Celebrate the Expected Capture of Richmond with a New Stove!

I found this humorous newspaper article while searching through historic Vermont newspapers. Burlington entrepreneur J.B. Wardell hoped to cash in on the public’s joy at what he anticipated to be the end of the Civil War by attaching that jubilation to his products. “As Gen. Grant is about to close up the campaign in Virginia, and with it this wicked rebellion, the subscriber respectfully informs the good people in this vicinity that he is prepared to show them one of the best assortments of Goods in his line to be found in this town.” Fuel for the fire of those who want to denounce Yankeeism, I suppose.

It should be noted that Wardell’s advertisement jumped the gun. he apparently wrote it during the latter stages of the Overland Campaign, as the Union army indeed drew close to Richmond before turning south to Petersburg. I found it in the Bennington Banner issue of June 23, 1864, an infamous date in the Sixth Corps’ Vermont Brigade. Several battalions from the 4th Vermont Infantry and 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery were isolated on picket duty that day. Their lines stretched toward the Petersburg & Weldon Railroad. An unanticipated Confederate attack overran the position, and gobbled a sizable number of prisoners.

2 Responses to Celebrate the Expected Capture of Richmond with a New Stove!

  1. Yes, those ads in Civil War papers make very entertaining reading. It’s interesting that stove salesman J.B. Wardell’s trusty “old establishment in Bennington Center” does not list its prices and relies instead on associating his business with the anticipated success of Grant’s Overland Campaign. As a one-time ad copy writer, I say that’s a risky advertising strategy! Speaking of the fall or Richmond, I wonder if any enterprising Northern business owners ran similar ads prognosticating McClellan’s taking Richmond on his long 1862 Peninsula Campaign, which was launched by sea this month?

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