The Vepricula (UT, 1864-1865)

Leave a comment

Publication History:

Place of Publication: St. George, Utah

Frequency:  Semi-monthly; twice a month over a period of 13 months

Volume and Issue Data: May 1864-June 1865

Size and Format:  3 columns, foolscap pages, four pages

Editor/Publisher:  Orson Pratt, Jr., George A. Bergen, Charles Lowell (C.L.) Walker, and Joseph Orton: all wrote under pen names (from Carter, p. 144)

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description and Notes:

According to Carter, The Vepricula or Little Bramble was issued twice a month over 13 months from May 1864 to June 1865. The four editors wrote under pen-names and each followed their own line of thought.  Pratt was Veritas, Bergen was Signor, Orton was Cerus, and Walker was Mark Whiz.  While these men planned the paper and developed their stories, they “hired some young women who were good  penmen, to write the paper, the script was so fine and yet so perfect that it is still very readable, except where time has dimmed the ink” (Carter, p. 144).

Content was organized under sections with heads such as “Readings,” “Hopes,” “Reflections,” “Reason and Faith,” “The Will,” etc.c

According to the Huntington Library, The Vepricula was the first manuscript newspaper published in St. George, Utah.

Facsimile copy at the Huntington, FAC 526.

According to Chad Flake (p.21) “Guglielma Gustaro Rossetti Sangioranni was an L.D.S. convert from . . .  He was also associated with Joseph Orton, George A. Bergen, and Orson Pratt in the publishing of the manuscript newspaper, the Veprecula, [sic] where he wrote under the pseudonym, “Ego.”  (cited in Andrew K. Larsen I Was Called to Dixie (SLC: Deseret New Press, 1961, p.422)

Cited in Checklist of Utah Newspapers in Holley, p.163, as Little Bramble, St. George, Washington County, 5/1864-6/15/1865; Editors: J. Orton, O. Pratt, Jr., G.A. Bergen, and C.L. Walker.

Related titles: Veprecula [sic], frequency: bi-weekly

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Kate B. Carter, ed.,  Journalism in Pioneer Days ( Salt Lake City:  Daughters of Utah Pioneers Historical Society, April 1943), pp. 139-168 (esp. 144-46); Andrew K. Larsen I Was Called to Dixie (Salt Lake City: Deseret New Press, 1961), p.422

Chad Flake, “Early Utah Journalism:  A Brief Summary,” in Utah’s Newspapers–Traces of Her Past, ed. by Robert P. Holley, Utah Newspaper Project, SLC–Marriott Library, 1984. p.21

Locations:  Facsimile, Manuscripts Division, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA

Soldier’s Letter: Second Colorado Cavalry (KS, 1864-1865)

Leave a comment


Publication History:

Place of Publication: Kansas City and Fort Riley, Kansas

Frequency:  Weekly

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, Nos. 1-50, 1864-1865

Size and Format:  7 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.; four pages, four columns; pages 1, 2, and 4 were printed, but page 3 was blank for individual soldiers to make personal comments or statements

Editor/Publisher:  Printed content’s editor and proprietor, Oliver V. Wallace

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:

The Soldier’s Letter was a regimental paper published between 1864 and 1865 for the Second Colorado Cavalry:  “A Regimental Paper–To Accompany the Regiment.”  The paper was priced at 10 cents per single copy.  The paper’s motto, “The Flag We Fight Under,” was accompanied by a Union flag graphic.

Published at Kansas City and Fort Riley, Kansas, the printed pages included poetry, history and specific military news items.  Letters were also included, as were extracts from the Journal of Commerce, Illustrated News, and Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  Several items discussed aspects of the Civil War.  Letters from Fort Larned, Kansas, described problems with Indian attacks and illnesses.

The blank pages contained the comments and statements of soldiers in the regiment.  The handwritten pages included news items, poetry and proverbs.  Vol. 1, No. 20, dated March 18, 1865, addresses “Young Men.”  They are encouraged to maintain high morals and to take as their “motto:  self-reliance, honesty and industry.”

Information Sources:                                                                      

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  Western History Department, Denver Public Library, Denver, CO

The School Casket (WI, 1864)

Leave a comment

Publication History:

Place of Publication: Madison, WI:  the junior class of the First Ward Grammar School.

