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Valley of the Shadow

Staunton Spectator: September 29, 1863

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-Page 01-

General Assembly
(Column 5, 6, 7)
Summary: Details a series of actions taken by the Virginia Legislature, including War Resolutions, Resolutions of Inquiry, Joint Resolutions, and Bills read and passed. These included measures to prevent the issuance of small notes; a resolution to inquire into the expediency of prohibiting speculators from purchasing real estate; authorization of a sale of free black convicts in the penitentiary; an act prohibiting citizens from going within the enemy boundaries with intent to return again; a measure to require all justices of the peace and constables to report to the nearest military post all deserters, or military absentees; an act re-organizing the militia; a resolution on "Stonewall Jackson;" an inquiry as to the best means of encouraging the production and manufacture of powder and lead; and a resolution inquiring of the expediency of reporting a bill fixing the prices of prime necessities.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Miscellaneous advertisements and announcements, columns 6-7

Bragg's Victory Over Rosecrans
(Column 1)
Summary: After mentioning the fact that a major battle had been fought and won on the Chickamauga River, in the northern part of Georgia, the article reprints a series of dispatches from General Braxton Bragg detailing the particulars.
From Lee's Army
(Column 2)
Summary: In addition to noting the occurrence of a series of skirmishes between Gen. Lee and Gen. Meade, the article reports that there are indications the Northern forces are planning an attack along the Rapidan River.
A Daring Act
(Column 2)
Summary: An account of a raid by a small group of C.S.A. scouts, members of the Black horse Cavalry, Fourth Virginia Regiment, upon a "Yankee" brigade headquarters that resulted in the capture of a United States flag. The flag was later presented to the Confederate War Department by Private Smith.
(Names in announcement: Private Pat Channing Smith, Private Smoot, Private Lewis)
Exchange of Prisoners
(Column 2)
Summary: During a recent meeting between Col. Ould, the Confederate commissioner for the exchange of prisoners, and his Northern counterpart Col. Meridith, Col. Ould put forth a number of recommendations for expediting the release of officers and men of both sides. While Col. Meridith seemed receptive to these recommendations, he needed to refer the particulars to his government for official approval.
Home Defense
(Column 2)
Summary: A report on the organization of companies for home defense at the New Hope, West View, and Mt. Solon districts, including, where available, the names of the officers elected.
(Names in announcement: Capt. S. B. Finley, 1st Lieutenant H. H. Robertson, 2nd Lieutenant Jas. W. Patrick, Capt. Rev. T. L. Preston, 1st Lieutenant C. C. Francisco, 2nd Lieutenant G. W. Swoope)
Socks For The Soldiers
(Column 2)
Summary: Members of the Soldiers Aid Societies are notified that there is a large quantity of yarn available at the manufactory to be made into socks for the soldiers.
Good News If True
(Column 2)
Summary: According to the private correspondence between Mrs. Maury and her husband, Lieut. Maury of the Confederate Navy, there are three iron clads currently at the Nassau port and four more are anticipated at any time.
Origin of Article: The Columbus Times
[No Title]
(Column 3)
Summary: A short filler piece that alleges the Northern troops are being supplied with poisonous bullets.
The Power of Endurance
(Column 3)
Summary: Notes that many of those who were most vocal in their call for secession are now the most faint-hearted about carrying on the struggle, while others who were reluctant to take this extreme measure are most committed to seeing the struggle through to the end. The author opines that "[s]uch are some of the lessons of the war."
Full Text of Article:

It is a notable fact that many of the men who were the most zealous advocates of secession are now the least to be relied upon and have been almost,--some of them quite,--brought to the point of grounding arms and making terms with the enemy. This may result in great part from the fact that they did not first count the cost of secession, and were not prepared for the consequences which,--it is not arrogating too much to say,--more sagacious men foresaw. Those who wanted secession, for its own sake, believed that that great result would be accomplished by purely peaceful means; and, once accomplished, the Southern Confederacy would soon attain a rank that would place it amongst the foremost nations of the earth. We do not include in this class those who, from considerations wholly selfish, labored to effect the secession, rather than by compromise and conciliation to perpetuate the Union. They may have had the q to comprehend in part, the nature of the issue they were attempting to force upon the country, but labored nevertheless to deceive the people. And they did deceive them. If the truth can ever be ascertained, we believe that it will appear that both sections were deceived; the North not anticipating the obstinancy [sic] with which the South has fought to make good the act of secession; nor the South expecting such an example of tenacity of purpose as the North has evinced in its war for the Union. We say, therefore, that if both sections had foreseen the terrible struggle that has ensued, the Union would have been preserved by compromise, or a peaceable separation been effected.

