A Broken Business: Newspapering in the American Civil War

By Caitie Forde-Smith, Jeremy Gerlach, Jessica Hayes, Rachel Lewis, Christina Serrano, and Kate Sievers

“I was very much pleased to hear of the soldier making a raid upon old Holden’s office. It undoubtedly would have been the primary step towards promoting the honor of North Carolina had they pitched old Holden into the streets and broke his neck instead of the press.”

NC Private Jacob Hanes, 1863[1]

In 1863, William Woods Holden, then-editor of the North Carolina Standard, was fighting a losing battle. Just two years earlier, his home state had seceded from the Union — despite his desperate attempts in both his writing and appearances to convince readers to vote to do otherwise. His words would quickly make him an enemy of the larger Confederacy. He had lost his official state printing license and countless subscribers. Like most editors in the region, he was fighting to keep his publication alive despite the challenges brought on by the war: unpaid subscriptions and little advertising, getting the news from the frontlines and supply shortages of every kind. Now, he was losing any remaining public support he had managed to keep thus far.[2]

The faltering editor’s story describes the struggle most Southern newspapers endured throughout the war. The business of newspapering was already a rough and tumble one, but the divisional conflict only doubled the industry’s former problems. Each new issue off the Southern presses was a stretch in patience and public opinion. America’s bloodiest war would change the practice and products of journalism forever. Nearly every aspect of publication was affected: the relationship between editors and their readers, regional competition, supply shortages, newsworthy content, advertisements and attribution. But, newspapers and editors survived. As a result, so did the business.

Newspapers like the Hillsborough Recorder and the North Carolina Standard were read by everyone from Chapel Hill’s intellectuals, Hillsborough’s military cadets, local farmers, clergymen and industrial workmen, and the women of the region.[3] Their demand for news from the battle and personal opinions are reflected in their printed, public letters to various editors.

In the South, editors more often than not used their power as journalists to set agendas and persuade the public. Several papers from Raleigh, North Carolina and Orange County’s Recorder are evidence of this local competition and politically-charged printing.

Wartime newspapers had difficulty staying in business, keeping employees and distributing the news — especially in the South.  Not all of these changes were negative. Overwhelming interest and public demand for expedient and efficient information from the battlefields changed the way journalists received and wrote of the news.  As the industry developed, so did things like today’s newspaper styling and an inverted pyramid structure.

Advertisements during the Civil War were nearly the only source of revenue after subscriptions for newspapers.[4] They also served as another vehicle of public opinion — conveying what was important to the readers and creating a sense of normalcy and community connection despite total turmoil.

Unlike modern papers, newspapers in the Civil War did not receive the bulk of their stories from reporters. Instead, they used correspondents in the field, travelers, other newspapers in the exchange press and telegraph reports to gather news during the war. Each source of information had its advantages and disadvantages. Newspapers in the Orange County area during the Civil War used third party reports heavily to gather their news.

A New Standard in the Business

Born near Hillsborough on November 2, 1818, Holden was the illegitimate son of Thomas Holden and Priscilla Woods. After the age of six, he was raised by his stepmother Sally Nichols Holden. Four years later, he would begin work in the newspaper business under the watchful eye and apprenticeship of Dennis Heartt, then-editor of the Hillsborough Recorder.[5]

Heartt was already an established name in the industry before moving south from Philadelphia. After an early apprenticeship under Ezra Read and Abel Morse, printers in New Haven, Connecticut, Heartt would establish the Philadelphia Repertory in May 1810. The publication would remain in operation for two years. The Repertory’s content was mostly defined by discussions and reviews of literary significance. In 1812, Heartt would pioneer another venue, a magazine known as The Bureau, or Repository of Literature Politics, and Intelligence. Sometime before February 1820, Heartt contracted smallpox and was advised by his physician to seek a permanent home with warmer temperatures and milder weather.[6]

Thus were the circumstances of his arrival in Hillsborough. The reasons for his decision to choose the small North Carolina town remain unknown, though the ramifications of this action would forever change the print culture of Orange County.  The Hillsborough Recorder would become the first paper published west of the state’s capital. For fifty years, Heartt’s newspaper was the dominant resource for news and public opinion in the region. The Recorder devoted much of its content to the politics of the day, and Heartt was publically recognized as a powerful supporter of the Whig party. The Recorder’s political undertones are believed to have had at least some effect on the ten year-old, printer’s devil Holden. During their six-year relationship, Heartt is credited for providing Holden with not only his earliest education, but his personal political ideology as well.[7]

