THE RICHMOND EXAMINER—JULY 27, 1864

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Item Code: 1000-2564

2 pp., 16.25 x 23”, six columns. Slightly faded, w/slight water staining of upper half, and light chipping along right margin. Else VG, and entirely legible.

The Richmond Examiner was one of four newspapers published in Civil War Richmond, and, under the editorship of John Moncure Daniel, was the paper most critical of President Jefferson Davis and his administration. The “States Rights” Examiner bitterly opposed, among other things, Davis’s expansion of executive authority. An admirer of Gen. Joseph Johnston, editor Daniel also bitterly opposed Davis’s replacement of General Joe Johnston with Gen. John Bell Hood during the Atlanta Campaign. Many historians believe that the hyper-critical stance of the Examiner had the effect of lowering morale in Richmond as the war progressed.

The Examiner’s sharp criticism is evident in a scathing reference to the troops of General Stephen Ramseur in recent fighting in the Shenandoah Valley during the summer of 1864. It was extremely rare that Richmond newspapers would attack the troops of a renowned Northern Virginia commander such as Stephen Dodson Ramseur. . To wit:

“”We are said to have recaptured all our prisoners lost by Ramseur and captured large numbers of the enemy…..This almost wiped the recollectio0n of Ramseur’s defeat, which if the reports we receive are not monstrously exaggerated, was a nasty affair. It was said that, though advancing to meet the enemy, Ramseur led his army up the turnpike with empty guns, at the route step and in route order—that is, in that extreme order of irregularity and confusion in which Confederate troops only know how to march. While slouching along in this order and absence of preparation…[a body of the enemy] fired into our troops, who, with scarcely a show of resistance, too to their heels and ran back to Winchester, leaving some 250 prisoners in enemy hands…”

One letter to the Editor [from “A soldier” ] scathingly condemns the appearance of the colored women who come among the troops with scarcely edible food for sale. To wit:

“I wish to call your attention to a nuisance. Perhaps you are not aware that we are visited every morning by the vomit of Richmond, in the shape of Negro wenches of every size, color and description, young and old, high and low, embracing every shade of color—“twixt rich cream and inkiest hue”—alike in one respect alone—their extremely filthy appearance…”

Another letter to the editor—[from “A line Officer”]--notes that the Quartermasters in the field always have a good suit of gray and the best shoes, while there are none to be sold to the officers in the trenches, the ones who really need them, and that it is impossible to get a leave of absence to go purchase them outside. “It would be unpatriotic to think of leaving the line battle for any purpose, even if you were barefoot and naked.” The “Line Officer” then concludes with a dig at Jefferson Davis--“Mr. Editor I wish you to lay these facts before the public, so that they may come under some observation of the Grand Tycoon [Davis]or someone who has direction of our machinery.”

The ”City Intelligence” section includes an interesting note concerning the imprisonment of Union contract surgeon Dr. Mary E. Walker—[later awarded a Medal of Honor--retracted in 1917, then restored by the Carter Administration in the 1970s]. To wit:

“THE YANKEE DOCTRESS, Miss Mary E. Walker, confined in Castle Thunder, had an interview Monday with General Gardner, commanding the department of Richmond, relating to her parole, exchange, or return to the North on any conditions. She is willing to waive all title and stand upon the dignity of her sex; but will never give up pantalettes and her more “philosophical” rig, sash and “M.S.” [Medical Service]. She’d die in prison first. The Doctress was escorted to headquarters by detective Caphart, with a retinue of 500 hundred small boys whistling in their rear. The interview ended, the General told her he would examine the papers in her case and report to higher authority. So the Doctress was returned to Castle Thunder after a good airing. [Two weeks later, still wearing pantalettes and her Medical Service sash, Dr. Walker was exchanged for an assistant surgeon from Tennessee]

Superb Richmond newspaper collectible, reflecting the tone of its feisty Civil War editor, John Moncure Daniel. In protective sleeve, w/white card backing.  [JP]

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