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Valley of the Shadow

Valley Spirit: February 2, 1865

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-Page 01-

Description of Page: Previously published county financial report, columns 1-3, classified ads, columns 4-5, fiction and poetry, columns 6-7

Louisville Journal
(Column 7)
Summary: Reports on the killing of thirty-five black soldiers by guerrilla soldiers near Simsonville, Kentucky.
Origin of Article: Louisville Journal
Full Text of Article:

A wholesale slaughter of negro soldiers who were driving cattle near Simsonville, in that State, is noticed by the Louisville Journal, as follows:

Not more than half a mile this side of the village a terrible scene was presented to view. The ground was stained with blood, and the dead bodies of negro soldiers were stretched out along the road. It was evident that the guerrillas had dashed upon the party guarding the rear of the cattle and taken them completely by surprise. They could not have offered any serious resistance, as none of the outlaws were even wounded. It is presumed that the negroes surrendered and were shot down in cold blood, as but two of the entire number escaped--one of them by secreting himself behind a wagon, the other by running, as he was met several miles from the scene of the tragedy wounded and nearly exhausted. Thirty-five dead bodies were counted lying in the road and vicinity. The outlaws were but fifteen in number--one of them a black scoundrel, who boasted on the return of the band to Simsonville that he killed three of the soldiers.

Alarming Desertions
(Column 7)
Summary: Says that more men desert from the Union army to the Confederate army than from the Confederate side to the Union side.
Origin of Article: Hartford Press

-Page 02-

Description of Page: Dispatches reporting on troop movement in South Carolina and Virginia, columns 6-7

A Word To Our Friends
(Column 1)
Summary: Explains that the costs of rebuilding the Valley Spirit's office and presses have been great, and encourages readers to help boost the paper's circulation by recruiting new subscribers. Suggests that among the 3,500 Democrats in the county, there must be four to five hundred willing to subscribe that have not already done so.
The Late Peace Conference
(Column 1)
Summary: Blames the recent impasse in peace talks on the Lincoln administration. Suggests that its unwillingness to compromise on the slavery question is the reason for the failure of negotiations.
Full Text of Article:

When the news flashed across the wires a short time ago that Peace Commissioners were on their way from Richmond to Washington, the hearts of a suffering and distressed people were made to beat high with joyful emotions in anticipation of an early return of peace. The news was hailed as the dawn of a brighter day, which should soon succeed this night of death and blood, and carnage, which for the last four years has made this fair land of ours one vast sepulchre filled with the mouldering bones of thousands of brothers slain in an unnatural, fratricidal war. Hope beamed from every face, and the eagerness with which every item of intelligence was sought after by the multitude, shows how ardently the public heart longs for peace.

The commissioners were not permitted to come to Washington, but were met at Fortress Monroe by president Lincoln and Seward; a conference of four hours duration was had on board a steamer in Hampton Roads, which, according to the testimony of both parties, proved a total failure. Upon whose shoulders the responsibility for the failure rests is a matter which, in our judgment, can easily be determined by any one who will carefully, candidly and critically examine the message of the President to Congress embodying the preliminary correspondence in relation to the interview, published in our issue of last week. This correspondence needs but to be read to see what grand results might have followed this effort at peace, had it been conducted on the principles of liberal and enlightened statesmanship. That this informal conference might have been so managed by President Lincoln as to have led very soon to a lasting and honorable peace between the two billigerent [sic] sections of our common country, and to the restoration of the Union of our fathers, we think will scarcely admit of a doubt. For the proof of this position we appeal to the record.

In the early part of January Mr. F. P. Blair, Sr., goes to Richmond with the knowledge and consent of the President. He is passed through the rebel lines without any conditions or stipulations, (and in this particular the conduct of the rebel authorities stands out in striking contrast with the miserable quibbling and pettifogging of Lincoln and Stanton when Messrs. Stephens, Hunter and Campbell applied for permission to pass our lines,) he is kindly received by the authorities at Richmond; has several protracted interviews with Mr. Jefferson Davis, during which questions in relation to the war were doubtless discussed in all their bearings. Mr. Blair returns to Washington with a letter from Mr. Davis designed to be shown to President Lincoln, stating that he was ready to send or receive a commission "to enter into a conference, with a view to secure peace to the two countries." Mr. Blair returns to Richmond with Lincoln's reply to Davis, stating that he would receive any agent which he (Mr. Davis) might send with the view of securing peace "to our common country." This letter Mr. Davis read over twice, when Mr. Blair remarked that the part about "our common country" related to the part of Mr. Davis' letter about the "two countries." Mr. Davis replied that he so understood it.

