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In Their Own Words

May 19, 1864

Reaction to Civil War Newspaper Coverage

In light of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s continuing retreats in the face of General William T. Sherman, the Atlanta Intelligencer carried the following commentary on public reactions to the newspaper’s effort to paint a positive picture of the Atlanta Campaign:

“We are stopped daily on the street, almost at every step, by people who anxiously inquire the news. A large number of these quidnuncs wear the longest faces they can put on, and their pallid looks would lead one unacquainted with them to suppose they had lost their dearest and best friend, or perhaps a whole family of friends. They cry in our ears a most dismal cry. Some of them say to us: ‘Why do you publish such flattering opinions about the situation? You know as well as I do that Johnston is falling back, and that Atlanta is threatened. You are misleading the people by holding out to them hopes which will be dashed to the ground. Johnston is being outflanked up there and we are losing ground that will never be regained.’”

Source: Source: Franklin Garrett, Atlanta and Environs: A Chronicle of Its people and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), Vol. I., p. 589.