Warren’s papers offer different views of war

In 1862, Jefferson Palm, encouraged by his Democratic friends, brought out the Warren Constitution newspaper.

The Democratic Party at this time consisted of several factions, ranging in opinion from outright Southern sympathizers to loyal Union men who opposed the Administration Party’s war measures. Opposition to the Emancipation Proclamation, conscription and other issues took on the radical Copperhead rhetoric of the semi-secesh papers of the North under Palm’s editorship of the Warren Constitution.

In the April 22, 1863, issue of the Western Reserve Chronicle, 150 years ago today, publisher-editors Adams, Hapgood and Ritezel devoted three columns of the editorial page to letters from five soldiers who spoke out about the editorial positions of the Warren Constitution.

In its editorial, the Western Reserve Chronicle said ”these traitors judge others by their own sentiments. They are laboring hard to excite bitter feelings … and to inaugurate civil war in our midst.”

In speaking of elections in Wisconsin, the Warren Constitution said ”the North-West is a little remote from the seat of corruption to endorse this wicked Administration.”

The Western Reserve Chronicle replied ”the Main Street bantam crowed before he was out of the woods that time. Will the Warren Constitution undeceive its readers, by giving them, the true result of the election? We shall see.”

Dwight H. Cory of Greene Township, a member of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, wrote the following from Potomac Station, Va.:

”Would to God that the Devil might take those Copperheads at the North who have done so much to discourage our army and to encourage the enemies of our country, and fold them to his bosom, for if there is one class of men more dear to the Devil than another it must be those traitors at home who are so zealous in his service, in such an underhanded manner; but those noble minded men whom our nation had aroused in her defense, will, I trust, see these wrongs righted.”

D. H. Cory and his three brothers, Nelson, J.B. and Charles, all served in Union Army regiments.

A second letter, signed C.A.B. from a Bristol soldier, was published in last week’s Civil War 150 article. Charles A. Brooks had enlisted in Company H of the 7th Ohio Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant and wounded twice.

In 1863, Brooks was promoted again to first lieutenant and regimental adjutant. He was 19 years of age when he wrote to the Western Reserve Chronicle. He concluded ”How proud I would be, to see the Warren Constitution put down, and if I were only in Warren, with half a dozen boys of the old 7th, the Mahoning River would soon receive the secession sheet.”

After the battle at Gettysburg, Brooks was sent home on a recruiting mission. Tragedy struck in Cleveland at the railroad depot, and Brooks was killed in the train accident on Aug. 13, 1863.

His military record is inscribed on Ohio’s first Civil War Monument at the Bristol Town Park, dedicated in the fall of 1863. Brooks was further honored when the Brooks G. A. R. (Grand Army of the Republic) Post No. 2 was organized at Bristolville in 1880.

He is buried at Bristol’s Evergreen Cemetery.

A third letter came from the Army of the Frontier and was written by Captain A. Moore, formerly from Trumbull County, but serving in the 2nd Kansas Regiment:

”Mr. Editor: Sir, I have just seen a copy of the Warren Constitution. Permit me to say to your readers, that Esquire Palm’s paper, could not live a day in the loyal, but was scourged State of Missouri. The people here who have suffered so much from traitors, would rise in their might, and demand its speedy suppression; and they would make another demand which Jefferson Palm would do well to heed, or the eyes of all beholders would be gladdened by the sight of a traitors carcass dancing in the air.”

The fourth published letter came from J.C. Whitney of the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry: ”The Copperheads say that the soldiers are getting discouraged, and down hearted; but I say and know that the soldiers are in better spirits and more confident of success today than they have been at any time since the beginning of the war. And why should they not be? They are well clothed, well fed, and times in the army are daily getting better; and all we ask is to be left along, and the day is not far distant when we will show the rebels that they must come to terms; and that once accomplished, the northern traitors will come in for a share.”

The fifth letter came from the 15th Ohio Heavy Artillery Battery in Memphis, Tenn. It is signed ”Scrapnel.” The letter consists of a lengthy resolution adopted by the Battery. The resolution contains three ”whereas” statements and six ”resolved” paragraphs. The second ”whereas” reads as follows:

”We as a Battery, have been especially maligned in an article signed by R.C. Darling, which has appeared in a sheet called the Warren Constitution, of late date, impugning our integrity as men and soldiers and tending to represent us as asking for peace on almost any terms, for the sake of avoiding the risks and hardships of a soldier’s life.”

The first ”resolved” statement reads as follows:

”We utterly repudiate the Warren Constitution and all kindred sheets; that we declare unfaltering devotion to the Federal Union, and that we are therefore in favor of prosecuting the war until the rebellion is put down and the authority of the Government is recognized in every state and Territory, and that it is the duty of all good citizens to aid, assist and support our Federal and State Governments in their efforts to maintain the Union and punish treason.”

The complete resolution was ordered to be sent to newspapers in Warren, Cleveland, Elyria and Painesville.

”Scrapnel” included the following paragraph in his letter accompanying the resolution:

”The Copperheads of the North must be hard run to be compelled to resort to such men as R.C. Darling, to bolster them up. He is a man who can scarcely write his own name, and never could have written the letter appearing over his signature. He is where he belongs and where we expected to find him. He will make a bright and shining light among their galaxy of stars. Darling joined the battery in February, 1862, and remained with us until the first of June 1862, when he returned North. You can judge of his opportunity of learning the sentiments of the army.”

”This fifth letter ended with this report: ”We are at present pleasantly encamped one and a half miles east of Memphis, but cannot tell when the order may come to embark for Vicksburg or some other point. But let it come when it may, we are ready.”

Compiled by members of the CW150 Committee of Warren’s Sutliff Museum.