Front page - 1862

On June 18, 2019, LNP celebrated its 225th anniversary. The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 

War story

By July 29, 1862, the Civil War was in its second year. However, if you were expecting wall-to-wall coverage of skirmishes and military goings-on, you’d be relatively out of luck with this edition of the Lancaster Intelligencer. The first of two mentions of the conflict is more than likely a fable with a punchline, similar to some other “feel good” stories on the front page. Titled “Magruder’s Conflict,” the short tale centers on John B. Magruder of the Confederate Army. Supposedly known as a lush, the story finds Col. Magruder asking for a subordinate’s water bottle in particularly humid conditions. With each sip of “water,” - which turns out to be aguardiente, a generic, highly potent alcohol – Col. Magruder promotes the owner of the canteen.

So says the ending: “If the canteen had held out, and the Colonel had promoted at every drink, the soldier would have obtained a high rank before the day’s march was finished.”

The war itself would not go as planned for Col. Magruder, but the aftermath wasn’t much better. After the Confederate surrender, Magruder joined a small flank of ex-rebels and fled to Mexico. Re-entering the country in 1867, Magruder spent the last years of his life lecturing on Mexican politics before dying of heart disease in 1881.

Casualties

Just above “Magruder’s Conflict” is another novel treatise on the Civil War, albeit a far more poignant one. “Only One Killed” has no byline, though this could be because the message is so universal. Decrying the titular phrase, the author paints a vivid picture of the effect that even one casualty can cause.

“How many times within the last few months have faithful comrades broken the turf and deposited underneath the form of the ‘only one killed.’ The next morning’s paper perhaps told of a ‘brilliant affair; repulse of the enemy, with only one killed on our side,’ etc.; and after an indifferent glance at it, we passed on to the next paragraph.”

The piece maintains an even-keeled look at the so-called enemies of the Union by questioning how many “little mounds” without tombstones will be left in the South after the Confederacy’s inevitable fall, potentially unloved and unremembered due to the soldiers’ loss. Tellingly, the penultimate sentence plainly states what people then might have only just been realizing, and what people in the intervening 157 years learn time and again – “We do not realize the vast amount of sorrow this war is creating.” Since the Civil War, there have been 1,175,576 American casualties of war.

Sources: https://www.mycivilwar.com/leaders/magruder_john.html

https://www.pbs.org/