Place of Publication: Fort-La-Fayette, Union Prison Camp at the Narrows of New York Bay, New York
Frequency: Unknown; possibly weekly
Volume and Issue Data: 1863-1864
Size and Format: Pen and ink
Editor/Publisher: Unknown; Confederate officers
Title Changes and Continuation: None
General Description and Notes:
The Right Flanker is the only known manuscript newspaper published by Confederate prisoners confined in the North during the Civil War. The paper was written in pen and ink, and after its staff was released, copies were taken to England and printed in book form (1865).
The introductory issue said the purpose of the paper was “to relieve the monotony of prison life, by calling into action the taste and faculties of those who are capable of contributing to its columns; instructing and amusing those who cannot, and to furnish to all who are to share the spice of excitement, which the risk of such a contraband undertaking affords, something of which it is hoped, reference can be pleasantly made by them in after years.” The editors then introduced themselves and their personal histories prior to imprisonment, but used no names, apparently to avoid punishment for the production of “contraband.”
The printed “transcript” of The Right Flanker runs 90 pages, but it unclear how faithful the printed version is to the handwritten originals.
The printed version depicts a paper devoted largely to an analysis of the war (based on New York newspaper reports), life in the prison camp, and the arrival of new prisoners. Humor or light features are infrequent.
Bibliography: “Fort-La-Fayette Life, 1863-1864: In extracts from the ‘Right Flanker,’ a manuscript sheet circulating among the Southern Prisoners in Fort-La-Fayette,” The Magazine of History, Extra No. 13, 197-246.
Locations: Fort-La-Fayette Life, 1863-1864: In extracts from the “Right Flanker,” a manuscript sheet circulating among the Southern Prisoners in Fort-La-Fayette (London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1865; New York: William Abbatt, 1911) [reprinted in The Magazine of History, Extra No. 13]