Ohio History Journal




Newspapers in Battle: The Dayton

Empire and the Dayton Journal

During the Civil War


Throughout the Civil War, as Union armies fought and bled,

Northern newspapers opposing and supporting the Lincoln adminis-

tration engaged in a war of words that sometimes triggered violence on

the home front. Especially in the Middle West the Peace Democrats, or

Copperheads as these ultra-conservative Democrats came to be known,

employed the press for a continuing assault on Lincoln and his

policies.1 Damning the administration as a military despotism that had

illegally used coercion to stay secession and that was suppressing civil

liberties in the guise of patriotism were editors of such copperhead

organs as the Chicago Times, the Detroit Free Press and the Indiana-

polis State Sentinel.2 Calling the Copperheads traitors and defending

the administration were editors of numerous Republican journals-the

Chicago Tribune, the Cincinnati Commercial and the Indianapolis





Carl M. Becker is Professor of History at Wright State University.


1. Because Republicans believed or wanted voters to believe that the Peace Demo-

crats were traitors, they began early in the war to label them as Copperheads to denote

snake-like qualities. Copperheads would sometimes identify themselves as such by

wearing on their lapel an Indian head cut from a copper penny. Another term used to

describe Copperheads was "Butternut." More specifically, it referred to poor farmers in

the border states and in the southern parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois who colored

their outer garments with the brown dye of the butternut, the fruit of the white walnut

tree, and who were usually Peace Democrats. For the origin of the use of "Butternut"

and "Copperhead," see Albert Matthews, "Origin of Butternut and Copperhead,"

Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, XX (1918), 205-37.

2. The best account of the activities of Copperhead editors in the Middle West and of

the Copperhead movement there is Frank L. Klement, The Copperheads in the Middle

West (Chicago, 1960). Also useful is Frank L. Klement, The Limits of Dissent: Clement

L. Vallandigham and the Civil War (Lexington, Kentucky, 1970). For studies of

newspapers and journalists during the Civil War, see Louis Starr, Bohemian Brigade

(New York, 1954); Bernard Weisberger, Reporters for the Union (Boston, 1953); and

Robert S. Harper, The Ohio Press in the Civil War (Columbus, 1961). More general

studies worth consulting are Frank L. Mott, American Journalism (New York, 1950) and

Edwin Emery, The Press and America (Englewood Cliffs, 1954).


30                                                 OHIO HISTORY

Journal, to name a few. For these newspapers and many others,

Copperhead and Republican editors, their pens dripping with vitriol,

turned out column after column of poisonous print as they scored or

defended Republican policies. Within the same city and from city to

city, they hurled epithets at one another in the name of virtue and

patriotism. Certainly one of the more acrimonious conflicts took place

in Dayton, Ohio, where the Dayton Daily Empire and the Dayton Daily

Journal almost literally battled each other to death and destruction.

A small but growing city of 20,000 people, Dayton was in various

respects an inevitable focal point for a confrontation between Copper-

heads and Republicans. In the opening months of the war, Dayton

Copperheads insisted, as did Copperheads throughout the nation, that

the use of force to halt secession was unconstitutional. Among them

were the legatees of the states' rights doctrines espoused by the

Resolutionists of 1798. Virginians and Kentuckians had constituted the

bulk-about 70 percent-of the early nineteenth century migration to

Dayton and the area immediately surrounding it.3 Their progeny,

though declining in the 1850s and 1860s as a percentage of a population

fed by northern and European sources, was still an influential group in

the city, manifesting itself in the continuing articulation of states' rights

views. Germans and Irish migrating to the community in the 1850s

broadened the Copperheads' strength. Germans rose in number from

about 1,940 in 1850 to at least 3,730 by 1860, the Irish from around 310

to over 1,320.4 Many of the Germans were Catholic, as were nearly all

the Irish. Fearing that the Republicans, whom they saw as repressive

Protestants, might emancipate the slaves, who then would swell the

supply of labor, the Germans and Irish usually cast their lot with the

Copperhead cause. Some commercial interests, aggrieved by the loss

of southern markets and fearful of eastern capitalists, also supported

the Copperhead cause. Political kinship with a fellow-Daytonian,

Clement Laird Vallandigham, a representative to Congress from their

district and the apotheosis of the anti-Lincoln mission nationally,

imbued Dayton Copperheads with a sense of purpose giving further

vitality to their labor.



3. David C. Schilling, "Relation of Southern Ohio to the South During the Decade

Preceding the Civil War," Quarterly of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio,

VIII (1913), 3-19. The general picture of Dayton during the war may be found in Irving

Schwartz, "Dayton, Ohio During the Civil War," (Master's thesis, Miami University,


4. 1 derived these figures from a line-by-line reading of the Schedule of Population,

Seventh Census, 1850, Montgomery County, Ohio; and the Schedule of Population,

Eighth Census, 1860, Montgomery County, Ohio. The Germans came primarily from

Hesse-Cassel, Hanover, Badin and Bavaria.

Newspapers in Battle 31

Newspapers in Battle                                                 31


Deriving its strength from various elements in the community, the

Republican party there mirrored much of its general national compo-

sition. Old-time Whigs and anti-slavery men opposing the extension of

slavery into the territories, manufacturers and native workingmen

identifying their economic well-being with Republican promises on

tariffs, and War Democrats committed to maintaining national integrity

formed a solid nucleus for containment of Copperhead power.5

Copperheads and Republicans alike looked, of course, to partisan

newspapers for a continuing statement of their ideals and goals. The

Copperhead champion in Dayton was the Empire, an old-line Demo-

cratic organ. As its owner and editor from 1847 to 1849, Vallandigham

had given it a pronounced Democratic imprint. After he sold his

interest in it, a rapid succession of men followed in his footsteps

through the 1850s, all echoing Southern demands for protection of

slavery in the states and territories and calling for an end to Northern

strictures of the South.6 Late in the decade the Empire was assertively

supporting Buchanan in his fight with Douglas Democrats; and in 1860

J. F. Bollmeyer, a native of Stolzenau in Hanover, left his position in

the Treasury Department to become its editor, apparently as an

emissary from Buchanan.7 Speaking for the Republicans was the

Journal. Like many other Republican newspapers, the Journal had

been a Whig organ in its earlier days. On the eve of the Civil War its

editors were W. F. Comly, a co-owner since 1834, and his son, John F.