In 1842, Holden would buy the publishing rights to Raleigh’s financially weak North Carolina Standard. Under his guidance, the paper would become one of the most widely-read in the state.  It was considered a solid vehicle for Democratic Party support. Not much would change as Holden soon became a well-known figure in North Carolina. Though he was named a state printer, he failed to garner enough party support to be nominated for governor or United States senator. His resentment for the lack of Democratic support would lead him to switch ideological sides and wholeheartedly support the Union in the secessionist crisis.[8]

As a leader of the North Carolina peace movement, he would face bitter opposition during the war. In September 1863, all of his personal papers and type were destroyed in a sacking of the Standard’s office by Confederate troops. He was publically hated by many of his former readers, including the zealous Private Hanes. But he remained fiercely loyal to his publication. After the war and the South’s defeat, he was offered a once-prized position: a seat in the United States Senate. Ultimately, he refused in order to continue his editorial work.[9]

Readers’ Responses: Letters to the Editor

Though often generalized with the rest of the South as working primarily in agriculture, the men and women of Orange County and their occupations were surprisingly varied.[10] While mostly farmers, there were also intellectuals and college students in Chapel Hill, military cadets in Hillsborough, a growing contingent of industrial workers in textile and weapons industries moving in from Union County and outer Fayetteville, and a relatively large network of clergymen and religious leaders.[11]

As citizens of the “Old North State,” the inhabitants of Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Raleigh were also defined by their conflicted politics. Even in the midst of Confederate supremacy, regional anti-secessionist sentiment not only existed, but thrived. As newspapers became more widely available to an ever-growing audience, that audience had a greater ability to affect the content of publication — most notably in the form of letters to the editors.[12]

By the latter stages of the war, desertion was a huge problem for Confederate forces opposing General William T. Sherman’s march through the Carolinas. On March 22, 1865, Heartt’s Recorder published letters written directly by Confederate General Robert E. Lee. His correspondence encouraged these runaway soldiers to rejoin their comrades with promises of reprieves, reinstatements and full pardons. Lee’s letter reads: “A last opportunity is offered [deserters] to wipe out the disgrace and escape the punishment of their crimes… A pardon is announced to such deserters and men improperly absent as shall return to the commands to which they belong within the shortest possible time.”[13] The deeper motives of Lee and those of Heartt as well, may have been driven by the known fact of North Carolina’s earlier dissent from secessionist ideology. As the conflict began to draw toward an unfavorable close for the Confederacy, Lee needed the Southern press to spread word of his clemency and willingness to make uncommon concessions to men who would have otherwise been shot.[14]

Aside from opinions of the developing economy and the war, letters to the editor proved an effective means by which politicians and their constituencies could interact. William A. Graham, arguably one of Hillsborough’s most influential inhabitants ever, exchanged letters with his supporters through the Standard in 1865 regarding his decision to withdraw from contention from election to the United States Senate.[15] Graham stated in his initial announcement of withdrawal that his exclusion from government was akin to the “banishment of non-assenters,” and against the very intentions of democracy. His followers replied in a letter published September 20, 1865: “The privilege of voting loses half its value and all its dignity when the elector is forbidden to cast his vote for the person of his choice.”[16] Graham, in response to this letter, actually decided to protest his ineligibility, but was again denied — this time because North Carolina would not be re-admitted to the Union until 1866.[17]

Isolated from its historical background, this series of letters on Graham’s dilemma seems to be a simple, yet poignant discourse on the nature of democracy. In context with Orange County’s print culture in the years during the Civil War, however, the correspondence reveals the interdependency of the press, readership and government. More importantly, the letters reveal the conflicted choices some North Carolinians were asked to make amid the changing political tides of war, secession and reconstruction.

Springtime Switch: Political Plays by Local Press

The Hillsborough Recorder and the North Carolina Standard were weekly publications, printed every Wednesday. Each featured four pages of news, announcements and advertisements, and the two often reported the same things each week in dramatically different ways.

The Standard’s political leanings were blatant, overstated and right on the front page. Holden’s name was found in large type and fully capitalized in the Standard masthead. Politically charged articles were normally placed just below this banner, and these articles were almost always written subjectively from Holden’s point of view.

