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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: August 1, 1866

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-Page 01-

A Conversation with President Johnson
(Column 05)
Summary: The paper reprints an article from the Boston Evening Commercial outlining President Johnson's developing views on Reconstruction. He expresses his faith that more moderate men will be elected to Congress and that the white South will receive better treatment as a result. He expounds upon the future of the Freedmen and the economy, and reaffirms his belief that the South should be allowed easy re-entry into the Union.
Origin of Article: Boston Evening Commercial
Full Text of Article:

A gentleman who had a free conversation with President Johnson, a short time since, informs us that he found him hopeful, in good spirits and unhesitating in the expression of his views. He does not anticipate anything like a Democratic majority in the next House of Representatives, though the number of representatives from that party will doubtless be considerably increased. But he does count confidently on the return of a majority of moderate men, who will be prepared to deal with the people of the South as all honorable and high-minded nations deal with their antagonists after having beaten and disarmed them. And in districts and States where the Republican party fail to nominate such men he thinks Democratic candidates will be likely in a majority of cases to be elected over Radicals.

The President is unhesitatingly of the opinion that the only safety of the nation lies in a generous and expansive plan of conciliation, and the longer this is delayed the more difficult it will be to bring the North and South into harmony. If the suspicious, tyranical policy is too long pursued, the population of the South will become as hostile to the North as the people of Ireland are towards England, adding to this evil of hereditary and growing animosity an ability for revenge a hundred fold greater than Ireland possesses.

In regard to the blacks, the President says they will find work enough, and for many years to come probably better remuneration than any other class of agricultural laborers in the country. The competition of capitalists and land-owners will insure good treatment and good pay from the planters. That there will be much disorder, is to be expected; but there will be no more than they would be at the North were the number of black laborers sufficiently numerous to enter into serious rivalry with the white laborers.

The President is confident that nothing can be safely and permanently done in regard to restoring the currency, diminishing taxation and establishing the prosperity of the country on a sound and enduring basis until representatives from all the States are present in Congress. The idea of legislating for one third of the population of the country, and passing constitutional amendments without allowing them any voice in the matter, or paying any attention to their wishes, is full of danger to the future peace and wellfare of the nation. They cannot be treated as a subjugated people or as vassal colonies without a germ of hatred being introduced, which will some day or other, though the time may be distant, develope mischief of the most serious character.

With regard to the basis of representation, he denounces this as a mere bugbear. It cannot and it will not be permanently settled until all the States are represented, and no increase in the number of representatives in consequence of the emancipation of slaves, can in any event occur until the census of 1870 is taken, until which time, of course, the three-fifths provision is in force under the last census. There is, therefore, ample time to settle this matter between now and 1870, and it is unwise to agitate it until other matters which cannot be delayed were settled.

The President does not admit that he has been inconsistent. He is as much opposed to treason and traitors as he ever was, and for punishing them severely. But there is no treason and no traitors now. The enemy has fully and fairly surrendered and is powerless, and a foe thus situated should be magnanimously treated. A generous and self-reliant warrior always restores his disarmed officer his sword and trusts his parole of honor.

The idea of muzzling the press and tying the tongues of the people of the South, after the manner of the suspicious tyrants and the Holy Inquisition of the Old World, he denounces as absurd. A people should be allowed to grumble who have suffered so much, and they would be unworthy of the name of men if they did not respect the brave officers who have suffered with them, and honor the memory of their gallant dead who sleep on a hundred battle-fields and their homes.--Boston Evening Commercial, July 21.

-Page 02-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that "some of the Tunkers from the Valley who were making their way through the Confederate lines in 1862, and were arrested in Hardy county, have sued parties in that county for damages to the amount of $60,000 or $70,000."
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that "red river papers record two more murders by negroes. An appeal to the commanding general was ineffectual, and the citizens will now call a meeting--neither life nor property being safe."
Solemn Mass for the Confederate Dead
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper reports that a High Mass for the benefit of the souls of the Confederate dead was celebrated in Staunton's Catholic St. Frances Church.
(Names in announcement: Father Joseph Bixio, Louis Ide)
Full Text of Article:

The belief of the Catholic Church, that by our prayers and supplication here on earth we may assist and benefit the souls of our departed friends, has something sublime and beautiful in it. The practice is as old as the Church herself, and according to this belief, on Saturday last, the Rev. Father Joseph Bixio celebrated a solemn High Mass for the benefit of the souls of the Confederate dead, at St. Frances Church, in this place. The church was dressed in deep mourning, the altar, etc., very tastefully hung with black crape. The vestments of the celebrant were the black and white, used on such occasions. The services were very imposing and solemn. We witnessed many a moist eye during the few appropriate and impressive remarks of the Rev. Father.