Comly, who had become co-editor in 1857.8 The Comlys were full-





5. Early in the war Republicans and War Democrats formed a coalition known as the

Union party. The Republicans liked the appellation because it hid their partyism. The

departure of War Democrats from the Democratic party made it easier for the Peace

Democrats to control their party. For a brief commentary on the Union party, see

Klement, The Limits of Dissent, 70.

6. The editors were George Clason, David Clark, Daniel Fitch and J. Z. Reeder.

A. W. Drury, History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (2 vols.,

Chicago, 1909), I, 402.

7. Vallandigham, a native of New Lisbon, Ohio, may have known Bollmeyer there.

Sometime early in the 1830s Bollmeyer had come to the community as a baby with his

family. He lived there until 1847 when at his father's death he moved to Warren, Ohio,

taking employment as a printer with the Warren Democrat. In the same year Vallandig-

ham had moved to Dayton. In 1853 Bollmeyer became one of the proprietors of the

Chillicothe Advertiser, and in 1855 he took a clerkship with the Treasury Department in

Washington, D.C. Cincinnati Enquirer, November 5, 1862; Dayton Empire (hereafter

cited as DE), November 12, 1862; Dayton Journal (hereafter cited as DJ), September 14,


8. William J. Hamilton, "Dayton Newspapers and Their Editors," (Typed manu-

script in Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library, Dayton, 1937), 11; and W. H.

Beers & Company, The History of Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago, 1882), Book II,



32                                              OHIO HISTORY

throated Republicans, endorsing all their party's declarations on

slavery, tariffs, and other issues.

During the 1850s the Empire and Journal repeatedly clashed on the

great issues of the decade-on the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Dred

Scott Decision, for example. Their positions further polarized in the

face of the mounting secession crisis and the coming of the war: the

Empire seconded Vallandigham's call for support of proposals for

compromise, notably the ancient one that would permit slavery to

extend into the territories south of the latitude of 36° 30'; and the

Journal, unlike some other Republican newspapers, called for imme-

diate suppression of the rebellion. Then, during the early months of the

war, the two newspapers jousted along conventional lines, their

editorial lances expended primarily on constitutional tilting. But as

Union armies floundered and as Congress considered confiscation

measures in late 1861 and early 1862, the Empire complained bitterly of

Lincoln's ineptitude and above all cursed the war as a wicked

abolitionist crusade. The Journal, now owned and edited by Lewis

Marot and William Rouzer, two printers whose fealty to the Republi-

can party far exceeded the felicity of their language, began, by vague

implications, to equate such criticism with treason.9 Though their

exchanges were acerbic, neither newspaper developed any particular

focus beyond reciprocal umbrage.

Not until the state and congressional elections of the fall of 1862 did

the continuing debate between the two journals begin to take on

concrete dimensions. The Empire, endorsing all Democrats, gave

special support to Vallandigham, who was running for relection to the

House of Representatives against Robert C. Schenck, who, in his

campaigning, could and did point to a wound received at Second Bull

Run and friendship with Lincoln.10 Taking anti-abolition and anti-war

positions, the Empire demanded that the Lincoln administration adhere

scrupulously to the Constitution, parading in all of its editorial columns

the shibboleth, "The Union as it was; The Constitution as it is." As

Bollmeyer portrayed Lincoln, the president was a Jacobin pursuing

revolutionary goals; the editor had particularly in mind the administra-

tion's emancipation proposals and its arbitrary arrests of its critics. For

its part, the Journal, along with the Cincinnati Commercial and the

Cincinnati Daily Gazette, both Republican advocates, aimed its fire at



9. After W. F. Comly became the postmaster of Dayton in 1861, he and his son sold

their interest in the Journal to Marot and Rouzer. Beers, The History of Montgomery

County, Book II, 708.

10. Lincoln personally urged Schenck to run against Vallandigham. Klement, The

Limits of Dissent, 104-05.

Newspapers in Battle 33

Newspapers in Battle                                              33


Vallandigham and Bollmeyer; these men, said the editors of the

Journal, gave encouragement to the Southern cause through their

incessant attacks on Union purposes and means of conducting the war.

The editors implied, a local Copperhead would later charge, that

Bollmeyer was a traitor whose "existence in the community ought not

to be tolerated."11

In other parts of the state, the Copperheads and Republicans argued

in corresponding terms. But outside of Dayton the Copperheads,

perhaps because they were not encumbered with fiery personalities

like Vallandigham, had the better part of the debate. Democrats,

largely of the Copperhead variety, won fourteen of nineteen congres-

sional districts; Vallandigham, though, lost his race, owing partially to

a Republican-legislated gerrymander.12

As it turned out, however, Bollmeyer was the principal loser. A few

days after the election, he was shot and killed in the city's market area

by one Henry Brown, a local hatter and Republican. Almost immedi-

ately Dayton Copperheads took up the cry that it was a politically

inspired assassination. Within a few minutes after the shooting, "sev-

eral hundred" men gathered near the Empire office, which seemed to

be a kind of rallying point for Copperheads.13 Some firebrands resolved

to remove Brown from the county jail to administer necktie justice to

him. The mayor, William H. Gillespie, a Democrat tinged with

Copperheadism, persuaded them to forgo vigilantism; but later in the

afternoon, sixty or seventy men assembled at the Empire office, and

after a brief deliberation they proceeded to the jail and there demanded

the surrender of Brown. 14 Again authorities persuaded them to give up

the business. But in the evening "thousands" of men, "stronger and

more infuriated" than before, ranged around the jail, determined to

take Brown by force.15 They came, as it were, as an army of the




11. Thomas Lowe, a young Copperhead and friend of Vallandigham, made the

allegation in a letter to the Empire. "The Assassination of J. F. Bollmeyer," DE,

November 3, 1862.

12. One may read detailed accounts of the campaign in George H. Porter, Ohio

Politics during the Civil War Period (New York, 1911), 128ff; Eugene H. Roseboom, The

History of the State of Ohio: The Civil War Era, 1850-1873 (Columbus, 1944), 399ff; and

Klement, The Limits of Dissent, 102ff.

13. I have written an article on the murder of Bollmeyer and the related rioting. Carl

M. Becker, "The Death of J. F. Bollmeyer: Murder Most Foul?" Bulletin, The

Cincinnati Historical Society, XXIV (1966), 249-69. There are a number of basic

newspaper accounts bearing on the subjects: "The Shooting Affair on Saturday," DJ,

November 3, 1862; "The Tragedy on Saturday," DE, November 3, 1862; "Tragedy at

Dayton, Ohio-Editor of the Dayton Empire Shot Dead," Cincinnati Commercial,

November 2, 1862.