Until the state’s secession in May 1861, the Standard was not favorable to abolition or newly-elected President Abraham Lincoln, yet it did not validate the destruction of the Union either. More accurately, the Standard was essentially pro-Standard and pro-Holden. The publication frequently featured Holden’s political commentary and ideology. The Standard was so widely read in North Carolina that for many readers of the 1860s it was perhaps their single source of news.

The Hillsborough Recorder also had a political bias and agenda similar to that of the Standard. Yet, the Recorder’s political voice was markedly weaker than the voices of its Raleigh competition. The paper rarely printed political articles on the first page, even before the war began. Heartt chose to put the masthead at the bottom of the last page. Front-page articles usually revolved around farming and agriculture, a fiction piece of prose or poetry, health-related issues or advertisements and community announcements. It was on the paper’s two inner pages that political news hid. Even still, these texts were written from a different ideological standpoint and were less imposing and forceful.

Like the Standard, however, Heartt’s publication was also pro-slavery, anti-Lincoln and anti-war. Before secession, the Recorder appears to favor the Confederacy more than the Standard, though it continued to feature pointed articles scrutinizing the impending war and its effect on the unified states. Indeed, on February 27, 1861, Heartt published a speech delivered by Lincoln called “The Havoc of War.” Lincoln’s presentation urged the South to consider the future chaos that would be caused be the decision to secede from the Union and end in war.

Almost immediately after Lincoln made a call for troops to quell South Carolina secessionism, the Recorder and Standard switched ideological sides. Both publications officially announced their support for a war on the same day, April 24, 1861.   Lost were their old arguments that secession was a direct violation to the Constitution and an act of treason. The Recorder wrote: “North Carolina, of course, will co-operate earnestly with the Southern States in opposition to the encroachments of Lincoln.”[18] Similarly, the Standard wrote: “We must unite and command the peace, if possible; if we fail in that, we must fight. This is the duty of the border States. They will prove equal to the crisis.”[19]

In the first week of May 1860, both publications began closely following the war’s growth and speed. Each printed front-page advertisements calling for soldiers and supplies for the Confederate effort. Sure enough, North Carolina officially seceded later that month.

Throughout the war, the opinions of both publications changed and varied. Many historians often refer to Holden as the Talleyrand of North Carolina politics because he changed his position, and that of the Standard’s position, so often. [20] “Talleyrand” is a nod to the French revolutionist who famously changed sides routinely over the course of France’s own civil war.[21]

A Raid Heard Round the Region

On October 2, 1863, Holden addressed the North Carolina public on the entire front page of his Standard, revealing his frustration with the pressures and tensions he faced now because of the Civil War.[22] In his editorial, he demanded justification for a violent attack on his office, one which had prohibited him from publishing any type of response in rebuke until nearly an entire month after its occurrence.

On the night of September 9, 1863, a Georgia brigade came to Holden’s home in search of the location of the Standard’s office. It being so late, Holden refused to allow the Confederate troops to search his office and turned them away, after providing them, of course, with copies of his publication.

Under specific orders of the commanding officer, the Georgia brigade broke into the Standard’s print room anyway, where they poured all the type into the street, damaged paper, and even attempted to pull down the power press. It was not until Governor Zebulon B. Vance arrived on the scene, that the soldiers desisted from the raid.[23] Afterwards, Holden blamed other rival papers in the area such as the North Carolina State Journal and the Raleigh Register. He declared: “My enemies may destroy my property, and even take my life, but they cannot break my spirit.”[24] The next morning, upon hearing of the disturbance, a mob of citizens in support of Holden gathered at the Journal’s print room in retaliation and broke its presses, cases and windows, poured out the type and “left the whole concern a complete wreck.”[25] Although Holden had previously “threatened Syme and Spelman (of the Journal) with mob violence and hanging if any harm came to him or his printing shop,”[26] he vehemently denounced the public’s aggressive actions in his October notice. He even claimed to have helped save the Register from the same ill fate.[27] Over the next few weeks, one Alabama brigade and 25 armed South Carolinians unsuccessfully set out with the same intentions of the earlier Georgians.[28]

This chain reaction of mob violence was only one culmination of the internal woes facing Orange county papers during the Civil War. The Standard alone recorded 154 direct and indirect threats throughout the course of the war, 119 of those in 1963 and 1964. The Register only recorded 43 similar cases.[29]

