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Pioneer in 'Immediate journalism,’ Murat Halstead, native of Butler County

Dozens of Facts About Butler County and the Civil War, 1861-1865

Pioneer in 'Immediate journalism,’  Murat Halstead, native of Butler County


(This the ninth "Dozen of Facts About Butler County and the Civil War," a series of random columns related to brief comments on Butler County’s role in the Civil War, 1861-1865. The columns are in conjunction with the observance of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, 2010-2015. The reprint edition of Jim Blount’s 1998 book, The Civil War and Butler County, is available at several outlets, or by contacting Books in Shandon, 4795 Cincinnati-Brookville Road (Ohio 126), Shandon, OH 45063, or phone 738-2962 or 523-4005.)

Compiled by Jim Blount

There was never any doubt about Ohio’s status after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. The Buckeye state had been instrumental in his nomination as the Republican nominee and in his election to the presidency. In a four-man race, Lincoln carried 59 of Ohio's 88 counties, but not Butler County. He beat his closest rival, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, by 44,380 votes in Ohio. More political information is among the ninth dozen of facts about the 1861-1865 period:

97. Americans who read newspapers in 1860 learned much about Lincoln and the other presidential candidates in news reports written by a Butler County native. Mural Halstead -- a native of Paddy's Run (now Shandon) -- pioneered "immediate journalism." Halstead covered seven nominating conventions that year, telegraphing his daily accounts to his Cincinnati newspaper. Thanks to the telegraph, his reports were reprinted in other newspapers. Halstead’s reporting continued through the war.

98. Is Butler County north or south of the Mason-Dixon Line? That dividing mark usually is regarded as separating slave states from free states before the war, or a border between states that remained loyal and those that seceded. Both of those definitions would place Butler County north of the line.

Actually, the Mason-Dixon Line -- named after surveyors responsible for it -- was completed between 1763 and 1767 -- about a century before the Civil War -- to settle boundary disputes between Maryland and Pennsylvania. On that basis, Butler County was south of the line. Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon ran the 233-mile line before the American Revolution when Maryland and Pennsylvania were British colonies. It didn’t reach to the Pennsylvania-Ohio border

99. Eleven states seceded from the Union between December 1860 through May 1861 to form the Confederate States of America (CSA). Seven states had seceded before Abraham Lincoln's March 4, 1861, inauguration. South Carolina was the first state to secede, Dec. 20, 1860. Before Lincoln took office, the others were Mississippi Jan. 9, 1861; Florida Jan. 10; Alabama Jan. 11; Georgia Jan. 19; Louisiana, Jan. 26; and Texas Feb. 1. Joining the Confederacy later were Virginia April 17, 1861; Arkansas May 6; Tennessee May 7 and North Carolina May 20, 1861.

100. Twenty-two of the 33 states that existed at the time of the 1860 presidential election remained in the Union. They were Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California and Oregon.

101. Three new states joined the Union after Lincoln’s election. Kansas was added Jan. 29, 1861. Two others gained statehood during the war. West Virginia was admitted June 20, 1863. It was formed from part of an existing state, Virginia. Nevada joined the Union in Oct. 31, 1864.

102. In the 1860 census, the ratio of population of northern states to the population of Confederate states was about two to one.

103. The Confederate States of America (CSA) organized at Montgomery, Ala., Feb. 4, 1861, and Feb. 18, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated president of the Confederacy in Montgomery, Ala. Two weeks later, March 4, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated president of the United States in Washington, D. C.

104. "Ohioans made up about one fifth of [Gen. Ulysses S.] Grant’s army at Shiloh April 6-7, 1862, representing 28 infantry regiments, five [artillery] batteries and a cavalry regiment," according to Robert S. Harper in the Ohio Handbook of the Civil War, published in 1961 by the Ohio Civil War Centennial Commission. "They lost 1,676 killed and wounded of the 13,047 casualties suffered by the national army."

105. The capital of the Confederacy was moved from Montgomery, Ala., to Richmond, Va., May 23, 1861, following Virginia’s April 17, secession. Near the end of the war, as Richmond was threatened, the CSA capital was shifted to Danville, Va., April 3, 1865.

106. There were two slave states on Ohio’s southern border when the Civil War began in 1861. Virginia with 490,865 had the largest slave population in the nation. Kentucky with 225,483 ranked ninth in the 1860 census. Total U. S. Slave population was 3,953,760 (3.9 million) in 1860.

107. Ohio ranked third, based on acreage, in improved farm land in the nation in the 1860 census, totaling 12.6 million acres. Topping Ohio were New York, 14.4 million acres, and Illinois, 13 million. Other leaders among Union states were Pennsylvania, 10.5 million, and Indiana, 8.2 million, fourth and sixth nationally.               
Virginia was first among Confederate states (11.4 million) and fifth nationally. Other leading CSA farm states were Georgia, 8 million acres; Tennessee 6.8 million; North Carolina 6.5 million; and Alabama 6.4 million.

108. Charles Henry Hardin, a Kentucky native, graduated from Miami University in 1841 where he was a founder of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. When secession question was posed in Missouri, Hardin was the only state senator to vote against leaving the Union. Despite his loyal vote, he was "put under bonds and subsequently disfranchised because of alleged sympathy for the Confederacy." After the war, he was Missouri’s governor, 1875-77.