14. Ibid.

15. Ibid.


34                                              OHIO HISTORY


Empire, carrying as they did two swivel guns obtained from the Empire

office. They were, however, a mob, not an army. No one among them

would fire the guns, and finally a detachment of guards from the jail

seized the guns and turned them towards the crowd. After the guards

and mob exchanged a few random pistol shots, the insurgents, fearing

the imminent arrival of soldiers from Cincinnati, departed the field of


The next few weeks saw the battle move to the columns of the

Empire, the Journal and a number of Cincinnati newspapers. Setting

the pattern of conflict was the new editor of the Empire, William

Logan, an acid-tongued man who had been Bollmeyer's assistant

editor. In his view Bollmeyer's death had stemmed from the incendiary

editorials of Republican newspapers. Labelling Bollmeyer, Vallandig-

ham and many other Democrats as traitors with no rights to be

respected by loyal men, Republican editors in Dayton and Cincinnati,

wrote Logan, had "advised" assassination and Brown had "per-

formed" it.16 The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati's leading Democrat-

ic newspaper, sailed a similar tack. Its editor, James J. Faran,

wrathfully declared that Bollmeyer had been the victim of a political

vendetta.17 Regarded by the Republican press as a spokesman for

Vallandigham, he had been denounced so often and so maliciously,

Faran asserted, that he had become a man marked for assassination.

Particularly the Cincinnati Commercial had impugned his loyalty, had

called him a traitor, a liar. All that had been needed, then, was a man

of weak intelligence and party prejudice who would take as truth the

lies of the Commercial. Brown had been that man, and now the

abolitionist editors could congratulate themselves, their slander and

vituperation having taken evil root and blossomed in blood. So went

Faran's brief. Both the Empire and Enquirer singled out as compelling

evidence of their charges a Commercial editorial that had responded to

Democratic criticism of Lincoln with the proclamation that "throat-

cutting time had come in Ohio."18

Republican newspapers naturally saw the death of Bollmeyer from a

different perspective. In lengthy accounts citing testimony of supposed

witnesses, the Journal, the Commercial and the Cincinnati Gazette all

argued that Bollmeyer's death had emanated from a quarrel between

Bollmeyer and Brown over a dog.19 Bollmeyer's dog and several



16. "The Demoralization of the Community," DE, November 3, 1862.

17. "Assassination of Mr. Bollmeyer," Cincinnati Enquirer, November 4, 1862.

18. "The Assassin's Organ on the Rampage, Again," DE, November 13, 1862; "The

Commercial on the Assassination of Mr. Bollmeyer," Cincinnati Enquirer, November

13, 1862.

19. "Tragedy at Dayton, Ohio," Cincinnati Commercial, November 2, 1862; "The

Newspapers in Battle 35

Newspapers in Battle                                         35


others, according to the reconstruction of events leading to the

shooting, had knocked down one of Brown's sons, Lieutenant John

Brown, as they ran from Bollmeyer's yard into the alley behind

Brown's residence. Getting to his feet, young Brown had fired his

pistol, killing Bollmeyer's dog. He and Bollmeyer angrily exchanged

words, but nothing else happened. Then on Halloween a number of

boys were ringing doorbells in Bollmeyer's neighborhood. Bollmeyer,

annoyed by repeated ringing of his bell, ran after the boys, caught one

and cuffed him. Only seven or eight years old, he happened to be

Brown's youngest son. The next morning when Brown and Bollmeyer

chanced to meet in the downtown market, the editor set his market

basket down as though he intended to attack Brown. Fearing Bollmey-

er, a stout, heavy-framed man, Brown, a "very spare" man, impul-

sively reached for his pistol and fired.20 Patently, then, accusations of

a political murder were cut from spurious cloth.

Perhaps seeking to shift attention from Brown's act, which, after all,

was directed at a prominent Copperhead, the Journal flailed the

Empire for attempting to deny even-handed justice to Brown. As Marot

and Rouzer perceived the matter, the Empire's unauthorized publica-

tion of testimony given at the coroner's inquest-an ex parte proce-

dure-infringed upon the rights of the accused.21 More objectionable

was the appearance in the Empire of anonymously authored charges

contradicting testimony offered at the inquest. The Journal editors

demanded that the Empire source step forward and substantiate his

unfounded allegations.22 Clearly, though, insisted a Journal editorial,

the Democrats had little interest in justice. Otherwise, why did the

Empire and kindred sheets continue to call for Brown's punishment

when Brown had already been indicted on a first degree murder charge

and now awaited trial?23 Just as the Empire falsely judged the motives

of the Lincoln administration for political purposes, so it was now

seeking to transform a personal quarrel into political capital. The

Journal also was raising questions about the failure of municipal

authorities to punish the rioters who had sought to take Brown from the



Shooting Affair on Saturday," DJ, November 3, 1862; "The Fatal Affray at Dayton,"

Cincinnati Gazette, November 3, 1862.

20. The newspapers said nothing as to why Brown was carrying a pistol. Later, at

Brown's trial, testimony had it that Brown carried it because his shop had recently been


21. "The Coroner's Inquest Testimony," DJ, November 5, 1862.

22. DJ, November 4, 1862. The anonymous contributor was the young Copperhead,

Thomas Lowe. He made his charges in "The Assassination of J. F. Bollmeyer," DE,

November 3, 1862.

23. "Persistent Misrepresentations," DJ, November 5, 1862.


36                                               OHIO HISTORY


jail. According to the Journal, the police who were at the jail knew the

identity of the rioters; and many civilians could be found who would

furnish the police with the affidavits necessary for arrests. Yet the

authorities had not taken the action that strict justice required.24 In

fact, the Journal hinted, city officials with sinister purposes may have

invited the mob to defiance of the law. As the newspapers quarreled,

Brown awaited trial, which because of various legal steps was delayed

until September of 1863.