This was a time where the actions of many, readers and editors alike, were based on fear: fear of the Union, of opposing ideology, and of imprisonment. Newspapers became a “powerful weapon wielded by those whose prime interest was self-interest,”[30] and it was the often the reining general or government’s  fear of these papers that caused difficulty in getting them published and distributed. The Standard was one of the most controversial newspapers around,[31] and one of many Southern papers that stopped publishing on several different occasions either from forced suspension or to prevent government action. Heartt and his Recorder often reported on the condition of the Standard and Heartt wrote of his former apprentice’s silence that there were “no reasons for the Raleigh Standard suspension.”[32] Holden personally claimed that he stopped publishing upon the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in 1863 — out of fear of getting arrested.[33]

Another form of censorship for controversial papers came from the Confederate government.  In order to edit military reports, the government took over the telegraph system and tried to control the distribution to subscribers in the military.[34] Holden predicted this government censorship of distribution, writing of military despotism: “We have a large number of subscribers in the army, but we think it probable… that our paper is detained… and not permitted to reach our troops.”[35]

Another external threat that affected all newspapers and other businesses throughout the war was inflation.  The most consistent method of staying in business, as seen in all the papers, was raising the prices and reducing printing space.  The Recorder explained why it was forced to raise the price of its subscriptions: “The rise in the price of paper, and as great, if not greater increase in the price of provisions and everything we use, has compelled us to put up the price of the Recorder.”[36] By the end of the war, paper cost “nine times as much as [they] paid before the war.”[37] These restrictions caused papers to become less lenient in collecting money from its subscribers.  Southern newspapers often shortened the length of time of the subscriptions, “owing to the condition of the currency and the uncertainty of the times.”[38] They were consistent in explicating the reason for price increases and asking its consumers to support the new terms: “We regret to have to make this advance, but our readers will see that we cannot continue the Standard at former prices without falling in debt.”[39] On February 10, 1864, the Recorder explained to the public its current state of paper shortage: “Although our space is considerably reduced, we can still make room for all important intelligence, and many political and miscellaneous articles, and we shall, as far as our ability and means will admit, continue our efforts to make the recorder useful, reliable and interesting.”[40]

Some papers were so reduced in supplies that they were forced to completely alter the paper in order to fit the news.  Only a month after the Recorder’s announcement, the paper was reduced to a half sheet, and it promised to “render the half sheet as compact and interesting as possible.”[41] The Standard wrote a notice to its correspondents, assuring them that they have received many lengthy communications, but can only publish what its space allows.  It then proceeded to kindly tell them: “Our friends will oblige us by condensing their thoughts as much as possible. The price of paper rigidly requires this.”[42]

Conscription laws in 1862 served as a direct external impact from the war because it “took away most of the able-bodied young men,”[43] and caused a loss of workers to run the business.  The Military Exemption Act in 1863 allowed “one editor of each newspaper now being published and such employees as the editor or proprietor”[44] to certify upon oath and be discharged from fighting.  This gave assurance that press rooms would not be completely abandoned, however papers were still in need of help.  On February 6, 1863, the Standard issued an advertisement with a tone of urgency: “Wanted–immediately at the Standard office two or three No. 1 journeymen printers, with a prospect of steady work for several months.”[45]

Not all the effects of the War were negative.  Although Orange County papers struggled publishing and distributing the news and getting its subscribers to pay, there was no problem in creating a demand for the news.  The Standard issued an article concurring with the Fayetteville Observer in 1863, how it had more than doubled in subscriptions over the past year.[46] Over 15 towns, including Durham, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Greensboro received subscriptions from the Standard.[47] In order to quickly quench the high demand, the press dramatically changed the way it told the news. Perhaps the most beneficial effect of the Civil War on journalism is the creation of the modern inverted pyramid style.[48] When Holden reported the attack on his office, he wrote, “On Wednesday night the 9th of September, 1863, my printing office was mobbed by a portion of Gen. Benning’s Georgia brigade.”[49] There was not a single promise or hint of surprise in his tone or structure. He merely provides, quickly, the information which was most important — the news his readers wished to know.

