Search the
Browse Newspapers
by Date
Articles Indexed
by Topic
About the
Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: January 27, 1864

Go To Page : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |

-Page 01-

Description of Page: Entire page consists of reprints of letters from General McClellan to Lincoln during 1861 and 1862 concerning the "objects and purposes" of the war.

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Poetry, fiction and humor

-Page 03-

Description of Page: Agricultural advice and four columns of classified advertisements

-Page 04-

The Negro and the War
(Column 1)
Summary: The editors argue that the gradual emancipation of the slaves by advancing Union armies has hurt the blacks more than it has helped them.
(Names in announcement: Abraham Lincoln, D.L. Jones, Henton Jackson)
Full Text of Article:

Although Mr. Lincoln's emancipation proclamation has been powerless for good within the rebel lines--as idle as "the Pope's bull against the comet"--failing in its weakness to strike the shackles from the limbs of a single slave that could aid the rebellion; yet as our lines have advanced, it has nominally liberated thousands; and as the armies of the Union march on, "conquering and to conquer," it may liberate thousands more. The effect of this proclamation has simply been to free the slaves from their masters, and while it provides no remedy for the evils of slavery, leaves them in filthy camps to die of starvation and disease. Deadened as the sensibilities of the whole nation have become to scenes of suffering and distress, the tales of horror which come up to us from the camps of freed negroes along the Mississippi cannot fail to enlist our sympathies. The poor blacks, left to the tender mercies of their pretended friends, are dying daily by fifties and hundreds; and unless something be done to better their condition, the whole race must soon be blotted out, and this war, which has been perverted from its orignal [sic] purpose to aid in their enfranchisement, may result in their total extinction. A recent report made by Mr. Yeatman, president of the Western Sanitary Commission, portrays the horrors of the contraband camps along the Mississippi in such fitting terms that we will transfer a few paragraphs to our columns. He says:

"At Young's Point, D. L. Jones, of the 9th Louisiana Regiment, African descent, is in charge of the camp. There are now some 2,100 in this camp, in miserable huts, tents and hovels. There appears to be more squalid misery and destitution here than in any place I have visited. The sickness and deaths were most frightful. During the summer, from thirty to fifty died in a day, and some days as many as seventy-five during the latter part of June, July and August.

"At DeSoto, immediately opposite Vicksburg, there are about 275 old men, women and children, to whom the Government furnishes rations, but from some cause or other none had been received for more than two weeks preceding my visit, and great destitution and dissatisfaction existed.

"At Natchez is a camp of 2,100 freedmen, all in cabins, which are without proper light and ventilation, overcrowded, and most prolific sources of disease. Seventy-five had died in one day. I was informed that some had returned to their masters on account of suffering. Physicians are greatly needed.

"This camp had numbered four thousand at one time, now it is reduced to 2,100--a sad tale to tell, but nevertheless true. The same I doubt not can be said of other camps. Whoever will ride along the levee from Milliken's Bend to De Soto, as I did, and see the numerous graves along the way, for the distance of twenty-five miles, cannot doubt it."

This is the glorious jubilee of freedom to which Mr. Lincoln invites the slaves of the South. It is for such liberty as this he asks them to leave their master's plantations, where they were comfortably housed, clothed and fed; where they were tenderly cared for in helpless youth and feeble old age; where in sickness they received their medicines from the master's store, and gentle nursing from the members of his household. Aye, let our canting philanthropists talk to them of the blessings of liberty--let them go and tell these starving contrabands what an inestimable privilege it is to be a free man--and they will reply "Give us bread for ourselves and our hungry wives and little ones; give us houses to shelter our shivering limbs from the rains and snows of winter; give us medicine that we may not die like dumb cattle, and you may take back your boasted liberty!" What are the blessings of liberty, which we hear so much about, to suffering, starving, dying men? What does it profit to tell a man he is free, and deprive him of his bread?

This pretended philanthropy is as insincere as it is ruinous. The very men who have advised and sanctioned this emancipation proclamation, who have cried out the loudest against the poor compensation given to slave labor and the evil treatment of slaves by their masters, are the ones who are to-day profiting by the labor of the liberated slaves, who defraud them out of their earnings, who subject them to a sorer bondage than they have ever before experienced. In confirmation of this statement we again refer to the report of Mr. Yeatman:

The firemen on the steamboat on which I was a passenger from St. Louis to Memphis were all colored, and were receiving forty-five dollars per month. These men were afraid to go ashore at Memphis, for fear of being picked up and forced into Government, employment at less than one fourth their existing wages. Beside the fact that men are thus pressed into service, thousands have been employed for weeks and months who never received anything but promises to pay.

This negligence and failure to comply with obligations have greatly disheartened he poor slave, who comes forth at the call of the President, and supports himself a free man, and that by leaving his rebel master he is inflicting a blow on the enemy, ceasing to labor and to provide food for him and for the armies of the Rebellion. Thus he was promised freedom, but how is it with him? He is seized in the street, and ordered to go and help unload a steamboat for which he will be paid, or sent to work in the trenches, or to labor for some Quartermaster, or to chop wood for the Government. He labors for months, and at last is only paid with promises, unless perchance it may be with kicks, cuffs and curses. Under such treatment he feels that he has exchanged one master for many masters; these continued abuses sadden and depress him, and he sighs to return to his former home and master. He, at least, fed, clothed and sheltered him.

