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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: June 23, 1863

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-Page 01-

Peace Convention At New York
(Column 6)
Summary: A complete transcript of Fernando Wood's speech in New York on the desirability of peace.
The West
(Column 7)
Summary: Discusses the fact that some theologians believe that the coming conflict over Vicksburg has cosmic significance.
Origin of Article: Columbus Sun
Full Text of Article:

According to some theological writers, who have undertaken to unravel the mysteries of prophecy, the combined hosts of Gog and Magog are to meet in the Great Valley of the Mississippi some time between the years 1861 and 1878, when the great battle of Armageddon shall be fought. At this battle, the blood is to flow until it reaches the bridle bit of the horsemen, and a "stink" is to arise from the carcasses of the slain that will scatter pestilence and mourning through the whole land. It is to be the greatest and last battle on earth--the final contest between liberty and despotism; it is to decide not only the fate, and shape the future political character of the Western Continent, but is likewise to produce a revolution in all the great monarchies of Europe. The cause of liberty is to make its final triumphs; the ancient monarchies of the Old World are to give in before the conquering hosts; Israel is to be restored, a democratic theocracy is to become the recognized Government not only in North America, but throughout all Europe; Poland is to be restored to her ancient liberties, demagogism is to have its funeral obsequies, the Millennial Reign of a Thousand Year is to set in and (it is hoped) the Puritan Round Heads and Yankee politicians are, like their great Chief in the lower world, to be put into close custody where they may no longer disturb the public peace by a system of intermeddling with affairs that do not concern them.

The sanguinary conflict which has been progressing at Vicksburg during the past ten days--the disposition of the Yankee Government to hazard everything in the contest--the continued flow of reinforcements to both armies for several weeks past--the dreadful carnage of the Yankee troops and offensive stench arising from their rotting carcasses--the locality of the hostile armies, their great and increasing numbers, and the period of time in which these events are transpiring, serve to remind us of Dr. Baldwin's "United States in Prophecy," and his theories of the great Armageddon. It cannot be claimed as a verification of his "Prophecies," however, since the character and material of both armies lack many of the essentials specified in his prophecy.--Columbus Sun.

-Page 02-

The Capture of Winchester &c.
(Column 1)
Summary: A report of two recent engagements at Martinsburg and Winchester.
Blue Devils
(Column 1)
Summary: After discussing the arrival of a number of Union reinforcements to the Winchester area, the paper recommends the administration of "blue pills" to derive some relief.
A Soldier--His Absurd Charges
(Column 2)
Summary: Part of a continuing debate between a reader who attacked the Spectator for having "less than true public spirit" in an earlier edition of the Vindicator.
Full Text of Article:

An anonymous writer, to whom we have never referred in the remotest manner, in the last "Vindicator" offers an insult to every soldier in our heroic armies by adopting the honored title "A Soldier," as the signature to an article which contains charges against us so evenly compounded of malice and absurdity that it is difficult to tell whether they excite more indignation than ridicule. The palpable absurdity contained in those charges shows that the ignorance of the author is only equaled by the malice which prompted them. The man who can assert that another, who was within the lines of the enemy, where all know the conscription act is of non effect, was "forced back by the conscription act" into the Confederate lines, where alone that act could operate or affect him in the slightest degree, exhibits a degree of stolid ignorance which is truly astounding.

The absurdity of this charge is equaled only by that of another of the same author, which no other but himself could be guilty of perpetrating. He maintains that it is inconsistent for an individual to desire the establishment of organized companies to repel raids and plundering parties of the enemy, who did not go solitary and alone (for at that time there was no organization and no other citizen thought of going) to meet and drive back the whole army of the "enemy marching triumphantly up the Valley, driving the small band of veterans under Stonewall Jackson before them, who on account of the paucity of his numbers was compelled to leave the main road, retreating to Port Republic, thus leaving, as it was thought, the town of Staunton at the mercy of the invaders."

As "Stonewall Jackson and his veterans," deeming "discretion the better part of valor," had gotten out of the way and left an opportunity for a fair fight between the "enemy marching triumphantly up the Valley" and ourself, "A Soldier" thinks that we were very remiss because we did not "pitch in" and drive the whole army of the enemy defeated, discomfited and totally routed, confused, confounded and disgraced to their own homes beyond the flowing waters of the lovely Potomac. We are much obliged to him for the compliment, but it is so much above our deserts that we blush in the apprehension that it may verge upon flattery, which is always offensive. He seems to think that we possess in our single person the military prowess of Achilles multiplied ten thousand fold. We have a more modest opinion of ourself, and think that such an adventure "upon our own hook" would have excelled in madness anything every undertaken by the chivalrac knight De La Mancha. We never conceived that the madness of Don Quixote would ever be excelled till we witnessed the folly, madness and absurdity exhibited by this anonymous writer who pays us such undeserved compliments.