Though intense, the debate engendered by Bollmeyer's death lost its

pulsating force only a few weeks after its inception, cast aside by new

events and new issues. Through late 1862 and early 1863, the failure of

Union armies in Virginia, the Emancipation Proclamation, conscrip-

tion legislation, and new tax and banking laws moved the Dayton

editors to bitter editorial exchanges. Their rhetoric had a counterpart in

the community, the political struggle there coursing its virulent way

into virtually every vein of life. Indeed, the community was becoming

a "Natchez under the hill," infected with distrust and contention. It

split church brethren into warring factions.25 It became the touchstone

by which Copperheads and Republicans came to decisions on whether

or not to offer or accept invitations to social affairs. It differentiated

goods in the marketplace as good Republicans patronized only mer-

chants of the faith and as Copperheads similarly judged men and their

wares. It led to scuffling among Republicans and Copperheads in

saloons, which soon became identified as sanctuaries for like-minded

men. In all these avenues of life, the personality of Vallandigham

intruded. Returning in March from Congress, where as a "lame duck"

he had made a notorious speech in January demanding an armistice

with the South, he had been accorded a tremendous reception by

Copperheads, one that heightened bitterness in the city.

Determined to check the Copperheads and to give unity to the

community, the editors of the Journal took steps that intensified strife.

In March of 1863, they issued a call to all "loyal" citizens to join a

Union League that they were forming.26 Ostensibly patriotic organiza-

tions cutting across party lines, Union Leagues or clubs were, in fact,

auxiliary units of the Republican party dedicated to support of the war




24. "Law and Order," DJ, November 6, 1862.

25. At the First Presbyterian Church, one member told a Democrat that he "could not

understand how a man could be a Democrat and pray!" Thomas Lowe to William R.

Lowe, August 2, 1862, in Lowe Manuscripts Collection, in Dayton and Montgomery

County Public Library.

26. DJ, March 13, 1863.

Newspapers in Battle 37

Newspapers in Battle                                         37


effort.27 Marot and Rouzer soon enough enrolled several hundred

members, and the League prepared for a crusade against heresy.28

League militancy first expressed itself in an educational setting. For

months the public schools, especially the high school, had been the

scene of fist-fighting and rock-throwing between Republican and

Copperhead boys. Such incidents, however, had been sporadic and

spontaneous in origin.29 The League, organized as it was in the name

of loyalty, introduced an element of purpose as youngsters could now

equate their acts with patriotism. Only a week after the formation of

the League, its imprint appeared on a fracas between Unionists and

Copperheads at the Central High School. There a group of Republicans

had "adopted" the Union League badge, merely an eagle button taken

from an army uniform. The Copperhead students were wearing the

Butternut charm, a cross-section cut from the nut of the white walnut

tree emblematizing Copperhead values. Certain of their patriotism, the

militant Unionists set out to drive the Butternut charm from academe.30

As the Journal reporter chronicled the event, unionist scholars,

"annoyed" with boys who persisted in sporting Butternut breast-pins,

demanded removal of the offending emblems within a "certain length

of time." When the time had expired without compliance, they

attempted a forcible removal. A fight ensued in which the Unionists

"severely handled" the Copperheads before teachers intervened.31

The young assailants were arrested on assault and battery charges and

bound over to the mayor's court for a hearing. Predictably outraged,

Logan of the Empire alleged that the unionist youths had attacked a

boy simply because he wore an ornament on a watch chain that they

"denominated a Copperhead."32 Logan went on to accuse the Journal

of encouraging violence against Democrats by a tacit approval of the


The day after the clash of emblems, the local board of education

moved to maintain peace in the high school. Robert Steele, chairman of

the board's high school committee, personally addressed the students

and ordered them to attend school unadorned by either charms or



27. On the rise of the Union League in the Middle West, see Klement, Copperheads

in the Middle West, 210; see also E. Bently Hamilton, "The Union League: Its Origin

and Achievements in the Civil War," Transactions of the Illinois State Historical

Society, 1921 (Springfield, 1921), 110-15.

28. DJ, March 23, 1863.

29. Charlotte R. Conover, The Story of Dayton (Dayton, 1917), 154-55.

30. I have described the conflict between the charms and badges in "'Disloyalty' and

the Dayton Public Schools," Civil War History, Xl (1965), 58-68.

31. DJ, April 1, 1863.

32. "An Outrage," DE, April 1, 1863.


38                                              OHIO HISTORY


badges.33 The students reluctantly obeyed, and, as one observer put it,

"all was quiet in Warsaw."34 In the meantime, the boyish fray was

taking on a new dimension in the columns of the Empire and Journal,

where the rival editors engaged in a dispute about the kind of justice the

unionist lads could expect from a Copperhead mayor. Marot and

Rouzer sarcastically commended Mayor Gillespie and his coterie for

their vigorous enforcement of the law, noting that the mob action of

1862 faded into insignificance alongside the enormity of the schoolboy

quarrel. Gillespie, they asserted, threatened before the hearing to visit

his wrath on the boys, who then wisely waived examination, preferring

to take their cases to the Court of Common Pleas.35 Foul in sinuations,

cried Logan. The mayor, he said, would not have bothered about the

affair had no complaint been filed; moreover, Gillespie had not

condemned the boys before the hearing. If there were any criminals

deserving condemnation, they were those who had prompted "insig-

nificant actors" to the use of force.36

By mid-April of 1863, the conflict had shifted from the high school to

the elementary schools. Again the Journal and Empire acted as

reporter-advocates. At the Southeastern District School, one of five

elementary schools in the city, Principal Abram B. Leaman, as the

Journal understood it, expelled about twenty boys because their

persistence in wearing Union League badges had caused "trouble."37

To reduce quarreling and fighting, Leaman had earlier forbidden the

wearing of any distinctive emblems. But Copperhead boys, complained

the Journal editors, had flaunted their emblems in the school weeks

before the Union boys had worn theirs-but without the slightest

comment from Leaman. If the board would not protect patriotic boys

from such arbitrary punishment, their parents should make an appeal

to the courts. Logan saw the incident in another light. Leaman, acting

out of a "sense of duty," had ruled wisely in ordering all party symbols

from the school; he had simply become "annoyed by the fussing"

generated by the emblems.38 Wearing them would not have been

objectionable, naively observed Logan, had not violence developed!

Encouragement to brute force had been "doubtless received from such




33. Thomas Lowe to William Lowe, April 4, 1863, in Lowe Collection.

34. Ibid.

35. DJ, April 3, 1863.

36. DE, April 2, 1863; "The High School Difficulty and the Mayor," DE, April 13,

1863. Unfortunately, records in the Montgomery County courthouse do not reveal the

final disposition of the case.

37. DJ, April 16, 1863.

38. "Party Emblems," DE, April 16, 1863.