Frequency: Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 2, February 5, 1864

Size and Format:  23 pages

Editor/Publisher:  Charles D. and Clara F. Purple (he’s the same editor of Our Paper)

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:


Information Sources:

Bibliography:  None

Locations:  Newspapers, No. SC 2047, Archives, The State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Rapidann (VA, 1864)

Leave a comment

Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Somewhere in Virginia

Frequency: One known extant copy

Volume and Issue Data:  January 1, 1864

Size and Format:  1 sheet

Editor/Publisher:  Unknown

Title Changes and Continuation: Unknown

General Description and Notes:

Handwritten newspaper (1 sheet) created by a Confederate soldier (probably from South Carolina) serving in Virginia. Newspaper contains articles about army life, Virginia, furloughs, and other topics as well as jokes, poems, and illustrations (from SC Hist Soc catalog)

Information Sources:

Bibliography: None

Locations:   Teague, Benjamin H. (Benjamin Hammet), 1846-1921. B.H. Teague family and collected papers, 1770-1899, Manuscript, 1105.07.09, South Carolina Historical Society, Charleston, SC

The Prisoner Vidette (IL, 1864)

Leave a comment

Publication History:

Place of Publication:  Camp Douglas (Prisoner of War Camp), Cook County, IL

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 1, after January 1864

Size and Format:  Four pages

Editor/Publisher:  Confederate Prisoners of War

Title Changes and Continuation:  None

General Description and Notes:

Camp Douglas, named after Stephen Douglas who owned the property, was located on the west side of Cottage Grove Avenue between 31st and 33rd streets in Chicago. In 1861, it was designed for recruiting and training Union soldiers, but after the capture of Fort Donelson in 1862, it became a prison camp for approximately 7,000 Confederate prisoners. The manuscript paper contains camp gossip, editorials, news from home, poetry, and advertisements. The “Prospectus” (page 1) states, “Feeling the want of a literary sheet of some discription [sic], in our midst, we have at length concluded to place before the public of Camp Douglas a spicy little paper, The Prisoner Vidette.”

The extant manuscript the Chicago Public Library Collection was restored at the Document Conservation Center, Atlanta, in 1976.

Information Sources:

Bibliography:  Mabel McIlvaine, ed., “History of Camp Douglas” in Reminiscenes of Chicago During the Civil War (Chicago, 1914), pp. 161-194; Thomas A. Orlando and Marie Gecik, compilers, Treasures of the Chicago Public Library (Chicago, 1977), Item 154, pp. 77-78

Locations: Grand Army Hall and Memorial Association Collection, Chicago Public Library.

The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

1 Comment

The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

Publication History:

Place of Publication: Camp Ford, Tyler, Smith County, Texas

Frequency:  Bi-weekly, irregular

Volume and Issue Data:  Vol. 1, No. 1, Feb. 17, 1864-No.3, March 13, 1864

Size and Format: 8 1/2 x 11; four pages per issue; three columns; pen and ink

Editor/Publisher:  Capt. William H. May (and J.P. Robens?); a 12-page facsimile edition was published by J.P. Robens and William H. May entitled, The Old Flag: First Publication by Union Prisoners at Camp Ford, Tyler, Texas, V. 1, No. 1-3; Feb. 17-March 13, 1864: Preface includes history of the manuscript plus some items and advertisements from the Ford City Herald

Title Changes and Continuation:  Some references to advertisements from the Ford City Herald  in the Library of Virginia’s Civil War 150 Legacy Project (thanks to Renee M. Savits, of the CW 150 Legacy Project). According to the Herald, “This branch of our imense (sic) establishment is now complete. The new Type and Materials of The Herald, in addition to the well stocked Office of the “OLD FLAG,” removed and refitted, enables us to give notice that we are fully prepared to execute all kinds of Plain and Fancy Job Printing with neatness and dispatch. Terms, CASH.”

General Description and Notes:

The Old Flag was published by a Union soldier during an imprisonment of 13 months in the Confederate prison at Tyler, Texas.  Each issue was read aloud in the various cabins by some member of the “Mess.”  When all had read or heard it read, the paper was returned by the “subscriber” to the “office publication.”

The paper’s primary goal was to relieve the almost unbearably eventless and monotonous life of Camp Ford.  Contributions commented on local news and camp issues, displayed poetry and art, and played with satire, jokes and chess problems.  Advertisements, which appeared in every issue, were genuine.  Most offered the services of skilled prisoners for the benefit of the others.  For example, pipe makers, barbers, cigar makers, shoe shines and “job printing” (by the editor) were all available in the prison city.

The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

The Old Flag was one of two and possibly three handwritten Civil War newspapers published at Camp Ford, a Confederate prison complex in Tyler and Hempstead, Texas.  Camp Ford was the largest Confederate military prison in Texas.  The prison held both officers and enlisted men from 1863 to the end of war.  The prison held as many as 4,900 prisoners by July 1864.  Living conditions in the tented enclosure were generally good.  Fresh water, adequate shelter and plentiful food supplies made the prison a relatively healthy place; during its 21-month existence, roughly 250 soldiers died in the camp.  Most soldiers were allowed to keep many of their possessions, to manufacture items for sale and to purchase food and supplies from local farmers and merchants.[1]  To facilitate these economic transactions, The Old Flag published a “REVIEW OF THE TEXAS MARKET-for the Month of February, 1864” in its March 1 edition.

