Monday, November 5, 2007

March 13, 1865 "Black Friday"

As I continue my research of Regular army cavalry officers and enlisted men during the Civil War, one bit of information is contained in almost every entry. Apparently every single officer in the Union Army received one or more brevet promotions on March 13, 1865.

Such a statement, of course, makes one suspicious of hyperbole. However, if you go back and check the Fiddler's Green entries in this blog, JD Petruzzi's Faded Hoofbeats entries at Hoofbeats and Cold Steel, and Eric Wittenberg's biographical posts at Rantings of a Civil War Historian, you will quickly note this common thread.

I'm not sure why this happened. The 'when' I understand, as the Confederacy was clearly on its last legs by the middle of March 1865. But why every officer? An honorary appointment isn't much of an honor if everyone gets one. I do know it was a source of consternation and mockery in the Regular army for decades after the war, creating all sorts of problems of precedent. It became known among officers as "Black Friday." August Kautz had a sarcastic but rather humorous article in one of the MOLLUS books after the war about brevet promotions, if I recall correctly.

Do any of my learned readers out there have any insight into this?

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