In recognition of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, “Civil War-Era Memories” features excerpts from The Memphis Daily Appeal of 150 years ago. The Appeal is publishing from Atlanta.
July 1, 1863
Evils of Reticence. -- The habitual practice by those entrusted with the supervision of army dispatches of withholding unfavorable news, appears to us to be without reason and full of mischief. It fills the country with rumors and the hearts of those having friends likely to have been in the engagement with a terrible suspense ... “Are there any names of the killed and wounded given?” If they could see the agonizing solicitude of mothers who come from their darkened homes in the distant country to examine our files — even weeks after a battle — to see if the name of a darling boy is among the list of casualties, and hear them say, “I heard that he was killed, but have not seen his name in the published list.” If, we say, those who have authority over army news, and news reporters, could see the deep and general interest which pervades the country after a battle, they would see it to it that the exact truth is promptly sent forward.” (The APPEAL often published casualty lists in its pages, but in many cases, names were not provided to papers by the military).
July 2, 1863
Conscription extended — We are informed that the Confederate States Government has ordered out the men from forty to forty-five years of age, as the conscript law authorized the President to do at his discretion.
July 3, 1863
The War in Maryland and Pennsylvania — The army of General Lee is still on its march northward, and thus far has met with no opposition ... Before crossing the Potomac, an order was issued by Gen. Lee that no private property should be touched.
July 6, 1863
Our dispatches from the East and West continue to be, on the whole, very favorable. Lee has changed the theater of the war to the enemy’s own country. Washington and Baltimore are threatened. Vicksburg holds out gallantly: in the lower Mississippi affairs are progressing gloriously. From the center, in Tennessee, we get but little; perhaps we feel better because we are unadvised. (The APPEAL editors had yet to learn of the unimaginable carnage which occurred July 1-3 at the Battle of Gettysburg or of the fall of Vicksburg on July 4th.)