Seward Stops Grant From Starting a New War

Complicity

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At the close of the Civil War Grant wanted to militarily expel the French from Mexico. He sent Sheridan with 50,000 troops to Texas. He wanted to provoke an incident to start war.

In contrast, Secretary of State Seward rightfully reasoned he could get the French out w/0 war. He prompted President Johnson to outlaw the export of weapons. Grant instructed Sheridan to ignore the prohibition. Sheridan supplied at least 30,000 rifles to the Juaristas. Grant, Sheridan, and Schofield schemed to get armed U. S. troops on the right bank of the Rio Grande.

Fortunately Seward outfoxed them. The French army was gone by 1867.

Interestingly, I learned nothing about this in either the two "highly recommended" Grant bios I have. Wonder why?

Even Grant apologist William Hardy admits the topic "remains understudied"...indeed.

====================
Sources:

Hanna, Alfred and Kathryn, Napoleon III and Mexico
Smith, Gene, Maximilian and Carlotta
Haslip, Joan The Crown of Mexico
 

huskerblitz

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Was any mention of it in Brand's book on Grant? I haven't read that book but I recently read the 800+ monster bio on Roosevelt. I thought Brands was fairly thorough.
 

Complicity

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Was any mention of it in Brand's book on Grant? I haven't read that book but I recently read the 800+ monster bio on Roosevelt. I thought Brands was fairly thorough.

Using the Amazon "Search Inside" feature, I note that there is no mention of Benito Juarez at all.

This may be a case of winners writing the history which is so often denied on this forum.
 

tmh10

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At the close of the Civil War Grant wanted to militarily expel the French from Mexico. He sent Sheridan with 50,000 troops to Texas. He wanted to provoke an incident to start war.

In contrast, Secretary of State Seward rightfully reasoned he could get the French out w/0 war. He prompted President Johnson to outlaw the export of weapons. Grant instructed Sheridan to ignore the prohibition. Sheridan supplied at least 30,000 rifles to the Juaristas. Grant, Sheridan, and Schofield schemed to get armed U. S. troops on the right bank of the Rio Grande.

Fortunately Seward outfoxed them. The French army was gone by 1867.

Interestingly, I learned nothing about this in either the two "highly recommended" Grant bios I have. Wonder why?

Even Grant apologist William Hardy admits the topic "remains understudied"...indeed.

====================
Sources:

Hanna, Alfred and Kathryn, Napoleon III and Mexico
Smith, Gene, Maximilian and Carlotta
Haslip, Joan The Crown of Mexico

There is a good account of this in Sheridan's memoirs. Grant according to Sheridan was not interested in starting a war, but he viewed the Juaristas as a more frendly goverment to the US than the French and gave support. Going by memory as it has been a few years since I read Sheridan's memoirs, but it seems there was a concern the French may try to take advantage of the situation after the US was trying to recover from the Civil War. The French saw the Sheridan mission as conformation that any such attempt would fail. At the end of that book there is a very interesting account of Sheridan as an observer in the Franco-Prussian War on the German side and was in the company of Chancellor Bismark for the surrender of Emperor Napoleon at Chateau Bellevue.
 

Nathanb1

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At the close of the Civil War Grant wanted to militarily expel the French from Mexico. He sent Sheridan with 50,000 troops to Texas. He wanted to provoke an incident to start war.

Really? They didn't even have enough troops to enforce Reconstruction and stop the Comanches. Seriously.

I hate to even ask but what the heck is your source?

50,000 people sent to Texas would be quite noticeable.
 

rpkennedy

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Really? They didn't even have enough troops to enforce Reconstruction and stop the Comanches. Seriously.

I hate to even ask but what the heck is your source?

50,000 people sent to Texas would be quite noticeable.

I was thinking the same thing. Where were these 50,000 troops coming from? It would be more realistic if one drops a zero or two.

R
 

tmh10

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I was thinking the same thing. Where were these 50,000 troops coming from. It would be more realistic if one drops a zero or two.

