The new year brought much the same story as the old. The battles at Stone's River and Fredericksburg still commanded much space. Letters from soldier correspondents were beginning to reach hometown newspapers and the sad lists of dead and injured brought much sadness to the reader. The war had long before became an all consuming feature of nearly every American’s life. The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation vied for space with the battles and casualty lists. The following is some of the “Other News” that did find its way into print.
The January 22 issue of The Highland Weekly News, (Hillsborough,Ohio) belatedly reports of the admission of “Western” Virginia on January 1, giving some particulars of admittance.
Forty-eight counties of Virginia constitute the new state,which, in 1860 had a population of 350,000, including 13,000 slaves. All children born of slave parents after March 4, 1863 are declared free, and all under 10 years of age to be free at 25,no slave hereafter to come into the state for permanent residence.
|Flag of the First Regiment, West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Infantry|
The paper did indicate the wrong date for newborns to be considered free as it was actually July 4, 1863 and the date it was signed into law was December 31, 1862. **Thus West Virginia would soon join Kentucky, Delaware, Maryland, and Missouri as a slave state in the Union. Gradual emancipation is mandated however. The state did not technically receive statehood at the time this was written. It is reporting that Abraham Lincoln had signed the statehood bill into law. A vote of the citizens on March 26, 1863 approved the bill and West Virginia officially entered the Union on June 20, 1863.
This paper also informs its readers that a new bridge being built across the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky will cost $500,000 and take 15 to 18 months to complete. 
The New York Daily Tribune (extra edition) describes the arrest of a man for the assault of another:
A man named James Dalton was arrested yesterday, charged with assaulting Daniel Scott, at the residence of the latter, No. 159 South Second Street. It appeared upon an examination, that the parties were engaged in a fight, and that the accused bit Scott's nose completely off. He was held to answer. This occurred in Brooklyn, and it was front page material. 
The Tiffin Weekly Tribune (Tiffin, Ohio) on January 2 issues a call for firewood, by offer and by warning:
Wood or Money!
Those subscribers who promised to bring us wood in pay for the Tribune will have to bring it in soon, or we will be obliged to pay out money for wood, and of course will require pay in money. Now is a good time for those who have not yet taken our paper, to fetch us a load of good wood,and we will send them the Tribune for one year. We are entirely out of wood-- the last stick is in the stove-- so don't let us freeze.
The Richmond (Virginia) Daily Dispatch of January 16 tells of an Illinois soldier, a deserter, foiled in his flight toward home: via The Louisville Journal
An Illinois soldier deserted from his regiment in Kentucky, and, forging a pass,succeeded in passing the guards at this city, and arrived in New Albany on Wednesday as a paroled prisoner. There, however, as we learn from the Ledger, he was overhauled by the Provost Guard and asked for his pass. “I've got a parole sir,” he replied to the guard, “here it is” showing him the forged document, which was signed “ Curby Smith”.The guard carefully examined it, then turning upon the sucker he said: “No you don't, old fellow; that parole is humbug. Kirby Smith has pretty much quit spelling his name Curby.” Illinois [acknowledged] the corn and said he had paid ten dollars for the parole, but thought the man who wrote it knew how to spell Kirby Smith's name.-- He was sent to the barracks in this city.
The Dispatch also gives a bit of good news in the city:
On Wednesday, about 2 o'clock, as a small lad named George Burgess, aged five years, was playing hide-and-seek on the premises of Mr. Geo. L. Earnest, on 25th Street,Union Hill, the boards covering an old well on which he happened to be standing, gave way, and precipitated him to the bottom, a distance of thirty feet. In his descent he fell against and broke a stout scantling placed across the middle of the well. The water was five feet deep,but by some means he managed to secure a foot hold and just keep his head above water. The occurrence caused a large and excited crowd to assemble, none of whom volunteered to rescue the lad,till a small boy named Jimmy Wright appeared, and generously offered to undertake it. A rope being secured to a bucket he was let down and he soon appeared [at the] top with Burgess, a fellow passenger. He was not only thanked, but rewarded by the overjoyed parents of the imperiled lad.
The January 8 edition of the Fayetteville Observer (Tennessee) reported a smallpox outbreak at Chattanooga and some east Tennessee counties. The paper urges the city officials of Fayetteville to implement vaccination, to “render it comparatively harmless” should the disease reach their city.
And from across the waves, Punch gives this conversation from “Spirit- Land” in the January 10 issue. This accompanied a short sketch of a longer conversation between the ghosts of George Washington and King George III discussing the“revolution in America”.
And as always...
|Partial list of 2nd Corps soldiers who died in hospital near Falmouth, Virginia. Dateline January 4, 1863|
|From Washington, Dateline January 6, 1863|
1- The Highland Weekly News, January 22, 1862, page 1 column 2 http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov
2- Ibid, page 2 column 3
3- The New York Daily Tribune, January 2, 1863, page 1, column 2. Library of Congress, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov
4- The Tiffin Weekly Tribune, January 2, 1863, page 3 column 2, Library of Congress,http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87076793/1863-01-02/ed-1/seq-1/
5-The Richmond Daily Dispatch,January 16, 1863, http://dlxs.richmond.edu/d/ddr/browse.html
6- The Fayetteville Observer, January 8, 1863, page 2, column 1. Library of Congress, http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85033395/1863-01-08/ed-1/seq-2/
7- Punch, January 10, 1863, volume 44, page 15 http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015055217163;page=root;seq=25;view=2up;size=100;orient=0;num=3#page/14/mode/2up
**From West Virginia Division of Culture and History, West Virginia Archives and History at http://www.wvculture.org/history/statehoo.html
Flag of the First Regiment West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Infantry, from http://www.wvculture.org/agency/press/battleflags.html
Casualty Lists from Library of Congress, Chronicling America Collection
New York Daily Tribune, January 7, page 3, column 2, Second Army Corps, near Falmouth, Virginia http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030213/1863-01-07/ed-1/seq-3/
New York Daily Tribune, January 8, 1863, page 3, column 6, from Washington,