"One of the freedmen, Henson Jackson, working at Wilton's plantation, said that they get corn wherever they can find it on abandoned plantations: that they frequently have to go as far as Tensas Bayou, that he has been without bread for days, that four pounds of meat per week are all that is allowed him, that he pays for his flour, and has worked since April without receiving any pay or clothing whatever, that he only receives tickets for actual days work, to be paid when the crop is sold. Others from the same farm testified to the same thing and laborers from other plantations give similar testimony. None received molasses, rice, or beans, and hominy only when they choose to make it themselves.

"The poor negroes are everywhere greatly depressed at their condition. They all testify that if they were only paid their little wages as they earn them, so that they could purchase clothing, and were furnished with the provisions promised, they could stand it; but to work and get poorly paid, poorly fed, and not doctored when sick, is more than they can endure. They do not realize that they are free men. They say they are told they are, but then they are taken and hired out to men who treat them, so far as providing for them is concerned, far worse than their "secesh" masters did. Besides this they feel that their pay or hire is lower now than it was when "the secesh" used to hire them. This is true."

This accounts for the canting hypocrisy of these abolition fanatics. They wanted to reap some benefit from the labor of the negroes of the South, and hence their pretended friendship. Their grasping cupidity denies to the slave even the wages his old master gave him. True is it that he has but exchanged one master for many masters; and no wonder is it, that he sighs for his former home and master, who at least, fed, clothed and sheltered him. Says Mr. Yeatman, "They do not realize that they are free men. They say they are told they are, but then they are taken and hired out to men who treat them worse than their 'secesh' masters did!" This is "the great moral idea" which we are told is being worked out under the Providence of a God of Justice! This is the spirit of freedom and equality which breathes through our institutions, and animates the charter of our liberties, and finds its warrant in the Gospel! Isn't the idea a grand and ennobling one?

There is another feature of this negro question which is every day becoming of vaster importance. We are placing arms in the hands of hundreds of thousands of fierce and untutored slaves. Is it expected that when the war is over they will quietly lay down those arms? They will be acquainted with army drill and tactics, they will have learned the modes of organizing armies and conducting campaigns. Will they not strike a blow for this "liberty and equality," of which they have heard so much, but which they have never realized? After England had armed the Sepoys of India, they rose against the dominant race and deluged the land in blood. How was it when the subject race in St. Domingo had arms in their hands? May we not have similar scenes enacted within the United States? Let every man put the case to his own heart, and suppose that he belonged to this negro army of three hundred thousand. Would he be content to lay down his arms until negro equality was acknowled [sic] in its fullest and freest terms? Would he now contend that he had been wronged by the very men who professed to be his friends, and would he not strike to avenge that wrong? When we look at this question, we cannot resist the thought that the darkest and bloodiest chapter in the history of America is yet to be written.

But we are told the negroes are to be colonized. We must remember, however, that the consent of the negro himself must be obtained to this scheme, and probably he will prefer to live in the United States. He will have the power, backed by an army of three hundred thousand of his own race, and he will use it. After this war is over, the negro will live just where he pleases. But suppose this should not be the case, colonization has proved a miserable failure. The President and the Secretary of State tried the experiment, during the last year. A colony was sent to the Isle De Vache, we believe one of the West Indies, and news has already been brought back that it is on the verge of ruin. An agent of the government has returned and reports the colonists well nigh starved to death, and unless the government sends a steamer to return them to the United States very soon, not one of them will be left alive. The island is fertile, the climate genial, the colonists were well equipped with all the necessaries of life and labor; but ignorant, thriftless and improvident, they have sunk beneath the weight of their own independence. Thus ends the first experiment of establishing a grand African Utopia. Truly may we say, in view of these facts, that the Abolitionists have wrought out for the negro nothing but evil and that continually.

Our Washington Letter
(Column 5)
Summary: A correspondent in Washington, D.C. writes the editors to describe the latest congressional events. He relates a dispute between Senators Wilson and Davis over the resolution of the former to expel the latter from the Senate for alleged disloyal language. He also notes that there are a large number of destitute women in Washington who have come to tend to the sick or claim the dead, but who cannot get home again and must turn to "starvation or dishonor." He hopes that the government, which is supporting "hundreds of lazy contrabands," can do something about the situation. He reports that the Republicans are seeking to revive the Committee on the Conduct of the war, no doubt anticipating, says the writer, further meddling by civilians in military affairs. Finally he reports that the conscription bill has been amended to make the price of commutation $400.
Trailer: Conococheague
From the Army of the Potomac
(Column 6)
Summary: A letter from a correspondent in the 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry, stationed near Warrenton, Virginia. The writer spends most of his time complaining about the number of officers who have been allowed to go on furlough, while privates have been cut off from any more furloughs.
Trailer: Nonpareil

