On Sept. 2, 1862, readers of the Democratic Banner were confronted with the news of another major Union defeat in Virginia: The Second Battle of Bull Run.
The problem, as was so often the case in the Civil War, was that the dispatches which the Banner had to publish were incomplete or inaccurate.
The Banner told its readers: “The war news we publish this week is of the most startling and alarming character! It seems that although the army of Gen. McClellan reached the Rappahannock in safety and there joined the forces of Pope, yet at the same time the rebels, by a bold and successful dash, came around in front, took Manassas, Centreville and Vienna — the latter place being only 12 miles from Washington! — Indeed a large body of the rebel army has managed to get right between McClellan’s and Pope’s forces and the city of Washington! We presume the object of the rebels is to make an attack upon Washington; but they have probably undertaken more than they can accomplish. It is more likely they have placed themselves in a trap from which it will be difficult to escape. In a day or two the great problem of the war will be solved. May God defend the right!”
Elsewhere in the paper were two dispatches, one supposedly written by Gen. Pope about events of the 29th.
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