One hundred-fifty years ago today: Even as the Confederate Army was swarming around central Pennsylvania on June 24, 1863—six days before the conflagration at Gettysburg—the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot & Union newspaper found a little time to parody President Lincoln and his unappreciative Union generals.
WASINGTON, June 24 — Abraham Lincoln was arrested by Gen. Burnside this afternoon, on a charge of treason. The offense is, that he gives aid and comfort to the enemy by sleeping with a relative of General Todd, of the rebel army. He applied for a writ of habeas corpus, but the court was out of that kind of blanks. The President says that the impudence of shoulder-strapped upstarts, who don’t even know which is the front end of a flatboat, is becoming unbearable. This will subject him to another arrest.
The relative in question was, of course, Mary Todd Lincoln, the president’s wife. And just to alleviate any confusion, none of that ever happened…
Elsewhere in that edition of the newspaper, however, things are not so chipper.
Communication between this city and Chambersburg, we learn, was cut off about 12 o’clock on Tuesday, (yesterday,) and we have since heard from what ought to be good authority, that the enemy entered the latter place some time during the forenoon in force — our informant said variously estimated at from 5,000 to 15,000. If this is so, and his intention is to come this way, we may expect visit from him in the course of the day, probably before noon.
As it turned out, Johnny Reb was not heading for Harrisburg, but a crossroads well to the southwest. A little town named Gettysburg.