R

I would have to drag out Sheridan's book but Im sure it was not that big of an army as well. I remember Sheridan missed the Grand Review because he was sent out just before it and wanted to be there.
 

rpkennedy

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I would have to drag out Sheridan's book but Im sure it was not that big of an army as well. I remember Sheridan missed the Grand Review because he was sent out just before it and wanted to be there.

Sheridan was sent West to defeat Kirby Smith but Smith surrendered before Sheridan arrived. Sheridan claimed that he raised an army of 50,000 but there's simply no way that was possible with the forces available.

R
 

Nathanb1

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Aha. One line in Handbook of Texas....but it's very vague.

After the war Grant ordered Sheridan to Texas with 50,000 soldiers to threaten the French-sponsored regime of Emperor Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph in Mexico. For more than a year Sheridan tried to persuade the French to leave Mexico.
 

Nathanb1

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Wikipedia:

Grant was also concerned about the situation in neighboring Mexico, where 40,000 French soldiers propped up the puppet regime of Austrian Archduke Maximilian. He gave Sheridan permission to gather a large Texas occupation force. Sheridan assembled 50,000 men in three corps, quickly occupied Texas coastal cities, spread inland, and began to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border. The Army's presence, U.S. political pressure, and the growing resistance of Benito Juárez induced the French to abandon their claims against Mexico. Napoleon III withdrew his troops in 1866,[36] and the following year Emperor Maximilian was executed for treason. Sheridan later admitted in his memoirs that he had supplied arms and ammunition to Juárez's forces: "... which we left at convenient places on our side of the river to fall into their hands."[37]

On July 30, 1866, while Sheridan was in Texas, a white mob broke up the state constitutional convention in New Orleans. Thirty-four blacks were killed. Shortly after Sheridan returned, he wired Grant, "The more information I obtain of the affair of the 30th in this city the more revolting it becomes. It was no riot; it was an absolute massacre."[38] In March 1867, with Reconstruction barely started, Sheridan was appointed military governor of the Fifth Military District (Texas and Louisiana). He severely limited voter registration for former Confederates and ruled that only registered voters (including black men) were eligible to serve on juries. Furthermore, an inquiry into the deadly New Orleans riot of 1866 implicated numerous local officials; Sheridan dismissed the mayor of New Orleans, the Louisiana attorney general, and a district judge. He later removed Louisiana Governor James M. Wells, accusing him of being "a political trickster and a dishonest man." He also dismissed Texas Governor James W. Throckmorton, a former Confederate, for being an "impediment to the reconstruction of the State," replacing him with the Republican who had lost to him in the previous election. Sheridan had been feuding with President Andrew Johnson for months over interpretations of the Military Reconstruction Acts and voting rights issues, and within a month of the second firing, the president removed Sheridan, stating to an outraged Gen. Grant that, "His rule has, in fact, been one of absolute tyranny, without references to the principles of our government or the nature of our free institutions."[39]

I guess we just assumed he was there for Reconstruction. :smile:

If Sheridan was unpopular in Texas, neither did he have much appreciation for the Lone Star State. In 1866 newspapers quoted him as saying, "If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell", a statement which he repeated in later years in various forms.
 

tmh10

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So he wasn't there very long. At all. Granger didn't get here till June 19, 1865.....Sheridan was there about a year? I need a better timeline.

According to Sheridan's book he got his marching orders from Grant May 17 1865 and set out west. The Kirby Smith thing sorted itself out before he got there but Grant was also interested in having Sheridan deal with Confederates joining up with the French as well as help in supporting the Jaurez faction, so he was there throug the summer of 1865. Nate, you are going to cause me to reread that book aren't you?:smile coffee:
 

Nathanb1

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According to Sheridan's book he got his marching orders from Grant May 17 1865 and set out west. The Kirby Smith thing sorted itself out before he got there but Grant was also interested in having Sheridan deal with Confederates joining up with the French as well as help in supporting the Jaurez faction, so he was there throug the summer of 1865. Nate, you are going to cause me to reread that book aren't you?:smile coffee:

Yep. I want to know what date he got here and when he left. :smile:
 
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