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The following notice from the Secretary of War to newspaper correspondents is timely and appropriate. War is a new thing to us all — especially such a war as that now in progress. It is natural enough that in its incipiency there should be such acts of indiscretion in the press, and such mistakes in crediting false rumors, as inexperience in such a war would occasion. We have, however, had some experience, and the mistakes and indiscretions of the past should be a warning for the future. There is a decided change for the better already perceivable, and we are sure the dignified and gentlemanly appeal of the honorable Secretary of War will have the effect of inducing the press to be still more guarded in what it has to say about preparations and events: Confederate States of America, War Department, Richmond, July 1, 1861. To Newspaper Correspondents: Gentlemen:--While I have not withheld permission from any of the representatives of the press to visit the camps in Virginia, and while I am as much the uncompromising advocate of an unshackled press as I am of the freedom of speech, and of the Independence of the Confederate States, yet I have thought it proper, under existing circumstances, to make an appeal to you to forbear from the transmission and publication of such intelligence as might be detrimental to the great cause in which we all feel so deep an interest. You are a ware of the great amount of valuable information obtained by us through the mediam of the enterprising journals of the North; and we may derive profit from their example by a discriminating and judicious reserve in communications for the Southern journals. It must be obvious that statements of strength, or of weakness, at any of the points in the vicinity of the enemy, when reproduced in the North, as they would be in spits of all the vigilance in our power, would warn them of danger to themselves, or invite an attack upon us; and, in like manner, any statements of the magnitude of batteries, of the quantity and quality of arms or of ammunition, of movements in progress or in supposed contemplation, of the condition of troops, of the Comminearist, &c., might be fraught with essential injury to the service. To gentlemen of intelligence and of unquestionable loyalty to the cause of the Confederate States, I do not deem it necessary to be more explicit; nor can I doubt for a moment that you will appreciate my motives in making this frank appeal to your patriotism and discretion. L. P. Walker, Secretary of War.
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