Capt. William H. May, of the 23rd Connecticut Volunteers, with the assistance of other Union soldiers, published and edited at least three issues of The Old Flag between February 17 and March 13, 1864,[2] during their 13-month confinement in the Confederate prison camp.  According to J.P. Robens, one of the prisoners, the paper was published on sheets of “unruled letter paper, in imitation of print, a steel pen being employed in the absence of a Hoe Press.”[3]  The three-column, four-page paper made liberal use of large headlines and graphic elements.

The paper’s primary goal was “to contribute as far as possible towards enlivening the monotonous, and at times almost unbearably eventless life of Camp Ford–and to cultivate a mutual good feeling between all.”  Contributions were solicited on matters of local news and camp issues.  The Old Flag published poetry and art, and included satire, jokes and chess problems.  Display advertisements appeared in every issue, and “most of them bona fide, genuine.”  Most of the ads promoted the services of skilled prisoners for the benefit of the others.  For example, pipe makers, barbers, cigar makers, shoe shines and “job printing” (by the editor) were all available in the prison city.[4]


Summary of Contents of The Old Flag, 1:1, February 17, 1864

(Measured in column inches; 33 column inches per page)



The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

The first number announced that the next issue would be in “an entire new dress, we having received new Types from the Foundry of J. Connor & Son, of N.Y.!  This number is printed with ‘secesh’ ink, which does not appear to ‘take’ well upon Yankee paper.”[5]  Only one copy was published of each number, which was then read aloud in the various cabins by some member of the “Mess.”  When all the prisoners had read or heard it read, the paper was returned by the “Subscriber” to the “Office of Publication.”[6]

In the third number, March 15, 1864, the editor published his intentions to preserve The Old Flag after his release from Camp Ford.


We shall make it our first object on our arrival at New York City–which will probably be within a few week after our Exchange–to learn the practicability of getting the three numbers of the “Old Flag” Lithographed.  Should the expense be too great to warrant our adopting this means of securing fac simile [sic] copies, we shall print with types as nearly as similar to the letter penned by us as can be procured, with heading and illustrations engraved.  We shall endeavor to make the copies close imitations of the original papers.  In addition we propose to publish a few accurate pictures, delineating life at Camp Ford, Camp Groce, &c, printed on sheets inserted in each number of the “Old Flag” with a Title Page, and complete List of the Officers Prisoners [sic] at this place, neatly bound.

The editor kept his promise.  The lithographed reproduction of The Old Flag was published in New York in 1864 and included a “List of officers, prisoners of war at Camp Ford . . . giving rank, regiment, where and when captured.”

After prisoners were released from Camp Ford, the editor published a lithographed reproduction of the handwritten.

According to Mary Witkowski, of the Bridgeport Public Library, Bridgeport, CT, Captain May was a newspaper man in civilian life.

Information Sources:                                                         

The Old Flag (TX, 1864)

Bibliography:  Roy Alden Atwood, “Captive Audiences: Handwritten Prisoner-of-War Newspapers of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition and the War Between the States,” Annual Convention of the American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA), Salt Lake City, UT, Oct. 1993;  F. Lee Lawrence and Robert W. Glover, Camp Ford, C.S.A.:  The Story of Union Prisoners in Texas(Austin:  Texas Civil War Centennial Advisory Committee, 1964), 36-37;  The Old Flag (privately published, 1914).

Locations:  Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT; The Old Flag, lithographed reproduction:  DLC

[1].  Patricia L. Faust, editor, Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War, p. 110.

[2].  The date on The Old Flag, 1:3, isMarch 13, 1864, but a poem on p. 3, “To Mrs. Col R.T.P. Allen,” is dated March 14.  The poem was likely a day-late insertion.

[3].  J.P. Robens, “Preface,” The Old Flag, lithograph reproduction (New York:  W.H. May, [1864]), n.p.

[4].  The Old Flag, 1:3 (March 13, 1864), p. 2:  “Statistic–There have been manufactured by knife in this camp, since last September, over forty setts [sic]of Chessmen, of which Lt. John Woodward has himself completed eight of the best!

“The number of Pipes turned out, as near as can be arrived at, is not less than Five Hundred–both of wood and clay.”

[5].  The Old Flag, 1:1 (Feb. 17, 1864), p. 2.

[6].  J.P. Robens, “Preface,” n.p.

Froth (MI, 1864-1865)

Leave a comment

Publication History:

Place of Publication: Michigan?

Frequency:  Unknown

Volume and Issue Data:  1864-1865

Size and Format:  Unknown

Editor/Publisher:  Unknown

Title Changes and Continuation:  Unknown

General Description and Notes:

May be partially manuscript.  It is listed as a “relevant listing” within their printed holdings.

Information Sources:

Bibliography: None

Locations:  Printed Holdings,  Bentley Historical Library, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: