Amid an intensifying conflict 150 years ago, calls arose in the summer of 1864 in the North for newspapers to refrain from publishing rumors of troop movements, whether by Confederate or Union soldiers. As The Evening Star of Washington, D.C., noted on its front page July 27, 1864: "There are many wild reports to-day and to-night" and most were believed to be "unfounded." An accompanying dispatch by The Associated Press reported on the hardships of obtaining verified war details. "It is extremely difficult to obtain any authentic information relative to affairs on the Upper Potomac, and rebel movements in the (Shenandoah) Valley" of Virginia, AP noted. "By far the greater part of the rumors and even positive statements hourly put in circulation here are evidently false, and therefore not worth repeating," the dispatch added. But big news still got through that week as AP reported that Sherman's Union force was pressing in a "grand movement upon Atlanta," a major Union objective in the Deep South.
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