Death and Taxes: Recorder Advertising and War

The Hillsborough Recorder offers a rich look into the culture of newspaper advertisements in Orange County and reflects some of the community’s values during that time. In the years just before the war, most advertisements were for common goods like groceries, shoes and sewing machines. In other cases, there was no limit to the variation or concentration of these ads. Schools were advertised including all-girls schools, military academies, and private institutions.  The sale of raw materials such as iron and lumber were announced.

Very few of the advertisements were accompanied by graphics. The ones fortunate enough to do so, also seemed able to afford lengthy running times. In one instance, an advertisement for the Orange County Hotel ran for months at a time with a simple shield graphic, perhaps as a means to emphasize prestige.[50] Another, this one for Pepsin, a medicine represented by a pig, ran for over a year.[51] Frequently, an advertisement running under the headline “For the Ladies,” described the benefits of Phalon’s Paphian Lotion for “removing freckles, tan, sunburn and pimples and making the skin smooth and soft.”[52]

In 1861, a prankster of some sort at the Recorder appears to successfully commandeer one particular advertisement. As many of the advertisements ran for weeks at a time, so did an advertisement for wool in May of that year. The headline for the advertisement ran several times as “Wool! Wool! Wool!”[53] After running for several weeks, the headline suddenly changed to “Wool! Wool! Fool!” on May 8.[54] This joke continued for another week before it was spotted and changed back to its original form.

Many of the longer, three and four line, advertisements were classified. They showed local residents wanting to buy or sell various items like land and houses. One important type of classified advertisement was that for the buying and selling of ‘Negeroes.’ The placement of these advertisements for slaves was not special. They were placed among the other advertisements without any special attention — they were for all intents and purposes, normal, starkly reflecting the pro-slavery sentiment of the majority of the South during that time. Negeroes were described as “likely,”[55] “valuable,”[56] or “young.”[57] One such advertisement read: “Sale of Negeroes: Eight or Ten likely Negeroes. The Negeroes will be sold to pay debts, and not for any fault.”[58] Other slave-related classified advertisements included notices of runaway slaves that had been either lost or found.

Some abolitionist sentiment did manage to make it onto the pages of the paper through advertisements. In 1863, notices regarding the hire of Negeroes began to appear. Rather than advertising for open job positions, they were announcements that a subscriber had already hired Negeroes. Because these announcements were strictly informative, but still appeared in the same format and oftentimes placed near the more traditional slave advertisements, they serve to inform the entire community that a few Orange County citizens were challenging the slavery status quo.       Another change in advertisements that occurred during the war was the introduction and frequent inclusion of out-of-business announcements. Rather than product promotion, these announcements served the purpose of debt settlement. One classified Recorder announcement by a businessman named D.C. Parks was headlined “Do Not All Come At Once!” and read:

The subscriber having sold out his entire stock of goods, would say to his customers that he will turn his attention to the settlement of his books. You will find his room up stairs in the same house in which he did his business. All persons            indebted to him are requested to come forward and pay, as Taxes are bound to be paid there are two things in this world that are certain — Death and Taxes; and he would like to be prepared for both. All persons having open accounts if they cannot settle by note, will please come forward and settle with money.[59]

This particular type of advertisement reflects the poor economic conditions brought on by on lengthy, lead-ridden war. Many notices of business dissolution and credit problems were reported in the normal advertising section of the paper. Other advertisements that signaled the impact of the war included those that called for volunteer soldiers and guards and for the donation of goods for sick soldiers. The Ladies’ Aid Society submitted such an advertisement in which they offered to trade any kind of good for woolen socks to be sent off to soldiers in need.[60]

Attribution in Action

The Recorder and the Standard exhibited similar story sources and methods of attribution. Because both papers were read by a relatively local audience, neither paper had the resources to maintain full-time reporters and correspondents in the field to provide first-hand war reports. Instead, they used accounts from travelers, letters from soldiers and reports from other newspapers to provide their readers with news of the war.[61]

The use of the “exchange press,” also known as clipping and republishing material from other newspapers, was the main source of war news for the Recorder.[62] It was the fastest and most efficient method of information gathering because of limited resources. The Recorder featured stories from both neighboring papers and national papers. Some local papers from which the Recorder clipped stories from were the North Carolina Journal, the Standard, and the Richmond Whig.[63] A few distant newspapers the Recorder received stories from included the New York Herald, the Chicago Times and the Cincinnati Gazette.[64] The variance of the newspapers used for this type of article reprinting could be attributed to the convenience and availability of these papers.

