The Guerilla: A Confederate Occupation Newspaper

The Guerilla: A Confederate Occupation Newspaper

In September, 1862, the Confederacy invaded the Kanawha Valley of western Virginia. The Confederate army of some 5,000—including many Virginians who hailed from the western region of their state—fought a series of engagements with their Union foes, culminating in the capture of Charleston.

The fall of Charleston provided an opportunity for pro-Confederate sentiments to reemerge in the public sphere. Within two weeks of the Rebel army’s appearance, the pro-Confederate newspaper The Guerilla began circulating the streets of the town. Published daily by “Associate Printers” for the duration of the short-lived Confederate occupation, the two extant copies of the Guerilla shed light on the nature of the Civil War in West Virginia and the short-lived Confederate occupation of the Kanawha River Valley…

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"The Printing Press Cannot Remain Idle": The Ohio Twenty-Second, A Civil War Soldier Newspaper

"The Printing Press Cannot Remain Idle": The Ohio Twenty-Second, A Civil War Soldier Newspaper

In their inaugural and only issue, dated July 12, 1861, the erstwhile printers of The Ohio Twenty-Second made their purpose and politics clear. “Our motto is: ‘Death to traitors and protection to all loyal citizens.’ It has been well said that ‘the pen is mightier than the sword.’ While we find the latter indispensable in these perilous times, we will unite with it the power of the former, and go forth to battle for ‘the Constitution, the Union, and the Enforcement of the Laws.”

For the men of the Twenty-Second Ohio Infantry, and indeed for many Union soldiers throughout the Civil War, the war could be waged by musket and pen alike, and soldier newspapers offered an avenue for Union soldiers to keep abreast with the wider war effort, opine on national politics, interact with the local civilian population, document their war deeds, and foster a sense of community and esprit among their ranks. The Ohio Twenty-Second offers a brief window into the patriotism, politics, and daily life of Union soldier in the opening months of the Civil War.

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Civil War Censorship: The Arrest & Imprisonment of Wheeling's Democratic Editors

Civil War Censorship: The Arrest & Imprisonment of Wheeling's Democratic Editors

On Saturday, July 9th, 1864, Captain Ewald Over of the 6th West Virginia Infantry received an order originating from Major General David Hunter. The order directed Capt. Ewald—the military commander of Wheeling, West Virginia—to arrest the editors of the Wheeling Daily Register and shut the newspaper’s offices down. At three o’clock in the afternoon, Captain Ewald and a small cadre of soldiers entered the offices of the Wheeling Daily Register and placed editors Lewis Baker and O.S. Long under arrest. A soldier was posted outside the Register’s office, and the two prisoners were escorted to Athenaeum on the corner of 16th and Market Streets. A small military prison that housed upwards of one hundred Confederate prisoners, the Athenaeum (christened “Lincoln’s Bastille” by the locals) now confined two United States citizens as well…

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Righteous or Riotous? The 2nd Ohio Cavalry and The Crisis

Righteous or Riotous? The 2nd Ohio Cavalry and The Crisis

As the snow fell from a wintry sky on March 5, 1863, over a hundred men gathered on the fields of Camp Chase, outside Columbus, Ohio, ostensibly for the purposes of attending church.  For a “church party,” however, they were oddly equipped, armed with “clubs, hatchets, and axes.” Once the men—soldiers of the 2nd Ohio Cavalry—had assembled at their “appointed rendezvous,” they formed up into a line and made their way onto Columbus. The soldiers had been planning this foray for some time, knowing that Sunday church offered them the perfect excuse to enter town and commence their mischief.

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Patriotism in Print: The American Union, A Soldier's Wartime Paper

Patriotism in Print:  The American Union, A Soldier's Wartime Paper

On the evening of July 3, 1861, a dozen Union soldiers (self -described “disciples of Faust”) broke into the offices of the of the Virginia Republican—a decidedly secessionist organ—and appropriated the newspaper’s office for their own use.  The next morning—on the Fourth of July—the first issues of the American Union hit the streets of Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia).  The newspaper—composed and printed entirely by Union soldiers—enjoyed a brief existence in Martinsburg, lasting only as long as the Union troops occupied the town.  Despite its brief existence, however, the paper sheds light onto the patriotism and zeal of Union soldiers during the war's opening months.

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