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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: March 18, 1862

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Description of Page: Reports from the battlefield and of other military developments. Bottom illegible. Marriage notice and obituaries illegible. Col. 6 and 7 various proclamations from the Governor regarding organization of militia companies.

Returns of the Election
(Column 1)
Summary: Table reports election returns regarding the ratification of the amended constitution.
Full Text of Article:

The following is the vote of this county for and against the ratification of the amended constitution, so far as the returns have been received. The vote is very small, as was to be expected under the circumstances of the times in which it was taken:

For Ratification Agst. Rat'ion For Qualification Agst. Qual'ion Court-house 159 50 192 20 Union Hall 50 10 55 4 Churchville 22 8 30 Fishersville 16 6 21 1 Mt. Solon 8 4 11 1 Spring Hill 26 13 38 2 Deerfield 5 21 18 7 Mt. Meridian 13 --- 13 --- Newport 28 3 26 5 Mt. Sidney 4 37 14 29 Midway 14 --- 14 --- Parnassus 18 3 20 1 Waynesboro 48 9 48 9 New Hope 17 10 29 1 Greenville (not heard from) Stuart's Draft " Middlebrook " Craigsville " Sherando " Total 428 174 519 [sic] 80
Work for All
(Column 1)
Summary: Article says that all who are not in active combat should work to see that the soldiers are provided for. The article insists that anyone who does not aid the fight is a traitor.
Origin of Article: Richmond Dispatch
Distilling Prohibited
(Column 1)
Summary: Item reports that the Legislature passed a law prohibiting the distillation of liquor.
The Militia
(Column 1)
Summary: Article reports that the Augusta militia reported promptly to Winchester as directed by the Governor.
(Names in announcement: William S. Sproul, Lieut. Col. John H. Crawford, Maj. William M. Wilson)
[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Item reports that R. D. Lilley is raising a Cavalry Company in Augusta.
(Names in announcement: Capt. R. D. Lilley)
(Column 2)
Summary: Article praises efforts to remove the influence of alcohol from the Confederate forces and suggests only temperate men be appointed as officers or elected as officials.
Origin of Article: Richmond Whig
Full Text of Article:

[From the Richmond Whig.]

Ex-Governor Smith has entitled himself to the gratitude of his countrymen, by his well-timed resolution in Congress, which contemplates the summary displacement of every military officer, who, under any circumstances, may be found in a state of intoxication. Drunkenness in a military officer, is not merely a vice, it is a crime. And if we are to measure the atrocity of crimes, by the evil consequences which flow from them, it is a crime of the darkest dye. The murder of an individual is, by the decalogue, and the laws of all nations, classed among the highest offences of all nations, classed among the highest offences of which a man may be guilty. But what is the murder of an individual, compared with the wholesale slaughter of a company, a regiment, or an army occasioned by the misconduct of officers, caused by drunkenness? The safety and welfare, not only of men who compose the army, but of the women and children, and of all who remain at home, is entrusted to the officers in command of the army. The proper discharge of this trust requires sleepless vigilance, untiring energy, wisdom in council, and promptness in action. There is no position in which a man can be placed, in which it is so necessary for him to have all his intellectual faculties, and physical energies, unobscured and unimpaired by any extraneous influences. The officer, then, who in the hour of danger beclouds his reason, and enfeebles his strength, by intemperance, is a traitor to his country, and forfeits every just claim to confidence and respect.

We trust that Gov. Smith will press his resolution with his accustomed energy, and we can hardly doubt, that Congress will have the patriotism, and good sense, to adopt it.

We should be pleased to see the reform pushed still further. We should like to see drunkenness made a disqualification for any office, civil or military. The President ought to appoint no intemperate man to office, and if he does, the Senate ought promptly to reject the nomination. Now is the time to introduce this wholesome reform. If it be adopted, it will do more to repress intemperance, than all the Temperance Associations in the land. You have only to let it be known that intemperance is an insuperable bar to official preferment, and you will at once bring the vice into disrepute.

The people and the political parties of the country have much to answer for in this particular. They have heretofore looked only to the party relations of candidates, without regard to their moral character, or fitness for the stations whey were called on to fill. Hence, many seats in our Legislative Assemblies, both State and Federal, has been filled by intemperate men. The old Congress was often the theatre of drunken brawls, and our own Legislative halls have witnessed similar exhibitions. It is a matter of public notoriety, that, within a few years past, the Senate of Virginia, on several occasions, has been compelled to adjourn, at an early hour, in consequence of the turbulent conduct of some of its members, superinduced by intoxication. Nor has the House of Delegates been exempt from similar disorders.

As the old system has passed away, we hope these evils will pass away with it. We might as well expect figs from thistles, as sober legislation from drunken legislators.

We call attention to this subject, at this early day, in the hope that our patriotic contemporaries of the press, and the people generally, will unite with us in an earnest effort to root out, effectually, this crying evil. Let us all unite, heart and hand, in the effort to exclude from all public offices all intemperate men. We care not where it strikes or whom it strikes. At the next election let this test be made paramount to all others. It matters not how shining a man's abilities may be, how extensive his capacities for usefulness, we know that, if he is a drunkard, we cannot rely on him. He may be unfit for service when there is the most urgent demand for his assistance. Let the line be distinctly drawn, and let no intemperate man be elected to Congress or the General Assembly, or any other public station. The men who fill the high places of the land ought to be bright examples to the masses. By electing intemperate men to office, we give dignity and respectability to the vice itself.

