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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: June 30, 1863

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Advertisements detailing various goods for sale, as well as personal and legal notices

[No Title]
(Column 1)
Summary: Col. Harman of the 52d Regt., Virginia Volunteers, asks the citizens of the Valley to provide socks for his regiment and requests information on all the members of the regiment who are home without leave.
(Names in announcement: Col. M.G. Harman)
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: Col. Sproul, commander of the 93d. Regt., Virginia Militia, announces that there will be a regimental muster in Middlebrook on Saturday, July 4th at 11:00.
(Names in announcement: Col. W.S. Sproul)
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: Major Wilson, commander of the 32d. Regt., Virginia Militia, announces that there will be a regimental muster in New Hope on Saturday, July 4th at 11:00.
(Names in announcement: Maj. Wm. M. Wilson)
Annual Meeting Of The Dunkers
(Column 3)
Summary: An announcement of the German Baptists Annual Meeting in Blair County, Pennsylvania, along with a brief description of the sect's history and practices.
Origin of Article: Hollidaysburg (PA) Register
Gen Keyes and His Wife
(Column 3)
Summary: An account of a scene between Gen. Keyes and his wife that illustrates the moral superiority of Virginians to their Yankee neighbors.
Sentiment of the Baptists of the Confederacy
(Column 3)
Summary: Cites two resolutions from the Biennial Baptist Convention held in Augusta, Georgia. The first confirms their conviction that "the war which has been forced upon us is just and necessary and has only strengthened our opposition to re-union with the United States"; the second bemoans the loss of Lieut. Gen. Jackson.
Yankee Testimony On The Negro Question
(Column 5)
Summary: Details from a statement by Judge Brien of Nashville on the supposed inability of the African-American population to behave in a manner consistent with whites' ideas of morality and probity.
Editorial Comment: "Willingly or unwillingly, the Yankees are giving the expressive and significant testimony against their own themes and pretensions, and in favor of the South. The following account of the horrible condition of the slaves in Nashville is from the charge of the Grand Jury by Judge Brien on the act for the punishment of slaves:"
Full Text of Article:

We of the city of Nashville are absolutely cursed with the presence of a negro population which we find it impossible to control. Nashville is made the general rendezvous for all the runaway negroes in this and some of the adjoining States. They thrust themselves into the houses of our citizens and defy the owners to oust them. They pilfer, they steal, they scruple at nothing; they respect nobody; they regard no law, human or divine. Some of them are engaged in hospitals, but they are so numerous that this is perhaps only a fractional part. They promenade our streets; they crowd our sidewalks; tread our alleys; they fill our houses, cellars, garrets. They are too lazy to work; too ignorant to distinguish between liberty and license; too shameless to respect common decency, and too degraded to observe the ordinary rules of morality. The men are thieves and burglars, the women prostitutes and vagrants. There is scarcely a stable, a hog pen or a hen roost that does not bear the impress of a long heel and hollowless instep. These negroes are a curse to the army, a cancer to society, a blight upon honesty, morality and decency, and a leech upon the Government.

Gov. Symour On Negro Regiments
(Column 5)
Summary: Recounts how Gov. Symour had replied in the negative when a committee of African Americans had inquired as to whether he would favor the creation of a Black regiment. His refusal was based on his belief that their position in such a regiment would be one of extreme danger and would lead to dreadful and unnecessary sacrifice of life.
Origin of Article: Troy Times
Adventures Of A Young Lady In The Army
(Column 7)
Summary: Discusses the remarkable escapades of a Mrs. Laura J. Williams of Arkansas, who under the guise of being a man participated in a number of military actions on the Confederate side.
Origin of Article: The Mississippian
Full Text of Article:

Among the registered enemies of the United States government who have been recently sent across the lines, from New Orleans, there is now in this city a lady whose adventures place her in the ranks of the Molly Pitchers of the present revolution.

