The Price of Shoes
160 years ago, The Compiler was a small but excellently crafted newspaper. Its frontpage news was often days old, yet for a provincial journal in the late 19th Century, it reported the nations’ news with impressive speed
Reading the issue of June 19, 1863, one learns much about the era.
“The prospects of the Democratic Party were never brighter than they are at present.” A Republican from Illinois was President currently.
The advertisements were what drew many readers to the publication. Like ads for the Excelsior washing machine selling for a whopping 8 bucks, or the nickel sacks of horehounds that were purported to cure bronchitis as much as a case of the sweet tooth.
There was also an ad aimed at gentlemen placed by the R. F. McIlheny Company: BOOTS AND SHOES comprising Men’s fine calf boots, Men’s Balmorals, Men’s Wellington Ties, Congress Gaiters, Brogans.
It was this ad that attracted the attention of three Confederate generals, Ambrose Hill, Henry Heth, and Johnston Pettigrew. Hill was in charge of the entire Third Corps; Heth and Pettigrew were two division generals serving under him. The reason this particular ad intrigued the Confederate brass was that much of the Third Corps, after long months of fighting, were now marching barefoot. They desperately needed footwear, and now they knew where to find it.