This is the way to cut up the evil by the roots. It will not do to dodge the issue by a war upon whiskey, and make the innocent farmers pay the penalty of the misconduct of drunken men. It is not the whiskey that is in fault, but the bad men who abuse it. Whiskey will hurt no one, if he will let it alone. It is a very good thing in its place--nay, almost a necessary. The abuse and not the use of it, is the evil, and those who war against it act with as much reason as the boy who breaks the stone against which he stumped his toe!

Let the test in all future elections then be: "Is he honest? Is he capable? Is he sober? Is he faithful to the Constitution? What say our brethren of the Press?

The War Upon Whiskey
(Column 3)
Summary: Item reports an anti-distillation law in South Carolina.
M. Whitmore, Esq.
(Column 4)
Summary: Letter from Bolivar Christian explaining his opposition to the anti-distillation bill. Christian opposes the bill in its present form, but he is not against an anti-distillation bill perse. The current bill, he contends, will do unfair damage to those currently engaged in legal distillation.
(Names in announcement: Bolivar Christian)
Full Text of Article:

William Whitmore, Esq.

[Published by Request.]
Richmond, VA.
March 7th, 1862.

Wm. Whitmore, Esq.:

DEAR SIR: Yours dated 27th of Feb. is just received. I am obliged not less for the suggestions and facts furnished, than for the courteous manner in which you convey them. You do me no more than justice in saying you "are well assured of my disposition to represent the sentiments of my constituents when informed of them on any mooted question." If others had taken the pains you have to furnish me facts bearing on this public question, they would have done their cause much more good and saved themselves very profitless trouble in denouncing me for "opposing" in its then shape, a bill they had never seen, and which, for aught they knew, would not only fail to secure the end they desired, but would instead inflict an injury on the interests of both themselves and their neighbors.

If they think to deter me from doing what my judgement [sic] dictates as a representative duty, by mere "threats never to vote for me again," it is simply a great mistake. Let them first convince my mind by facts and arguments; and no representative can more cheerfully yield his own opinions to arguments, showing that he may have been mistaken therein as to the best interests of his constituents. But I can never vote for or against a bill contrary to the conviction of my own judgement merely for fear of losing votes for myself.

The effect of a bill is often a very different thing from what its reported title would indicate. Many persons have regretted my so called opposition to the anti-distillation bill on the idea that the bill would suppress drunkenness in the army and the country; they will be surprised to learn that its author declares in the Senate that "it was not intended or expected to diminish intemperance," and some of the strongest temperance men oppose the bill in its present shape because it will not have that effect; and in fact so far from "opposing" that, I suggested an amendment tending to make it more effectual for that purpose. This illustrates the injustice of condemning a representative before the effect of his course can possibly be known to his very indignant constituent whose wishes he may really be representing all the while! Opposition to a bill in its progress by no means necessarily indicates opposition to it when perfected for passage.

One man asks if I "regard myself the representative of the hundred distillers of Augusta?" Of course I do, but not more or less so than every other interest of every other citizen of my country; and it is my solemn duty to see that the lawful interests of any and every such citizen shall not be unnecessarily and unjustly injured; and never injured in any way unless satisfied that the public good requires and will be promoted by the individual sacrifice. The passage of this bill on the principles it contained when first presented, would, in my judgement, have opened wide the door for seizure of grain yet in possession of the farmer; of bacon on hand; and beef fattening for sale; of leather in the tanneries and stores; of shoes, clothing, &c., &c., in the shops of my county. I regard it a high representative duty in any such case to scrutinize closely the measures proposed, and if the blow must fall for the public good, to see that while the public good may be none the less promoted, yet that the interests of my country-men shall suffer as little as possible from that blow; and this too without reference to my private opinion as to the propriety of any particular business concerned, provided only it is then lawful.

It is admitted by its advocates that this particular bill will not diminish the drunkenness of the army or country; but under the high prices its passage will induce, mean liquors from other States will flood the land, and distillers of fruits, vegetable, &c. will be re-doubled all over our own State. While its passage cannot increase the quantity of corn now left, it may encourage the farmer from planting this spring, both because this market is cut off for the present, and also for fear the Legislature may pursue such policy in future and again by law reduce still lower the profits of his labor. While if the price be left undisturbed by law the planters of cotton and tobacco, stimulated by the high prices of corn, will plant it in all their fields, and thus make it abundant and cheap in the end is the only effectual mode. Natural laws regulate such matters far better than hastily constituted human laws can do.

But besides opening wide the door for vicious legislation this bill will have some certain effects: It at once cuts off a revenue at not less than $300,000 this year, and raises the taxes that much more at once on every thing else already groaning with the burden; and by depriving the farmer of his only profitable crop, deprive him at the same time of the means for paying this increased tax, as well as the high prices, daily growing higher, for every thing he has to buy. As for the distillers now working under a license for which they paid the State its own price, with property in which the State has induced them to invest their means, relying on the hitherto unbroken faith of the proud old Commonwealth, this bill as it originally stood, providing for no previous notice, but going into force immediately on its passage, would subject every distiller of Augusta instantly to fines, confiscation of his property and imprisonment of his person!

