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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: December 30, 1862

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Advertisements and notices, columns 1-6; anecdotes about General Jackson, column 7

Amusements of Camp Life
(Column 7)
Summary: Presents a parody of a soldier's life.
Origin of Article: Richmond Whig
Wounded and Killed
(Column 7)
Summary: Comments on the grief felt by families and friends as they read the lists of wounded and killed in the newspapers and find their own loved ones' names.
Origin of Article: Richmond Whig
Full Text of Article:

It takes but little space in the columns of the daily papers, but what long household stories and biographies are every one of these strange names that we read over and forget:

"Wounded and killed!" Some eye reads the name to whom it is dear as life, and some heart is struck or broken with the blow made by that name among the list.

It's our Henry, it's our John, or our James, or our Thomas, that lies with his poor broken limbs at the hospital, or with white and ghastly face on the battle-field. Alas! for the eyes that read!--alas! for the hearts that feel!

"He was my pretty boy, that I've sung to sleep so many times in my arms!" says the poor mother, bowing her head in an anguish that cannot be uttered. "He was my brave, noble husband, the father of my little orphan children!" sobs the stricken wife. "He was my darling brother, that I loved so, that I was so proud of," murmurs the sister, amid her tears; and so the terrible stroke falls on homes throughout the land.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Various battlefield reports, including many accounts of Fredericksburg from various sources. Col. 6 and 7 ads and notices.

(Column 1)
Summary: Announces that because the paper has no space to publish long obituaries, the Spectator will from now on charge for obituaries and tributes of respect. Notices of death will continue to be free of charge, but obituaries will cost ten cents per line, the current advertising rate.
Cooking Utensils
(Column 1)
Summary: Requests that citizens donate cooking utensils, including "anything that will do to bake bread and fry meat," to Imboden's troops.
(Names in announcement: Col. John Imboden)
Presiding Justice
(Column 1)
Summary: Announces that J. Marshall McCue has been elected Presiding Justice at County Court, replacing Robert Guy, who resigned.
(Names in announcement: J. Marshall McCueEsq., Robert Guy)
For the Fredericksburg Sufferers
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that two young ladies of Staunton have raised $850 for the relief of those in Fredericksburg whose homes were destroyed and whose property was stolen by Northern troops. Expresses the hope that the people of Staunton will raise this sum to $2,000 instead of the $1,000 that had been the ladies' goal.
The Staunton Artillery
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that the Staunton Artillery is in need of shoes.
(Names in announcement: Major. A. F. Kinney)
To Slave Owners
(Column 1)
Summary: Instructs slave owners to have their slaves at the Court House on the first day of January so that they may be sent off the next day, once the "appraisement" has been completed.
Lincoln to His Army
(Column 2)
Summary: Reprints a letter Lincoln addressed to the officers and soldiers of the Northern army. The letter congratulates Northern troops for their skill and courage and deems the loss at Fredericksburg an "accident." The Spectator comments sardonically that Lincoln's address must be comforting to the "battered and bruised troops who were defeated by a mere accident."
The Yankee Cabinet
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that the North's defeat at Fredericksburg has Lincoln's cabinet in disarray. The Republican Senators had called for the resignation of Seward and the re-organization of the cabinet, but the President "swore that he would not yield to caucus dictation."
A Virginian Abolitionist
(Column 2)
Summary: Reports that J. H. Carskadon of the government at Wheeling is a slaveholder, but also a "vile abolitionist." Notes that the "bogus" Wheeling government has confined several women to jail because they are supporters of the South. Asserts that most women, "we are happy to know," remain true to the Confederacy.
[No Title]
(Column 3)
Summary: Reports that Company C of the 5th Regiment raised $142 to donate to the widow of William Curry, who was killed at Sharpsburg. The widow expressed her thanks to the regiment.
(Names in announcement: William Curry)
For the Spectator
(Column 4)
Summary: Prints a letter in which a wounded soldier protests the presence of his name on a list of deserters that was published in the Spectator. Myers claims that he has been in the hospital since June and includes a letter from a surgeon in Staunton to confirm that fact.
(Names in announcement: Asbury Myers, Dr. J. C. Merillat)
Full Text of Article:

Mr. Editor:--Will you allow me, through your paper, to correct an error which has been made public through the same medium, and one, which reflects much discredit upon me as a patriot and soldier. I ask this from you, believing that you will take pleasure in granting me an opportunity to vindicate my honor and patriotism.

In looking over your issue of the 16th instant, my eye fell upon an advertisement of a list of deserters from the 52nd Regiment of Va. Volunteers, among which I find my own name. This is the second time that my name has appeared among the list of deserters. Now, I wish to inform the public that gross injustice has been done to me--whether intentional. I am not prepared to say--but am inclined to think it was not intentional. I have the following certificate of the Surgeon in charge of the Hospital, at Staunton, stating that I was regularly received at the Hospital, on the 23rd of June last, under the recommendation of Col. M. G. Harman:

General Hospital,
Staunton, August 25th, 1862.

This is to certify that Private Asbury Myers, of the 52nd Va. Regiment, Company "B," was regularly admitted to this Hospital, for Medical treatment, on the 23rd of June, upon the recommendation of Col. Harman, and that he has been in the Hospital from that time to the present date.

By order of Dr. Wm. Hay, Surgeon in Charge.
J. C. MERILLAT, Surgeon in Charge.

From the time this certificate was given I remained in the Hospital, under medical treatment, until the 16th November, at which time, being quite sick, I was allowed a furlough of sixty (60) days to go home, which furlough has not yet expired, and which I still have in my possession. I have never attempted to shirk my duty or to be absent from my post, and never will unless sickness should compel me so to do. When I volunteered I did so, feeling it to be a duty, and I would SCORN deserting that standard of my country in this hour of her struggle for freedom and independence.

The question has often been asked me, why I have not applied for a discharge form the army, that I was not able for duty. My answer was then, and still is, that I intend to do my duty as long as I am able to bear arms.

While at the Hospital I was assigned to light duty, and could be seen almost daily on the streets of Staunton, up to the time my furlough was granted me to go home, in performance of the same. I can be found at my residence, on Christian's Creek, about seven miles east of Staunton, at any time between this and the expiration of my furlough, after which time I can be found at the Hospital, ready to take my place in the ranks, if the Surgeon in Charge reports me for duty.

Trusting that the above statements will be sufficient to vindicate me from the stigma of a deserter, I subscribe myself

Yours, &c.,

Trailer: Asbury Myers
Sick unto Death of the War
(Column 4)
Summary: Argues that the people of the North are tired of the war and are anxious for peace. Prints extracts from two letters written by Northern men.
Full Text of Article:

There can be no doubt but that the masses of the people of the North are sick of the war and are sighing for peace. Such sentiments are now beginning to find expression notwithstanding the tyranny prevailing there. The following is an extract from a letter written by Hon. Wm. B. Read, of Philadelphia, under date of November 5th:

"It is my firm belief that the paramount wish of the masses of the North is for peace--though timidity or considerations--mistakes in my opinion--of expediency prevent them from saying so. It has been part of the policy of the Administration to crush out this craving of a common humanity, and to denounce as traitors those who think as I do, that blood enough has been shed already. This has been acquiesced in too long. There are thousands who think with me, whose property is endangered--whose industry is paralyzed--fathers and mothers who are praying anxiously for the return of their soldiers from the battle-field, or waiting for the stern doom that takes from them those who are left at home. This prayer will soon find utterance--and the community, weary of war and bloodshed--weary of debt and taxation, of the tax-collector and the recruiting Sergeant--weary of the ambulance of the wounded and the hearse of the dead--will hail with ecstacy beyond control the hour when flags of permanent truce shall be displayed at Washington and Richmond. I am old enough to remember the peace of 1815, and the joy it excited; but it was nothing in comparison with what ours will be when this brothers' war is over."

The following is an extract from the letter of a sister to her brother in the Yankee army, written immediately after the removal of General McClellan:

"What could Abe and his tribe have done if from one to two hundred thousand men would have marched home? I would help any soldier to desert. If the Government does not do its duty, a soldier ought not to do his either. I expect a scolding from you for talking so, but I can't help it. I'll run down Lincoln and his friends in Congress before anybody, and if I should be arrested to-morrow. I do not think the whole ship and crew of them are worth one cent."

For the Spectator
(Column 4)
Summary: Lists the members of the 52d Virginia Regiment who suffered injuries at Fredericksburg. None of the troops were killed in the battle.
(Names in announcement: Lt. Col. James H. Skinner, Capt. E. M. Dabney, Capt. R. C. Davis, James Connell, Lieut. J. S. Coiner, John W. Gibson, Alex B. Brooks, Thomas H. Watkins, Robert Shaver, Capt. James Bumgardner, Andrew J. Mayfield, Capt. E. Bateman, William Houltz, Ryland Drane, Jonathan Zirkle, Capt. J. M. Humphreys, Gerard E. Crist, William F. Holburt)
Casualties in the 25th Va. Regiment
(Column 4)
Summary: Lists casualties in the 25th Va. Inf. who were killed or wounded at Fredericksburg. Captain Lilley is an Augusta County officer in this regiment.
(Names in announcement: Capt. R. D. Lilley)
For the Spectator
(Column 5)
Summary: Lists the names of people in Augusta County who have donated clothing in the last week to the troops stationed on Shenandoah Mountain. Lists the number of each item that each company received.
(Names in announcement: Mrs. J. Tate, Archer Moore, Mrs. John Newton, Mrs. Thomas Johnston, Rebecca ScottMiss, Mrs. William CampbellG., Mrs. Robert Cowan, Mrs. Mosby, Mrs. D. A. Kayser, Mrs. Joseph A. Waddell, Mrs. Balley Dunlap, Mrs. Jed. Hotchkiss, Miss Seig, Mrs. L. Sanderson, Mrs. G. I. Hite, Mrs. McGlannery, Mrs. Samuel M. Woodward, Mrs. Armstrong, Miss Mary Huff, Miss A. M. Riddell, Phillip Applick, John Critzer, A. W. Knipple, J. W. Hopewell, James Clemmer, J. F. Tannehid, Frank Henry, John Cooper, D. C. Maupin, J. A. Moore, James Shumey, E. D. Tallaferro, William Sheets, Pat Henden, Col. J. D. Imboden)
Trailer: J. D. Imboden
Tribute of Respect
(Column 6)
Summary: Prints resolutions adopted by the Augusta Greys on the death of John H. Shults.
(Names in announcement: John H. Shults)
Butler Declared an Outlaw
(Column 6)
Summary: Reports that President Davis has called for the capture and execution of Gen. Butler, declaring him a murderer.
How to Save Salt
(Column 6)
Summary: Instructs readers on the best way to cure meat using the smallest amount of salt.
Origin of Article: Columbus (Ga.) Sun
(Column 6)
Summary: Catherine Luemma Harris, aged 2 years, died of diphtheria on December 9. George Howard Harris, aged 9 years, died on December 19. They were the only children of Peter and Susan Harris.
(Names in announcement: Catharine Luemma Harris, George Howard Harris, Peter Harris, Susan Harris)