This writer may consider it compatible with the character of "A Soldier" to take advantage of the concealment furnished by a fictitious signature to calumniate the character of one who has never given him the slightest cause of provocation, but we suppose that there is not a soldier in our army who concurs with him in that view. When he shall have the manliness to announce his name, company and regiment in the "Vindicator," we will give to him and his false charges such further notice as we may deem them worthy of receiving.

We are at a loss to know what can be the character of the ideas respecting editorial courtesy entertained by an editor who allows his paper to be made the medium for anonymous writers to calumniate the character of another editor. We do not mention this in the way of complaint, for we know that we cannot be injured by it, but we mention it as showing a remarkably nice sense of propriety and an unusual degree of good taste. We acknowledge the right of any editor to conduct his paper according to his own taste. "De gustibus non est disputandum." "Every one should consult his own taste," as the fellow said who nursed the skunk.

An editor who declines to correct a false charge which he, himself, has made against another, and that, too, when his special attention has been called to it, and when not only his sense of simple justice, but his "magnanimity" has been appealed to, may very readily consider it consistent with his ideas of editorial propriety to allow the use of his columns to anonymous calumniators of another editor.

Whilst it is our disposition to be upon terms of amity with all men, particularly members of the editorial fraternity, yet we wish it distinctly understood that we "know our rights, and dare maintain them."

As to those who are now vainly endeavoring to injure us by calumny, or influence our conduct as an editor by threats or personal violence, we defy the whole pack, including every

"Mongrel, whelp and hound,
And cur of low degree."

Returning Thanks
(Column 2)
Summary: The paper transmits the details of General Ewell's General Orders to its readers.
Editorial Comment: "Our readers will be pleased to read the following General Order of General Ewell asking the officers and Chaplains of his command to return thanks to our Heavenly Father for the victory gained at Winchester."
Vicksburg, Port Hudson, Helena, and Milliken's Bend
(Column 3)
Summary: Reports on the status of various military engagements.
The Progress of Discontent
(Column 3)
Summary: This article sees in Vallandigham's nomination for Governor of Ohio signs of increasing war weariness amongst Northerners.
Full Text of Article:

The unanimous nomination of Vallandigham by the Democracy of Ohio, for the highest office in the gift of the people of that State, indicates, says the Lynchburg Virginian, the progress of discontent towards the Lincoln Government, which is steadily increasing in the North. It will embolden the opposition everywhere; and one may expect to see still more out-spoken utterances respecting the despotism enthroned at Washington. The people of Ohio have dared to question, and to denounce the validity of that act by which one of their most prominent citizens was driven into exile. What will Lincoln do? Can he accomplish what Edmund Burke, quite as good a statesman as himself, could not? Can he "frame an indictment against a whole people?" Burke knew not how to do it. Lincoln may. Yet, we believe Vallandigham, who stated it as his conviction that no more prominent men would be exiled. Meanwhile, the opposition will strengthen by the aliment it feeds upon. It will increase, but Lincoln must decrease. Already we see the beginning of the end. The progress of discontent at the North, and the growing clamors for peace, will, after a while, paralyze the energies of the Administration.--Whilst our armies are energetically engaged in conquering a peace, we shall find co-workers in the Northern men, who, convinced that war will never restore the Union, are determined to inaugurate peace. They will have peace, and that secured, if natural affinities and of the Union, as they wish, they will never consent to try again the arbitrament of arms. This we understand to be the position of Vallandigham; now the most prominent, the most popular, and the ablest statesman of the North.

We cannot, therefore, divest ourselves of a certain degree of interest in what is now transpiring in Ohio and other Northern States. The agitations that are seen there promise the speediest solution of our national troubles, and are the only signs that foreshadow the end of the war. Heaven speed them!

Good News From The West And North
(Column 3)
Summary: A positive account of war efforts in the West and North. Article expresses the desire for retribution for the vandalism carried out by the Union soldiers in the South.
Full Text of Article:

The news from the West and from the North is of the most gratifying character. Port Hudson and Vicksburg still hold out in gallant style, while Grant is fortifying his rear to keep off Johnson and Smith. In the North the invasion of Pennsylvania and Maryland by Lee, has stirred up the whole Yankee nation, as the showman has stirred up the monkeys, with a long pole. Such scenes of consternation and terror were never before exhibited. Well may that nation of Vandals be alarmed, for we hope the day of fearful retribution for all their vandalism and crimes is at hand.

The Black Flag
(Column 3)
Summary: Encourages Confederate forces to raise the black flag "in every battle in which the negroes are made the tools of the cowardly Abolitionists."
Full Text of Article:

In the recent battle of Port Hudson it is said that the black flag was raised defiantly to the breeze by the Confederates. This was justifiable under the circumstances.--Let it be understood that the black flag is to wave in every battle in which the negroes are made the tools of the cowardly Abolitionists, and let there be no officer in command of a black regiment or company taken prisoner, unless it be for the purpose of giving him a more merited death by hanging.

