The News Media and the Making of America, 1730-1865

The Southern Illustrated News




Before the Civil War, Southerners were also consuming the popular Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. After the commencement of the war, however, readers in the Confederate states were cut off from these papers. In order to fulfill the demand for an illustrated weekly in the South, the Southern Illustrated News began on September 13, 1862, in Richmond, Virginia. Despite sporadic interruptions, it lasted until September 3, 1865.

The paper didn’t have access to the most skilled artists or wood engravers, as is evident in the low number of actual illustrations in the newspaper (the only one in this issue is on the front page), the quality of those that did appear, and in the paper’s continuous call for new engravers. Nevertheless, it managed to put out a passable publication with some illustrations of the war, Southern life, notable Confederates, and newsworthy events.

This July 25, 1863, issue includes a cover profile of General William W. Loring (1818-86), poems and fiction, historical and lifestyle tidbits, book reviews, advertisements, and an account of the battle at Gettysburg. Furthermore, never fully isolated from the Northern press, on page 19 is a response to Harper’s Weekly’s famous “A Typical Negro” article. It gives a summary and excerpts from the article, ending with the conclusion, “A more palpable falsehood was never published in any Yankee paper.” 

Click the image below to browse the full issue.


The Southern Illustrated News




July 25, 1863


Ayres & Wade


Richmond, Va.


42 cm.


“The Southern Illustrated News,” The News Media and the Making of America, 1730-1865, accessed December 9, 2023,