Now, let us examine this point for a moment, and see what conclusion an honest man must arrive at. On the strength of this letter of Mr. Lincoln, explicitly stating the conditions upon which he would receive an agent or agents of the Confederate Government, Jefferson Davis appoints A.H. Stephens, R.M.T. Hunter and J.A. Campbell, commissioners to proceed to Washington to confer with President Lincoln on the subject of peace; and the commissioners themselves, in their note to Maj. Eckert dated February 2nd, say that they were seeking an informal conference with President Lincoln "on the basis of his letter to F.P. Blair of the 18th January." Now, what does all this mean? What did these men come for? They are not ninnies and fools that they would leave Richmond for Washington on a fool's errand--to talk about a recognition of the Southern Confederacy--for they were fully advised in regard to the position of the Government and people of the Untied States on that point before they started. What then was the object of their mission? The conclusion is irresistible that they came with a view of securing peace to "once common country." In other words, they came prepared to enter into negotiations for a re-construction of the Union, in case they were met with just and liberal terms on the part of the Washington administration. But the harsh and imperious demands of Mr. Lincoln, inspired by the blood-thirsty radicals in Congress, repelled them at once. Before he reached Fortress Monroe, and for fear Mr. Seward might compromise him on his daring idea of negro freedom, he telegraphed the Secretary of State that there must be "no receding on the slavery question." Here the inevitable negro comes in again as the barrier thrown in the way of a just and honorable peace by the miserable demagogues and fanatics which now, unfortunately for the country, control the Federal Government. With practical statesmen instead of visionary theorists at the head of the Government, with the light we now have, this whole difficulty could be adjusted in less than thirty days.

But the most conclusive evidence that these commissioners were honestly and earnestly desirous of peace, and were willing to negotiate on the basis of a re-construction of the Union, is the dispatch of General Grant to the Secretary of War; and but for it they would have been sent back without even a hearing. "I am convinced, upon conversation with Messrs. Stephens and Hunter, that their intentions are good and their desire sincere to restore peace and Union," says General Grant, and adds, "I have not felt myself at liberty to express any views of my own or to account for my reticence." Can any one doubt the correctness of the position we have assumed, when it is sustained by the testimony of so high and responsible a witness as General Grant? Or will it be alleged that he was deceived or willfully telegraphed what was false? We think it hardly possible that any sane man will be bold enough to make any such foolish accusation against General Grant's high character for wisdom and sagacity.

It is evident then that the conference failed to produce any good result, not because an honorable peace was unattainable, but because the infernal and ruinous negro policy of this administration stands in the way of so desirable a consummation. Abraham Lincoln is clearly responsible for the failure, and a fearful responsibility it is he has assumed. Let him beware how he trifles with the lives of his fellow men. The tears and sighs and groans of the thousands of widows and orphans in the land, made such by the unnecessary protraction of the war, will some day, sooner or later, come up in judgment against him. It is a monstrous crime against civilization and christianity to continue the war a day longer than is necessary to secure an honorable peace, on the basis of the Constitution and Union as framed and organized by the fathers of the Republic. The people will not hold them guiltless who have the power honorably to stop this effusion of blood and yet persistently refuse to do so.

