Seward Stops Grant From Starting a New War

NedBaldwin

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That is all well and good, but it is also very well known [?????] that the Lincoln Administration (including Seward) had been pressuring Grant to do something to get Federal troops into Texas and create a US presence there as a means of exerting influence on the French in Mexico since early in 1864.

Incorrect.
In response to direction from the Lincoln Administration (including Seward), Banks had created a US presence in Texas in late 1863 (for which Seward and Lincoln thanked him). When Grant assumed command in March 1864, there was no longer pressure to create a presence in Texas such that Grant actually ordered the presence in Texas reduced! A year later, with the war in the east finished, Grant had troops to spare to finish off the Confederacy in Texas and impact the situation in Mexico, but he was under no pressure in 1864 to do so.
 
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NedBaldwin

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I have provided three sources that offer a similar description. You may also want to examine Donald Miles's Cinco de Mayo.
Mile's supports my contention -- Grant outfoxed Seward. Referring to Grant's plan, which had to be rushed before Seward could try to stop it, Miles wrote: "It worked. ... Napolean III blinked. ... He'd have to start looking for a way out ..." Unfortunately, Seward undercut Grant's efforts by placating the French so they were able to extend their stay in Mexico for longer.
 

tmh10

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Thanks to Nate I dragged out and blew off the dust on my Memoirs of P H Sheridan. I mentioned in a prior post the letter to Sheridan from Grant with his orders and mission going west. The last line of the letter with the closing were on another page and not worth a second scan. It said "Should any force be neccessary other than those designated, they can be had by calling for them on army headquarters." U S Grant Lieutenant General.
 

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cash

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Right here.
One more and I quit. I read on and Sheridan talks about the French situation.

The day after my arrival in Washington an important order was sent me, accompanied by the following letter of instructions, transferring me to a new field of operations:

"HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE UNITED STATES.
"Washington, D. C., May 17, 1865.

"GENERAL: Under the orders relieving you from the command of the Middle Military Division and assigning you to command west of the Mississippi, you will proceed without delay to the West to arrange all preliminaries for your new field of duties.

"Your duty is to restore Texas, and that part of Louisiana held by the enemy, to the Union in the shortest practicable time, in a way most effectual for securing permanent peace.

"To do this, you will be given all the troops that can be spared by Major-General Canby, probably twenty-five thousand men of all arms; the troops with Major-General J. J. Reynolds, in Arkansas, say twelve thousand, Reynolds to command; the Fourth Army Corps, now at Nashville, Tennessee, awaiting orders; and the Twenty-Fifth Army Corps, now at City Point, Virginia, ready to embark.

"I do not wish to trammel you with instructions; I will state, however, that if Smith holds out, without even an ostensible government to receive orders from or to report to, he and his men are not entitled to the considerations due to an acknowledged belligerent. Theirs are the conditions of outlaws, making war against the only Government having an existence over the territory where war is now being waged.

"You may notify the rebel commander west of the Mississippi—holding intercourse with him in person, or through such officers of the rank of major-general as you may select—that he will be allowed to surrender all his forces on the same terms as were accorded to Lee and Johnston. If he accedes, proceed to garrison the Red River as high up as Shreveport, the seaboard at Galveston, Malagorda Bay, Corpus Christi, and mouth of the Rio Grande.

"Place a strong force on the Rio Grande, holding it at least to a point opposite Camargo, and above that if supplies can be procured.

"In case of an active campaign (a hostile one) I think a heavy force should be put on the Rio Grande as a first preliminary. Troops for this might be started at once. The Twenty-Fifth Corps is now available, and to it should be added a force of white troops, say those now under Major-General Steele.

"To be clear on this last point, I think the Rio Grande should be strongly held, whether the forces in Texas surrender or not, and that no time should be lost in getting troops there. If war is to be made, they will be in the right place; if Kirby Smith surrenders, they will be on the line which is to be strongly garrisoned.

"Should any force be necessary other than those designated, they can be had by calling for them on Army Headquarters.

"U. S. GRANT,
"Lieutenant-General.


