This Day in the Civil War

Wednesday, March 26 1862

Apache Canyon, New Mexico Territory, was the scene of today’s most severe action. Although little known compared to the famous battles of the East, the American West was vigorously contested during the War. A column of Confederates left Santa Fe, quite unaware that they were about to encounter Federal forces led by Maj. John M. Chivington. His Colorado volunteers were successful, but withdrew to Pigeon’s Ranch at the end of the day.

Thursday, March 26 1863

Andrew Johnson was an utterly obscure senator until his Tennessee seceded, and he stayed loyal to the Union. As a reward, he was appointed governor after Union forces retook the state. Lincoln wrote to him today: “The colored population is the great available, yet unavailed of, force for restoring the Union. The sight of fifty thousand armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi would end the rebellion at once."

Saturday, March 26 1864

Several days ago President Abraham Lincoln had issued a proclamation declaring that US military personnel who were absent without leave would be permitted to return to their units without penalty so long as they arrived by April 1. He was obliged to issue a second proclamation on the subject today to clarify that the amnesty did not apply to deserters who had already been captured and put in prison.

Sunday, March 26, 1865

Under the watching eyes of President Lincoln, the cavalry forces of Gen. Phil Sheridan today crossed the James River, 15,000 strong. On his way to join Grant’s forces around Petersburg, Sheridan took advantage of the fact that Lincoln was on a tour of the City Point area to review the troops and consult with the generals. The aggressive Sheridan would assist Grant in pressuring the Petersburg line.

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