There are neat little items to be found in the pages of any newspaper from the Civil War years. One of them, buried at the bottom of a page of the Democratic Banner, revealed a Mount Vernon link to a man who gained some prominence in the war: Gen. Robert Byington Mitchell.
The item appeared Aug. 27, 1861: “Among the wounded in the late battle in Missouri is our gallant young friend, Col. Robert B. Mitchell, now of Kansas, formerly of Mt. Vernon and Mt. Gilead. He is reported wounded in the groin and on the shin.”
A quick Internet search revealed that Mitchell was born April 24, 1823, in Richland County. He may have attended college at either Kenyon in Gambier or Washington College in Pennsylvania. The Wikipedia entry claims neither has a record of his attendance; another Internet site only mentions his Washington College attendance.
He studied law in Mount Vernon, then practiced in Mansfield. He served in the Mexican War as a second lieutenant with the 2nd Ohio Volunteers. In 1855 he was elected mayor of Mount Gilead and in 1856 moved to Kansas, where he was a free-state advocate. He served as territorial treasurer from 1858 until 1861, and was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention at Charleston in 1860, then became colonel of the Second Kansas Infantry, a 90-day regiment.
After the regiment was mustered out and he had recovered from the wounds he received at Wilson’s Creek, Mitchell became colonel of the 2nd Kansas Cavalry.