At the breaking out of the war, Mrs. Laura J. Williams, (the lady to whom we allude,) was a resident of Arkansas. Like most of the women of the South, her whole soul was enlisted in the struggle for independence. Her husband was a Northern man by birth and education, and a strong Union man. After Arkansas seceded from the Union, he went to Connecticut, he said, to see his relations and settle upon some business. Mrs. Williams suspected his purpose, and finally she received information that he had joined the Yankee army. Possessing little of the characteristic weakness of her sex, either in body or mind, Mrs. W. vowed to offer her life upon the altar of her country. Disguising herself in a Confederate uniform, and adopting the name of "Henry Benford," she proceeded to Texas where she raised and equiped [sic] an independent company, and went to Virginia with it as 1st Lieutenant. She was in the battle of Leesburg and several skirmishes; but, finally, her sex having been discovered by the surgeon of the regiment--the 5th Texas Volunteers, to which the company had been attached--she returned to her home in Arkansas. After remaining their [sic] a short time, she proceeded to Corinth, and was in the battle of Shiloh, where she displayed great coolness and courage. She saw her father on the field, but, of course, he did not recognize her, and she did not make herself known to him. In the second days' fighting she was wounded in the head, and was ordered to the rear. She wrote to her father, and then came on down to Grenada, where she waited for some time, but never saw or heard from him.

She then visited New Orleans, was taken sick, and while sick the city was captured. On recovery, she retired to coast, where she employed herself in carrying communications, assisting parties to run the blockade with drugs and cloths for uniforms. She was informed on by a negro and arrested and brought before General Butler. She made her appearance before Gen. Butler in a Southern homespun dress. She refused to take the oath, told him she gloried in being a rebel--had fought side by side with Southern men for Southern rights, and if she ever lived to see "Dixie" she would no [sic] it again. Butler denounced her as the most incorrigible she rebel he had ever met with. By order of the Beast she was placed in confinement, where she remained three months. Some time after her release, she was arrested again for carrying on "contraband correspondence," and kept in a dungeon fourteen days on bread and water at the expiration of which time she was placed in the State prison as a dangerous enemy. Her husband, it so happened, was a lieutenant in the 18th Connecticut regiment, and on duty as Provost Guard in the city. He accidently found her out and asked if she wanted to see him. She sent him word she never wanted to see him as long as he wore the Yankee uniform. But he forced himself upon her, tried to persuade her to take the oath, get a release, when he said he would resign to take her to his relations in Connecticut. She indignantly spurned his proposition, and he left her to her fate. When Gen. Banks assumed command he released a great many prisoners, but kept her in confinement until the 17th of May last, when she was sent across the lines to Meadesville with the registered enemies.

An article was recently published in the New York "World" in relation to the part Mrs. Williams has played in this war, but the above is, we are assured, a true account of her remarkable career. We understand she has attached herself to the medical staff of a brigade now in this city, and will render all assistance in her power to our wounded in the approaching struggle for possession of the great Valley of the Mississippi.

JACKSON, Miss., June 6, 1863.

An Eloquent Extract
(Column 7)
Summary: A stirring account of Virginia's renewed spirit as a result of war.
Editorial Comment: "From an eloquent sermon preached in Savannah, Georgia by Rev. Mr. Elliott, of the Episcopal Church, we take the following eloquent extract:"

-Page 02-

War News, Raids, &c.
(Column 1, 2)
Summary: Provides an account of mischief carried out by Union troops; general information on the state of the war; state of Vicksburg and Port Hudson sieges, as well as smaller skirmishes.
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: Reprints another illustration of the discontent in the North with the Lincoln administration's handling of the war.
Origin of Article: A United States paper
Editorial Comment: "A United States paper speaks thus disrespectfully of Abraham's military qualities"
From the Vindicator
(Column 3)
Summary: A long and detailed rebuttal to the charges leveled by A Soldier in an earlier letter. The gist of A Soldier's complaint seems to be that the editor of the Spectator fled his responsibilities in the face of the approaching enemy. This the editor fiercely denies in a long and often ad hominem attack on his accuser.
Full Text of Article:

In the last "Spectator" I noticed an editorial article, entitled "The Good Old Way," which occasioned me much surprise. When the enemy were 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, the writer of that article did not show, at that most opportune moment, even a desire to defend his home. When we were standing firmly and defending his property and home at the expense of some of the best blood in our army, where was he? Leaving his printing office and property he fled at the first approach of danger to Lewisburg, (not from fear of the enemy, but simply of fighting in defence of his home, as the enemy occupied the section to which he fled,) where he remained until forced back by the conscription act and a fear of the confiscation of his property as an alien enemy.