Yankee Orders
(Column 4)
Summary: The Union army has issued general order that will be instituted in Tennessee and the parts of Mississippi that the Union controls. These orders place the entire citizenry within one of three categories: 1. Avowed enemies; 2. Neutral foreigners; 3. Loyal citizens. Those in the first category are to vacate their homes for immediate confiscation.
Origin of Article: Memphis papers
Are We Preparing?
(Column 4)
Summary: The Nashville Union advocates a policy of destroying Southern crops in order to restrict action by the Confederate forces.
Editorial Comment: "Extract from an article in the Nashville Union (a Yankee paper, .... Its present editor is, of course, the tool of the traitor Andrew Johnson and the Federal General Mitchell.)"
Stonewall Jackson's Family
(Column 4)
Summary: In response to a call for a public monument to Stonewall Jackson, the Savannah paper opines: "We have heard that the widow and child, who should be adopted by their country, are left in very moderate circumstances, and if this be so, while we approve the project for a monument, we are first for placing them in circumstances entirely independent. This is the duty we owe to Jackson."
Origin of Article: Savannah Republican
How Abraham Looks
(Column 4)
Summary: Describes Lincoln as looking like "a man whose rest is broken by remorse, and to whose pillow tranquil sleep is a stranger."
Origin of Article: Chicago Times
Gen Magruder and the Mexicans
(Column 4)
Summary: Informs readers that General Magruder has been successful in his attempts to cultivate friendly relations with the Mexicans.
Origin of Article: The Houston Telegraph
The Women and The Conscription
(Column 4)
Summary: Details the narrow escape of an enrolling officer from an irate mob of women in Milwaukee.
Origin of Article: Chicago Tribune
Raid Guards
(Column 4)
Summary: Details a plan to inform the public of Northern raids into the border counties and to call raid guards into action.
Origin of Article: Whig
Full Text of Article:

The revival of the barbarous practice of Raids renders necessary the revival of the system adopted to counteract it. Yankee raids will have two objects: 1. To cut our lines of communication; 2. To carry off or destroy our property. As it is impossible to foresee where a raid may come in, it will be impossible to provide a drilled force to resist it at every point. Our object must be two fold. 1. To guard bridges and public stores; 2. To remove from the line of a raid families, slaves, stock and provisions, or other property liable to destruction. For this object, the following plea is proposed.


1. The county courts of the border counties subject to predatory invasion should appoint an officer or committee, whose duty it should be to examine the quarter liable to raids, and adopt a system of plain signals, adapted to the character of the country, preferring "beacon fires" or smokes, where the points of view are sufficiently conspicuous, and providing adequate notice to "Raise the Country" upon the earliest information of a raid.


2. The courts should appoint a commander with a company of 80 men, in each magisterial district, whose duty it should be first to examine the roads and points capable of easy obstruction, and secondly, upon notice of a raid to block and obstruct the roads in every manner possible.

3. Upon notice of a raid, thus spread throughout the country, the citizens should first remove their families, horses, cattle and provisions from the line of the raid. The force intended for the protection of public buildings, stores, bridges, &c., should at once repair to their posts of defence.

4. The roads throughout the whole country having been thus obstructed, the citizens should turn out to embarrass the enemy, and increase the chances of capture upon their retreat.

This plan is recommended as easy of execution--taking the people but little from their crops--enabling every one to do something, and, in the end, tending to defeat and capture or destroy the enemy. To rely alone on the organization of Home Guards for resistance, must expose us to much danger. Mounted men can easily avoid small companies of infantry, if the roads are open, but if the roads are obstructed, the delay occasioned will be of great use, and the Home Guards can then inflict more damage than in other way. Let the two systems be combined.--Whig.

Stonewall Jackson's Name and Memory
(Column 5)
Summary: A collection of articles from England that indicate the prevailing widespread admiration for Stonewall Jackson.
Origin of Article: London Times, May 26
By Telegraph
(Column 6)
Summary: A series of dispatches discussing war related events, including news from Port Hudson.
Origin of Article: Tribune
Citizen's Meeting
(Column 6)
Summary: Details a meeting called to discuss home defense issues.
(Names in announcement: Col. J.B. Baldwin, Col. W.A. Bell, Jas.C. Cochran, N.K. Trout, Geo. Baylor, C.C. Francesco, J.Wyat Bell, J.N. Hendren, A.H.H. Stuart)
(Column 6)
Summary: Announcement of a concert to benefit the sick and wounded soldiers.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Roane, Mr. Alby, P.H. Trout)
(Column 6)
Summary: Married on April 13.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Mr. Crawford, D.A. Kennedy, Mary Virginia Fox)
(Column 6)
Summary: Married on June 18.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Mr. Dice, Timothy Cashman, Sarah Jane Bowes)