War of the Rebellion: Serial 076 Page 0376 THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN. Chapter L.

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STATION OBSERVATION, August 5, 1864.

Captain A. K. TAYLOR,

Acting Signal Officer, Twentieth Army Corps:

CAPTAIN: Directly south from here can see men at work on a fort. Twenty degrees east of south is a fort with embrasures fallen in on sides. This is in front of Twentieth Army Corps, and from this point to southeast along same front every few men can be seen in the enemy's works. Can see no movements of troops.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. W. HOPKINS,

First Lieutenant and Acting Signal Officer.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., August 5, 1864.

General THOMAS,

Commanding Department of the Cumberland:

GENERAL: General Milroy's letter of July 26, with your indorsement, is now before me. He asks to suppress the sale and circulation in his district of certain mischievous and treasonable newspapers, and transmits certain slips as proof of the mischievous tendency of their contents. I have no objection whatever, but in human nature there is so much of the mule left that prohibition of a newspaper increases its circulation. So long as the freedom of the press is one of the foundation stones of our Government, I think we must allow it to work out its solution, the reduction ad absurdum o the mathematician. It has been the chief cause of this horrid war. It has undermined all that was good and generous and magnanimous in the character of the American people. It has made false issues, it has kindled the wildest passions and kept them alive, till reason no longer even pretends to enter into our national affairs. It has cost us two thousand millions of dollars, has destroyed half a million of the finest young men of our country, and filled the land from Maine to Louisiana with widows and cripples, yet it is insatiate. It claims to be a power above Government, feeds upon slander and falsehood, and perfectly revels in murder and blood-shed. Yet you and I, with our large and well appointed armies, can neither check no control it. The suppression of the few mentioned by General Milroy would be like damming a few of the tributaries of the Kanawha to stop the flood of the Mississippi. If General Milroy finds anybody selling mischievous mater within the sphere of his authority he might give him a good sound thrashing or put him in the stocks, but he cannot reach the editors who make money in New York or Chicago or Louisville by pandering to the tastes of certain cliques. My own opinion is that the freedom of the press to publish mischievous political matter, personal slander, and libel, and garbled statements of facts, like freedom of speech, can only be regulated by wise statute laws or by the laws of nature. As the press has now more power than the Congress, that makes our laws, we are now going through the expensive nature progress which will result in no law at all, but every man will defend his own property and reputation by the knife and pistol, and it is probable it will produce the result which history demonstrates in other similar cases, that the people will discover that it is better to curtail the liberty of the press as well as the liberty of speech, and devise