It is said that doctors rarely practice what they preach, and in this instance, judging by his acts, "the good old way" when Tarleton threatened, which he preaches, would not be his "good old way."

This much I have thought proper to say in reference to the editor of the Spectator who so unjustly assails officers who did their duty, and who stood at their post, when he so shamefully fled to escape fighting for his own and his neighbor' homes [sic]. It may be proper to add that the writer, although from another State, assisted in the defense of this same editor's home in that remarkable Valley campaign, and is still

June 19--1t.


The above is the anonymous communication, signed "A Soldier," the absurd charges of which we noticed last week, and promised to notice them further, as well as the author of them, if he would have the "manliness to announce his name." This he has not done, and has, therefore, relieved us of any obligation to notice them again; but, as the editor of the "Vindicator" has given them a quasi endorsement, and has given his pledge to send the "refutation of them to the identical set of readers the charges have gone to," we have concluded to notice them more in detail, and with as much seriousness as the ridiculous and absurd characters of the charges will admit. We publish the whole communication, that our readers may see that we meet every proposition it contains fairly, squarely and fully.

We will present in the order in which they occur every proposition contained in the communication, and will notice them in the same order.

1. It is inconsistent in us to recommend organization for Home Defence, because we did not go to meet the enemy when they were driving Stonewall Jackson and his veterans up the Valley.

2. That "the enemy occupied the section to which we fled."

3. That we were "forced back by the Conscription act."

4. That we feared the "confiscation of our property as an alien enemy."

5. That he makes these charges against us because we "unjustly assailed officers who did their duty."

6. That he, a soldier from another State, assisted in the defence of our home.

In reply to the foregoing charges, we say--

1. At the time to which he refers, when the "enemy were marching triumphantly up the Valley" driving Jackson and his army before them, there was no organization here, and, as a consequence, no citizen thought of going to meet the enemy. Gen. Jackson and his army left the Valley road at Harrisonburg and marched to Swift Run Gap--a gap in the Blue Ridge mountains. It was tho't here at the time that Jackson was on his way to Gordonsville. The enemy were in full force near Harrisonburg, and there was not a soldier between this place and that to offer any resistance to their march to this place. Because we did not go solitary and alone to drive back the whole Yankee army, or else surround them and take them all prisoners, he thinks it extremely and strangely inconsistent in us now to recommend organization for the purpose of meeting plundering parties of the enemy if they should make their appearance in this section of the State. As we said last week, he seems to think that we possess in our single person the military prowess of Achilles multiplied ten thousand fold, which is rather more than we really possess. If he had been half as good a soldier as he gives us credit for, the "enemy would never have marched triumphantly up the Valley, driving Stonewall Jackson and his veterans before them." Upon his principle, it would be impossible to establish any organization for Home defence in this county, as none could join consistently save those who marched to meet the enemy at the time to which he refers, and as none did so, none could join such an organization.

2. The enemy did not occupy Lewisburg when we went there, on the contrary it was held by a considerable Confederate force under the command of Brig. Gen. Harry Heth, and the enemy were not in any force, nearer than the Kanawha Valley.

3. We noticed last week the absurdity of the charge that a man who was within the lines of the enemy where the conscript act is of non effect could be "forced back by the conscription act" into the Confederate lines where alone that act could effect him in the slightest degree. The man who leaves the lines of the enemy to enter the Confederate lines, shows, by that act, that the "conscription act" has no terrors for him.