Unfortunate Appointments
(Column 3)
Summary: Accuses Lincoln's administration of being rife with corruption and mismanagement. Cites the drafting department's handling of conscription as the best example of the "blunders" common with this administration.
[No Title]
(Column 4)
Summary: Letter from a soldier in the Army of the Cumberland criticizes the Sanitary Commission for failing to deliver supplies to men outside of hospitals.
(Column 4)
Summary: Reports on the recent proceedings of the Pennsylvania legislature, including consideration of a bill that would allow local school districts to levy a bounty tax sufficient for paying soldiers.
Trailer: Brutus
Convention of Publishers
(Column 5)
Summary: Reports on the state convention of publishers, which met last week in Harrisburg. Notes that B.Y. Hamsher of the Valley Spirit was elected secretary, and publishes a resolution passed by the convention calling for the repeal of the duty on printing paper.
(Names in announcement: B. Y. Hamsher)
(Column 5)
Summary: Reviews the latest proceedings of the US Congress, including the consideration by the House of a resolution declaring it against the "honor and dignity" of the Union to offer any peace short of "entire submission" to the Federal Government.

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Description of Page: Classified ads, columns 4-7

(Column 1)
Summary: Compares investments in oil stocks to gambling in an essay condemning the current "mania" over oil.
Home Guards
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that the Chambersburg Home Guards went into winter quarters several months ago and compares the soldiers to groundhogs to explain why they have not yet reappeared.
(Names in announcement: Chief Burgess)
Military Movement
(Column 1)
Summary: Notes that the second Lieutenant of company C, Chambersburg Home Guards, arrived at headquarters last Friday evening. In jest, suggests that the corps is getting ready to "fracture the backbone of the rebellion."
Gound-Hog Day
(Column 1)
Summary: Explains that the second day of February is Ground-Hog Day, during which the length of winter is determined.
A New Bank
(Column 1)
Summary: Reports that a number of men "of capital" in Chambersburg are considering establishing another bank under the National Banking Law.
Death of Robert Earley
(Column 2)
Summary: Robert Early, a native of Chambersburg, died on February 7 in Evansville, Indiana. He will be buried in the cemetery of the German Reformed Church in Chambersburg.
(Names in announcement: Robert Early)
Orphan Children of Soldiers
(Column 2)
Summary: Explains what educational benefits are available to orphan children from the state government.
Full Text of Article:

The Pennsylvania Railroad made a donation of a large sum of money for the education of the orphan children of soldiers. An act was passed by the State legislature for the enlargement and judicious management of the donation. Mr. Thom. H. Burroughs, of Lancaster, was appointed Superintendent of Orphans in the State, and subordinate committees were appointed for the different districts, or counties. When persons desire to have orphan children receive the benefit of the donation, they should make application to a member of the subordinate committee of their county. Those entitled to aid are "children of either sex, under fifteen years of age, residents of Pennsylvania, and dependent upon charity or upon the exertions of a mother or other persons who are not able to educate and maintain them properly, whose fathers have been killed, or who have died of wounds or of disease contracted while in the service of the United States, in the army or navy, and who were at the time of entering the service, actual residents of Pennsylvania.

The State will furnish tuition, boarding, clothing, books &c., in the schools, but the children must be sent on by the friends at their own expense, with such clothing as they may have, in good order for use until others can be provided. There is no restriction of the number which may be sent from a family, but none must be over fifteen years old. When the application is properly made according to the instructions of the committee, it will be sent to the Superintendent of Orphans, and if accepted, he will notify the mother, or other friend, telling what school the children must be sent to, with all other necessary directions.

Young Man
(Column 2)
Summary: Urges every young man to keep busy and avoid becoming a "loafer."
Postponement of the Draft
(Column 2)
Summary: Cites a report from the Washington Republican that states that the Provost Marshal has delayed the draft and is encouraging districts to continue recruiting volunteers.
(Column 3)
Summary: Defends the Greencastle citizens who are considering opening a new bank against criticism from the Repository editor.
Full Text of Article:

Messrs. Editors of the Valley Spirit:

Permit me, through the medium of your paper, to call the attention of the public to an article which appeared in the last week's issue of the Franklin Repository, under the head of "Finance and Trade."