The fact that this war has been changed in its character, and objects avowed now which even Lincoln's Congress, directly after the battle of Manassas positively disavowed does not effect the question in the slightest degree. The progress of the war has served to develop the fact that many of the men in the South who were least inclined to dissolve the Union, have now the most decided repugnance to its restoration; whilst many in the North who were originally hostile to the war, and would have condemned the Abolition policy of the Administration, now support both. Such are some of the lessons of the war.--Lynch. Virginian.

The Fight In Madison On Tuesday
(Column 3)
Summary: Based on reports offered by recent arrivals from Gordonsville, it appears that Northern forces have crossed the Rapidan, burned Liberty Mills, and retired back across the Rapidan River.
Outrage By A Yankee Brute Of A Colonel
(Column 3)
Summary: A searing account of an alleged incident in which a Col. Murphy, now stationed near Union Mills, attempted to force himself upon a number of women by threatening them with drawn pistols and threats of death. He was only prevented from carrying out his design by the intercession of others who were drawn to the scene by the cries of the victims.
Public Speaking
(Column 4)
Summary: Details the various resolutions agreed to at a recent meeting of the people of Augusta County. These resolutions were agreed to after two powerful speeches offered by the Hon. Lewis T. Wigfall of Texas and the Hon. Wm. Smith, Governor-elect of Virginia. These resolutions include pledges to send a tenth of their produce to the government, as required by law; to sell their surplus goods at the prices established by the government; to discontinue the sale of goods to speculators and grain to distillers; to discourage deserters and help authorities to apprehend any deserters; to invest in Confederate bonds; and to avoid disillusionment in the war effort.
Full Text of Article:

At a large and enthusiastic meeting of the people of Augusta county, held on Monday, 28th September, 1863 (being Court day,) on motion of J. Marshall McCue, Hon. A. H. H. Stuart was appointed Chairman, and A. F. KINNEY, Secretary.

The Chairman, in a brief speech, having explained the object of the meeting, on motion of N. K. TROUT, Thomas J. Michie, Maj. S. L. Lewis, Jacob Baylor, Samuel B. Finley, Wm. P. Tate, J. Marshall McCue, Dr. John McCheeney, A. Koiner and John S. Ellis, were appointed a Committee to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of this meeting.

On motion of J. MARSHALL MCCUE, Thomas J. Michie, Benjamin Crawford and Matthew Podson, were appointed a Committee to wait on the Hon. LEWIS T. WIGFALL, of Texas, and Hon. WM. SMITH, Governor elect of Virginia, and request them to address the meeting, with which they complied in two powerful and patriotic speeches, at the conclusion of which the Committee on resolutions reported he following, which were unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That we, the citizens of Augusta county, will promptly deliver to the Government the tenth of our produce as required by law.

Resolved, That we pledge ourselves to sell to the Government and families of soldiers and other consumers all our surplus products at the prices established by Government, and we further pledge ourselves when any citizen refuses to sell his surplus at Government prices, to report him to the Government Agent that his surplus may be impressed.

Resolved, That we will discountenance the sale of anything to speculators and will not, under any circumstance, sell our surplus grain to distillers.

Resolved, That we will discourage in every way we can the desertion of our soldiers and extend all the facilities in our power, to the authorities on their speedy arrest and restitution to their commands.

Resolved, That the people of Augusta co. have perfect confidence in the ability and determination of our government and people to pay the debt of the Confederacy, whatever it may be, incurred in the holy cause of Liberty and Independence, and they will, therefore, invest all they can and induce others to invest in the purchase of Confederate bonds from the government.

Resolved, That we hail with pleasure the brightening prospect before us of our ability to defend ourselves and that we appeal to our people to let no momentary reverse chill their patriotism, but do all in their power to encourage our Government in prosecuting the war.

