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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Virginian: March 13, 1867

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-Page 01-

What a Freind Says
(Column 06)
Summary: The Baltimore Gazette disagrees with the New York Time's admonition that the South accept military reconstruction "lest a greater evil should befall them." Instead, the Gazette councils complete passivity. "The fortitude that meets oppression calmly, baffles and confounds the oppressor," and captures the "sympathies of civilized nations."
Outrages and Insults to the Defeated only Disgrace the Victor
(Column 07)
Summary: This article argues that a tyrannical Congress is maliciously inflicting suffrage for African Americans upon the white South.
Full Text of Article:

Since the South's rejection of the "Constitutional Amendment," says the Richmond Times, there are those who deplore that it was not promptly accepted. Undoubtedly our failure to ratify it has resulted in legislation still more infamous; but, as we were then left the alternative of acceptance or rejection of the amendments, we could not aid in a change of the organic law which disfranchised our best men.

And, although much more infamous, cruel and flagitious legislation has ensued as the bitter sequel to that rejection, still the whole dishonor, infamy and disgrace of what we are now required at the point of a bayonet to perform, must forever rest at the door of our unfeeling conquerors.

If, by reasons of brutal legislation, the United States, despite its greatness, shall be hanged in chains by history alongside of England, Russia and Turkey, we may be permitted to thank God that the brave and unhappy Southern victims of these outrages will not share the load of dishonor which will rest heavily upon the nation.

* * * * * * * *

But such outrages as these do not disgrace and dishonor a helpless people, of whose valor the world is still talking.

As the appropriate climax to all these outrages of 1865-66, we have now to endure a measure of iniquity called "Sherman's Bill," which after it has been passed "into a law" over the veto of the President, will be enforced in Virginia by a Brigadier General and a sufficiency of soldiers to crush us into obedience. And as we have heretofore, when we have had any option, preferred a military government, pure and simple, to negro suffrage and representation, the Sherman amendment forces negro suffrage upon us whether we call a Convention or refuse to call a Convention, force the vile outrage upon us whether we stay out of the Union or enter it under protest.

This invention of the Devil allows us that humane choice which pirates offer to their prisoners. We are told Gentlemen, take your choice. Shall we shoot you through the head, or will you walk the plank?" Whether you resolve to meet the emergency by preparations for defence or passively submit to this insult, the negro shall vote at the elections in April and May next. And, whether you go to the polls or stay at home, the elections must take place, and this law shall be enforced to the letter. Convention or no Convention, the negro votes. State or Territory, the negro votes. If you who are in the majority refuse to go to the polls, the negro shall elect officials to rule over you. If you muster in all your strength, the negro shall still vote. Taxes may be avoided, but death negro suffrage cannot be escaped."

-Page 02-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that George C. Heywood, a Savannah planter and Confederate veteran, was allegedly "murdered by the negroes on his plantation."
What are we to Do?
(Column 02)
Summary: This editorial states that now that black suffrage is unavoidable, southern whites must work to retain control of the government by winning the elections. A convention should be immediately called and campaigning begin to persuade blacks to vote with southern whites against the radicals.
Full Text of Article:

We publish two letters, from gentlemen of talent and respectability, on this question, to-day. Both parties arrive at the same conclusion, from different stand points; both are good and true men, and have proved themselves so on many hard fought fields. The general idea of our people is to act when the time comes for holding a Convention and to control it. There is some difference about who should call it, but the vast majority are for action. Mr. Wilson's amendment to the Force Bill settles this question for us, and we should now turn our thoughts to the best means of carrying the elections.

It is no use to dodge the issue; negro suffrage is a fact and we must accept it. We think that some of our most intelligent citizens should call the negroes together and explain the question to them, and our most respectable colored people think so too. By prompt action in every County and neighborhood the colored vote can be thrown for our side; by "inaction" it will go radical. It is a fight now for our local Governments, and no man has a right to shirk so plain a duty. Work and this infernal scheme of the Radicals, for our ruin, may be turned into a weapon to crush the most odious tyranny that ever disgraced a country once free.

Our experiences, in fighting the Yankees, should teach us that, in "union there is strength," and if it was ever necessary for a people to have concert of action, that necessity exists now. It was upon this principle we advocated the calling of a Convention by the Legislature, where we could, by proper action, concentrate and use all the available talent in the State. Divisions among our people, during the war, destroyed the brightest promise LIBERTY has seen since the creation of the world, and any dissensions among us now, will be ruin to all, white and black. We must have no such folly as conservative people exhibited in the Alexandria election. True men must stand "shoulder to shoulder," and act as one.

