Wanted: Siege of Petersburg Newspaper Accounts

One of the really cool things about being a Civil War blogger or web master is the camaraderie you find out out there from others who share your passion.  Since I started The Siege of Petersburg Online in August 2009, I’ve had many people contact me out of the blue with very interesting items which aren’t readily available to the public.

Bryce Suderow has helped me in various forms since 2003, guiding me  in the right direction, keeping me supplied with tons of first person accounts, agreeing to allow me to publish some of his original articles on the Siege, and finding and sending along archival materials from time to time.  John Hennessy at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Battlefield has sent along three emailed sets of newspaper articles focusing on the Siege of Petersburg.  Damian Shiels, who maintains the Irish in the American Civil War web site and who has written a book on the topic, generously sent along four articles from the Irish-American, a New York City based paper focusing on, what else, the Irish in America, and specifically Irish regiments in the Civil War.  Scott Patchan, David Welch and K. S. McPhail have also been routinely passing along articles which pertain to the Petersburg Campaign.  Last but not least, Jackie Martin has been patiently transcribing articles for me over the last two years, and she has conservatively transcribed 300-400 of them for me, large and small.

I wanted to take a moment to recognize these individuals for their efforts.  Without them, my site wouldn’t be where it is today.  And I can never get enough of these articles.

Now, on to my main topic.  For anyone reading this who goes through old newspapers, please remember me if you see anything on the battles around Richmond and Petersburg in 1864-1865.  I’ll gladly repay you by sending along articles I find on your topic of interest.  I’ve done so for Harry Smeltzer, Scott Patchan, and David Welch, to name a few.  I’ll also be happy to post a link to your site at the top of any article I post which you passed along.  All I need from you is:

  1. The name, date, page and column number(s) of the newspaper where you found the article
  2. A legible image of the article in PDF, JPG, GIF, or PNG format.

I’ll do the rest, transcribing and posting the article on my site and linking back to yours as a small thank you.

I’ll even take email pointers which steer me in the direction of items.  I recently found and will be shortly blogging about the “Confederate Column” in the turn of the century Richmond Dispatch and later the Times Dispatch.  Every Sunday, the paper provided first person accounts of the Civil War era, and after going through just 1910 alone I have something like 15 articles on the Siege of Petersburg, Bermuda Hundred, and the Appomattox Campaign.

The bottom line is that I cannot ever find all of the first person accounts on Petersburg by myself.  I am looking through the Southern Historical Society Papers, Confederate Veteran, the National Tribune, and the MOLLUS Papers myself.  If you have other good sources and want to send them my way, by all means do so, eve if you are unsure whether or not I’d be interested in something.


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