Resolved, That we feel our indebtedness to the invaluable and we have derived from our mothers, wives and daughters during the war, and we have a guarantee for the future in their indomitable zeal, by a retrospect of the past and hereby extend to them our cordial thanks for gracing this meeting with their presence.

Resolved, That we most cheerfully accord to the distinguished gentlemen who have so ably and eloquently addressed us to day, our cordial thanks, and urge them to go forward in the good work they are so ably sustaining.

Resolved, That a Committee of _____ be appointed to circulate these resolutions in the several Magisterial Districts of this county, and obtain to them the signatures of the people.

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting by published in the papers of this place, and the city of Richmond.

On motion of S. B. Finley, the meeting adjourned sine die



To The Valley And Its Ladies
(Column 4)
Summary: In a letter dated September 17, 1863, a correspondent only identified as J. G. R., Capt. P.A.C.S., offers a flowery tribute to the patriotism and sacrifice exemplified by the women of the Shenandoah Valley during the current conflict. He also calls upon women both to use their influence on backsliders and to bolster the spirit of the populace in the continuation of the war effort.
Full Text of Article:

Augusta Co., Va.,
September 17th, 1863

If there is one section of country more deserving than any other of the grateful respect of the Southern soldier, or more endeared to him by the remembrance of the kindness and hospitality which he has received at the hands of its people, that section is the VALLEY OF VIRGINIA.--Though it has frequently been overrun by a merciless foe, its pleasant villages sacked and robbed of all their wealth and grandeur, its fields laid waste, its beautiful residence demolished, and its families driven away from their homes--exiled by the hand of tyranny and oppression--yet it has NEVER failed in its kindness to the poor, sick, wounded or hungry soldier. Though its plains have been drenched in fraternal blood, and its vales "made" to re-echo the sound of the thundering cannon--though its brave, noble and patriotic sons have bled and died in the defence of their liberties, their homes, their wives and children, their friends and sweet-hearts, yet it has never faltered, never SHRUNK from the duty and obligations it owed to the Commonwealth and to the Confederacy.

I would not cast the slightest shade of disrespect or dishonor upon any portion of this glorious old State, the Mother of States and Statesmen. Neither would I detract from the honor of the LADIES of any portion of this State. Their generosity and kindness towards our soldiers have never been surpassed by any people. Their conduct has rendered them worthy of being called the daughters of the "OLD DOMINION," and should command for them the respect of every enlightened nation.

But yet, with all due deference to the feelings of the "fair sex" in other sections of Virginia, I must confess that in no part of the State have I ever seen soldiers treated with the same kindness and attention that they have been in the Valley. I am proud to say (though I am not from the Valley myself, being an exile from the Northwest) that I have never seen a soldier turned from the door of any residence without his wants having been supplied and his sufferings administered to. And, in regard to myself, I have never been treated with the slightest degree of disrespect in all of my travelings through this beautiful and fertile section of country--this EDEN of Virginia. But, on the contrary, have frequently been invited to their homes, to "remember that I would always be welcome to share their hospitality, and should I ever be weary, sick or wounded, they would take care of me, &c." Cold must be the heart of him who could speak of such a people with levity; and false to his country and to the cause of humanity must he be who could remain at home and "see them overrun by a set of Yankee vandals and cut-throats. Such a man is unworthy the name of a VIRGINIAN, or the attention of her ladies. He should not be allowed to associate with them unless he is willing to shoulder his gun and aid in dealing our enemies a blow that would hurl them back to the granite hills of New England, content to live in peace with a people whom they CANNOT CONQUER, and secure for them a lasting and glorious independence, as a reward for their gladness, hospitality and patrollers.

How many a sick soldier have the ladies of the Valley taken to their homes, and cared for them and nursed them as kindly as if they had been a brother. After the hard fought battles of Winchester, Port Republic, Sharpsburg; and, more recently of Gettysburg, how many a wounded man has had his wounds dressed by the tender hand of some fair lady--perhaps the one who is to become his future companion through life. Her kind attentions, gentle caresses, and words of sympathy soothed his pain, and caused him for a while to forget his sufferings.

