This Week in the Civil War - 564

May 7, 2013

On Tuesday, May 5, 1863 former congressman Clement Vallandigham, leader of the Northern Copperheads, was arrested in Dayton, Ohio.  Tried by a military commission, he was convicted for expressing treasonable sympathies. 

He had previously referred to the war as an attempt to destroy slavery so as to create a Republican Party dictatorship and had described the Civil War as “wicked and cruel.”  

Vallandigham was sentenced to two years' confinement in a military prison, but Lincoln did not wish to make a martyr out of him, so the president ordered Vallandigham sent to the Confederacy. 

Vallandigham's alleged assertion that "he did not want to belong to the United States" prompted Edward Everett Hale in December 1863 to write the often reprinted short story “The Man Without a Country” in The Atlantic Monthly.