Civil War Legacies

Authenticating a “First Edition” copy of the Vicksburg Daily Citizen

Vicksburg Daily Citizen

The Vicksburg Daily Citizen, printed on wallpaper, remains one of the best-known curiosities of the Civil War. When Union troops entered the southern stronghold on July 4, 1863, they found the paper ready for printing. Since the editor had long maintained that Vicksburg would never surrender, exuberant northern soldiers re-set the bottom right corner of the paper, inserting an article that announced the Union victory. Lacking other paper, they printed issues on wall paper.

The Library of Congress reports that this issue of the Daily Citizenbecame such a popular souvenir item that some 30 different reproductions have been made.

The copy at the George A. Smathers Library, UF, was donated by William and Sue Goza in 1998. But is it an original or a later reproduction?

Originals can be . . .

  • Single type page, 9 1/8 inches in width by 16 7/8 inches in length.
  • Column 1, line 1, title, THE DAILY CITIZEN, or THE DAILY CTIIZEN in capitals, not capitals and lowercase, or capitals and small capitals.
  • Column 1, line 2, J.M. Swords,......Proprietor (with a comma (or imperfect dot) and six periods.
  • Column 1, last line, reads: them as they would the portals of hell itself.
  • Column 3, line 1, reads: Yankee News From All Points.
  • Column 4, line 1, reads: tremity of the city. These will be defended.
  • Column 4, paragraph 3, line 7, first word is misspelled "Secossion." Column 4, article 2, line 2, word 4 is spelled "whisttle."
  • Column 4, last article before NOTE, final word is printed with the quotation mark misplaced, dead' instead of dead.’
  • Column 4, NOTE, line 1, comma following the word "changes" rather than a period.

The Library of Congress has a copy of the original with the misspelled title, as well as a copy with the corrected title, both printed on the same pattern of wallpaper. The Library also has two other copies of the "second edition." Copies of the "first edition" are reported by the Minnesota Historical Society, the University of Indiana, and by a private collector.

Watch the PBS video of Antiques Roadshow featuring the Vicksburg Daily Citizen