Bedford PA Inquirer

BedfordInquoirerAug61864Bedford PA Inquirer

The Bedford Inquirer (Bedford, PA) was a weekly paper with a Republican political affiliation.  It is known for the number of truly excellent letters written to the paper from soldiers at the front.  I have pulled out and published all of the letters from this paper pertaining to the Siege of Petersburg.  You can see the entire list below (once they are all published by the end of March 2021).

Here is a brief overview of the paper during the Civil War from the excellent Library of Congress Chronicling America site:

The Civil War represented a clear and present danger for Bedford County, located on the Mason-Dixon Line. On January 4, 1861, the Inquirer advised, “Let the People Arm….If you have a gun, get it ready for instant use; If you do not own one, get one as soon as possible.” War coverage in the newspaper was extensive and vivid. Joseph R. Durborrow became editor on April 4, 1862. (In his farewell, the irrepressible Over wrote, “If we have wrongfully offended any during our long connection with the press, we ask for their pardon.” Those rightfully offended presumably could remain so.)

Durborrow handed over management of the Inquirer to a Methodist Episcopal minister, Benjamin Franklin McNeil, on April 1, 1864, and it became McNeil’s sad duty to publish the issue (April 21, 1865), every column black-bordered, reporting Lincoln’s assassination. McNeil penned a heartfelt editorial conveying genuine personal loss. “Once we were permitted to hear him – on the memorable occasion of the Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, and never shall we forget the impression he made on our mind: Never were words better than those uttered….And if any man has been more instrumental than another, in unloosing the fetters of the oppressed, and giving liberty to four millions of American bondsmen, that man is Abraham Lincoln.”