Death of a Lawyer
June 17, 1871 - Clement Vallandigham died on this day in a bizarre freak accident. More on that later.
During the Civil War Vallandigham represented Ohio's 3rd district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was an outspoken anti-war, pro-Confederate democrat. As the leader of the so-called Copperheads he came up with their snappy slogan, "To maintain the Constitution as it is, and to restore the Union as it was." Vallandigham liked to call the president, "King Lincoln." In turn Lincoln called him a "wily agitator."
After the war Vallandigham returned to his law practice. His final client was a man accused of murdering someone in a barroom brawl. Vallandigham's defense sought to prove that the victim had actually shot himself while fumbling with his gun in a kneeling position. While demonstrating how this could happen the gun went off and killed Vallandigham. On the bright side, his client was acquitted.