The ultimate insult – He’s a Pennsylvanian!
Library of Congress
The Richmond Daily Dispatch was among the more vitriolic and controversial Southern newspapers during the Civil War. The staff often repeated stories lifted directly from other papers, or repeated rumors heard in the streets of Richmond from sources that were not always reliable. Exaggerations, rumors and half-truths can all be found in their pages during the war, many of which can now be read on-line. Many Northern newspapers were equally bad (or worse in terms of what later was termed “yellow journalism”), and the Southern papers often took special delight in mocking their Yankee counterparts.
One thing the staff certainly was good at was trash-talking the Yankees and all things related to the North. On Saturday morning, July 11, 1863, shortly after the Battle of Gettysburg, the paper took sarcastic aim at Pennsylvanians, in relation to one of York County’s more notable visitors, Major General Jubal Anderson Early, who captured the town of York and ransomed it.
The Daily Dispatch.
Saturday morning, July 11, 1863.
Gen Jubal A Early.
The Yankee newspapers say that this gallant officer is a native of Pennsylvania, and brand him as a traitor for plunging his wool in the bowels of his native land. This is wrong and no doubt the writers knew it. Gen Early was born in the county of Franklin, in this State, and has lived in it all his life. He has not the smallest tainted drop of Yankee blood in his whole composition. His father and mother, and his grandfathers and grandmothers, before him, were all Virginians. None of his forefathers ever lived anywhere else since the first of them came from England.
Gen. Early is a graduate of West Point and served with honor through the Florida war. At the conclusion of that war he resigned, but for several years represented his county in the Legislature. When Virginia was called to provide a regiment to serve in the Mexican War, he was appointed Major by Governor Smith. He has several times since been in the Legislature, and was in the Convention which decreed the secession of Virginia. He that measure to the last, but, as soon as was consummated, he announced his purpose to devote himself to the cause of his State. From that time forward his history is the history of the Southern Confederacy. He himself by his undaunted courage in the battle of Manassas, and at Williamsburg, where he was so badly wounded he could not participate in the battles around Richmond. Recovering, he was in the battles of Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and in all the battles. He has at all times been distinguished alike for cool courage and impetuous gallantry — a rare combination and is one of the best soldiers in the way. He is, moreover, a man of high character and high integrity, traits that certainly do not indicate a Pennsylvania origin.
The Yankee abhor Gen. Early because he laid consideration on some of the towns of Pennsylvania [including York, of course!]. The scoundrel! They choose not to remember what their own thieves have been losing in Virginia and elsewhere, how many houses, mills, barns, and towns, they have robbed, how many crops they have destroyed, how many cattle, sheep, and horses, they have stolen. What a warfare of plunder they have waged. All we regret is that Gen. Early did not deal more with them. They have taken a characteristic revenge, none so deep as that of being called a Yankee, and of all others, a Pennsylvania Yankee. We have no doubt Gen. Early felt it deeply.