SIDNEY — Imagine having as your neighbor a Congressman who favors the perceived enemy of your country. Valerie Hamill, a Civil War re-enactor with more than a decade of experience, will portray a neighbor of Clement Vallandigham. Vallandigham was an attorney who began practice in Dayton, edited a weekly newspaper (the Dayton Empire), and became the leader of the Copperhead faction of anti-war Democrats during the American Civil War.
Vallandigham served two terms in the United States House of Representatives. In 1863, Vallandigham was convicted at an Army court martial for opposing the war. He was exiled to the Confederacy. He ran for governor of Ohio in 1863 from exile in Canada, but was defeated.
Vallandigham actually spoke in Sidney on Sept. 24, 1864. Appearing alongside George Pendleton, the Democratic candidate for Vice-President of the United States, he spoke at a political rally that dissolved into a melee.
Several hundred recently discharged soldiers from the 11th Michigan Volunteer Infantry were in Sidney (at that time, the station was located downtown), waiting on the northbound train to take them home. In the clash that followed between the Vallandigham and Pendleton supporters and the Union soldiers, Pendleton and Vallandigham narrowly escaped alive.
Hamill is a member of the Big Walnut Area Historical Society and has served as chair of the Rosecrans Ladies Aid Society. She has been a member of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery, Battery A, the 5th Kentucky Infantry, as well as the General Rosecrans’ Department of the Ohio Headquarters group. She is the director of the Ohio Herb Education Center in Gahanna, Ohio.
Hamill’s presentation will take place in the Education Tent on Saturday evening, Sept. 17, at 4:30 p.m. Hamill’s presentation will be the last presentation in the Education Tent on Saturday.