This Day in the Civil War

Sunday, Feb. 23 1862

Aside from the appointment of Andrew Jackson as military governor of Tennessee, absolutely nothing of the slightest interest, either military or political, occurred on this date according to any source we can find. The fact that we all know the war continued for several more years means that eventually there is sure to be some more fighting.

Monday, Feb. 23 1863

Former Secretary of War Simon Cameron today resigned as Ambassador to Russia after barely a year in the position. He was sent into this Siberian exile to get him out of the war department, which during his administration was operated with a level of corruption rarely seen even in Washington. It was never proven that Cameron personally profited from the bid-rigging, overpayments and deliveries of rotten meat and wormy flour. The fact that he was the former governor of Pennsylvania did not do anything to dispel suspicion.

Tuesday, Feb. 23 1864

President Jefferson Davis was being deluged with requests for reinforcements from not one but two armies: Polk, in Mississippi, who was shorthanded; and also Johnston, who was not only under strength but threatened this day by Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland, which was advancing on Johnston’s position near Dalton, Ga. Davis, having no troops to send, instead suggested that perhaps Thomas’ activities were merely a “demonstration” rather than an attack. On this occasion Davis was right.

Thursday, Feb. 23 1865

Federal cavalryman Gen. Judson Kilpatrick filed a grim report today. “Infantry lt. and seven men murdered yesterday by 8th Tex. Cav after they had surrendered. We found their bodies all together and mutilated, with paper on their breasts saying “Death to foragers”...I intend to hang eighteen of (Wheeler’s) men, and if the cowardly act is repeated, will burn every house along my line of march. I have a number of prisoners, and shall take a fearful revenge.”

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