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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: May 5, 1863

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Col. 1 - 3 ads. Col. 4 and 5, Governor's Proclamation regarding the rules of the upcoming election and act unabling military personnel to vote. Col. 6 poetry.

Advice to Farmers
(Column 6)
Summary: Item advices farmers to sell all the crops they grow, as a tax of 8 percent has been imposed on all surplus held for purposes of speculation or storage. Item also points out other economic measures designed to lower prices.
Trailer: A Farmer
Camp Winder, 5th VA. Infantry
(Column 6)
Summary: Soldier writes to report a regimental election meeting in which an Albermarle soldier criticized Baldwin, endorsing Harman for congress. The letter writer, however, continues his support for Baldwin, despite the fact that the company nominated Harman.
(Names in announcement: Capt. Lycurgus Grills, Maj. J. W. Newton, William H. Harman, J. B. Baldwin)
Trailer: Private
For the Spectator
(Column 7)
Summary: Letter informs readers of the result of a regimental meeting in the 5th regiment nominating William Harman as a congressional candidate.
(Names in announcement: James Newton, Lycurgus Grills, William Harman, John B. Baldwin)
Trailer: James W. Newton
The Crops in the South
(Column 7)
Summary: Article happily reports that many farmer have replaced cotton with food crops in their fields.
Origin of Article: Examiner
Wrecking a Church
(Column 7)
Summary: Item reports that Yankee troops destroyed a Catholic Church in Florida, opening a rift between Irish troops in Yankee service and soldiers from Maine.
The Impressment Bill
(Column 7)
Summary: Item reports an amendment to the Impressment Bill.
(Column 7)
Summary: Item reports an improving economic situation in the South.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Various battlefield reports and reports of military movements. Col. 5 - 7 ads and notices.

From Down the Valley
(Column 1)
Summary: Item describes a Yankee rain in Woodstock where prisoners were taken to atone for the capture and supposed execution of Smurr, a Yankee guide.
Bloodiest Battle of the Was Imminent
(Column 2)
Summary: Item reports the early stages of a developing battle along the Rappahannock.
Full Text of Article:

The Yankee army on the Rappahannock seems to have aroused from the comatose state in which it has existed since the battle of Fredericksburg, on the 13th of December last, when our gallant boys put thirty thousand of them "off duty forever." The Yankee army was then commanded by Burnside--it is now under the command of "Fighting Joe Hooker," who seems determined to vindicate his title to his bellicose soubriquet. On Wednesday morning last, the 29th ult., he commenced crossing the Rappahannock on pontoon bridges about two miles below Fredericksburg. As it was very early in the morning, and there being a heavy fog on the river, some of his men crossed and succeeded in surprising our pickets, and capturing, it is reported, about eighty of them. The enemy continued to cross in great numbers, and there was considerable skirmishing during the day between them and the 13th Georgia and 2d La., regiments, in which the loss is reported to be about eighty in killed, wounded and missing. At the same time the enemy attempted to cross 4 miles above Fredericksburg, but were repulsed by Wilcox's Brigade.

On the same day, a column entered Culpeper county, on the way towards Gordonsville. Our forces under Gen'l Fitzhugh Lee engaged this column, but were compelled to fall back before the vastly superior numbers of the enemy. The enemy, in large force, occupy Culpeper Court House.

The forces which crossed the river near Fredericksburg, do not seem to be in a hurry to engage ours which are impatiently awaiting their advance. Whenever they do advance to meet our brave and warm-hearted soldiers they will be cordially greeted, and will be "welcomed with bloody hands to hospitable graves." "Fighting Joe" may well hesitate, for there is surely a lion in the way. His march Lee-ward will be a crippled and halting one. It is said that Gen'l Lee predicted that the battle at Fredericksburg now imminent would be the bloodiest of the war. If this proves to be true, the slaughter will be terrible, and the killed and wounded will be counted by thousands.

A portion of the enemy's forces which crossed the river higher up have been more active than those which crossed below Fredericksburg. A force supposed to number about a thousand entered Louisa C.H. at 3 o'clock on Saturday morning last, and proceeded to destroy the Railroad track. The trains and army stores, having been previously moved, did not fall into the possession of the enemy, and they can inflict no greater injury than the damage they may do to the road, which it will not take a great while to repair. This is the news as far as received up to Sunday night.

P.S.--On Monday morning a telegram was received here which stated that Stonewall Jackson had, on Sunday, a fight with the enemy above Fredericksburg in which he captured five thousand prisoners. The loss on both sides is said to be heavy.

LATER: The passengers by the train of last night report that a despatch [sic] had been received at Charlottesville stating that we had captured twelve or fifteen thousand prisoners, and that the enemy had been driven across the river. Our readers will be pained to hear that, it is reported, that Gen. Jackson was wounded, and that Gen'l Paxton, who commanded the Stonewall Brigade, was killed. We fear that many of the noble soldiers from this county have fallen in this terrible conflict. If they have, their friends may be consoled with the reflection that they offered up their lives on the sacred altar of their country's defence and were martyrs in the holy cause of freedom.

Those who fall in this glorious struggle will have their memories embalmed in the grateful hearts of their countrymen, and will have their names linked with immortality.

"No king, no saint, hath tomb so proud.
As he whose flag becomes his shroud."