Our people are gloomy and depressed. They see no "silver lining to the cloud," but they should remember that after "winter quarters," (whose dreary monotony only a soldier can realize,) comes the "spring campaign." The grass will grow, the flowers bloom, the birds sing, and a kind Providence bless us with "good crops" at the next "Harvest Home."

Never despond; devote every energy to recuperating our country; be economical, and take every advantage you can of our and the country's enemies. The world knows we are powerless, and no "dishonor" can be attached to a disarmed people, with "bayonets at their breasts," for using every means left them to defeat the hellish designs of their enemies. It is a good rule, and one always followed by "Stonewall Jackson," to "do what your enemy didn't want you to do." They don't want us to accept the "situation." Accept it and work, and the history of this world has been badly written, if we, the Southern people, do not realize our most sanguine hopes.

What a Gallant Soldier Thinks About a Convention
(Column 03)
Summary: "Soldier" writes to the Virginian in support of a Constitutional Convention which will accept Congressional requirements and put Virginia speedily back into the Union. Although requirements set by Congress are "tyrannical" and unpleasant, white Virginians would be best able to control their own State with Congressional representation. The "Men of Honor" who refuse are ridiculed by "Soldier" as self-serving shirkers who avoided duty during the war.
Full Text of Article:

Dear Virginian:--In these great and momentous times, when the voice of the Statesman is no longer heard upon the hustings, counselling and advising the people, a free and independent press is to be valued more than ever. Indeed an open and manly course now by the press is what we want.

And we find that regardless of public clamor you have spoken, with the voice of thunder, in favor of a State Convention. There has been no cringing, no waiting for the development of popular opinion, but untrammeled and like a free born American citizen, you have uttered the honest convictions of your heart. You have spoken too, the voice of a soldier, one which finds an echo in the hearts of nine-tenths of the soldiers who served their native South in the day and hour of trial, in the field.

They are fully aroused to the importance of the hour; they feel that the crisis is upon us; that the angry waves of radicalism and the billows of malignant hatred are rolling high, about to engulph us. That Virginia with all her prestige and renown has been reduced to a Military District--the home of Washington, Jefferson and Madison is to be made a patrol ground for armed soldiery. The mighty thunder of Northern wrath and scorn is heard, and the hail of hatred is about to descend. Shall we lie supinely upon our backs and fold our arms in unconcern until the storm bursts upon us in all its fury? No! we will act. We met the enemy in deadly conflict for four long years, battling for the cause of justice and right; but our armies, after displaying Spartan valor and courage, overpowered and overwhelmed by numbers, one by one succumbed to the Military power of the United States, and with sad and depressed hearts we returned to our homes and the bosom of our families, with the heart-rending tale. The cause was lost, and now as a conquered people, we are required and compelled to comply with the mandates and edicts of our conquerors.

We all took the Amnesty oath and the oath to support the Constitution of the United States after the surrender, because we were compelled to do so--now we are compelled to obey the requirements of the Sherman-Shellebarger bill. If we do not accept it, we will be made to drink of the still bitterer cup of confiscation. But, if we call a Convention, frame a Constitution, conformable to the provisions of the Sherman bill, we will be admitted into the Union, (they say we have been out,) entitled to representation in Congress, and thereby place ourselves in a position to exert some power--now we have none, but are at the mere beck and call of the most relentless foe, that ever disgraced the name of humanity and civilization. We will thwart the designs of the low, groveling spirits among us who term themselves "loyal" men, who with the assistance of the negroes would call a Convention and thereby force upon us laws, as odious as their evil, corrupt and hellish minds could conceive.

But "lost honor" seems to rise before the visions of some of the leige lords of creation, when you talk to them upon the subject of a Convention. They say "let us lose all, rather than honor." And who are these "honor" gentlemen? Let us examine their credentials.

Credential No. 1, (1861.)--Secession feeling rampant. Everybody urged to join the army, but the "honor" gentlemen "stand off."

Credential No. 2, (1863.)--Confederate cause dark. "More men" called for. "Honor" gentlemen get old very rapidly. Hearty and robust yesterday; sickly and delicate to-day. Heart disease is very prevalent among the "H. G's." and soft places are sought with great eagerness.

Credential No. 3, (1864.)--Cause still darker. Many details applied for. "H. G's.," of the Medical fraternity, consider their services necessary at home. Money coming in fast. Soldier's families charged $1,000 per barrel for flour.

Credential No. 4, (1865.)--Eagerness of the "H. G." to take required oaths. Pardons sought for by the H. G's. under the $20,000 clause.

