaves." A person, then, who favors the emancipation of slaves, or who wishes to carry out God's command to "let the oppressed go free," is a fiend! To comply, therefore, with God's direct command, the Spirit argues, is to become a fiend! We cannot refrain from saying, just here, that such fiends have multiplied enormously, fearfully, since the bombardment of Fort Sumpter, and among them may be enumerated such sterling Democrats as Gen. Bulter, Gen. Dickinson, Hon. John Cochran, M. C., of New York, and a host of others we might name, if it were necessary.

As a general thing, ninety-nine out of every hundred men, who profess to be Abolitionists, are the most upright, moral, pious men of the community in which they dwell, and they have naturally become Abolitionists in their endeavors to carry out Christ's injunction: "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,"--but to follow this rule, the Spirit argues, makes man a fiend, and instead of advancing his spiritual life, it tends to death!

We are not now, nor were we ever an Abolitionist; not because we believe there is anything intrinsically wrong in the doctrine, but from prudential motives. The time has passed when odium can be attached to a man for being an Abolitionist. We are for the preservation of our Constitution and Union, at all hazards, and if Slavery stands in the way of their preservation, then we are for striking down Slavery--or, in other words, we then become an Abolitionist. If it is the Jonah, to save the ship let it be thrown overboard. But it is that very thing which gives our neighbor so much grief and trouble. He does not want Jonah thrown into the sea of oblivion--and to save Jonah, he is willing to run the risk of losing the ship and cargo.

If all right-thinking men in the North are not Abolitionists, they are at least antislavery in sentiment, and it is no credit to a Free State man' head or heart to say that he is not anti-slavery in his views.

Or as John Randolph, of Va., said, in reply to a Northern dough-face who attempted to justify Slavery in a speech in Congress, "I envy neither the head or the heart of the Northern man who can stand up here and attempt to justify Slavery on principle."

Death of John Tyler
(Column 2)
Summary: Briefly outlines the life of John Tyler, after suggesting that the nation would not likely mourn the recent death of the ex-President.
The Heart of the Confederacy
(Column 2)
Summary: Argues that the recent Union victory in Kentucky against General Zollicoffer will be extremely important for the Union to get at the "military, as well as geographical heart of the Confederacy."
Origin of Article: Philadelphia Inquirer
State Treasurer
(Column 2)
Summary: Expresses great satisfaction at the election of Henry D. Moore, Esq., as state treasurer.
Origin of Article: Harrisburg Telegraph
Our Relations with England
(Column 2)
Summary: Gleans from a letter by a "New York letter writer" that it is likely peace will be upheld between the United States and England.
The Acts of the Last Legislature
(Column 4)
Summary: Speculates that the "House resolution calling for the investigation of the acts of the last Legislature" is part of an attempt to impeach Governor Curtin. Notes that a committee will soon be appointed to carry out the investigation.

-Page 03-

Description of Page: Reports involving Colonel Garfield's victory in Kentucky, the possibility of an attack on Norfolk, and a letter from the Petersubrg Express, column 3; advertisements, columns 4 and 5

Franklin County Bible Society
(Column 1)
Summary: Announces that a celebration will be held the following Sabbath evening in the Presbyterian church to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Franklin County Bible Society.
Glorious Victory
(Column 1)
Summary: Notes that the recent victory for the Union will cause the "Rebels" as much discouragement as it will bring confidence and hope to the Union forces.
Regiments Consolidated
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that all the unattached companies at Camp Curtin have been transferred to Colonel Meredith's Regiment. That regiment along with the 101st will move this week to Philadelphia to join a Southern expedition to be composed only of Pennsylvania troops.
Taking Cold
(Column 1)
Summary: Advises that colds can be prevented by maintaining a uniformity of temperature throughout the body.
Origin of Article: Scientific American
Poem and Concert
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports favorable on the reading of "The Times" by Mr. Seilhamer and on the musical performances presented the previous Tuesday night.
[No Title]
(Column An Important Work)
Summary: Relates the progress of the telegraph line between Wilmington, Delaware, and Fortress Monroe.
Origin of Article: Philadelphia Inquirer

-Page 04-

Description of Page: Proceedings of Congress, column 1; prices current, column 1; advertisements, columns 2-5