4. The fear of the "confiscation of our property as an alien enemy" never entered into our head, and we suppose such an idea never entered the head of any other rational man. How the wildest imagination could make an alien of a man who is a "native and to the manor born," and who has lived all his life within the State of his birth, and has never been off the soil of his native State longer than three weeks, (and that was years before the war) we are at a loss to conceive. We have never gone into the lines of the enemy, though we were for some time within them. The lines of the enemy were thrown around us by the retreat of our forces and the advance of the enemy. The position of "A Soldier" would make alien enemies of every one embraced within the lines of the enemy. Every soldier captured would be an alien enemy. Of the manner in which we confronted the enemy in the midst of trial when the patriotism and moral courage of every citizen were put to the test, it is not for us to speak--we leave that for those who were witnesses of it. We will only say that there is no part of our life upon which we reflect with more pleasure and pride.--We had deliberately resolved to sacrifice, not only property, but life itself, rather than take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. Government, and daily urged upon others the propriety of making the same resolve. And yet "A Soldier" whose moral courage has not been tested, and whose patriotism has not been put into the crucible of trial, talks about us as an alien enemy. Fudge!

5. We would be obliged to him if he would mention the names of any officers, or even the name of a single officer, whom we have "unjustly assailed."--We have never unjustly assailed any officer. This remark of "A Soldier" betrays a great deal more than he designed, for it furnishes the key not only to the motives which prompted his unprovoked charges against us, but also to the authorship. When we called upon the author to announce his name, it was not because we felt at any loss to know it, but because we desired to have the privilege of exposing him publicly by name. His name obtained in any other way, we would not feel authorized to use in that manner.

The remarks we made about the "Officer" to whom he refers, were based upon the statement of the "Vindicator," edited by his friend and relative. The conduct of which we expressed our disapprobation, that "officer" has not even attempted to justify. If his super serviceable friends and relatives desire to "keep before the people" his conduct in that matter, we are too accommodating to decline to gratify them.

6. It will be observed that he boasts his citizenship of another State, and claims great credit for defending our home. The spirit of his communication would indicate that it would afford him more pleasure to destroy anything we have, even our character, more precious to us than anything else, than to defend it. He, a Virginian by birth, now boasts his citizenship of another State, and, yet, has the effrontery to speak of such as have clung to the State of their nativity as alien enemies. We do not doubt his patriotic motives in leaving the country of his birth, for we think he "left his country for his country's good."

We have thus noticed as briefly as we well could all the propositions contained in the communication of our anonymous assailant, and it is for the public to decide whether or not we have answered fairly, candidly and satisfactorily. We abide with confidence the decision of a fair, impartial and unprejudiced public.

The only truthful statement which our assailant makes concerning us is, that we did not leave "from fear of the enemy"; for, notwithstanding that most our friends, though they intended themselves to remain, advised us to leave, as we would be sure to be taken prisoner, because we were an editor who had been making war upon the enemy ever since Lincoln had issued his proclamation, and that any copy of our paper would furnish conclusive evidence of our hostility to the United States Government, yet we had determined to remain and run all the risks of capture. What determined us finally to leave was the fact that the proprietors and boarders of the hotel in which we were boarding stampeded and left our wife the only female occupant of the hotel. No one would expect us to leave her there under such circumstances. We resolved to take her to her father's home--the proper place under such circumstances--and to return ourself in a short time to Staunton. We had made our preparations to return, when the withdrawal of our forces, leaving every family liable to be visited by plundering parties of the enemy, made it our duty, as we conceived, to remain, at all hazards of capture or worse treatment, to protect, as far as we could, the family of females who had no other male protector than ourself. In this connection we publish an extract from an editorial article which appeared in the "Spectator" on the 23rd of September, 1862--the first issue published after our return. That extract is as follows:

"After an unavoidable suspension of 5 months we have the pleasure of resuming the publication of the "Spectator." When its publication was suspended, in April last, we expected to resume it in a short time, but were prevented by the fact that our presence was needed to protect a defenceless family of females, within the lines and in the presence of the enemy, against any obtrusion, violence, or insult which the debased soldiery of the enemy might attempt to perpetrate. The official duties in the Confederate service of every male member of the family rendering it impossible for them to be at home, the family would have been without a male protector if we had not remained with them. For the space of three consecutive months they were so situated as to be the victims of alarm almost every day and night. During that time, two fights occurred in the town [Lewisburg] in which they lived--one on the 12th, and the other on the 23rd of May last. The former being when the enemy, by vastly superior numbers, drove off the gallant Greenbrier cavalry company, under the command of Captain B. F. Eakle, which had been left there to protect that place against marauding parties of the enemy, when our forces, under Brigadier General Heth, withdrew from that place to Dublin Depot, to protect the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, and the latter, the battle between the forces of Brig. Gen. Heth, and those of the enemy, under the command of Brig. Gen. Crook, in which the enemy was successful, and consequently retained military possession of the town. After the battle, the enemy were infuriated to such a degree that they acted more like demons than men--they threatened to lay the town in ashes, and it was thought that they would do so."

