This Day in the Civil War

Wednesday, Feb. 26 1862

Abraham Lincoln made money the old-fashioned way today--he invented it. More precisely, he signed the Loan and Treasury Bill sent to him by Congress which authorized for the first time the issuance of official, national United States paper currency. Prior to this time the only official national money had been coin, usually gold or silver. States and some cities issued paper money, but it was only legal tender in that area.

Thursday, Feb. 26 1863

The Cherokee Nation, victim of the infamous Trail of Tears, had no reason to love the government in Washington. Indeed, there had been dissention within this tribe as well as many others as to what the proper response was to the War Between the States. The debate had occasionally led to bloodshed, and individuals had gone to fight on one side or the other. Today the Cherokee National Council repealed its Ordinance of Secession, renounced and abolished slavery, and declared for the Union.

Friday, Feb. 26 1864

The list of items for which soldiers could receive the death penalty was not terribly long. Mutiny, sedition, desertion, assaulting a superior officer, and sleeping on guard covered most instances. All capital sentences of courts-martial, though, had to be personally reviewed by the President, and Lincoln almost never signed any. Today he got rid of the problem by ordering that death sentences, at least for deserters, would be commuted to imprisonment during the war. Many generals detested the policy, saying it undermined discipline.

Sunday, Feb. 26 1865

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman led his Twentieth Corps to a brief stopover at Hanging Rock, South Carolina. The difficulty was that the 20th was considerably out in front of the rest of the army. The weather, which had dried out for a brief time and allowed better coordination, had turned exceedingly wet again. The Army of the Tennessee, in the vicinity of Kershaw, was in some actual danger from rising waters, even though the rain had stopped.

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