Ladies:--There are a certain class of men in Virginia, remaining at home, who look upon the progress of this war with careless indifference--they have folded their arms and said, "Let the Confederacy slide." Can you not reclaim them? Let me ask you to wield your influence, which is powerful, over them; and, by your winning smiles, earnest solicitations, and patriotism, and send them forth to assist in gaining our liberties--the sweetest FOOD of life. Your patriotism, so far, has no parallel in history, and we feel confident that you will not be found wanting in this instance.

As I am leaving the Department of the Valley, I bid you an adieu, hoping that the tread of the invading foe may never again disturb your midnight dreaming, that your freedom may soon be achieved, and that the sun of INDEPENDENCE may never again cease to shine upon your happy homes.

Very respectfully, &c.,
J. G. R., Capt. P. A. C. S.

For The Spectator
(Column 5)
Summary: In a learned discussion of the recent apparition noted in the last issue of the Spectator, the correspondent, recorded only as "K," lists a number of historical precedents for the phenomenon described.
Full Text of Article:

Mr. Editor:--The very remarkable phenomenon noticed in your last noticed in your last issue, seems to have attracted some attention, and the pains taken by your correspondent to substantiate the credibility of the witnesses to the fact, fully attests the infrequency of such phenomenons. Light, in very many of its manifestations, is often guilty of leading people into mysterious surmisings about the will of Providence and the interpretations to be put upon what are, in truth, very strange and uncommon appearances, but, at the same time, the results of physical natural laws. Nevertheless, Providence works by means, and whether we regard the cotton bales seen drifting North as representing the trade in that staple northward after we gain our independence, and the serial army moving in the same direction en deshabille, as the Yankees retreating from the sunny South in a "double quick" bequeathing their unmentionables to the sable contrabands on the wayside, who show their ivories and hop into the blue breeches, is of little importance. Such things are somewhat like certain passages in scripture which we can interpret according to our own creed. No doubt, according to Yankee exegesis the cotton bales would represent the first fruits of General Banks' labor system, and the army of images the apotheosis of the saints of abolitionism constituting the army of invasion. But we propose simply to state a few recorded facts to show that similar phenomena have, at various times, been witnessed, and are well attested by competent and credible witnesses. There are two laws by which light is governed, or rather there are two constant manifestations of light under certain peculiar conditions--the term law as applied to nature not being a principle of energy of power, but simply a constant recurrence of the same phenomena under similar conditions.--We say, however, in common patience, that light obeys two laws, the law of refraction and the law of reflection, by either of which it is possible to depict images in the air to an observer who may be placed in a proper position to receive the light. By the refraction of light is meant the bending of a ray of light from its original rectilinear direction, when it is made to pass from one medium into another of different density, as for instance, when it passes from air into glass or water, or vice versa. Many of the ordinary phenomena of nature are due to the operation of this law, as the apparent bending of a stick when plunged obliquely into water, the elevation of the bottom of a clear stream so that it appears of less depth than it is in reality, the apparent steepness of a hill as we approach it, and the undulatory surface sometimes given to a level plane when viewed through a common window pane. But the different strata of the atmosphere also constitute media of different density, and a ray of light passing through it from above toward the earth in an oblique direction from any object will, from the manner in which it is refracted, cause the object to appear at a greater altitude above the horizon than its real position. Thus objects on the earth's surface under peculiar conditions of the atmosphere in certain localities by which its refractive power is highly increased, might apparently be elevated to positions much above their real positions in nature. We have said that an image in the air might be produced under the laws of refraction. The refracting telescope is constructed with direct reference to this principle, the observer viewing the image of the celestial body formed by the rays of light form the body being made to converge and cross each other by means of the refracting power of a double convex lens. It is probable, however, that any very striking phenomena, as that recently witnessed in the mountains, are not generally produced by the principle of refraction alone, though, as we have said above, it is not impossible under certain conditions of the atmosphere, which may be supposed to exist. But recurring to the law of reflection, images are produced, first, by plane mirrors at a distance as far behind the mirror as the object is in front, and secondly, by concave mirrors in front of the mirror in the air, when the object is at a greater distance from it than the principal focus. It may be thought improbable that a medium so transparent as the atmosphere, under ordinary circumstances, would, under any circumstances, constitute a mirror for the reflection of natural objects. But glass is also very transparent, and yet we often see the image of a candle or a fire, or of a scene in nature by simply looking at a window-pane. Water is also translucent, but all the beauties of the rainbow are produced by the reflection of light from the [sic] surface of the rain-drop. In fact, there is a strong indisposition in light to pass from a dense into a rare medium, being very liable to be reflected from the inner surface of the denser medium. Thus, a ray of light will not pass out of glass into air if the angle of incidence exceed about 40 degrees, nor out of glass into water if it exceed 50 degrees.--It is not improbable, therefore, that under peculiar conditions of the atmosphere at certain times it may be made to constitute a mirror for the reflection of the light proceeding from objects on the Earth's surface, and the rays of light thus reflected downward from above would undergo a retraction tending to elevate the image of the object from which the light emanated. Should the atmosphere constitute a plain mirror, the images would be at a greater distance than if its peculiar conformation constituted a concave mirror. In the latter case, the image would lie between the observer and the atmospheric region rendering it, and would be visible only to observers in the particular locality, into which the reflected rays, after crossing each other, diverge. It is evident that such mirrors from their was of perfection and symmetry of form might produce both a multiplication and distortion in the images of objects and perhaps, also, if the mirror condition of the atmosphere be supposed to move, motion of the whole scene. It will be observed that what is here written is based on the hypothesis that, in the particular phenomenon to which we allude, the images produced had a real objective counterpart in nature, though the distance to anybody of troops may have been very considerable. The following remarkable cases of like character to the phenomenon in question, which are well authenticated, will serve not only to show the capacity of the atmosphere for rendering images, but also the fact of the great distance at which the objects producing the images may be from the observer.

