[CIVIL WAR, CONFEDERATE NEWSPAPER]. The Daily Citizen, Vicksburg, Mississippi, J.M. Swords, Proprietor, 2 July 1863.
Folio broadside, 19 x 12 in., PRINTED ON THE BACK OF A SHEET OF PRINTED WALLPAPER (a large brocade pattern in faded red-purple over a scroll in faded rose on a cream background), roman type, four columns text, masthead at top of first column, third column headed "Yankee News from All Points," very tiny losses along original folds, scattered soiling and light stains, top left-hand corner irregularly torn, otherwise in good condition.
THE LAST CONFEDERATE-PRINTED EDITION OF THE VICKSBURG DAILY CITIZEN
The Union blockade of the Confederacy and Grant's long siege of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg had made paper unobtainable in Vicksburg and as early as June 16 the enterprising Swords, publisher of Vicksburg's Daily Citizen, had resorted to printing on the blank sides of sheets of wallpaper. (He is also likely to have curtaiiled the print run, to conserve paper.) By July 2nd, after prolonged bombardment, the siege was manifestly nearing its inevitable end. But there is no palpable hint of this in the paper printed by Swords that day, which remains jaunty, spirited and defiantly rebel in its sympathies.
The July 2 Daily Citizen is best known for a famous piece of sarcasm, in a small note at the foot of column 2: "ON DIT. -- That the great Ulysses--the Yankee Generalissimo, surnamed Grant--has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg on Saturday next, and celebrating the 4th of July by a grand dinner and so forth. When asked if he would invite Gen. Jo. Johnston to join he said, 'No! for fear there will be a row at the table.' Ulysses must get into the city before he dines in it. The way to cook a rabbit is 'first catch the rabbit,' etc." This passage provoked a famous response from the Union soldiers who finally occupied the town on 4 July after Confederate General Pemberton's surrender. Finding the type for Swords' July 2 issue still locked up in the press, the Federals re-set the bottom 14 lines in the fourth column, adding the following note, dated 4 July: "Two days bring about great changes. The banner of the Union floats over Vicksburg. Gen. Grant has 'caught the rabbit,' and he did bring his dinner with him....This is the last wallpaper edition, and is, excepting this note, from the types as we found them. It will be valuable hereafter as a curiosity." And indeed, it appears that many did covet the Union-printed wallpaper issue as a souvenir, for the July 4 issue is by no means rare and has been the subject of myriad typographic facsimiles (see Library of Congress, Periodical Division, Information Circular 3, n.d.).
But paradoxically, the genuine Confederate-printed issues of the Daily Citizen were most probably printed in severely limited numbers and are therefore exeedingly rare. The two Confederate issues, perhaps printed only hours apart, may be distinguished as follows:
Probable first issue (the present): column four continues assorted "Yankee News" with a long notice of "An Immense Train of Negros" (reported from New Orleans, 30 June), news of a devastating fire at "The Bowman House" (a prominent Jackson, Mississippi hotel) and a brief notice: "A gentleman who recently passed the Federal lines says the Democratic ladies of New York have gotten up a magnificent sword, at a cost of twelve hundred dollars, intended as a present to Gen. Lee. It will be sent to Richmond by some underground railroad."
Probable second issue: column four has dropped notice of the "Immense Train"; new text comprises a squib about the marriage of two African-American denizens of Vicksburg "mid the din and clash of arms," a humorous piece on a "venerable feline" killed and cooked in a stew, notice of the replacement of General McClernand, sickness among the Yankee troops, and the demise of the National Intelligencer of Washington. It is this setting which remained on the press when the Union forces took over Vicksburg on 4 July.