Among privations endured in Texas during the Civil War (1861-65) was the shortage of newspapers, which dwindled from 82 (combined circulation: 100,000) to fewer than 20 by early 1862. Many newspapermen had closed shop and enlisted at once, when the war began. Others were forced to quit for lack of ink and paper, available only through Mexico or the blockaded Gulf Coast. A good pre-war paper had four 5-column pages, but many wartime issues were limited to half a page, printed on bill forms, wallpaper, tissue, straw paper, or brown wrapping paper. State subsidies for paper making resulted in very little production. Citizens made ink substitutes, but in very small quantities.
To get news, editors copied months' old letters or clippings from soldiers or blockade runners. The "Texas Republican" (Marshall) led in coverage, as it had the use of army telegraph items. The "State Gazette" (Austin) kept a pony express rider at the Brenham railhead to bring in Houston papers only 18 hours old. The Houston "Telegraph" had a staffer with the army, and shared with the Galveston "News" the expenses of a courier to and from Virginia—who also carried family and Confederate mail when slipping through Federal lines to cross the Mississippi.