1st. On July 26th, 1797, about 5 P. M., at Hastings, on the south coast of England, a large portion of the coast of France appeared to a number of observers so distinctly that sailors who were spectators of the scene pointed out to the narrator and witness of the phenomenon a number of places easily recognized with the naked eye, but further increased in distinctness by the use of the telescope. Places known as the Bay, the Old Head, and Dover Cliffs, even the French fishing boats, and portions of the French coast at a distance of from 80 to 90 miles, all appearing as near as if they were sailing at a small distance from the coast.

2d. In the Highlands of Scotland in 1774, Mr. Wren and others observed upon a extremely precipitous hills, the figure of a man, with a dog pursuing several horses, all running at a most rapid rate until they finally disappeared, all of which proved to be a mere scene similar to others of the kind. Some time afterward, in the same locality as observed by the inhabitants for miles around, there was seen a troop of horsemen advancing in close ranks and at a brisk pace. The various evolutions through which the troops passed, were distinctly visible and observed by all. These appearances wee supposed to be the images of a body of rebels drilling themselves previous to the rebellion of 1745.

3d. The "Spectre of the Brocken" in the Hartz Mountains in Germany, which is of frequent occurrence, representing oftentimes a magnified image of the observer, and obeying all of his motions, is too well known to allude to more definitely.

4th. On Sunday the 17th December, 1826, the clergy in the vicinity of Poictiers in France were engaged in the exercises of the Jubilee which preceded the festival of Christmas. Three thousand spectators wee present. They had planted, as part of the ceremony, a large cross 25 feet high and painted red, in the open air before the church. About 5 in the afternoon, a similar celestial cross suddenly, appeared in the heavens about 200 feet above the horizon and apparently about 140 feet in length, of a bright silver color tinged with red.

The causes of certain phenomena, similar to those above mentioned, have been illustrated in an interesting manner by the experiments of Dr. Wollaston upon different refracting media.

To the Ladies of Staunton
(Column 6)
Summary: A poem to the ladies of Staunton that urges them to visit soldiers in the hospital and shore up their faith in God and country.
Trailer: Wilfred, American Hospital, Sept. 14, 1863
(Column 6)
Summary: Mr. John W. Bare married Miss Lizzie M. Cease, both from Staunton, on September 10 at the residence of the bride's mother.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Mr. Dice, Mr. John W. Bare, Miss Lizzie M. Cease)
(Column 6)
Summary: Lieut. Bert (7th Regt. S. C. Volunteers) of the Abbeville District of South Carolina married Miss Bettie J. Baskin of Staunton on September 7.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Mr. Campbell, Lieut. Jas. S. G. Bert, Miss Bettie J. Baskin)