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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: December 28, 1866

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[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The Valley Virginian uses its Christmas message to reflect on the current political situation and the destruction wrought by the war. The editors argue that Christmas cannot be "Merry" in such times, but that Virginians should be thankful for what they have and look forward to the future with hope.
Full Text of Article:

We would that the Valley Virginian could truly send forth such a greeting to its [section unclear]. But, as we sit down to write the usual greeting, a picture comes up before us that saddens our heart and makes us feel anything but "merry."

It is useless to whine and cry over the past; in the midst of the stern and solemn present, idle regrets and repinings are vain. We speak now of our own loved Southern people and their situation. We could paint a word picture of this season, as it was years ago, that would move the sternest heart to mirth and jollity. We could tell of the good old times of the past; of generous and open handed hospitality, dispensed by whole souled and generous Virginia gentlemen; of the good cheer that crowned their boards; of dancing, of music, of egg-nogs, &c., and of how, "all went merry as a marriage bell." How every boy fired his "crackers," how the boys, (alas! how many 'sleep the sleep that knows no waking') courted the girls, how young folks were married and how we were all rich, proud and happy.

But the Christmas of 1866 brings up no such pictures. It comes to us trooping with memories of a glorious past, but the glowing thoughts and recollections, of other days, are clouded over by the thought that many who made it so are now no more. The bitter winds, which whistle around remind us that the widow, the orphan and the maimed of a ruthless and cruel war, may be unprotected from the storm; unfed, uncared for and desolate in this very "Merry Christmas." In looking back over the past we see the remains of a gallant and glorious people, a people who lost all but honor in defence of the right--left to the tender mercies of the most brutal mob that ever claimed to exercise power, under the forms of law. The bright visions of a restored Republic; the fond hopes of peace; the sacred pledges of a government that boasts it is the "best the world ever saw," have been dissipated by the action of the present Congress and we enter upon the new year, not knowing what a day or an hour may bring forth. Civil law is overrun by the strong arm of military power and Sovereign States whose master minds gave form and substance to Constitutional Government in its infancy, are threatened with being "territorialized." The North, rioting in financial wealth and prosperity full of "pride, vain glory and hypocrisy," seems bent on destroying the South and deigns not to ask a "Good lord to deliver them." Theirs may be, in appearance, a "Merry Christmas" but surely ours is not.

Though this is a gloomy picture, we have much to be thankful for. We can at least eat our humble fare and feel conscious that honest labor has rewarded us with enough to supply our daily necessities. We can greet each other as men who have "suffered and grown strong" together; we can look the world boldly in the face and proudly point to the results of a year's labor, under circumstances such as never opposed a people before. If our fare is not so rich, or our servants so plenty, still we have enough and some to spare, and we can look forward with cheerful hearts to the prospect of a bountiful harvest and a merrier Christmas in 1867. And while we can't say "merry Christmas," the Valley Virginian sends forth its best wishes to one and all of its readers, and it bids them to be of good heart, for the "darkest hour lies just before the dawn."

(Column 02)
Summary: This article argues that Radical Republicans in Congress deliberately foment sectional discord in order to blame the South and justify harsher treatment.
Full Text of Article:

The Gazette truly says "The Radicals at the North say and do everything they can to keep up sectional strife, and to excite the feelings of the Southern people, and then blame our people for the state of public opinion which they themselves purposely and with malice pretense create. They seek to annoy, injure, irritate, and oppress, and then cry out against those who show a natural resentment against such wrongs upon defenseless and unrepresented communities? This is unjust and ungenerous. If they so act as to induce want of respect and confidence, can they reasonably expect kind feelings in return? Ought there not, now that war is over, be some reciprocity, to bring out a restoration of harmony?"

[No Title]
(Column 03)
Summary: This article argues that the American Republic is doomed, and resembles Rome before its collapse. War has led to the corruption of the judiciary, congress and the ballot box, as they move toward the establishment of a despotism. Wealth blinds Northerners to their duty. Only the South, made poor through war, retains the virtue to prevent the destruction of the Republic.

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[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: The paper predicts that the "vineyards of the valley will become an important source of wealth to Virginia. The surrounding mountain ranges give them a warm and even climate, which is peculiarly favorable to grape culture."
A Lie
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper denounces Senator Wilson as a liar for asserting that "all through the South the midnight air was lightened by the burning school houses of the freedmen." The editors argue that "we have just finished printing posters and tickets for the colored people's fair, held here, in the Town Hall, this week. The schools are going on undisturbed and the fair is visited by our white people. Now if Senator Wilson is right, how is it that these colored people come to an office, known as 'rebel' to get their printing done! For the proof of this we refer him to the respectable colored people of Staunton."
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper announces that it will give its "soldier-printers" a week off for Christmas. "In the army they were good and true soldiers--in our office they have proved themselves worthy of their record." The paper mentions in particular: Lieut. J. B. Rosenberger (18th Cav), the foreman; N. H. Anderson; George Bagby; Johnny Smith; and Jimmy Pemberton.
(Names in announcement: Lieut. J. B. Rosenberger, N. H. Anderson, George Bagby, Johnny Smith, Jimmy Pemberton)
"Panic in the Valley."
(Column 03)
Summary: The paper takes offence at an article published in the Richmond Times which reports that all mules belonging to the U.S. kept in private hands through theft or taken in as strays will be confiscated by the authorities. The order allegedly caused a "panic" in the Valley as worried owners drove the animals off into the mountains. "This is the first news of this order our people have received, and there is no "panic" here. Who sent the dispatch?" asks the paper.
Letter From Gen. Early
(Column 03)
Summary: Jubal Early responds to the news that the Ladies' Memorial Association of Mt. Jackson has appointed him as an honorary member.
Full Text of Article:

The Ladies' Memorial Association of Mt. Jackson, having elected Gen. Jubal Early an honorary member of that organization, the old hero, from his exile in Canada, sends the following appropriate response to a letter communicating the honor conferred by Association:

Toronto, Nov. 30, 1866.

Sir--I have received your note informing me of the fact that I have been elected an Honorary Member of the Ladies' Memorial Association of Mount Jackson. Amid all the sad recollections connected with our unfortunate struggle, it is a source of great comfort to know that the ladies of our country,--who were ever so self-sacrificing, during the continuance of that struggle,--bestow the tribute of their tears on the memory of the dead.

Though a great battle was not fought near Mt. Jackson, yet it was a place to which many of the wounded from battle-fields, at other places, were carried and placed in hospitals, and there received the kind attentions of the ministering angels who now honor the graves of those who died. I have many cherished recollections connected with the Valley of the Shenandoah, from one end to the other, and I trust that peace and prosperity may soon return to bless the inhabitants of that beautiful Valley, as well as of all our now desolated country.

With many thanks for the terms in which you have conveyed the information contained in your note, I desire you to convey to the ladies of the Mt. Jackson Memorial Association my thanks for the honor done me, and my fervent wishes for their prosperity and happiness.

Very truly and respectfully,
Your ob't servant,
J. A. Early

(Column 04)
Summary: Capt. C. G. Merritt, C. S. A., and Miss Lizzie Wilson, both of Augusta, were married on December 19th by the Rev. Dr. McFarland.
(Names in announcement: Capt. C. G. Merritt, Lizzie Wilson, Rev. Dr. McFarland)
(Column 04)
Summary: Dr. Hunter McGuire, Medical Director 2d. Corps, A. N. V., and Miss Mary Stuart, daughter of Alexander H. H. Stuart, were married in the Staunton residence of the bride's father by the Rev. J. A. Latine.
(Names in announcement: Dr. Hunter McGuire, Mary Stuart, Alexander H. H. Stuart, Rev. J. A. Latine)
(Column 04)
Summary: Joseph D. McGuire, formerly of Washington, but now of Howard County, Md., and Miss Anna Chapman were married on December 19th at the Staunton home of the bride's father, Alfred Chapman. The Rev. Joseph A. Latane presided.
(Names in announcement: Joseph D. McGuire, Anna Chapman, Alfred Chapman, Rev. Joseph A. Latane)
(Column 04)
Summary: Mrs. Margaret Hill, wife of Reuben Hill, of Staunton, died on December 5th at Lebanon, Ohio.
(Names in announcement: Margaret Hill, Reuben Hill)
(Column 04)
Summary: Mary V. Spitler, aged 14 years, 7 months, and 14 days, died in Augusta County on November 20th.
(Names in announcement: Mary V. Spitler)
(Column 04)
Summary: Jefferson C. Kenney, aged 62 years, died in Augusta County on December 21st.
(Names in announcement: Jefferson C. Kenney)

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The Southern Cause
(Column 01)
Summary: Poem honoring the southern cause.
Origin of Article: New York Metropolitan Record
Full Text of Article:

Written on hearing a distant bugle echoing though the mountains of Virginia, and affectionately dedicated to the gallant survivors of the Stonewall Brigade. By a Friend.

Sound that sweet bugle once again,
And thru' the wild wood let it thrill;
Altho' it wrings my heart with pain,
I would not bid its notes be still.

Sweet memories of bygone hours,
Come thronging as its tones I hear,
When life's brief path was strew'd with flowers,
And we had all man holds most dear.

The [unclear] dressed them in the gray,
And with high hopes their brave hearts beat,
And we were merry then and gay,
For ah! we dreamed not of defeat.

Freedom had gathered thirteen stars,
Soft blue, from out of the sky she rent;
Caught from the rainbow crimson bars,
That with the stars and blue were blent.

Then gave the banner to our trust,
[Section unclear]
Before its charge like wreaths of [unclear]
Virginia's hills with thunders woke,
And echoed back the Southern cheer.

On, as we charged, o'er mountains steep,
Yet bleeding that our shoes were worn,
Across the rivers, dark and deep,
Our feet are bleeding, awalled and torn.

And only "rested neath the shade,"
When shouts of triumph floated back,
From "Stonewall's" glorious old brigade,
That followed hard upon their track.

The sound to soldiers' heart is dear,
Herald of victory bravely won;
When "Jackson fell upon their rear,"
Ah! then we knew the work was done.

Then from our haversacks we drew,
The rations scant, perchance a crust,
An ounce or more of beef so blue,
Half raw, and covered o'er with dust.

And in low tones the boys would tell,
Of how some gallant comrades met,
Their fate so stern, and dying fell,
Long ere the burning sun had set.

They fell, but many a glorious name,
Was there inscribed on history's scroll,
Caught from oblivion's death by fame,
And registered on honor's roll.

But time wore on. I may not dwell,
On the bright pages of the past;
Of darker themes I now must tell--
Our day of triumph did not last.

Disease and want held revels rare,
Hunger and cold did well their parts;
Thou could not last, poor comrades dear,
With wasted frames and breaking hearts!

We had hurled them back for four long years,
Struggling against their countless host;
Then came a change, and now in tears,
We mourn our cause as almost lost.

On Appomattox fatal plain,
From out our flag were torn the stars;
The blue leapt back to heaven again,
The rainbow claimed its blood-stained bars.

Oh! who can e'er forget that hour,
In the long lapse of coming years?
Then tho' we were, we had no power,
To stay our sobs and bitter tears.

Tho' for a time our hopes have fled,
and tho' in chains the Southland weeps,
Our cause is not forever dead--
'Twill rise again--it only sleeps.

And when that glorious day shall come,
When bugles echo wild and clear,
When with the long roll peals the drum,
Beneath the Southern cross so dear--

Then we will gather, comrades brave,
Our trusty swords we'll then unsheathe,
And make the South a mighty grave,
Or crown her with a laurel wreath.