This Week in the Civil War - 777

Feb 28, 2014

Were the papers alleging that Jefferson Davis and his cabinet of advisors were to be killed in the Kilpatrick raid against Richmond in February 1864 a forgery or were Union forces in fact ordered to assassinate Davis and members of his government? 

The so-called Dahlgren papers were published by the Confederacy as evidence of Union barbarism. The absolute truth in this matter will never be known, in part because the Dahlgren papers no longer exist.  After the war they were part of the Confederate archives seized and sent to Washington, D. C. 

After ordering that the papers be directly turned over to him, most historians believe the papers were intentionally destroyed in 1865 by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, adding fuel to the fire that the Dahlgren documents were possibly authentic.