It is not my purpose to defend the people of Greencastle for their determination to organize a National Bank, without first obtaining a permit from the Editor of the Franklin Repository; nevertheless, if it were not for the fact that under the existing laws, they are not required to obtain a charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, they would certainly have erred in not first securing the favor of said Editor. Nor do I propose to put in a defense for Messrs. Stumbaugh & Gehr who are so covertly and cowardly attacked in said article for doing what the law required at their hands and which others; and some of them law makers, have not done, though they have sold stocks on commission; but I come at once to that part of the article which cautions our country cousins against purchasing the Cherry Run and Pittsburg [sic] Petroleum oil stock. I am well aware that since the first offer of sale of this stock in this said to be "unimportant market," there has been a persistent effort on the part of certain individuals to prevent the sale thereof, and is it any wonder that there should be such a howling now by the big "Bull" and the very few little "Bulls" of the same ilk, since the "fancy" Cherry Run and Pittsburg Petroleum oil stock has advanced 100 per cent., or even according to the author of the article referred to, 40 per cent, while the "pet Sterling," the original cost of which was $2.00, has depreciated and is now freely offered in this distant "unimportant market" for $1.80 and at Greencastle at $1.50 per share; and the other pet Imperial which originally cost $5.00 is offered here at $4.75 and indeed holders of the same in this county, have offered to exchange for Cherry Run and Pittsburg, share for share. "Good stock is not kicked about in this way."

Now, as the author of the article says the Cherry Run and Pittsburg has been tossed and tumbled by the "Bulls and Bears" of Chambersburg, and our country cousins would do well to let it rotate amongst the speculators themselves, does he know that weeks ago the books for the sale of the Imperial were advertised "closed," and yet any person desiring to subscribe for the same could be accommodated at the office of the Franklin Repository, and if so, will the certificates of either Imperial or Sterling, or both, entitle the holder thereof to an interest in river beds about to be donated by the Commonwealth, (said to be too poor to make restitution to her citizens for losses sustained by the rebels,) through the influence of the distinguished Editor of the Repository. If so, would it not be well for the Editor to inform the public of the same through the medium of his paper.

No one in reading the Repository for the past two months would have supposed for a moment that this is so very "unimportant a stock market." Long and ably written editorials appeared weekly, showing how money could be safely invested in oil stocks, provided you carefully followed the Editor's advice. Unfortunately the advice was like the footsteps about the sick lion's den, they all turned the one direction, towards Sterling and Imperial. It will be a good day for the widows, orphans and other holders of the stock of these companies when they show any vitality. If it would only fluctuate a little it might rise. If the more distant from each other the dividends are, be an advantage, why not make them annual instead of quarterly? it would afford evidence of even greater substantiality than possessed by any other companies that ever intend to pay at all. Who are more properly speculators in stock, the half dozen who purchased land at $140,000 and converted it into $1,000,000 of capital for an oil company, or the persons believing the statements made to the public by the originators of the enterprise and who purchase a portion of the stock expecting to sell at an advance.

Our country cousins no doubt understand the animus and motives of the author of the article referred to.

Stockholder of the Imperial and Cherry Run and Pittsburg.

Trailer: Stockholder of the Imperial and Cherry Run and Pittsburg
(Column 5)
Summary: Rev. Thomas Barnhart married George K. Woodward, of Wilmington, Delaware, and Emily Switzer on February 15.
(Names in announcement: Rev. Thomas Barnhart, George K. Woodward, Emily Switzer)
(Column 5)
Summary: Anna Martha Smith, daughter of Hugh Smith, Esq., and Frederick Moller, were married on February 12 by Rev. J. N. Hays.
(Names in announcement: Rev. J. N. Hays, Frederick Moller, Anna Martha Smith, Hugh SmithEsq.)
(Column 5)
Summary: Rev. William Keckler and Matilda Hepher were married on February 13, at the residence of the bride's parents, by Rev. S. McHenry.
(Names in announcement: Rev. S. McHenry, Rev. William Keckler, Matilda Hepfer)
(Column 5)
Summary: Lydia Baum died on February 17 at age 45.
(Names in announcement: Lydia Baum)
(Column 5)
Summary: Thomas D. Bohn died on February 6 near Charlestown, Virginia, at age 22 years, 1 month and 10 days. He was shot accidentally by one of his comrades, with the ball entering his left side and leaving through his right shoulder blade. He was buried on February 16 in the Mentzer graveyard near Fayetteville.
(Names in announcement: Thomas D. Bohn)

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Description of Page: Classified ads, columns 1-7