Richmond Whig, 1/9/1863

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From the Richmond Whig, 1/9/1863, p. 1, c. 5

SHOW YOUR PAPERS! – Citizens “of conscription age” have at length had the horrors of war brought home to their own doors; or at least, if they venture a few steps outside their doors they find themselves surrounded by fearful bayonets and in danger of being carried off into captivity, with a pleasing prospect of eleven dollars a month and rations of bread and beef. Men of war are posted at the street corners, at hotel entrances, at the theatres, at ever pubic place, and as the citizen comes along, intent upon business or pleasure, he is saluted with a peremptory “Halt! Show you papers!” and if he can’t produce them, off he goes to the rendezvous of patriots to receive the first lessons in the are of serving his country. Thus “papers” have become quite an important item in the affairs of me, and woe be to him who has failed to secure this evidence of his right to stay at home. Yesterday morning, two individuals claiming the protection of some European Consul, were crossing the narrow foot bridge at Eighth st., escorting a lady, when they encountered the inevitable bayonets and received the usual order. The lady instantly began searching her porte monuaie, doubtless under the impression that it was a demand for toll, when the gallant corporal interrupted her – “Not you , madam; we don’t want you; only these men.” One of the “furriners” produced his certificate and went on, but the other, notwithstanding his protest that he had one just like it at home, was compelled to go on with the soldiers. An humble colporteur, with basket on his arm, came along at the moment and presented a tract and his passport. “That’s all right,” said the corporal of the guard. Numerous other instances might be noted, but we have said enough to show the necessity of every man’s having his free papers in his pocket whenever he goes abroad.

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