Lisbon man banished for speaking against war

Week of May 26, 1863

On May 26, 1863, Clement Vallandigham was taken below Murfreesboro, Tenn., and handed over to the Confederates. This was a result of his arrest for violation of General Order No. 38, which was issued by Major General Ambrose Burnside in Cincinnati.

Vallandigham was born in Lisbon, Ohio, in 1820, educated by his father who was a Presbyterian minister, then attended academies in Pennsylvania. Returning to Ohio, he was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 1856 and elected to the Ohio Legislature, from Columbiana County. Then he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

A conservative and states rights advocate, he was a peace Democrat and very much against the war. General Order No. 38 forbade any sympathy for the enemy.

In newspapers and speeches Clement voiced his opinion and was arrested. Punishment could be imprisonment, banishment or death.

President Lincoln commuted his two-year prison sentence at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor to banishment in the Confederacy. Clement was escorted to Wilmington, N.C. and arrived in Winsor, Ontario, Canada by July 5.

Outraged by his treatment at the Democratic Convention the Democrats voted 411 against 11 to nominate him for Governor of Ohio.

Gen. Jacob Cox served under Burnside and wrote in his memoirs that Burnside was blamed for Vallandigham’s treatment but President Lincoln had also expressed strong words against sympathy for the Confederates. What prompted the arrest was Vallandigham’s speech at Mt. Vernon, Ohio on May 1.

Arrested on May 5, Clement’s trial and sentencing was over by May 16. Vallandigham applied to the United States Supreme Court for a writ to examine the military commission’s report to determine its legality. The Supreme Court dismissed the application.

Gen. Cox was based at Cincinnati and mentions there were many people in that city who showed sympathy for the Confederates. Most alarming to Gen. Cox were the women. Many openly defied the Union Army to express allegiance for the southerners and felt they could do so freely without fear of imprisonment because women were usually dealt with very gently. Clearly both Generals had delicate dealings with the citizens.

May, 1863 found the 23rd Ohio and Lt. William McKinley pushing the rebels back in Dublin, Va. The Dublin Depot on the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad was burned as well as the covered bridge over the New River.

The six-mile ascent of Salt Pond Mountain was strewn with boulders, which were like mountains themselves. Wagons broke down and many supplies had to be dumped, the mules were double-teamed with the remaining wagons.

Their new commander, Brig. Gen. George Crook, was always with the men and earned their respect as well as Gen. Hayes, who stated that Gen. Crook was the best general he had. At Meadow Bluff, they were joined by several hundred fugitive slaves.

One soldier stated that Lt. McKinley carried a contraband child for a mile, helping the mother over all the ditches as the father and two other children followed. They carried in bundles all their possessions. McKinley helped this family as if it were no different than his other duties.

Isaac Gause and the 2nd Ohio Cavalry were along the Kentucky- Tennessee border, near Monticello in south-central Kentucky. After the Army crossed the Cumberland River on ferryboats the 2nd Ohio Cavalry had to guard the crossing, for enemy horsemen had been harassing the rear of the army.

Rumors were plentiful that Gen. John Hunt Morgan was planning a raid to the north. Gen. Shackleford’s cavalry division was ordered out in light marching order to try to intercept Morgan. At that time light marching orders meant carrying one blanket, one poncho, one change of underclothes, 100 rounds of ammunition, one pair of horseshoes with nails, three days rations and three days of forage for the horse.

On June 1, 1863, Burnside’s 9th Corps was ready to march to Tennessee to join Gen. Rosecrans (another Ohioan). Intelligence had been received that Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg had sent part of his army to relieve Confederate Gen. Pemberton who was facing Gen. U.S. Grant (also born in Ohio) at Vicksburg, Miss.

With Bragg’s army divided in Tennessee it was an opportunity to attack. Gen. Burnside, who had to remain in Cincinnati, also received orders that 8,000 men from the 9th Corps were to reinforce Gen. Grant at Vicksburg. Confederate and Federal forces were preparing for what would be a decisive summer.

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