-Page 05-

Court Proceedings
(Column 1)
Summary: A list of cases disposed of during the first week of the January Session of the Courts of Franklin County. Since Judge Nill was concerned in most of the cases for the second week, and no judges could be found to take his place, all those cases were continued and court was adjourned.
[No Title]
(Column 2)
Summary: Major General D. N. Couch, commander of the Department of the Susquehanna, notifies the residents of the area that Major General Hancock, Commander of the 2nd Army Corps, will be coming to Pennsylvania in the hope of recruiting 50,000 men to his corps. Couch praised Hancock's leadership and advised those fit for military duty to take advantage of the opportunity.
Trailer: Major General D. N. Couch
Arrest of a Provost Marshal
(Column 2)
Summary: The editors reprint a notice of the arrest in Baltimore of Col. Fish of the Connecticut Cavalry, until recently the Provost Marshal of Baltimore, on charges of corruption. The editors applaud the move, noting that Fish had accused the Valley Spirit of disloyalty. They wonder if Schenck or Ashmead are "next on the list."
(Names in announcement: Lieut. Ashmead)
Episcopal Notice
(Column 2)
Summary: Right Rev. W. B. Stevens, D. D., Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania, will preach in Chambersburg at the Masonic Hall next Sunday evening.
(Column 4)
Summary: Samuel Bohn and Sarah C. McKew, both of Fayetteville, were married on January 21.
(Names in announcement: Rev. William McElroy, Samuel Bohn, Sarah C. McKew)
(Column 4)
Summary: William B. Monn of the vicinity of Greenvillage married Charlotte M. Brandt (daughter of Christian Brandt) of Chambersburg on January 21 at the residence of her father.
(Names in announcement: Rev. James M. Bishop, William B. Monn, Charlotte M. Brandt, Christian Brandt)
(Column 4)
Summary: Austin McHale and Agnes Reilly, both of Chambersburg, were married on December 27 in Christ's Church, Chambersburg.
(Names in announcement: Rev. B. McCollum, Austin McHale, Agnes Reilly)
(Column 4)
Summary: David Meyers of Little Cove, Franklin County, married Ann Maria Shuman of Dublin Township, Fulton County, at the German Reformed Parsonage in McConnelsburg on January 23.
(Names in announcement: Rev. C. F. Hoffmeier, David Meyers, Ann Maria Shuman)
(Column 4)
Summary: Benjamin Atleman and Mary Kuhns, both of Lurgan Township, were married on January 23 at the home of the bride's parents.
(Names in announcement: William H. BlairEsq., Benjamin Atleman, Mary Kuhns)
(Column 4)
Summary: John W. Gillan of St. Thomas Township married Maria E. Reamer of the vicinity of St. Thomas on January 21.
(Names in announcement: Rev. S. McHenry, John W. Gillan, Maria E. Reamer)
(Column 4)
Summary: John Pickle of Harrisburg and Agnes Cook of Chambersburg were married on January 12 at the residence of the bride's mother. The editors note that a "large and delicious sponge cake" accompanied the notice to the offices of the paper.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Bernard McCollum, John Pickle, Agnes Cook)
(Column 4)
Summary: Robert Love died on January 5 near Dry Run, aged 69 years.
(Names in announcement: Robert Love)
(Column 4)
Summary: John Skinner died on January 12 near Dry Run, aged 49 years, 3 months and 23 days.
(Names in announcement: John Skinner)
(Column 4)
Summary: John Kegerries, son of the late Amos Kegerries (late of Fannettsburg), died at the home of his late grandfather, John Skinner, near Dry Run on January 18, aged 9 years and 8 months.
(Names in announcement: John Kegerreis, Amos Kegerreis, John Skinner)
(Column 4)
Summary: Mrs. Mary Ann McPherren died on January 13th near Funkstown, aged 46 years, 5 months and 6 days.
(Names in announcement: Mrs. Mary Ann McPherren)
(Column 4)
Summary: John Morris of Hunderdon County, New Jersey, died on January 14 in Fayetteville, aged 36 years and 3 days.
(Names in announcement: John Morris)
(Column 4)
Summary: Michael Stoner died on January 13 near Shady Grove, aged 60 years, 6 months and 27 days.
(Names in announcement: Michael Stoner)
(Column 4)
Summary: Adam Dessum died on January 13 in Guilford Township, aged 4 years, 9 months and 3 days.
(Names in announcement: Adam Dessum)
(Column 4)
Summary: Mrs. Elizabeth Fleshour died on the ["54th" is printed; actual date unknown] of January in Hamilton Township, aged about 70 years.
(Names in announcement: Mrs. Elizabeth Fleshour)
(Column 4)
Summary: Jacob Myers of Marion asks for any information concerning George W. Miller, a citizen of Guilford Township who has been confined for several months in the Pennsylvania Lunatic Asylum at Harrisburg, and who escaped about six weeks ago.
(Names in announcement: George W. Miller, Jacob Myers)

-Page 06-

Description of Page: Classified advertisements

-Page 07-

Description of Page: Humor and five columns of classified advertisements

-Page 08-

Description of Page: Continuation of letters from McClellan to Lincoln from page 1; four columns of classified advertisements