One of the more direct methods upon which the Recorder and Standard received news from the battlefield were through letters to the editor written from soldiers. Both papers featured letters to the editor from multiple soldiers throughout the Civil War period.[65] While some issues of the Recorder featured letters from multiple soldiers, other issues were devoid of them.[66] Correspondence with soldiers was sporadic due to mail delays, battles and troop movements. The letters would usually be dated approximately a week and a half prior to the publication date. The soldiers who wrote in to the Recorder wrote about daily life in military camp, commentary on battles and expressions of gratitude to the women of  Hillsborough for sending supplies. In one letter, the soldier who signed his letters simply as “F.”, expressed his thanks to these ladies in multiple paragraphs, concluding by writing: “we believe that the ladies of Hillsborough are the most considerate and kind.”[67] This sentiment was echoed in subsequent letters from the same author, as well as letters from other soldiers.

The style of attribution of stories varied widely among issues, and variation also occurred within the same issue. In all instances, the Recorder and Standard gave credit to the source of the story; however, the location of the attribution continually changed. For the most part, the Recorder named the paper from which it clipped at the beginning of the story.  But, the name of the paper would also appear within and beneath the story as well.[68] The lack of attribution uniformity could be because the newspaper type was set by hand. The attribution contained within stories ranged from short phrases to long sentences such as, “We are indebted to our friend A.E. Crutchfield of the Petersburg Express for the following highly interesting news by telegraph.”[69] In this one sentence, the paper has named the source in three different ways, by name, by news outlet and by news type.

Another common occurrence in the Recorder was the multiple updates of stories that were taken from other newspapers. The Recorder would take the initial story from a paper, and then print additional information. For example, the Recorder reprinted a story about a Maryland regiment desertion from the Lynchburg Republican.[70] The story included a caveat that the report has not been confirmed by other papers. Then, further down in the story, it is said that another source corroborated the story. This kind of updating of stories was possible because the Recorder was a weekly paper and had time to find out further information. Stories contained these separate updates because the type was set by hand and for time’s sake, it was more efficient to not incorporate the changes into the original story.

Broken, Not Buried

The business of newspapering during the American Civil War was far from easy. The changes to the industry brought on by the conflict were abrupt and accosting. Readers and editors alike continued to demand excellence from their publications, even when faced with several problems: local, heated competition with rival neighboring papers and mob violence, a shortage of supplies and resources of every kind, and forced adjustments in advertising and attribution. But the business was only broken, not buried. Holden, Hearttt and their fellow North Carolina residents ultimately survived, alongside their bruised nation. The country and the business of newspapering collected themselves and carried on. Things would never be the same, not for the business of newspapering.  But that is a different story.

[1] Betty Winfield and Chad Painter, “‘We Have No Newspapers – Dull, Dull!’ American Civil War Media Dependency.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Denver, CO, Aug 4, 2010.

[2] Donald E. Reynolds, Editors Make War: Southern Newspapers in the Secession Crisis (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1970).

[3] Jim Wise, On Sherman’s Trail; the Civil War’s North Carolina Climax. Charleston, S.C. The History Press. 2008.

[4] During a class lecture on October 1, 2010, Dr. Frank Fee noted that advertisements were integral to the business of Civil War newspapering because they allowed publications to become less reliant on subscriptions for revenue, and therefore more affordable.

[5] “William Woods Holden, 24 Nov. 1818-2 Nov. 1892.” In the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, ed. William S. Powell. (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1979-1996).

[6] “Dennis Heartt, 6 Nov. 1783-13 May 1870.” In the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, ed. William S. Powell. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979-1996).

[7] Powell, “William Woods Holden” in Dictionary of North Carolina.

[8] Ibid. Many historians speculate that Holden was not supported for these higher political positions because of his illegitimate birth and humble beginnings.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Wise, On Sherman’s Trail, 123.

[11] Ibid., 51.

[12] While published pieces of print culture, like can be very revealing, they have the potential to be quite concealing. These letters do reveal a great deal about the men and women who wrote them, but they perhaps may have overshadowed letters others wrote to the editor which were never printed. This may be due to the phenomenon known as agenda setting on behalf of the editors and printers themselves. Or perhaps, letters were never even written due to either a lack of time, resources, or interest.

[13] Robert E. Lee, Hillsborough Recorder, March 22, 1865.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Graham ironically had refused to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy but was still allowed to serve in the state senate. At the conclusion of the Civil War, despite taking an oath of loyalty to the Union, he was not granted amnesty due to his previous servitude in the Confederate government.

[16] Lemuel Lynch, Hillsborough Recorder, September 20, 1865.

[17] “Graham, William Alexander,” in the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed at http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=G000362 November 15, 2010.

[18] “Our Position,”  Hillsborough Recorder, April 24, 1861.

[19] “The Border States Must Unite and Act!,” North Carolina Weekly Standard, April 24, 1861.

[20] Donald E. Reynolds, Editors Make War: Southern Newspapers in the Secession Crisis. (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1966).

[21] “Charles Maurice de Talleyrand.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition (July 2010): 1-2. Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost. Accessed December 10, 2010.

[22] William Woods Holden, North Carolina Weekly Standard, October 2, 1863, 1.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Hillsborough Recorder, September 16, 1863.

[26] Editorial, Raleigh Register, August 19, 1863, 2.

[27] William Woods Holden, North Carolina Weekly Standard, October 2, 1863, 1.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Stephen W. Brauer, “Testing Siebert’s proposition II: A Civil War Case Study,” (Thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1968), 35.


[30] Lorman A. Ratner, and Dwight L. Teeter Jr., Fanatics & Fire-Eaters: Newspapers and the Coming of the Civil War (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003), 33.

[31] Brauer, “A Civil War Case Study,” 35.

[32] Hillsborough Recorder, March 2, 1864.

[33] Letter, William Woods Holden to Calvin J. Cowles, March 18, 1864, North Carolina Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, Holden Collection, (from Brauer, “A Civil War Case Study,” 25) .

[34] Brauer, “A Civil War Case Study,” 24.

[35] William Woods Holden, North Carolina Weekly Standard, Jan 2, 1863.

[36] Editorial, Hillsborough Recorder, February 10, 1864, 1.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Editorial, North Carolina Weekly Standard, October 2, 1863, 1.

[39] Editorial, North Carolina Weekly Standard, December 1, 1863.

[40] Editorial, Hillsborough Recorder, February 10, 1864.

[41] Editorial, Hillsborough Recorder, March 29, 1865.

[42] Editorial, North Carolina Weekly Standard, August 26, 1862.

[43] Bauer, “A Civil War Case Study,” 15.

[44] Editorial, North Carolina Weekly Standard, January 16, 1863.

[45] Editorial, North Carolina Weekly Standard, February 6, 1863.

[46] Editorial, North Carolina Weekly Standard, January 6, 1863.

[47] Editorial, North Carolina Weekly Standard, September 3, 1862, 3.

[48] Sachsman, Rushing, Reddin van Tuyll, The Civil War and the Press, 181.

[49] Editorial, North Carolina Weekly Standard, October 2, 1863, 1.

[50] “Orange County Hotel,” Hillsborough Recorder, January 20, 1858.

[51] “Pepsin,” Hillsborough Recorder, January 20, 1858.

[52] “For the Ladies,” Hillsborough Recorder, January 23, 1861.

[53] This particular advertisement is styled in the same fashion as many other 1860s advertisements. It was believed that the combination of repetition and exclamation marks was considered a good way to get readers’ attention.

[54] “Wool! Wool! Wool!,” Hillsborough Recorder, May 22, 1861.

[55] “Negeroes for Sale,” Hillsborough Recorder, February 8, 1860.

[56] “Negeroes for Sale,” Hillsborough Recorder, October 16, 1861.

[57] “Negeroes for Sale,” Hillsborough Recorder, September 10, 1862.

[58] “Sale of Negeroes,” Hillsborough Recorder, January 23, 1861.

[59] “Do Not All Come at Once!,” Hillsborough Recorder, December 4, 1861.

[60] “Woolen Socks!,” Hillsborough Recorder, September 4, 1861.

[61] Hillsborough Recorder, North Carolina Weekly Standard.

[62] Hillsborough Recorder.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Hillsborough Recorder, North Carolina Weekly Standard.

[66] Hillsborough Recorder.

[67] Hillsborough Recorder, April 9, 1862.

[68] Hillsborough Recorder.

[69] Ibid., September 18, 1861.

[70] Ibid., December 18, 1861.

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