In the short space of this letter I can only give you the prominent characteristics of this bill at the time I "opposed" it. The numbers you report as in favor of "the bill" can scarcely expect me not to oppose such a bill. You mean of course that they desired a bill on the subject that will if possible, check intemperance in times like these, and save grain for other purposes, and yet that the bill shall do no unnecessary evil or injustice to our citizens lawfully engaged now in distillation. I will cheerfully represent their wishes thus far, and it is what I have myself desired; but this bill will be "opposed" a long while yet before it can be made available for anything but evil. This bill when understood can hardly have as many friends as your letter seems to suppose. The temperance men as such can find no comfort from it. The farmer who has grain to sell will find no comfort from it; the farmer who has grain to sell will find it only reduces the price he gets, without curing the evil he abhors; the farmer who has sold his grain at a price, it may be, enhanced by the distiller's demand, cannot be so ungenerous as to see his neighbor deprived of a like price wherewith to pay the increased tax and support the prices of living: they who live in towns, and incur none of the labor of growing grain can take no pleasure in seeing the farmer above ground to dust merely that they may for a short time get his products for comparatively nothing; the taxes on all will be increased. As for the speculators in stores of liquors on hands looking for the bill to increase its price; speculators in stock-feeding looking for increased profits in proportion as corn is bought lower which they have to buy &c., &c., when they may find in this bill yet an unexpected "rod in pickle."

Meanwhile as this bill is being perfected or defeated, the people are not without remedy; flour for bread is the cheapest thing in market; bacon as well as whiskey, is making even at the distilleries; and the government has exercised and can yet do it, the power to seize all grain while any distiller may refuse to sell for the wants of the army, and may stop all distilleries, and burst up all barrels of whiskey to prevent drunkenness, if it sees fit, without waiting for "this bill" to pass. And the people, if so universally opposed to the consumption of grain in this way, have the right to refuse selling to distillers at all, and can sell to the needy poor at as low a price as charity requires without waiting for a "law" to require it. In the meantime accept my best wishes, and also my assurance that I will continue (as I have always endeavored.) to do the best I can for the general interests of my country, and if the people are not satisfied let them try to find another, who, if he can't please everybody, may try his turn. But I doubt if any one will be found perfect until the millennial legislature meets.

Yours Respectfully,

P.S. As to exempting the Legislators from militia draft, that on reflection will be seen simply a necessity; certainly not selfishness on my part, as I have been in service ever since the first day of the war except while in winter quarters, and I am now enlisted for the war. If those objecting do as much the draft will not disturb them.

Trailer: Bolivar Christian
Tribute of Respect
(Column 5)
Summary: Resolutions adopted by the Augusta Grays on the death of Fayette Campbell, who died of wounds received at Manassas.
(Names in announcement: James E. Newton, Fayette Campbell, Christian Rubush, L. R. Plunkett, Lycurgus Grills)
For the Spectator
(Column 5)
Summary: Letter writer condemns those who criticize the strategic decisions of the military and speculators as the two classes most damaging to the Confederate cause.
Trailer: J.L.
The Prospect-Don't Despair
(Column 5)
Summary: Article instructs Southerners to take heart, that the current reverses on the battlefield do not indicate a turning of the tide on the war.
Full Text of Article:

The following, from one of our Southern exchanges, has the ring of the true metal in it, and is just the spirit for the present juncture:

The South has not yet fought as it can fight, for the mistaken policy of its rulers was that time the canker of waste eating up the enemy's resources, and foreign intervention, would save it that trouble and sacrifice. That spell is broken, thank God! Now it is fight or perish as a people--it is freedom or slavery to the living generation. The true man will answer--"a thousand times rather a Yankee bullet than a Yankee task-master, and if our countrymen prove craven, and yield, and the bullet is escaped, voluntary exile from a subjugated land shall be my doom."

The Yankees are not within a thousand years, much less sixty days, of the conquest. After all our coasts are beleaguered, and our frontier towns captured, we have still the heart of the Confederacy to defend in its hills and fastnesses [sic]. "Italy was overrun by the Carthagenians, under Hannibal, and Spain by Napoleon--perhaps the two greatest leaders in ancient or modern times. Yet both were defeated, and driven back from the soil they had occupied. Prussia, likewise, was overrun by France, Russia and Austria; yet were they driven back by Frederick, after bloody defeats on his part, leaving twenty and thirty thousand dead men on the field.

Greece, with 800,000 people, fought the Turks with thirty millions of population for seven years, and at last saved its independence. We can be free if we will, but it is only by arousing the whole people to arms.

Confederate States of America, War Department
(Column 6)

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Description of Page: Remainder of page 2 ads.

By the Governor of Virginia. A Proclamation.
(Column 2)
Summary: Governor's proclamation clarifies provisions of the draft law, particularly exemptions.