How Newspapers Reported the Civil War
A collection of historic front pages shows how civilians experienced and read about the war
- By Jeanne Maglaty
- Smithsonian.com, January 10, 2012
Mid-war, in 1862, sketch artist Thomas Nast joined Harper’s, which was selling for the war-inflated price of six cents an issue. Nast, who later gained fame for his bold caricatures of such politicians as Boss Tweed, drew an elaborate two-page triptych, “The Press in the Field,” published April 30, 1864. The center panel shows a correspondent on horseback talking to soldiers back from battle. A bearded man (possibly Nast himself) sits atop the left panel holding a sketchpad. Below him a correspondent interviews emancipated slaves while an artist records the scene. At right the correspondent interviews another man.