Credential No. 5, (1867.)--The Stay Law. The H. G's. protected and shielded by it--oppress those who were in the army. Passage of the Sherman bill. The H. G's. cry "lose all, rather than honor!"

Here then, Dear "Virginian," are the credentials of these "honor" gentlemen, and with this record they oppose a Convention!

Honor indeed! It was all absorbed in gout, rheumatism, disease of the heart, &c., or else a desire to attend to the wants of the "dear" people at home during the war. But soldiers understand all these things, and they feel that this cry of "honor" comes with bad grace indeed from these gentlemen, with such a budget of credentials; from men who urged the secession of the State, and yet never shouldered a musket during the long and bloody war, but remained at home around warm hearthstones, during the cold and bitter blasts of winter, and cooled themselves beneath the shades of Mountain fastnesses and retreats from the scorching rays of the summer's Sun.

They have got in a fighting mood, at least two years too late. Be still! Be quiet!! Ye degenerate sons of your Mother State. The soldiers who faced the enemy and shed their blood, look upon you with scorn and derision. The ashes of the noble and heroic dead command Silence! Silence!!

Let us reflect for a moment. Where are those great nations; those mighty monuments of human skill, of human ingenuity, of human ambition which arose in such majesty on the face of the earth, and have rendered antiquity so venerable? They once stood forth in such grandeur and magnificence, that we might suppose time would have lingered long and been loath to apply the finger of decay. They have faded and perished. And why? We reply that the causes are to be traced for the most part, to those elements in the human character which are at war with all that is truly great and noble. Ambition and selfishness, with their kindred spirits, on whose altars nations have been cruelly sacrificed, were their great enemies--their real murderers.

And as it was with Corinth, Athens and Rome, so it was with the Southern Confederacy. Whilst around her clustered the hearts of the masses of her people, and in her soldiery were combined all, that makes up an army of valor and heroism, yet demagogueism and selfishness were the rocks upon which she was wrecked. She is gone--glimmering like a school boy's tale, the wonder of an hour." We mourn over her downfall, but we have consciousness of having done our duty, and, whilst we expect to hate a yankee as long as time lasts, and to teach our posterity that of all odious titles, that of "yankee" must be the most odious, and glorying in the reflection of having been a soldier in the "Lost Cause," yet the "H. G's.," or those who failed to do their duty, after urging the war, will be looked upon with contempt--derided and scorned.

"Till wrapt in flames the realms of ether glow,
And Heaven's last thunder shakes the world below."


Common Sense
(Column 04)
Summary: This article from the Charlottesville Chronicle asserts that the South can expect little mercy from the Radicals in Congress, as past actions have shown. Suffrage for African Americans, prison terms for Confederate leaders, and military Reconstruction all prove their tyrannical nature. All white southerners can do is wait, hope they can "control the colored vote," increase in population as blacks decrease, and welcome a change in national mood from radicalism to moderation.
Full Text of Article:

The Charlottesville Chronicle talks sensibly in the following article, and comes straight to the point. Have we learned nothing from the events of the past six years? Are we still in doubt as to the character of the men and the party who are directing the present revolution? Have we forgotten West Virginia, and Missouri, and Tennessee, and Maryland? and the passage of the Louisiana bill by a two-thirds vote in the late House of Representatives, and the approval given to that measure by Wm. Cullen Bryant and Horace Greeley, two of the most humane philosophers at the North? That bill was generally endorsed by the entire Republican press of the North. Do we not know that those people are as cold and as hard as the flint--and that they will put their foot upon six millions of a noble race with as little reflection as a man in his morning walk will tread on a nest of ants?

Have they not already done the deed? Have they not in one moment emancipated three millions of slaves, many of whom know not their right hand from their left? And have they not in another moment, by a parliamentary edict, conferred on this race with no qualification of intelligence or property, without requiring even the payment of taxes, universal suffrage?

But we are to lean on the Supreme Court! As if the people of La Vendee had appealed to the civil tribunals against the National Convention; as if the old blind king of Hanover should appeal to the Prussian Courts to give him back his crown. The position of Congress is that reconstruction is a political, and not a legal question--and the courts have nothing to do with it--that it is an extra-constitutional question; and whether their view be sound or unsound, they will act on it.

Will the President help us? Can we live on his veto messages?

