The Mount Vernon Democratic Banner reported on Oct. 22, 1861, that the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was unhappy with its new commander:
“The 4th Regiment O.V.M., is much dissatisfied with the appointment of a Colonel (as successor to the late Lorin Andrews) who is an entire stranger to it, when its Lieut. Col. is perfectly competent for the position. This, however, is of a piece with Gov. Dennison’s general use of the appointing power. We hope the wish of the regiment may yet be gratified.”
Elsewhere in that day’s paper was a list of the first 77 Ohio infantry regiments to be organized, where they were currently located and who the commander of each was. A John S, Mason was listed as colonel of the 4th, still located in West Virginia.
Later in the war, the ability of soldiers in the field to cast votes in their home elections would be important, both to Lincoln’s re-election in 1864 and the outcome of state elections.
Lecky Harper, editor of the Banner, was an advocate of allowing soldiers to vote in their camps, casting what we call today absentee ballots. Few states allowed it at the beginning of the war. One wonders what Harper’s thoughts were when the results, especially in 1864, were not what he projected.
In the Oct. 22 Banner he wrote:
“By a law of Pennsylvania the citizen volunteers of that State are authorized, at each annual election, to vote in their camps for State and local officers, and their votes are counted the same as if they had voted at home. A large majority of the volunteers being Democrats, as they are elsewhere, they contributed to the Democratic successes in that State. The volunteer vote decided the election in favor of several of the Democratic candidates in Philadelphia. After ascertaining this fact, the leading Republican journals began to assail the legality of the volunteer vote, and demanded that it should be ‘counted out’! What a beautiful ‘No party’ arrangement!! The war must be made subservient to Republican politics and politicians or it, like its predecessors, will be denounced by them as an ‘unholy war.’”
Harper also, in the same issue, took a shot at the local Republican paper:
“The Mt. Vernon Republican of the 10th inst., has the following remarks on the election in Knox County:
“’Here is a glorious triumph — not of Republicanism, or Democracy, but of Patriotism over mistaken honesty and downright scoundrelism and treason.’
“Some allowances should be made for the natural zeal of new converts to the support of the Union, the Constitution and the Law. Otherwise, in view of their former course, the sincerity might be doubted.”
On Oct. 15, the Banner published a report of rumors that New Orleans was about to fall to Federal troops and/or that Union forces will be building batteries that would effectively block the river below the city.
Now, the reports were still unconfirmed, but they were far less positive.