The Music, a requiem, selected and composed mostly by the leader of the choir, Prof. Louis Ide, was very solemn and touching.

Nothing could be more appropriate than this solemn ceremony, and whatever may have been the peculiar religious views of any present, all united in heartfelt and earnest prayer for those who, in a glorious cause, gave their lives. "C."

Another War
(Column 03)
Summary: Montgomery Blair predicted at a Democratic meeting held at Reading, Pennsylvania, that if the radicals won the fall elections, two Congresses might be established. The radical Congress, intent on impeaching Andrew Johnson, would face a Congress of Democrats and southerners. The result could be a civil war in the North.
Letter from Richmond
(Column 04)
Summary: This letter to the editor praises the Valley Virginian for its "bold, out-spoken, manly defence of the South."
Full Text of Article:

Richmond, July 24, 1866.

MY DEAR MAJOR:--I am the happy recipient of your most valuable paper every week, and the bold, out-spoken, manly defence of the South which characterizes your sheet, has made it to me and my friends, the most welcome visitor we receive. The sprightly and able manner in which the editorial columns of your paper are conducted, would, without its other attractions, recommend it to all as one of the first and most ably conducted papers in the country, and I do not wonder at its popularity in the Valley and other sections of the country.

I have no news of interest to communicate. The hot, hot weather has very materially interfered with everything in the news line, business also. I see by the papers that your city and the surrounding is at this time quite gay. Every one here that can get away, is off for the mountains and springs of Virginia. I will be in your city soon, and will see you
Your Old Friend, C.

The Great Valley Railroad
(Column 04)
Summary: The paper announces a meeting regarding the establishment of the Valley Railroad, and declares it the most important issue facing the people of the Valley.
Full Text of Article:

A meeting to devise more active measures in favor of this great enterprise will be held at August Court. The war in Europe; the jabberings of the Radicals; the success of the Atlantic Cable and all the sensations of the day, are not of half the importance to you, people of Augusta, as the completion of this road. Your duty and your interests alike bid you show a renewed interest in it, and make great present sacrifices to build it. There is one way to accomplish the desired object. Come to the meeting, work together, every man subscribing and doing his part for the benefit of the great end to be accomplished and it can be done. THINK, WORK, ACT, for the results to be developed by carrying out these words are our only present salvation.

[No Title]
(Column 05)
Summary: The paper recounts that a "bright little two year old boy, of Staunton" refused to enter the parlor to see a new portrait of Jefferson Davis because the boy did not have on his clean clothes. The incident showed "instinctively the great respect for our beloved chieftain, even among the children."
The Soldiers' Cemetery
(Column 05)
Summary: The paper reports that work on the Soldiers' Cemetery has stopped due to a shortage of funds. The article gives data on money raised, and appeals for more.
(Names in announcement: B. Hansel)
Full Text of Article:

The ladies desire to acknowledge the receipt of $5 from B. Hansel, Highland county, and $3 additional from concert. There is still some $200 subscribed. There is due the hands $100. For want of funds to pay them, the work has stopped. People of Augusta, the patriotic and self-sacrificing ladies engaged in this noble work-appeal to you to come forward and aid them now. Is the county to be disgraced for the want of the small sum needed to complete the work? Here are the heartless facts--will you act?

