1863 June 27: The News from Pennsylvania
The Polk County Press of June 27, 1863, had two columns titled “The News.” The majority talks about the Gettysburg Campaign, although they did not know that at the time.
The situation in the East affords still an ample ground for conjecture. It seems certain, however, that Pennsylvania was more scared than hurt, and, as a permanent result, more admonished than either. Dispatches from Washington locate the main body of Lee’s force [Robert E. Lee] still in Virginia, where it is not unlikely he may prefer to remain, unless attacked, to secure the noble harvests now ripening in that region. But the danger to Maryland and Baltimore by his present position stands confessed, and vigorous preparations are making by our officers to rend every thing secure. Not only do the dispatches differ as to Lee’s location, but as to the number of his army, one account giving him only 20,000 men, while others estimate it at from 90 to 100,000. The authorities, we notice, think it safet to provide against the outside figure named.
We go to press to day (Friday) without having received any authentic news from the seat of war. The St. Paul dalies [sic] are filled with exagerated [sic] rumors, upon which not much reliance can be placed. It seems by all reports, that the rebel army under LEE and his generals are in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and that Baltimore and Harrisburg are both seriously threatened. The town of Shippensburg fifty-six miles from Harrisburg was occupied by rebel cavalry on the 22d inst., and the whole division of the rebel Gen. EWELL [Richard S. Ewell], was moving towards Pennsylvania’s capitol. The people are responding to the call of the Governor, and vigorous preparations are being made to repel the invaders. Meanwhile Gen. HOOKER’S [Joseph Hooker] whole army is on the move and ere many days will give LEE battle to his heart’s content. It is also stated that LEE with two divisions of his army is moving on Pittsburg [sic], where the greatest excitement prevails.—Men are rushing to arms throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and all appearances indicate that the rebel leader is getting into a warm climate. If we mistake not, he will soon have a foretaste of what awaits him in “the hereafter.” “And there shall be fire and brimstone” and that too, showered upon the devoted heads of the rebel hounds which are thus poluting [sic] free soil.
Advices from Gen. BANKS [Nathaniel P. Banks] are also favorable. He had demanded the surrender of Port Hudson, which being refused, had led to a battle, in which he was successful.