“Hrmph,” had been the extent of what John McClanahan had said in the last fifteen minutes. And, near as his reporters and editors could tell, it was said in response to his glass being empty.
As McClanahan turned to pour himself another drink, the men in his office glanced nervously at each other. Their publisher was known for his drinking, but this was, quite literally, a matter of life or death.
“You hear what we said, John? The Union’s on its way here, right now. And the Appeal is the most xenophobic, pro-Confederate paper in three states! They’ll kill us all!”
McClanahan snarled as the amber liquor rose to the top of his glass, then spilled over. He swore, profusely.
“God’s sake, man, what are we going to do?”
Suddenly, McClanahan pitched the glass across the room, shattering it on the back wall.
“Pack up the press and the plates. We’re taking the paper on the road.” he growled at them. “Let’s see just how bad they want us.”
“But what if they keep coming?”
McClanahan smiled, carefully pouring himself another drink, “Then we’ll keep running ‘til they get bored, they kill us, or we run out of ink!”
John Reid McClanahan was a man of singular vision, and profusion of drink. He was the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of the Appeal. The Appeal was one of the most important papers in the South during the Civil War. It was defiantly Confederate, and once ousted from Memphis, crisscrossed the South fleeing from a city after city days before they fell to Union forces. And, yes, it is the grandfather to the still running Commercial Appeal.