Today in Texas History – January 23


From the Annals of the Civil War -In 1863, Martin Hart was executed in Fort Smith, Arkansas for treason against the Confederate States of America.  Hart was an attorney from Hunt County who had served in the Texas Legislature as a representative and senator.  He was opposed to secession, but after Texas passed the vile screed known as the Ordinance of Secession, he resigned from the Legislature and organized the Greenville Guards, pledging the company’s services “in defense of Texas whenever she is invaded or threatened with invasion.”   He was, however, a Union spy.  In Arkansas he led a series of rear-guard actions against Confederate forces, and is alleged to have murdered at least two prominent secessionists. He was captured on January 18, 1863, by Confederate forces, hung five days later and buried in an unmarked grave under the hanging tree.

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