Newspapers in Battle 39

Newspapers in Battle                                         39


dangerous lunatics as the fellows of the Journal." Those blackguards

now promoted further strife and insubordination in the school by

saying that Leaman should be driven from his post.39

Leaman's ban soon came under review by the board of education,

which probably numbered seven Copperheads and five Republicans.40

Meeting the day after the principal's action, the board considered a

number of meticulously drawn resolutions and counterresolutions

before adopting a motion that satisfied neither Republicans nor Cop-

perheads. Citing the earlier decision of Robert Steele as a precedent,

the board sustained Leaman's order. It refused, however, to establish

any general "rule with reference to wearing badges or emblems.... "41

And it tabled a resolution that would have permitted the display of

various "national" emblems such as red, white, and blue ribbons and

the American eagle in the schools. It did appoint a select committee to

review all aspects of the perplexing and emotional subject.

Both the Empire and the Journal attacked the board for its apparent

equivocation. In the Empire's sight, the board had seemed to say that

Leaman had done "right but was wrong to continue to do so."42 The

Journal, on the other hand, censured the board for not adopting the

resolution permitting the display of "national" emblems. It only

remained now, lamented the Journal duet, for the board to vote the

stars and stripes a party emblem; then even Old Glory would have to

be removed from the schools to preserve peace.43

While the board and select committee deliberated, Dayton citizens

"communicated" their views to the newspapers, particularly to the

Journal. Their language often revealed the malevolent spirit that

underwrote irrational character attacks. To one contributor, who

disguised himself as "Brown Street," Leaman was an outright traitor.

The principal, alleged the anonymous writer, had been motivated by

partisan considerations.44 Why, he asked, as he echoed the position of

the Journal, had Leaman's "sense of duty" been directed at political

emblems only after the Union League badge had appeared in the

school? Why had not this sense of duty asserted itself at the earlier



39. Ibid. Logan pointed out that Leaman was the principal of the Southeastern

District, "not the South West, as the chronic ignoramus of the Journal has it."

40. Because board candidates were not identified by party labels until the election of

1862, when only a portion of the board was up for election, the exact political

composition of the board is impossible to determine.

41. Meeting of April 16, 1863, "Minutes of the Board of Education, City of Dayton,

April 8, 1858, to December 11, 1873."

42. DE, April 17, 1863.

43. DJ, April 17, 1863.

44. Ibid.


40                                            OHIO HISTORY


appearance of the Butternut charm? Even more reprehensible was

Leaman's prohibition against the singing of the "Star Spangled

Banner"; now children would have to give up reverence for national

symbols for fear of offending their principal. Equally vehement was a

writer signing himself as "Action," who asserted that Leaman's

punishment of patriotic boys was treason writ large.45 True to his

name, "Action" called for the principal's arrest.

Leaman emerged in a different light in a communication by "Union."

Writing as though he had been close to the scene, "Union" depicted a

panorama of anarchy at the school.46 It was not true, he reported, that

Leaman had singled out Union League students for retribution long

after Butternut charms had appeared in the school. Indeed, for six

weeks Leaman had endured daily fist fights between youths embla-

zoned with charms and badges. Finding that punishment of individual

combatants did not stop the fighting, he finally resorted to the methods

successfully used at the high school. But the parents, forming a

conspiracy intended to destroy Leaman, challenged his authority. They

counseled their children to defy him and his rules. Cued by their

agitative rhetoric, boys roamed through the school building shouting

obscenities at him. Then fathers and mothers, acting directly, invaded

the school "scolding" teachers reputed to be Copperheads. One man

burst into a classroom "swearing and raving" at a teacher.

Leaman himself entered into the dialogue, explaining that he had not

intended to take his case to the Journal but that he could not continue

to ignore unjust and unfounded accusations.47 He had not, he insisted,

acted out of partisan motives; he had not harbored ill feelings toward

unionist students. He had no desire to degrade Union emblems, and he

had not prohibited the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner." He had

not expelled any student for wearing any emblem. He had not refused,

as one report had it, to fly the flag; he had only forbidden a boy to raise

it on a broken staff because he feared for the boy's safety. He had not

protected Copperheads as charged. He had only followed the high

school precedent after weeks of trouble. He had, in short, been a

prudent man whose great shortcoming had been moderation.

The Journal editors, who had invited the aggrieved Leaman to put

himself "right" in their columns, now were ready to reassess the

principal-but not as a result of his statements. They had learned from

one of Leaman's old and intimate friends that the educator was a




45. Ibid.

46. Ibid.

47. Ibid., April 18, 1863.

Newspapers in Battle 41

Newspapers in Battle                                     41


"whole-souled" Union man who had voted for Schenck in 1862.48 It

was indeed unfortunate, they admitted, for a patriotic man to occupy a

position that gave ground for doubting his loyalty. Seeking to exculpate

themselves, the editors recalled that their original criticism of Leaman

had been based on remarks of "honorable persons." Besides, Mr.

Leaman should not object to errant denunciation by the press when

corrective public opinion could find its way into newspapers!

Another educator subjected to an ordeal by press was John Hall,

principal of the high school. His heinous crime, as the Journal reported

it, was his insistence that two girls remove red, white, and blue rosettes

from their blouses.49 Hall denied the report. In conformance with the

policy enunciated by the board for the high school, he had, he

explained, simply instructed a teacher "to quietly ask" a girl to take off

her Union League badge.50 Like Leaman, he felt no sympathy for

doctrines of secession and thus had not suppressed the Union League

badge out of political bias. Still, the Journal was not totally satisfied,

sulkingly asserting that it had been furnished with the names of the

"ladies" involved.51 But the newspaper did not furnish the names to

the public, and Hall escaped further criticism.

Also coming under the lash of patriotic Republicans writing to the

Journal was the board of education. The board, protested their many

letters, had placed loyalty at parity with treason by expelling Butternut

charms and national emblems alike from the school.52 The Butternut

charm, a mere party object, was a token of treason; but army badges

and tricolor ribbons were symbols of love of country, obedience to law,

and opposition to treason. Editors Marot and Rouzer joined their

contributors in aiming incendiary broadsides at the board. Vallandig-

ham, they wrote, sufficed as a "damning disgrace to Dayton."53 Would

the community further traduce itself? Would it permit the army eagle to

be driven from the schools? Would the citizenry permit the emblem of

national grandeur to be dragged down to the level of an emblem of a

mobocratic party-of sympathizers with rebellion? The editors be-

lieved that the Copperhead majority on the board was not sufficiently

"copperbottomed" to adopt measures that would incur the wrath of

loyal men. They reflected tauntingly on the action to be expected from

the board:



48. Ibid.

49. Ibid., April 17, 1863.

50. Ibid., April 18, 1863.

51. Ibid.

52. Ibid., April 18, 1863; April 24, 1863; April 26, 1863.

53. Ibid., April 24, 1863.


42                                              OHIO HISTORY


What then will they do? Will they decide the Eagle and the Stars and Stripes

to be National emblems? We hope they have the courage equal to such a task;

but we have our doubts on that score. We hardly think they are prepared to

vote the butternut out of the public schools, which, being the mere emblem of

a rebel party, has no right either in the schools or in a loyal community. It is

quite amusing to hear men of the butternut hue get up in their places in the

School Board and make spread-eagle speeches eulogizing the Stars and Stripes

and endeavoring to pluck a feather from the the tail of the proud bird to put in

their caps, but it is too much to expect them to vote that that same bird is the

Shanghai of the National poultry yard. Come, ye luminaries of the educational

firmament-ye stars of the copperhead galaxy-show your hands.54


In their peroration, the editors demanded that the board move with

celerity in reaching a decisive decision on the emblems.

As the community awaited the report of the select committee, the

Journal continued to attack the board and the Copperheads. From

every ground possible-patriotic, religious, ethical-the irascible edi-

tors developed their case. The Bible provided the inspiration for an

odious comparison. A redeeming quality of Cain, their exegesis told

them, was that he seemed ashamed of the mark placed upon him.55 But

the typical Copperhead, far from being ashamed of his accursed

emblem, flaunted this "seal of infamy" before the world. So stained

with the Butternut dye were some board members that they had lost

sight of what plainly constituted loyalty. The editors found an ally in

the East also excoriating Dayton Copperheads. Repeating the Jour-

nal's account of Leaman's expulsion of Union League students, Henry

Ward Beecher's New York Independent remarked that it was difficult

to imagine any further advance in degeneracy unless children reciting

the Lord's prayer should be expelled, with the remaining students to be

required to "drink whiskey, swear and chew tobacco two hours


Meanwhile, the Empire, which usually replied to Journal strictures

in kind, maintained a discreet silence on the emblem question. But

Logan had not abandoned his assault on the Lincoln administration.

And reflecting his wrath, the political powder in the community was

ready to explode. In a sense the cap had already been set. In March of

1863, Major General Ambrose Burnside received command of the

Department of the Ohio, which included Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,

Michigan, and Kentucky. Burnside, perhaps yet tense over his recent

failure at Fredericksburg, came to his post with signs of apparent




54. Ibid.

55. Ibid.

56. Quoted in DJ, May 26, 1863.

Newspapers in Battle 43

Newspapers in Battle                                         43


danger all around him. Democratic editors in the Middle West,

provoked by a mob's destruction of Samuel Medary's Copperhead

journal, the Columbus Crisis, were threatening retaliation. Logan, for

example, declared that "for every Democratic printing office destroyed

by a mob, let an abolition one be destroyed in turn."57 From Indiana

governor Oliver Morton, Burnside heard tales of Copperhead conspir-

acies. But the situation in Dayton above all exercised him. The city was

resounding with speeches denouncing Lincoln, and Copperhead rhet-

oric verged, at least for Republican auditors, toward treason. Believing

that Copperhead speeches and editorials there and elsewhere encour-

aged the enemy, Burnside issued on April 13 the noted General Order

Number 38, the order that proclaimed that "the habit of declaring

sympathy for the enemy will not be allowed in this department."

Vallandigham, bull-like, saw the order as a red flag. And he charged

it.58 At a Democratic rally in Mount Vernon, Ohio, on May 1, 1863,

with one of Burnside's agents present and recording notes in a "little

black book," Vallandigham fulminated against the order, arguing that

it was a base violation of constitutional guarantees of freedom of

speech and press.59 His authority thus challenged, Burnside felt that he

had no other choice than to arrest the Copperhead. On May 5 he sent

a detail of 150 soldiers to Dayton; there they took Vallandigham from

his bed at 3:00 in the morning and escorted him to a Cincinnati jail.

When Dayton's Copperheads learned of their idol's arrest, they

excitedly gathered in small crowds throughout the community to

consider the course of action to pursue. Logan had an answer. His

editorial in the afternoon's edition of the Empire appeared in provoc-

ative font:


A dastardly Outrage!

Will free men submit?

The hour for action has arrived.60





57. DE, March 14, 1863.

58. As Frank Klement sees it, Vallandigham challenged Burnside and his order as a

means of becoming a martyr to a cause. The Limits of Dissent, 152. One might argue,

though, that, given his commitment to his cause, Vallandigham had no other choice but

to confront Burnside in a dramatic way.

59. For a good description of Vallandigham's attack on the order and the subsequent

violence, see Klement, The Limits of Dissent, 152ff; and Frank Klement, "Clement L.

Vallandigham," in Kenneth W. Wheeler, ed., For the Union: Ohio Leaders in the Civil

War (Columbus, 1968), 3-78.

60. DE, May 5, 1863.


44                                               OHIO HISTORY


He went on to call Republicans in the community "cowardly, scoun-

drelly, abolitionists"; and he exhorted his readers to save their

"endangered liberties" through "blood and carnage."

Logan's appeal soon moved a mob to the violent but good work.

After congregating in front of the Empire office, which stood across the

street from the Journal building, a crowd of about two hundred angry

men began to shout insults at the Journal office and then started to

throw stones at the building. A few men fired pistols at the windows,

and finally several threw flaming balls of pitch into the office; the balls

ignited some newspapers, and seemingly in no time the building went

up in flames.61 Burnside, apprised earlier of impending trouble, had

already dispatched troops of the 115th Ohio Volunteer Infantry to

Dayton; but by the time they arrived, the rioters had burned down half

a block of buildings, insuring their destruction by impeding the fire

department's fire-fighting efforts. The troops dispersed the mob in

short order, though not before a soldier killed a rioter cutting a fire

hose. Martial law was declared, and the city subsided into a sullen


Now perforce, too, the battle between the Empire and the Journal

came to a momentary end. The citizenry generally accused Logan of

deliberately agitating men to riot. Army officers agreed, arrested him,

and suppressed publication of the Empire. Though their facilities had

been ruined, Marot and Rouzer were publishing the Journal within two

days after the riot ended. Offered the use of the presses of the United

Brethren publishing house, they turned out a diminutive letter-sheet

edition. "It was," a reader later recalled, "a cute little four pager,

about 8 inches by 12, and as saucy as ever, throwing defiance into the

teeth of the Copperhead criminals."62 At the same time, Marot was

organizing a committee of leading Republicans to raise money for

reestablishing the Journal in new quarters.63

Probably the Copperheads viewed the turn of events as a chastened

lot. Their hero languished in a Cincinnati jail. Their newspaper had

been suppressed. Their leaders were dealing in recriminations as they

soberly speculated on the civil uprising.64 And piling Ossa on Pelion,

the select committee of the board of education, meeting only a few

days after the riot and perhaps influenced by the violence of the event,



61. On the rioting, see particularly Klement, The Limits of Dissent, 161ff.

62. DJ, June 21, 1908.

63. Daniel D. Bickham, "The Dayton Journal History," Typed manuscript in

Bickham Manuscripts Collection, in Dayton and Montgomery County Public Library.

