How Newspapers Reported the Civil War- page 5 | History | Smithsonian
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Special Report
(Newseum Archives)

How Newspapers Reported the Civil War

A collection of historic front pages shows how civilians experienced and read about the war

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Cleveland Plain Dealer
(Newseum Archives)

On December 24, 1861, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a political cartoon on its front page. “The Confederate Government in Motion” shows a rolling crocodile labeled “Davis’s Great Moving Circus” carrying five seated men. “Satire was big at this stage,” says Christoffersen. “The implication of this cartoon seems to be that the Confederacy was on the run.” In truth, it had relocated its capital from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, not to Nashville.

(Southern cartoonists took jabs at the North as well. The National Portrait Gallery is displaying rare caricatures of Lincoln by Adalbert J. Volck of Baltimore through January 21, 2013.)

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