Col. Joseph Vance, commander of the 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, visited Mount Vernon in August 1863. The former mayor of Mount Vernon was one of the city’s leading abolitionists in the 1850s and, according to Lorle Porter in “Politics and Peril,” the best attorney in town.
Lecky Harper ran this little item in the Democratic Banner on Aug. 15, 1863: “Col. Jos. W. Vance arrived at home on Wednesday, on a brief visit to his family. Although the Colonel wrote a letter to the Republican some time ago, pitching into the Banner and its editor in the most ferocious style, yet we harbor no ill will towards him on that account. We hope he will live long enough to be sorry for what he has said.”
A week later, he ran this item: “Col. Joe Vance delivered a political speech at Woodward Hall on Wednesday evening. We did not hear him, but we are told that the speech was a tirade of abuse against the Democratic party, and its patriotic standard-bearer for Governor, C.L. Vallandigham. Col. Vance declared that Mr. V. is a ‘traitor,’ and that all who vote for him are ‘traitors!’ If this is so, the ‘traitors’ will greatly outnumber the ‘loyal men,’ in Ohio this fall! Now, either Col. Vance asserts a falsehood or Lincoln does. The latter, in his letter to the Ohio Committee, declared that Mr. Vallandigham had committed no treasonable act, and was not tried for treason. His arrest and imprisonment, said Old Abe, were merely ‘preventive.’ Such falsehoods and abuse as were uttered by Col. Vance will only have the effect of disgusting sensible people with this miserable Abolition party and its unprincipled leaders.
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