64. DJ, May 7, 1863; Thomas Lowe to William Lowe, May 14, 1863, in Lowe


Newspapers in Battle 45

Newspapers in Battle                                            45

issued a report on the emblem question resulting in large part in a

Republican victory. The board accepted the report and by a vote of

eleven to one adopted a derivative resolution that, though reversing the

ban against the wearing of charms and badges, obviously gave a

preferential place to Union emblems:


Resolved, That in the opinion of this Board there is in the Stars and Stripes,

the tri-colored ribbon, Red, White and Blue or the American Eagle nothing of

a partizan character, but these are all national emblems, common to all parties

of which every citizen should be proud, and which every American youth

should be taught to honor, but we do not think it advisable to prohibit the

wearing by scholars in the Public Schools of any badges, their own taste or that

of their parents and guardians may prescribe, requiring of them only attention

to their studies, preservation of order and strict obedience to the rule of the

schools. We recommend however that the wearing of all badges of a partizan

character should be generally discouraged whatever their device may be.65




65. Meeting of May 14, 1863, "Minutes of the Board of Education."


46                                             OHIO HISTORY


Though accepting the Republican statement, the Copperheads protect-

ed their charms in the lamely drawn words allowing the wearing of any

badge. Moreover, they defeated a resolution that would have excluded

"all emblems or badges not strictly national in character."

Republicans did not and Copperheads could not respond vigorously

to the board's decision. In light of the recent rioting, the problem at the

schools had lost its inflammatory pulsation. Besides, since the schools

had been dismissed for the year, the question was temporarily moot.

Their attention to emblems diminished, the Journal men gave but a

routine endorsement to the resolution. Copperheads, their newspaper

silenced, had to mutter in privacy or in the streets and saloons.

At the Journal amid the tumult, a change of leadership was on the

way. Even before the rioting erupted, Republican leaders in Dayton

had begun to question the ability of the Journal editors to meet the

challenge of Copperheadism, especially of its high priest, Vallandig-

ham. Apparently they found Marot and Rouzer wanting in the force of

personality, though not in will and acidity, necessary to counter

Vallandigham's magnetism. They also had in mind a man who had a

wider experience in the politics of war and who had a martial bearing.

With the editors' approvals, the Republicans began a search for a new

proprietor for the Journal.

The man found was William D. Bickham. City editor of the Cincin-

nati Commercial when the war began and a staunch Republican,

Bickham had become a war correspondent in western Virginia and then

achieved some notoriety as a volunteer-aide-de-camp to Major General

William S. Rosecrans, commanding the Army of the Cumberland.

Though his devotion to Rosecrans ("Old Rosy," Bickham called him)

bordered on sycophancy, he was an able reporter, albeit his style was

prolix and garrulous, even when measured against the standards of an

age given to verbosity.66 When he left Rosecrans' service in April of

1863, Bickham, evidently aware of the Dayton Republicans' interest in

another editor, already had his eyes on the Journal; and the Republi-

cans apparently thought that he could serve their cause in Dayton.

Only a few days before the turbulence of May, Murat Halstead, editor

of the Commercial, wrote to him of the "Dayton matter."67 One could

find in Dayton, Halstead believed, "the best opening ... in the west for

a Union Daily paper conducted with energy, courage and capacity. The

Union men there have no organ worth a curse and are fully sensible of



66. For some contemporary evaluations of Bickham, see Weisberger, Reporters for

the Union, 238; and Starr, Bohemian Brigade, 257.

67. Murat Halstead to W. D. Bickham, April 30, 1863, in Bickham Collection.

Newspapers in Battle 47

Newspapers in Battle                                        47


it." Halstead was certain that the "leading Union men" in the city

were willing to put the Journal in Bickham's hands. Rumor later had it

that Lincoln selected Bickham "to compel Vallandigham to withdraw

from Dayton."68 In any case, the events of May hastened a decision.

The Republicans offered Bickham a loan of $6,000 to purchase the

Journal. He accepted the offer and by late in July was publishing an

enlarged edition of the newspaper. Making use of the "editoral

papagraph," a short paragraph infused with caustic wit, he excoriated

the Copperheads day in, day out. His columns were undistinguished in

style and substance, but they were persistent in their diatribism.

Whether or not he had come to Dayton at Lincoln's bidding,

Bickham took up his labor as Vallandigham was posing a threat to the

administration. Lincoln had exiled Vallandigham to the Confederacy in

May after a military commmission had sentenced him to close confine-

ment for the duration of the war. Sent to the South, he hurriedly took

his way to Halifax in Canada.69 The Copperhead press depicted him as

a martyr; and playing the role to the hilt, he easily won the Democratic

nomination in June for the governorship of Ohio. His ensuing pro-

nouncements issued from Canada, Vallandigham advocated concilia-

tion and compromise with the South, though not going so far as to

demand an armistice as he had early in 1863. Many Republicans feared

and many Copperheads hoped that as governor of Ohio Vallandigham

would mobilize western pressure to compel the administration to take

measures of compromise; and there were even rumors that he would

take the lead in forming a Northwest Confederacy-a nation to consist

of seceding states in the Old Northwest-if Lincoln would not yield to

his demands.

Fearing dire consequences of a Copperhead victory, Republican

editors in Ohio gave unswerving support to Vallandigham's opponent,

John Brough, a former Democrat. Though stressing Brough's ability,

they focused their attention on Vallandigham. Bickham took a charac-

teristic position. He viewed the main issue of the campaign as simply

one of treason versus patriotism. He portrayed Vallandigham as a

"convicted traitor" whose sympathy lay with treasonous Southerners.