From Gen. Imboden's Command
(Column 2)
Summary: Item reports an expedition of Gen. Imboden's command.
(Names in announcement: Gen. Imboden)
The Result of Slanders
(Column 3)
Summary: Article bemoans the fact that unfounded rumors about Col. Baldwin have circulated through the ranks of the military, even among Augusta troops.
(Names in announcement: Col. John B. Baldwin, Col. William H. Harman, Lt. Col. Skinner)
Full Text of Article:

The slanders which were refuted in our last issue by the letter of Col. Baldwin to Maj. Brathwaite have been industriously circulated in the army with the view of poisoning the minds of the soldiers against one of their best friends. These false charges have had the effect, for the time, of effecting the result designed by the authors and disseminators of them. The following extract from a communication written in the army and published in the last "Rockingham Register" shows what effect these foul slanders have had upon the minds of the soldiers. This communication was written by one who expressed his preference for Lt. Col. Skinner, and was not therefore influenced by partiality for Col. Baldwin.

The following is the extract to which we refer:

"The approaching election is but little discussed. Indeed the little interest manifested by the soldiers, amounts to indifference. Among the few expressions we have heard, were some severe strictures upon the course of our Congressman, Col. Baldwin. His advocacy of the "flogging doctrine," and opposition to the increase of soldiers' pay, have rendered him deservedly unpopular. At a meeting of the 5th Va. Regiment, composed mainly of Col. B's countrymen, the disapproval of his course was decided and emphatic. This was expressed in series of resolutions calling upon Col. Wm. H. Harman to announce himself a candidate. This we learn from an intelligent gentleman, a member of that regiment. Where is our gallant Skinner? Will he not enter the lists? He is our preference."

We should suppose that Col. Harman would not feel at all complimented by a nomination thus obtained. Truth does not travel as fast as malicious slanders, but in this case it will be sure to reach the army in time to enable the soldiers to see the great injustice and wrong that have been done to one of their best friends.

The Axe-Grinders
(Column 3)
Summary: Item says that those who oppose Baldwin, such as the editor of the Vindicator, are motivated by old party prejudices - former Democrat vs. former Whig, that should have been buried by the unity required by the war.
Full Text of Article:

Our reference to those who have "axes to grind" seems to "grind" the feelings of the Editor of the "Vindicator." He manifests so much sensitiveness upon the subject that those who do not know his exalted motives of patriotism in desiring the defeat of one against whom he has urged no objection may be led to infer that he, too, has an "axe to grind." The result of the election in this county will show that the great mass, approximating unanimity, will cast their votes for Col. Baldwin. The great mass having no purposes of private interest to accomplish, and looking alone to the public interests, will cast their votes for him who is their present able, efficient, industrious and attentive representative, against whom no objection has been urged save those based upon false and malicious slanders. We have no fears of exciting party prejudices, against which the "Vindicator" so kindly and generously cautions us, by speaking of those who have "axes to grind;" for we know that those who do not belong to the axe-grinding class, have sense enough to know that we do not allude to them. They know who have "axes to grind," and know whom the "cap fits." They know that we are opposed to resurrecting the dead body of party prejudice which has been buried, as we fondly hope, in the "tomb of the Capulets."

The "Vindicator" may distrust the patriotism of those who have been heretofore connected with the Democratic party, but we have the most implicit confidence in the pure and disinterested patriotism of the great mass of them, and upon this confidence we base the hope of seeing them rebuke with withering scorn the few who have "axes to grind." The result in the county will show who has the best appreciation of the patriotism of the people irrespective of former party divisions. We expect to witness the sublime spectacle of the whole people of the county (with the exception, of course, of those having "axes to grind") rallying in solid column, in a pure spirit of patriotism, to the support of Col. Baldwin. The people, who look alone to the public interest, will not put their seal of condemnation upon the conduct of their chosen representative without having a reason for so doing. The slanders that have been circulated to his prejudice, and the wrongs inflicted upon him will have the effect of adding increased energy to their purpose to support him. The soldiers may rest assured that their fathers, brothers and friends at home, who know the facts, will support him cheerfully in preference to his competitor--not that they love Letcher less, but that they love Baldwin more.

Prices of Produce
(Column 3)
Summary: Item calls attention to the list of prices to be paid by the Government for supplies.
Samuel Price of Greenbrier
(Column 4)
Summary: The Spectator endorses Samuel Price for Lientenant Governor.
(Column 5)
Summary: Marriage of Henry Crane and Annie Jamisson.
(Names in announcement: Rev. D. M. Gilbert, Henry Crane, Annie M. Jamisson)
(Column 5)
Summary: Death of William H. Patterson.
(Names in announcement: William H. Patterson)
(Column 5)
Summary: Death of Francis Beard.
(Names in announcement: Francis Taylor Beard, Mary J. Beard, William Beard)
(Column 5)
Summary: Death of Willie Bear.
(Names in announcement: Willie H. Bear, Christian Bear, Margaret Bear)
In Memoriam
(Column 5)
Summary: Obituary of James Craig.
(Names in announcement: James Craig, F. H. Bowman)
House of Delegates
(Column 6)
Summary: Item announces the candidacies of Sheffey, Walker, Peyton, Harman, and Koiner.
(Names in announcement: Hugh W. Sheffey, James Walker, Howe Y. Peyton, Col. William H. Harman, Maj. Absalom Koiner)