The Acquisitions Table: The News-Letter

The News-Letter (Otterville, Missouri). Jan. 27, 1862. Vol. 1, no. 1.
Newspapers published by Civil War regiments are scarce. One scarce genre of newspapers is Civil War regiment publications. Sometimes a regiment had printing equipment at a fort or took over a printing office at an occupied town and produced its own newspaper for the amusement of the troops. Often the only issues known survive because someone sent one home as a souvenir. Last year we acquired a rare camp newspaper from Otterville, Missouri called The First Division Proclamation, published by an Illinois regiment. I was surprised to find this second camp newspaper published at Otterville at the same time, but by an Indiana regiment. It is an unrecorded title not listed in the standard references or OCLC. The News-Letter was published by J.K. Davisson of the 24th Indiana Volunteers. The printing is a bit crude, but that is to be expected of a camp publication. It has two poems, some camp news, a humorous piece about camp etiquette, jokes, and camp gossip. One piece mentions two other camp newspapers being printed at the same time. One is the First Division Proclamation mentioned above and the other is the War-Eagle,only a few examples of which are owned, printed by a separate Illinois regiment. The News-Letter is printed on blue ruled ledger paper with the inside blank as space for a soldier to write a letter. In this copy, William Smith wrote a letter home to Indiana telling his brothers they should not enlist.

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