Maj. Gen. John Alexander Logan Camp# 4
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
July 2011 Program at The Bennett Place
For our July program, Dan Hopping presented artifacts he has inherited from his Great Grandfather, Coursen J. Stright Coursen who served three years and 3 months in the 4th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was in 27 battles and under fire 156 days. He was in all the Western battles from Pea Ridge to Lookout Mountain and in the entire Atlanta Campaign. He was wounded in both Pea Ridge and the Battle of Atlanta.
Lt. Stright’s wartime diary, wedding photo and photo from right after the battle of Pea Ridge.
On display was Lt Coursen’s wartime diary of the Atlanta Campaign from the battle of Resaca through the battle of Atlanta, his letters, Company papers, eyeglasses, sword, watch, inkwell, GAR medals and encampment ribbons as well as other Civil War items. His diary is fascinating and is being published it as part of his history.
Also on display were Coursen’s diary of his trip to the 1860 Chicago Republican Convention, his trip out to settle on a farm in Cass County Iowa as well as many original newspapers from the war.
Among the artifacts was an original copy of the Last edition of the Vicksburg newspaper which was printed on wallpaper by Grants troops when they captured the city of Vicksburg. The last weeks of June 1863 saw the Newspaper printed on wallpaper since the besieged town ran out of newsprint.
The Daily Citizen was edited and published at Vicksburg, Mississippi, by J. M. Swords. As the Union siege of the Vicksburg wore on, he ran out of newsprint paper and started using wallpaper from a Vicksburg store.
Swords printed the following dates on Wallpaper: June 16, 18, 20, 27, 30, and July 2, 1863. Each was a single sheet, four columns wide, printed on the back of the wallpaper.
On July 4, Vicksburg surrendered, the publisher fled, the Union forces found the type of the Citizen still standing. They replaced two-thirds of the last column with other matter already in type, added the note quoted below, and started to print a new edition. Evidently, after a few copies (how many is unknown) had been run off, it was noticed that the masthead title was misspelled as "CTIIZEN." The error was corrected, although the other typographical errors were allowed to stand, and the rest of the edition printed. The added paragraph at the lower right hand corner referred to an article at the bottom of the first column where Swords said that Grant had expressed his intention to dine in Vicksburg on the 4th of July. Swords said that he “must get into the city before he dines in it. The way to cook a rabbit is first catch the rabbit”.
JULY 4, 1863 Two days bring about great changes, The banner of the Union floats over Vicksburg. Gen. Grant has "caught the rabbit;" he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner with him. The "Citizen" lives to see it. For the last time it appears on "Wall-paper." No more will it eulogize the luxury of mule-meat and fricasseed kitten - urge Southern warriors to such diet nevermore. This is the last wall-paper edition, and is, excepting this note, from the types as we found them. It will be valuable hereafter as a curiosity.
The newspaper was certified as an original by W B Brown in the early 1900s. Dan also has a copy printed by the Chicago Herald in 1885 which is one of the many copies made after the Civil War.
Dan has recreated the Uniform of his ancestor and wore it to the meeting.