Will the Northern Democracy help us? They make capital exhortations to other people to fight; and when whipped to endure;

But honor is involved: a brave Southern soldier is captured after a desperate fight and carried in chains to Point Lookout; it is the depth of winter, and the prisoner is sick and weary: he is shown to his quarters: an apartment with two beds, one in one corner for a negro, the other in another corner for him. He shudders; but must honor make him lie out in the cold? The sentinel gives him his choice--with an intimation that if he makes much difficulty, the negro may be put to sleep with him. Who is dishonored here--the soldier who takes what is offered him--or the prison authorities who force this? If you are given the alternative of being hung or shot--is there any dishonor in making a choice?

We think the Southern people have done enough in the way of honor: it is time now to get bread to eat, and shelter, and rest.

But to return: is there any hope that this radical wave will ever ebb, as did the French Revolution in a sense? will not the country come to its senses after a while? Perhaps so, and then--if we are not ruined in the mean time--we can correct anything that has gone wrong. We certainly make nothing by making ourselves more uncomfortable in the interval. Losing our property and having the State governed by Fred. Douglass will not put us in a better position for welcoming the incoming of that happy day.

The trouble of our people is that they cannot accept the inevitable. If negro suffrage is a determined fact, why struggle against the fiat of God? When the pitcher is broken at the fountain, why protract one's tears? Is there not a silver lining to the blackest cloud? May it not be that we do not take in the whole of this business? May it not be that there is a blessing hid in all these thunders? May it not be that our colored friends will continue to be our friends, and that thousands of them will seek the assistance of their "old masters" in throwing their votes? May it not be that the whites here will control the colored vote without serious difficulty? And in Virginia have we not nearly two hundred thousand more whites than blacks? And will not the white population be a constantly increasing, and the blacks a constantly decreasing number? Will there not in a few years be three our four millions of whites in Virginia--the blacks proportionally diminished? Above all, may not God be working in this matter, we know not how, to evolve a result that will be gratifying when the work is complete?

One thing is certain, He has a hand in all that is going on. And if we do our duty, there is a prosperous future for us in the womb of these events that is bound to come to the birth. We understand that some persons have had their faith weakened in God, because we lost the Southern Confederacy. Their faith was small: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Close Up The Ranks
(Column 04)
Summary: This article from the Examiner calls for unity among white southerners in the face of radical reconstruction. The paper predicts that their political clout cannot last long.
Origin of Article: Examiner
Full Text of Article:

In this, the crisis of our fate, let us stand together. Let there be no wrangling, no impugning of motive, no want of charity, no refusal of justice. If we differ, let us endeavor to persuade--never to ridicule or intimidate; and when action is determined on, let that determination be a concession to every honest conviction, or even prejudice, that can honorably and wisely be consulted. When finally the conclusion is reached, let all sustain it, and we shall survive the storm of fanatical tyranny which assails us, and preserve enough of freedom on which to build, in the new form of government that approaches.

Such infamous madness cannot last always. Some great financial or political calamity will scourge our enemies into justice, or the idol of irresponsible power, which they are now worshipping, will fall on them and crush them. Meanwhile, let all true people draw more closely to each other, and join hands for the work that is here, and for that future work to which we shall be called. Examiner.

An "Old Citizen" on the "Situation."
(Column 05)
Summary: This letter from a citizen of Augusta declares that submission to Congress would betray the Confederate cause and the honor of the white South. The Radical Republicans care more about retaining power than reuniting the country. The author advocates calling a convention from which the people of Virginia can address the North.
Full Text of Article:

Augusta Co., March 11, 1867

Messrs. Editors:

The crisis is upon us, and we must meet it like men. It is vain to think of propitiating the party which now controls the Legislation of the country. It is as intent upon keeping open the breach as it first was in driving us out of the Union. This is the whole scope of its measures. It demands of us impossibilities. It requires everything, while it promises nothing. Should we yield, we confess a guilt, we disown, discard every plea of right and justice in our bloody struggle, and bow our necks as criminals to its mercy. Shall we do it? No--no--our manhood forbids it--conscience forbids it--justice to our martyred dead forbids it. We were driven into the conflict reluctantly in defence of great principles, and although overpowered, come what may, we can still sustain our self-respect and personal honor. What could be a greater calamity to us than the death of the State? Yet this is the condition required of us.

And to what end is the sacrifice to be made? What evils are we to escape by it? None are promised, and none are to be expected. Other measures of oppression even now are in process of preparation. Then let us bear as we may, calmly and patiently, the wrongs which we have not power to avert, and look to Providence for our final deliverance. We shall thus at least preserve our honor and escape contempt. We should remember, moreover, that gloomy as our present condition is, it is not altogether without hope.

"Man's extremity is God's opportunity." The whole trouble is the work of a factious, usurping majority in Congress, who trample under foot the Constitution, and openly avow their purpose to clear the way of all obstructions, Executive or Judicial, which may hinder their designs. This is Revolution, and must be arrested, sooner or later, or the liberties of the whole country will be lost. Then why should we despair? The battle is not ours alone. The citadel of American freedom is attacked. Every citizen of the Republic is interested in the issue, and if the spirit of liberty has not become extinct, ere long we shall hear the thunders of popular indignation coming up from every part of the land, which are to sweep the usurpers from their places, and herald our deliverance.

The whole world knows that Reconstruction was an accomplished fact under the liberal policy of President Johnson. Nothing was wanting but the admission of our Representatives to their seats in Congress. But here the Radicals check-mated them. A restored Union was not what they wanted. It is the retention of Power which they fear may be lost by the admission of the Southern States. Here is the whole secret. They don't want us in the Union, and never will, under any circumstances, admit us, as long as they can prevent it.

There is one thing, Messrs. Editors, that I think we could do, and ought to do now--as to all else, perhaps inaction would be our best action. And that is hold County meetings and appoint Delegates to a State Convention for the single purpose of preparing an Address to the People of the United States, setting forth our true feelings and the condition of things amongst us, with such other matter as they may see proper. The gross aspersions which are cast upon us, and assumed by the Radicals as the necessity for their oppressions, ought to be met. We know them to be false, and it is due to ourselves and to the country that we should show them to be so. "Every where (as President Johnson justly remarks,) there is a tendency to substitute "the Government" as the source of Power instead of the "People," and it is against this tendency that the measure I here propose is addressed.

Respectfully yours,

A Warning
(Column 05)
Summary: This editorial argues that divisions between conservative white Southerners in an Alexandria election serve as a warning to the entire white South to avoid disagreement; instead, all should maintain a unified approach to politics. "The commitment of the destinies of these States into the hands of hundred of thousands of ignorant, depraved blacks, utterly incapable of comprehending a political principle, without any training, and devoid of any qualification," is an emergency that must be met by the white South. "Those who framed the villainy desired to see repeated here the horrors of Hayti. It would delight the heart of Republican leaders to see every Southern city in flames, and every hearth desolate; every Southern parent and every Southern child starving, and the entire population given over to the unbridled rage and passions of a drunken mob."

-Page 03-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The paper reports that 5 stores in Staunton closed within the last month, and that according to the Tax Collector money is more scarce than ever in Augusta County.
Remember Our Dead
(Column 01)
Summary: Cowan's bookstore will be taking advance orders for General Jubal Early's "great book--great in truth; eloquent in its honesty, and sublime in its purpose."
[No Title]
(Column 02)
Summary: Two ten-year-old "negro boys" "had a big fight on the corner of Main and Augusta Streets last Friday. A respectable colored man thrashed them both well. Hadn't Mr. Stevens better investigate this matter?"
A Good Sign
(Column 02)
Summary: Only one Staunton merchant and a few from Augusta are filling orders for goods in the North. "Our people are preparing for the worst. Homespun will do very well in 'District No. 1.'"
Our Thespians
(Column 02)
Summary: The Thespians gave a successful performance on Saturday night. Captain Crane of Lewisburg as "Toodles" was singled out for praise. "The music, as usual, was grand, the only fault being that there was not enough of it."
(Names in announcement: Captain Crane)
(Column 04)
Summary: W. P. Johnson, of the Stonewall Brigade, and Miss Elizabeth White, of Staunton, were married on March 12th by the Rev. George Taylor.
(Names in announcement: W. P. Johnson, Elizabeth White, Rev. George Taylor)
(Column 04)
Summary: James W. Teabo, of the Staunton Artillery, and Miss Sallie J. Clough, of Louisa, were married on March 5th by the Rev. E. Bagby. "None but the brave deserve the fair."
(Names in announcement: James W. Teabo, Sallie J. Clough, Rev. E. Bagby)
(Column 04)
Summary: Col. William Tate, aged 46 years, died on March 9th near Staunton.
(Names in announcement: Col. William Tate)

-Page 04-

[No Title]
(Column 01)
Summary: The La Crosse, Wisconsin, Democrat counsels the South to have patience and await the political defeat of the Republicans. "Hell's millennium will have an ending; fanaticism struck with the blighting power of vengeance shall wither away,--and the time will surely come when you can build monuments to your dead, suitably honor the living, and fasten into the hearts of your children a determination and a purpose to finally achieve the object for which their fathers fought and failed." "The yoke of vassalage will yet be broken, and the chains and fetters marking your subjection to your conquerers be transferred to their tyrannous limbs!"
Origin of Article: La Crosse Democrat