Rare Original Wallpaper Edition of The Daily Citizen of Vicksburg, Mississippi from July, 1863



Rare Original Wallpaper Edition of The Daily Citizen of Vicksburg, Mississippi from July, 1863 – This is a rare, original copy of the famed Vicksburg, wallpaper edition of the Daily Citizen; this copy is a second edition, published with the Union addendum at the bottom right of the paper. This example is completely original and is not one of the mid-1870s, reprint or souvenir editions. The paper is in overall good condition, with some obvious folding creases, but no significant tears or paper loss. The wallpaper side exhibits a strong, original print color. The so-called “news side” exhibits highly readable and strongly defined print.

The Daily Citizen was edited and published at Vicksburg, Mississippi, by J.M. Swords. Like several other Southern newspapers of the Civil War period its stock of newsprint paper became exhausted and the publisher resorted to the use of wallpaper. On this substitute he printed the following known issues: June 16, 18, 20, 27, 30, and July 2, 1863. Each was a single sheet, four columns wide, printed on the back of the wallpaper.

On July 4, Vicksburg surrendered, the publisher fled, and the Union forces found the type of the Citizen still standing. They replaced two-thirds of the last column with other matter already in type, added the note quoted below, and started to print a new edition. Evidently, after a few copies (how many is unknown) had been run off, it was noticed that the masthead title was misspelled as “CTIIZEN.” The error was corrected, although the other typographical errors were allowed to stand, and the rest of the edition printed.

The prophecy contained in the note has been fulfilled. The original copies are treasured, and there have been over 30 reprints of this issue. Since many copies of the reprints exist, they have little monetary value. The genuine originals can be distinguished by the following tests:

Single type page. 9 1/8 inches in width by 16 7/8 inches in length.
Column 1, line 1, title, THE DAILY CITIZEN, or THE DAILY CTIIZEN in capitals, not capitals and lowercase, or capitals and small capitals.
Column 1, line 2, “J.M. Swords,……Proprietor.” Notice the comma (or imperfect dot) and six periods.
Column 1, last line, reads: “Them as they would the portals of hell itself.”
Column 3, line 1, reads: “Yankee News From All Points.”
Column 4, line 1, reads: “tremity of the city. These will be defended.”
Column 4, paragraph 3, line 7, first word is misspelled “Secossion.”
Column 4, article 2, line 2, word 4 is spelled “whisttle.”
Column 4, last article before Note, final word is printed with the quotation mark misplaced, ‘dead’ instead of dead”.
Column 4, Note, line 1, comma following the word “changes” rather than a period.

The Library of Congress has a copy of the original with the misspelled title, as well as a copy with the corrected title, both printed on the same pattern of wallpaper. The Library also has two other copies of the “second edition.” Copies of the “first edition” are reported by the Minnesota Historical Society, the University of Indiana, and by a private collector.


The Vicksburg Daily Citizen, printed on wallpaper, remains one of the best-known curiosities of the Civil War. When Union troops entered the southern stronghold on July 4, 1863, they found the paper ready for printing. Since the editor had long maintained that Vicksburg would never surrender, exuberant northern soldiers re-set the bottom right corner of the paper, inserting an article that announced the Union victory. Lacking other paper, they printed issues on wall paper.

The Union addendum reads, as follows:

July 4, 1863

Two days bring about great changes, The banner of the Union floats over Vicksburg. Gen. Grant has “caught the rabbit:” he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner with him. The “Citizen” lives to see it. For the last time it appears on “Wall-paper.” No more will it eulogize the luxury of mule-meat and fricassed kitten — urge Southern warriors to such diet never-more. This is the last wall-paper edition, and is, excepting this note, from the types as we found them. It will be valuable hereafter as a curiosity.

The Library of Congress reports that this issue of the Daily Citizen became such a popular souvenir item that some 30 different reproductions have been made.