We know not how others would have acted under similar circumstances, but we know that the motives which influenced us to go to Lewisburg, and the motives which influenced us to stay there as long as we did, at the sacrifice of our business and pecuniary interests, meet the approbation of our own conscience. We knew that in staying we ran great risks, as the probabilities were that we would be taken prisoner, but believing it to be our duty to stay, we were ready to hazard all dangers.--Whilst we believe we are in the line of duty, we never shrink from any danger however great. We regret the necessity of occupying so much of our space with personal matters which should be devoted to a better purpose, but hope our readers will pardon us this time.

Go to the Concert To-night
(Column 5)
Summary: Urges all those who "wish to enjoy a delightful entertainment, and at the same time contribute to a laudable and sacred purpose" to attend the concert at the Augusta Female Seminar. The proceeds of the event will benefit sick and wounded soldiers.
Full Text of Article:

Those who wish to enjoy a delightful entertainment, and at the same time contribute to a laudable and sacred purpose, should not fail to attend the concert at the Augusta Female Seminary to-night, the proceeds of which will be appropriated for the benefit of our sick and wounded soldiers. We feel that our generous and patriotic citizens need no appeal from us to induce them to respond with alacrity to any call having for its object the relief of those noble heroes who have been sacrificing their health and shedding their blood in defence of the freedom and independence of the South. "Dight up" and go to the concert, and if you not be pleased, you may hold us responsible.

Gen. Milroy
(Column 5)
Summary: A caustic indictment of General Milroy and his supposed religious standing.
Origin of Article: Philadelphia Evening Journal
Editorial Comment: "To aggravate the guilt of this human monster we see it positively stated by a Yankee paper (the Philadelphia Evening Journal) that he is a Methodist preacher! The following are the terms in which he is referred to by that paper, in an article enumerating Yankee Generals who have made themselves by their barbarities in this war: "
(Column 5)
Summary: Reports that Vallandigham has left the Confederacy will probably soon appear in Canada. The Spectator believes he may ultimately be elected governor of Ohio.
Volunteer Navy
(Column 5)
Summary: Announces that the Virginia Volunteer Navy Act has been passed and provides the provisions of that act.
Danial Milton Keiser
(Column 5)
Summary: A short article that notes the death of Daniel Milton Keiser, Esq., formerly of Augusta County, as a result of wounds suffered in a cavalry fight.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Daniel Milton KeiserEsq.)
(Column 6)
Summary: Mr. Jno. A. Clayton died of typhoid fever on July 7 at age 30. He was a veteran of the battles of Port Republic and Gaines' Mill and was a member of Rocky Spring Church.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Jno. A. Clayton)
(Column 6)
Summary: Married on June 11. Mr. McCarty is from Hampshire.
(Names in announcement: Rev. R.C. Walker, Mr. P. McCarty, Virginia R. Crawford)
(Column 6)
Summary: Mr. Thomas B. Clayton died on March 1 at age 69 from a lingering illness.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Thomas B. Clayton)
(Column 6)
Summary: Mr. George A. Geeding died on June 10 at age 69. He was a member of the United Brethren Church.
(Names in announcement: Mr. Geo. A. Geeding)
(Column 6)
Summary: Archibald Vance died on May 4 at age 28 years from wounds received in the battle of Chancellorsville.
(Names in announcement: Archibald Vance)
Second Class Militia of the Town of Staunton
(Column 6)
Summary: All Staunton men between the ages of 16 to 55 who have not been conscripted are to be enrolled for service in the 160th Regiment.
(Names in announcement: Acting Comd't P.H. Trout)