68. John C. Hover, ed., et. al., Memoirs of the Miami Valley (3 vols., Chicago, 1919),

II, 139. One secondary account, which I have been unable to substantiate in any primary

sources, says that Rosecrans urged Lincoln to send Bickham to Dayton. Daniel D.

Bickham, "Tribute to Wm. D. Bickham, Civil War Editor," The Ohio Newspaper, XVII

(1937), 5-6.

69. One may read of Vallandigham's exile in Frank L. Klement, "Clement L.

Vallandigham's Exile in the Confederacy, May 25-June 17, 1863," The Journal of

Southern History, XXXI (1965), 149-63.


48                                                    OHIO HISTORY


He suggested that Vallandigham owed his nomination to machinations

of the Confederacy. He delighted in the publication of the couplet,

Hurrah for Brough and Abraham!

And a rope to hang Vallandigham!70

If the Journal could denigrate Vallandigham, the Empire could

revere him. The Empire, its suspension lifted, renewed publication in

mid-August, with Logan, released from jail without charges pressed

against him, as its editor. According to Logan, who seemed hardly

chastened by recent events, Vallandigham's election was absolutely

necessary to check the military despotism in Washington.71 Vallandig-

ham, he said, was a champion of peace and principles of constitution-

alism. For Logan, he was the man who would resist the egal-

itarian measures of Negrophiles and the economic power of eastern


Despite Logan's rhetoric and that of many other Copperhead editors

in Ohio, Vallandigham lost the election. Brough, pointing to Union

victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg to refute Copperhead assertions

that a military victory over the South was impossible, receiving nearly

the unanimous ballot of soldiers voting in the field and evidently

drawing an heretofore silent vote, won by a hundred thousand votes.72

Relieved and elated by the outcome, Lincoln reputedly telegraphed the

incumbent governor, David Tod, "Glory to God in the highest; Ohio

has saved the Union."73 Another kind of victory came to Republicans

in Dayton shortly before the election. Brown was finally brought to

trial and much to the Journal's satisfaction was found not guilty.74 The

Empire, its resentment quite evident, ascribed the verdict to the

largesse of a packed jury that Republican women showered daily with

bouquets of flowers.75

The gubernatorial election over, the Journal and the Empire found

other issues to contest. Soon after the election, however, Logan left the

Empire, handing its editorship over to Thomas and William Hubbard,



70. DJ, October 2, 1863.

71. DE, August 21, 1863, August 24, 1863, September 3, 1863, September 18, 1863.

72. Altogether, Brough received 288,826 votes, Vallandigham 187,728. Brough polled

247,216 "home votes," 41,610 soldiers' votes. Vallandigham tallied respectively 185,464

and 2,264 votes.

73. Many historians have ascribed this telegram to Lincoln, but no one can prove that

he did send it or one similar to it. For a brief note on the question, see Klement, The

Limits of Dissent, 252; and "Clement L. Vallandigham," in For the Union.

74. "Henry M. Brown is Acquitted," DJ, September 11, 1863; "The Trial of Henry

M. Brown for Killing J. F. Bollmeyer," DJ, September 14, 1863.

75. "Brown Acquitted," DE, September 11, 1863.

Newspapers in Battle 49

Newspapers in Battle                                         49

two brothers who had been publishing a rural newspaper devoted to the

Copperhead cause, the Logan County (Ohio) Gazette.76 Though their

language lacked the elan of Logan's, they continued the battle with the

Journal. And the columns of the Empire and the Journal, as usual,

bristled with debate over national policies; conscription, the use of

blacks as soldiers, taxes and other questions all were grist for the mills

of editorial controversy. In state and local politics, too, the editors

discovered and created numerous subjects to dispute. Throughout

January of 1864, for instance, they argued caustically over the propri-

ety of the appointment of a Copperhead, one Thomas 0. Lowe, to the

office of county auditor by county commissioners. The Copperhead's

father-in-law was one of the commissioners, and the Journal saw the

appointment as a case of flagrant nepotism.77 The Empire dismissed

the Journal's charge as trivial and contemptible politics.78 Then the


76. DE, December 21, 1863. In his farewell editorial, Logan adopted the attitude of "I

have fought the good fight ..." and urged Copperheads to support the Hubbard


77. DJ, January 5, 1864.

78. DE, January 6, 1864.


50                                                 OHIO HISTORY


Journal discerned serious flaws in the character of Lowe, noting that

he had ridden his father's horse through the city only a few weeks after

the father's death!79

In March of 1864 violence returned to the streets of Dayton, and

again the newspapers were closely tied to it. A disturbance began when

about twenty drunken soldiers of the Forty-Fourth Ohio Volunteer

Infantry, home on furlough and supposedly incited by a Journal

editorial condemning Copperheads, approached the Empire office. Led

by two or three officers, they broke a window, entered the office, and

destroyed type and anything else they could lay their hands on.80 Then

they marched to the courthouse, where they heard an officer deliver a

harangue against the Copperheads. Some Democrats jeered the speak-

er, and suddenly a wild melee involving a hundred men or more

erupted. When the smoke had cleared, one man lay dead and three or

four seriously injured. According to the Copperheads, the Journal had

countenanced the affair by saying that the Copperheads had insulted

soldiers' families and had urged men to resist the draft.81

Through the last year of the war, the Empire and Journal fought their

war of words over national issues, notably the presidential election of

1864; but larger concerns lacked the particularity of local events, and

the journalists increasingly became ritualized or routinized in their

exchanges, their language rehearsing themes of partiotism and treason,

of constitutionalism and despotism.82

The struggle between the Empire and the Journal was indeed

vitriolic. Their editors could never find a grain of truth in their rivals'

positions. Their commitment to their values was at once a source of

strength and weakness. Anchoring their newspapers in idealogical

concrete, they could sustain them in the face of adversity and reverses;

but they became the rankest of advocates who allowed little room for

intellectual freedom or detached judgment for themselves or their

ments for control of the mind and the spirit. They gave the test to John

Milton's rhetorical question on freedom of print: ". .. who ever knew

the Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?"





79. DJ, January 9, 1864.

80. "More Rioting in Dayton," DJ, March 4, 1864; Thomas Lowe to William Lowe,

March 6, 1864, in Lowe Collection.

81. DE, March 7, 1864.

82. During the presidential campaign, the Journal typically assailed the "peace

plank" of the Democratic platform, the plank that called for a truce between the North

and the South, and asserted that a McClellan victory would result in a humiliating peace

that somehow would threaten the liberty of all Northerners. For the Empire, a McClellan

victory would lead to an honorable peace and a vindication of states' rights.