Grant and the press

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In Grant's Memoirs, he makes a comment:
Then, too, Chattanooga, following in the same half year with Gettysburg in the East and Vicksburg in the West, there was much the same feeling in the South at this time that there had been in the North the fall and winter before. If the same license had been allowed the people and press in the South that was allowed in the North, Chattanooga would probably have been the last battle fought for the preservation of the Union.
Obviously Grant had a low opinion of the Copperhead press in the North. Woe betide the scribbler who came before both Grant and Sherman. Does Grant have some insight as to freedom of the press in the Confederacy or is he just blowing off steam?
 

cash

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In Grant's Memoirs, he makes a comment:
Then, too, Chattanooga, following in the same half year with Gettysburg in the East and Vicksburg in the West, there was much the same feeling in the South at this time that there had been in the North the fall and winter before. If the same license had been allowed the people and press in the South that was allowed in the North, Chattanooga would probably have been the last battle fought for the preservation of the Union.
Obviously Grant had a low opinion of the Copperhead press in the North. Woe betide the scribbler who came before both Grant and Sherman. Does Grant have some insight as to freedom of the press in the Confederacy or is he just blowing off steam?

Well, he had spent quite a bit of time in confederate territory, so I suspect he had lots of opportunity to sample the press in the confederacy.
 

Barrycdog

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Looking for information related to US Grants visit to Ft. Sumpter in December 1865.
I am researching a book with Civil War Historian James A. Ramage about the image and reputation of US Grant from his birth to the present. I am looking for information about a story we heard that 6 people wanted Grants signature during his visit to Ft. Sumpter in December 1865. Supposedly Grant's physician Trowbridge kept the pen but not sure where the copies went.
Has anyone heard this story or have any idea where the pens or copies might be located.

Chris Burns Linkedin

The same gentleman who shared the info about the Reconstruction presidents asked this question. I could not find anything on Grants visit to Sumter. Do you happen to have any details?
 

Barrycdog

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Talking about the press while I was searching I saw an article about Anderson from Fort Sumter. The article said he became destitute after the war and they (the press) accused Grant of looking out for other political interests instead of Anderson.
 

cash

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But was the Confederate press restrained in any way or were editors just continuing their ante-bellum screed against perfidious Yankees and Abolitionists?

We hear so much about repression under Lincoln we oftentimes forget the confederacy was the most centralized government that ever existed on this continent. I'll have to check Neely's book on civil liberties in the confederacy tonight, but Grant sure thought they were restrained.
 

ErnieMac

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Talking about the press while I was searching I saw an article about Anderson from Fort Sumter. The article said he became destitute after the war and they (the press) accused Grant of looking out for other political interests instead of Anderson.
The following is a quote from Anderson's biography in Cullum's Register. It appears the he was in very poor health, but probably not destitute since Anderson and his wife were in Europe seeking to regain his health.

"President Lincoln, in recognition of Anderson's services, appointed him, May 15, 1861, a Brigadier-General in the Regular Army, and placed him in command of the Department of Kentucky, and subsequently of that of the Cumberland, which his shattered health compelled him to relinquish in the following October. From this time till his retirement from active service, Oct. 27, 1863, he performed no duty except for a short period in command of Fort Adams, Newport harbor, Rhode Island. However, to entitle him to full pay, the Government generously gave him a nominal position on the staff of the General commanding the Eastern Department, which continued until terminated by Army regulations and law. On Feb. 3, 1865, he was brevetted a Major-General "for gallant and meritorious service in the harbor of Charleston, S. C., in the defense of Fort Sumter."

In 1870 he went abroad, first to Dresden, then to Tours, and finally to Nice, hoping for relief in the mild, congenial climate of Southern France; but his health was so broken by his long service and severe wound in the Army, and his constitution so shattered by the hardships and anxiety he had endured at Fort Sumter, that death in his sixty-seventh year at last came to end his sufferings."
 

jgoodguy

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We hear so much about repression under Lincoln we oftentimes forget the confederacy was the most centralized government that ever existed on this continent. I'll have to check Neely's book on civil liberties in the confederacy tonight, but Grant sure thought they were restrained.
Looking at Neely:9 4 1-92 173

The Southern Press had been self censored for decades about slavery sop censorship about the war and politics came naturally. (However there was a lot of criticism about Davis in general and generals who lost battles)
Newspaper reporters and editors were routinely tossed into jail by the military for trivial reasons and the military decision upheld. Internal passports also limited press movement.
 
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So Grant's comments years later about papers in the South skewing war news are not without foundation. He attributes this to another year and a half of war. I doubt very much if any positive coverage of the war, North or South, would have made a difference in the course of events. Folks back home were aware of the horrific losses or of the fact that an enemy army was camped in the front yard rather than what showed up in the papers (beyond the basic facts of battles won and lost and cities captured).

I think Grant is an old soldier blowing off steam about one of his pet peeves.
 

ErnieMac

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I tend to agree with the thought that Grant was blowing off steam - the Confederates lost the war in the field, not in the editorial columns . IMO the following quote from Encyclopedia Virginia titled Confedrate Newspapers in Virginia During the Civil War states things pretty well. The papers on hand could spin a military disaster as inconsequential on one hand or make the Confederate government seen a bunch of incompotent idiots on the other. I suspect, much like today, the reader would pick and choose those opinions he liked. I've attached the link to the complete article - I found it of interest.

"At the start of the war, nearly every town in Virginia boasted a newspaper, with four dailies in Richmond alone. (A fifth began publishing in 1863.) These papers were staunchly partisan: the Richmond Enquirer endorsed the Democratic Party, the Richmond Whig cheered on the largely defunct Whig Party, and the Staunton Vindicator endorsed secession. During the war, they updated their readers on the Confederacy's military progress and relied on Northern papers when their own reporting failed. Along with its rivals, the Enquirer trumpeted victories and downplayed defeats, blurring the line between news and propaganda. The Richmond Examiner, meanwhile, under the editorship of John M. Daniel, became the loudest organ of dissent in the Confederate capital, its criticisms of President Davis turning more intense and more personal as the war dragged on. Propaganda from Virginia newspapers helped prop up Southern spirits early in the war, and it is likely that their political attacks eventually helped depress Confederate morale."

http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org..._During_the_Civil_War_Confederate#start_entry
 

Eric Calistri

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Grant read the southern papers on a regular basis, he comments on this often see Papers of US Grant. This seems to have a been a widespread practice and a regular intel source. So he would have been quite familiar with their content.

As pointed out above, almost all newspapers of that age were highly partisan "rags" of one party or another. Papers in the north covered a wide array of views, radical abolitionist, Republican pro-war anti-slavery, "war" democrats, "peace" democrats, copperheads, pro-south pro-slavery, would all have been represented by various publishers. In the south there was a narrower range of viewpoints to represent, just about no one was an abolitionist or a republican newspaperman.

The Copperhead press told lies about Grant, both as a private person and as a General, they told lies about the outcomes of battles and the progress of the war in general. They encouraged desertion and tried to tamp down enlistment. While the war ending in 1863 is probably not a supportable conclusion, I don't begrudge Grant taking a few cheap shots at the folks who made careers out if taking cheap shots at him. It's one of the things that makes him a real person instead of a carved marble statue.
 

ole

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I know that Sherman literally despised newspaper reporters. Can you imagine the conversation when Grant and
Sherman got together and "compared notes" about the reporters?
Might be pretty tame. Neither was known to use salty language.
 
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