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that "most of the mills burned by Sheridan are ready to grind wheat again."
An Original Idea
(Column 01)
Summary: The editors applaud the commencement of work on the streets on the outskirts of town which will "put the business portion in repair rapidly."
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that "a grand Hop, attended by the beauty and fashion of the town, came off at the Virginia Hotel. Monday night a brilliant affair of the same kind came off at the American. We are getting gay."
[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper announces that "the colored people of Harrisonburg have shown their good sense by appealing to the ministers of the various denominations there, for aid in building there Church. The appeal was responded to in a spirit that shows the kind feeling of our people towards them."
"Valley Virginian"
(Column 02)
Summary: This notice from the Shenandoah Herald expresses pleasure that Dr. J. R. Crockwell purchased part of the Valley Virginian. "We are glad to see these friends partners, as they were in the army together. We wish them both 'good luck,' and assure them of our kindly remembrance for past favors."
(Names in announcement: Dr. J. R. Crockwell)
County Court
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper gives the proceedings of the July term of the County Court. Maj. J. B. Watts qualified as Notary Public. W. J. Dews' powers as notary public were revoked. Thomas S. Hogshead qualified as Road Commissioner. Rev. Harrison Switzendanner of the German Reformed Church was authorized to celebrate marriages.
(Names in announcement: Maj. J. B. Watts, W. J. Dews, Thomas S. Hogshead, Rev. Harrison Switzendanner)
The Travel
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper reports that "every day shows an increase of visitors to our mountain retreats, and the trains and stages go out loaded" from Staunton. The resorts had the following number of visitors: All Healing, 85; Rockbridge Alum, 265; Rockbridge Baths, 175; Warm, 40; Hot, 80; Bath Alum, 20. Staunton Hotels had 420 guests last week: 260 at the American and 160 at the Virginia. The White Sulphur had 60 and Stribling's, 37.
(Column 02)
Summary: "Observer," a Spectator Correspondent stayed at the American Hotel and paid the following tribute to Col. Charles T. O'Ferrall: "The distinguished Col. Charles T. O'Ferrall, the Proprietor, is a Prince among hotel keepers, and the same zeal, energy and ability which characterized him as a soldier during the late war, is displayed in the management of perhaps the finest hotel west of the Blue Ridge Mountains."
(Names in announcement: Col. Charles T. O'Ferrall)
A Paper Found
(Column 02)
Summary: A paper was found in the street testifying that a Confederate deserter had taken the oath of allegiance to the U. S. The editors use the opportunity to ridicule those who did so during the war.
Full Text of Article:

Deserters who now swear they never took the oath to the U. S., but glided through the lines in some mysterious manner, should be careful not to leave their papers lying around loose on the streets. Our devil picked up a certificate, dated "New Creek, Va., August 31, 1863," signed by "Geo. A Bragoner, P. M.," which says that "W. H. T., Rockingham county, Va., a deserter from the Rebel Army, has this day appeared and taken the oath of Allegiance to the U. S." By paying Dumb George, our colored devil, the cost of this notice, the party interested, whoever he is, can recover this valuable document. It will be a relick to hand down to future generations, and George will sell it very cheap.

-Page 04-

Our Failure
(Column 01)
Summary: This poem meditates on Confederate defeat.
Full Text of Article:

By the Author of Southrons

Yes, we have failed! That iron word
Drove never home its bolt of fate
More ruthlessly than when it barred
All egress from the prison gate
And left us powerless--in the dark,
A world's reproach--a nation's mark.

Failed? Aye, so grievously that pain
Is put aside in pure amaze
As, at our weary length of chain,
And steel girt path, we stand agaze
With dark distrust of coming days,
And marvel if we be the same
Who lit the christian world to flame.

The same who owned this lovely land
Now lying waste--a tyrant's spoil,
And saw its stately dwellings stand
Mid waving fields of fertile grain
Enriched by swarthy sons of toil,
The princes of a proud estate
Now stricken, sterile, desolate!

The same! Where be our legions now
Where stand our homes so fair and proud?
Where rings each step--where beams each brow,
Of those we loved, our martyred crowd
To home and country nobly vowed,
Of sons and brothers--where the hope
That wreathed our splendid horoscope?

And where the banner, which on high
We flung with all the pride of race
An emblem from our Southern sky
Snatched from its sovereign dwelling place
Our deeds of arms to gild and grace,
The flag our breezes loved to toss--
Our ark of strength, our Southern Cross.

All buried in one common grave,
Are these the glories of the past,
Let the swamp cypress o'er it wave
The bittern sail--the eagle rave,
The simoon sweep--the midnight blast
Make requiem meet; the die is cast.
And we, who counted ill the cost,
Who ventured all, have stacked and lost.

What marvel, then, if in the burst
Of an [unclear] despair.
When fate has seemed to do its worst,
And all proves false that seemed so fair,
Such words as these should mock the air,
And that, mistrusting fate and fame,
We question, "Are we still the same?"

Oh, morbid doubt! Oh, words of wind!
I cast ye forth as little worth,
Forgive them, Omnipresent mind!
Forgive them, brothers, bound on earth,
To one poor heritage of dearth,
And hear conviction's voice proclaim
The potent truth, "We are the same!"

The same who faced the Northern hosts
With dauntless hearts and shining spears;
The same who laughed to scorn their boasts,
And proved the few the many's peers,
And did in days the work of years;
O'erwhelmed--not conquered--overrun,
And desolated, and undone!

Yet still the same, the very same,
Believe it, tremble and believe,
Oh, tyrants, who, with sword and flame,
ADVANCED to slaughter and bereave,
Then STATED to torture and deceive,
And we, who with a faith sublime,
Endure our fate--abide our time!

Beechmoore, June 1, 1866