Special Report

How Newspapers Reported the Civil War

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

(Newseum Archives)

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper

Frank Leslies Illustrated Newspaper
(Newseum Archives)

Lincoln’s election was the final trigger for secession, and Jefferson Davis became president of the Confederate States of America. Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, based in New York City, printed a woodblock engraving of Davis addressing the citizens of Montgomery, Alabama, from the balcony of the Exchange Hotel on February 16, 1861, two days before his inauguration. The illustrator depicted men waving their top hats in jubilation on the ground, while overhead, two other men, presumably slaves, perched on narrow pedestals and held candlesticks to cast light on Davis’ face.


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