Below are some of the news stories from the pages of The Lancaster Intelligencer (July 2, 1861) and the Lancaster Examiner and Herald (July 3, 1861).

Dull

The Examiner and Herald characterized the local news of the day as “distressingly dull.”

“Whether this is owing to the war, the general reformation of mankind, or the indisposition of our good citizens to cater for the public amusement, we know not. One thing we do know. Everything is dull. War news, home news, political news, police news, news of every kind and description. The only busy people about now are the farmers, and they are so busy filling their ‘big barns’ that they have scarcely time to think of news, much less to read it. The only thing therefore to be done, is to take it cooly, indulge in no rash expressions, but … wait patiently, patriotically and piously for something to ‘turn up.’ ”

The more some things change, the more others stay the same

In the Intelligencer, Harriet N. Austin M.D. offered advice on how to cure corns and with it a look at the follies of the current fashions.

“I do not understand why it is that woman arranges her dress with so little regard to its uses. One would suppose that in some of its parts utility and beauty might be found to be consistent. But there is not a single article of clothing which enters into her wardrobe, from her head to her feet, which is well adapted to serve the purpose for which it is apparently designed. If she wears a bonnet it is so constructed that it is of no use as a cover to her head. If she wears gloves, they are so tight as to obstruct the circulation in her hands, and render their free use impossible. If she wears a dress, it is so fashioned as to hinder the natural movement of every muscle in the body. If she wears shoes, they are so poorly fitted to the feet as to cripple her in those organs and make it as rare to find a woman with a properly shaped foot in the Christanized and highly enlightened United States as in China. What ever put it into the heads or hearts of women, or men, or of both, that we are naturally so outrageously formed or deformed that it is desirable that every part of us should by some means be gotten into different shape from that in which it was made, I cannot conceive.”

Peace rumors prove false

The Intelligencer reported:

“It is now reliably ascertained that no Peace Commissioners from JEFFERSON DAVIS have been in Washington, nor has there been any proposition of compromise, such as we noticed last week. The rebels seem as belligerant and defiant as ever, and the Government cannot, of course, without stultifying itself, listen to any terms of peace which do not acknowledge its authority and supremacy over the whole Union, and also carry with it an immediate surrender of all the property unlawfully and violently taken, and a disbandment of their military organizations so far as they were intended to make war upon the Union. This, we suppose, the Secessionists will not consent to do, and so the war must go on until the rebellion is crushed out by force of arms.”

37th Congress

The Examiner and Herald contained a preview of the meeting of the 37th Congress, which included Lancaster's Thaddeus Stevens among the Pennsylvania delegation in the House of Representatives.

“The Thirty-Seventh Congress which meets to-morrow will justly attract great attention, from its personal construction, the time at which it assembles, and the grave duties which will be imposed upon it. It is unprecedented in its construction. It will have no representation in the House from ten States. …

“The general duties of the session are obvious. It is to be a war session. Summoned on the anniversary of our national independence, expressly for the purpose of providing the ways and means of suppressing a ‘combination against the laws too powerful for the ordinary course of justice,’ and meeting at an uncomfortable season of the year, it is not to be expected that general legislation will receive any attention. We hope, also, that long speeches will be equally avoided. The President and the heads of Departments will undoubtedly convey the condition and wants of the country in clear and definite language, and all that will be wanted on the part of Congress will be due consideration, mutual conference, and then prompt action. We need not now refer to the specific measures which may be necessary, as the requisite information on that point will soon be before the public. The country, unprecedentedly unanimous in support of the Administration, expects Congress to manifest the same spirit, and to afford all proper cooperation toward the suppression of treason and the restoration of order and law.”

Speculation about life after the war

A report in the Examiner and Herald speculated that the south may benefit from the influx of northern people to the region during the war.

“One good result of the present war will be that the Northern people will be made better acquainted with the nature and resources of the Southern country, through the letters of the soldiers stationed there, which find their way North by thousands by every mail, while the correspondence of the newspaper press is a vehicle for spreading a great amount of valuable intelligence of this sort throughout the community. The country now occupied by our armies presents many attractions, not only from its natural beauty, but on account of its fertility and adaptation to agricultural purposes, and the information which is being disseminated in regard to it will, no doubt, induce a large emigration in that direction after the war is over. A letter from Falls Church, Va., in the New York Post says: ‘I have carefully explored the country round, going to the farthest advanced lines, and in sight of the enemy's pickets. Everywhere it is a charming country, well watered, and evidently in easy cultivation. Grain grows thriftily; fruit is not abundant but good; the grass crop is large and profitable. With free labor and Northern enterprise this may be made one of the most prolific and valuable agricultural districts in the Union.’ Similar reports are given of the portions of Maryland occupied by Northern troops. While the face of the country is very pleasing, the climate is pronounced exceedingly fine. This war may prove to be one of the greatest blessings to poor effete Virginia by infusing into the population new elements of vigor and enterprise.”

Missing soldier

The Examiner and Herald contained a request for information about a missing soldier from Ohio.

“Postmaster Cochran has received a letter from a lady in Ohio asking for information regarding her son, Isaac Walters, who she says enlisted while intoxicated and without her knowledge or consent at Zanesville. She has obtained his discharge from the Governor of Ohio, and having heard that he was left sick in this city by his regiment, writes hither for information respecting him. She describes her son as five feet eight inches in height, with black eyes and hair, and about twenty-five years old. He may also be known by a crooked finger on the left hand next the little finger. If any reader of this can give any information as to the young man's whereabouts, as a favor to an anxious mother they are requested to communicate it to the Postmaster, or to Mrs. Mary Ann Walters, at Sonora, Ohio.”

Regimental news

Both papers reported that the First Pennsylvania Regiment received compliments in the Frederick (Md.) Union newspaper.

“The Regiment is composed of five Infantry, and five Rifle companies, and is accompanied by an excellent band of music from the city of Lancaster, whose delightful strains have ravished the ears of thousands of our citizens. The officers and men are as polite, intelligent, fine-looking and dignified a body as can be found anywhere.”

The Examiner and Herald also reported that John Wise, a “celebrated and successful balloonist, has been engaged by the Government for the purpose of assisting in the balloon experiments now being made. He left on Monday for Washington.”

This may have been related to a demonstration given to President Abraham Lincoln in June 1861. Thaddeus Lowe flew a balloon over the National Mall to show how balloons could be used for aerial spy missions, and The Union Balloon Corps was created as a result. (Read more …)

Both papers also printed a letter from the “ladies of Gap, Bellevue and vicinity” that accompanied the presentation of a silk flag to the Jackson Rifles and Capt. Henry A. Hambright. The captain “returned the following suitable and patriotic reply:”

“LADIES: In acknowledging the receipt of your beautiful and appropriate present, I must also acknowledge my inability to reply in suitable terms to your highly complimentary and patriotic sentiments expressed in the note accompanying. The enthusiasm of the Company on unfurling your handsome flag, and reading to them your prayers, is only stated here as an evidence of their gratitude; and all, officers and soldiers, desire me to say that it shall be the rallying point, and never be disgraced, either in or out of battle. Trusting that the moral as well as military discipline of my command may be improved by your patriotic efforts and advice is the earnest wish of your recipient, and that all of them may return conscious of having done their duty, and take their positions, after rebellion is put down, as good if not better citizens than when they left their homes.

“You will please receive, Ladies of the Gap, Bellevue and vicinity, the thanks, gratitude and esteem of the Company and myself, who has the honor to be, Ladies, your humble and obedient servant, H. A. HAMBRIGHT, Captain Com. K, 1st Regt., P. V.”