The Civil War newspaper stories from 150 years ago are more readily available today than they were at any time in the past. This is due to advances in media, and the accessibility of old newspapers online.
Today, Americans hear about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq from the televised news reports that show videos and pictures of what is actually happening in these faraway lands. During the Civil War, all there was were newspaper war correspondents that had their reports published in the newspapers.
On April 9, 1862, the New York Times had the headline “The Seat of War in the Southern, Eastern, and Mountain Parts of Virginia”. The top half was a map so the public could get a visual grasp of the situation. Along with this map is a description of the rebel and union army positions, and the retreat routs that are open to the rebels.
The reports of troop movement were accurate but delayed by 12 days. This was due to the time it took to deliver the reports from the field to the home office of the newspaper. On March 28, 1862, the departure of General Porter’s division from Alexandria down the Potomac River to the fortress Monroe was described.
There were 36 steam and sailing vessels that moved the troops on the river. The weather was not good and the conditions of the roads were bad upon their arrival. The mood of the troops was high despite the thoughts of engaging the enemy nearby. The troops that were involved were the 4th Michigan regiment, Elm City, State of Maine, and Knickerbockers.
This is how the Civil War newspaper stories were reported over 150 years ago. In sharp contrast to the price of a paper today, back then it was only 2 cents.
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