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Ohio in the 1860s


Congressman Clement Laird Vallandigham
Congressman Clement Laird Vallandigham

By far the largest industry in the state before 1860 was meatpacking, which was concentrated in Cincinnati, the largest meatpacking center in the nation. Cincinnati also supplied furniture, books, soap, candles, cloth and clothing, leather goods, steam engines, steamboats, and many other products to the Ohio Valley and the South. Outside Cincinnati, major industries included saltmaking, ceramics, ironworking, lumbering, and paper manufacturing. In 1860, with a population of 2.3 million, Ohio was the third most populous state in the nation, behind New York and Pennsylvania.

In the years before the American Civil War (1861-1865), Ohio was home to many antislavery publications and an elaborate Underground Railroad network, which helped fugitive slaves escape to Canada. When war broke out, more than 30,000 Ohio residents, more than twice the state’s quota, volunteered to fight in the Union Army. However, as the war dragged on, support for the war declined, and more Ohioans resisted draft calls. Support increased for the Copperheads, those who advocated an immediate end to fighting by the Union. In 1863 one of the most prominent Copperheads, Ohio Congressman Clement Laird Vallandigham, won the Democratic nomination for governor and made a surprisingly strong showing in the election, even though he was defeated. However, Ohio remained firmly on the side of the Union throughout the war. Ohio lay outside the active theater of war. Fighting occurred there in the summer of 1863, however, when forces under Confederate General John Hunt Morgan crossed into the state near Cincinnati. Pursued by a large force of Ohio militiamen, Morgan made a dash across southern and eastern Ohio, avoiding the cities and foraging the countryside, until he was captured on July 26 near Salineville. "Ohio" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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