"To MAJOR-GENERAL P. H. SHERIDAN,
"United States Army."
On receipt of these instructions I called at once on General Grant, to see if they were to be considered so pressing as to preclude my remaining in Washington till after the Grand Review, which was fixed for the 23d and 24th of May, for naturally I had a strong desire to head my command on that great occasion. But the General told me that it was absolutely necessary to go at once to force the surrender of the Confederates under Kirby Smith. He also told me that the States lately in rebellion would be embraced in two or three military departments, the commanders of which would control civil affairs until Congress took action about restoring them to the Union, since that course would not only be economical and simple, but would give the Southern people confidence, and encourage them to go to work, instead of distracting them with politics.
At this same interview he informed me that there was an additional motive in sending me to the new command, a motive not explained by the instructions themselves, and went on to say that, as a matter of fact, he looked upon the invasion of Mexico by Maximilian as a part of the rebellion itself, because of the encouragement that invasion had received from the Confederacy, and that our success in putting down secession would never be complete till the French and Austrian invaders were compelled to quit the territory of our sister republic. With regard to this matter, though, he said it would be necessary for me to act with great circumspection, since the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, was much opposed to the use of our troops along the border in any active way that would be likely to involve us in a war with European powers.
Under the circumstances, my disappointment at not being permitted to participate in the review had to be submitted to, and I left Washington without an opportunity of seeing again in a body the men who, while under my command, had gone through so many trials and unremittingly pursued and, assailed the enemy, from the beginning of the campaign of 1864 till the white flag came into their hands at Appomattox Court House.
I went first to St. Louis, and there took the steamboat for New Orleans, and when near the mouth of the Red River received word from General Canby that Kirby Smith had surrendered under terms similar to those accorded Lee and Johnston. But the surrender was not carried out in good faith, particularly by the Texas troops, though this I did not learn till some little time afterward when I was informed that they had marched off to the interior of the State in several organized bodies, carrying with them their camp equipage, arms, ammunition, and even some artillery, with the ultimate purpose of going to Mexico. In consequence of this, and also because of the desire of the Government to make a strong showing of force in Texas, I decided to traverse the State with two columns of cavalry, directing one to San Antonio under Merritt, the other to Houston under Custer. Both commands were to start from the Red River—Shreveport and Alexandria—being the respective initial points—and in organizing the columns, to the mounted force already on the Red River were added several regiments of cavalry from the east bank of the, Mississippi, and in a singular way one of these fell upon the trail of my old antagonist, General Early. While crossing the river somewhere below Vicksburg some of the men noticed a suspicious looking party being ferried over in a rowboat, behind which two horses were swimming in tow. Chase was given, and the horses, being abandoned by the party, fell into the hands of our troopers, who, however, failed to capture or identify the people in the boat. As subsequently ascertained, the men were companions of Early, who was already across the Mississippi, hidden in the woods, on his way with two or three of these followers to join the Confederates in Texas, not having heard of Kirby Smith's surrender. A week or two later I received a letter from Early describing the affair, and the capture of the horses, for which he claimed pay, on the ground that they were private property, because he had taken them in battle. The letter also said that any further pursuit of Early would be useless, as he "expected to be on the deep blue sea" by the time his communication reached me. The unfortunate man was fleeing from imaginary dangers, however, for striking his trail was purely accidental, and no effort whatever was being made to arrest him personally. Had this been especially desired it might have been accomplished very readily just after Lee's surrender, for it was an open secret that Early was then not far away, pretty badly disabled with rheumatism.
By the time the two columns were ready to set out for San Antonio and Houston, General Frank Herron,—with one division of the Thirteenth Corps, occupied Galveston, and another division under General Fred Steele had gone to Brazos Santiago, to hold Brownsville and the line of the Rio Grande, the object being to prevent, as far as possible, the escaping Confederates from joining Maximilian. With this purpose in view, and not forgetting Grant's conviction that the French invasion of Mexico was linked with the rebellion, I asked for an increase of force to send troops into Texas in fact, to concentrate at available points in the State an army strong enough to move against the invaders of Mexico if occasion demanded. The Fourth and Twenty-fifth army corps being ordered to report to me, accordingly, I sent the Fourth Corps to Victoria and San Antonio, and the bulk of the Twenty-fifth to Brownsville. Then came the feeding and caring for all these troops—a difficult matter—for those at Victoria and San Antonio had to be provisioned overland from Indianola across the "hog-wallow prairie," while the supplies for the forces at Brownsville and along the Rio Grande must come by way of Brazos Santiago, from which point I was obliged to construct, with the labor of the men, a railroad to Clarksville, a distance of about eighteen miles.
The latter part of June I repaired to Brownsville myself to impress the Imperialists, as much as possible, with the idea that we intended hostilities, and took along my chief of scouts—Major Young—and four of his most trusty men, whom I had had sent from Washington. From Brownsville I despatched all these men to important points in northern Mexico, to glean information regarding the movements of the Imperial forces, and also to gather intelligence about the ex-Confederates who had crossed the Rio Grande. On information furnished by these scouts, I caused General Steele to make demonstrations all along the lower Rio Grande, and at the same time demanded the return of certain munitions of war that had been turned over by ex-Confederates to the Imperial General (Mejia) commanding at Matamoras. These demands, backed up as they were by such a formidable show of force created much agitation and demoralization among the Imperial troops, and measures looking to the abandonment of northern Mexico were forthwith adopted by those in authority—a policy that would have resulted in the speedy evacuation of the entire country by Maximilian, had not our Government weakened; contenting itself with a few pieces of the contraband artillery varnished over with the Imperial apologies. A golden opportunity was lost, for we had ample excuse for crossing the boundary, but Mr. Seward being, as I have already stated, unalterably opposed to any act likely to involve us in war, insisted on his course of negotiation with Napoleon.
As the summer wore away, Maximilian, under Mr. Seward's policy, gained in strength till finally all the accessible sections of Mexico were in his possession, and the Republic under President Juarez almost succumbed. Growing impatient at this, in the latter part of September I decided to try again what virtue there might be in a hostile demonstration, and selected the upper Rio Grande for the scene of my attempt. Merritt's cavalry and the Fourth Corps still being at San Antonio, I went to that place and reviewed these troops, and having prepared them with some ostentation for a campaign, of course it was bruited about that we were going to invade Mexico. Then, escorted by a regiment of horse I proceeded hastily to Fort Duncan, on the Rio Grande just opposite the Mexican town of Piedras Negras. Here I opened communication with President Juarez, through one of his staff, taking care not to do this in the dark, and the news, spreading like wildfire, the greatest significance was ascribed to my action, it being reported most positively and with many specific details that I was only awaiting the arrival of the troops, then under marching orders at San Antonio, to cross the Rio Grande in behalf of the Liberal cause.
Ample corroboration of the reports then circulated was found in my inquiries regarding the quantity of forage we could depend upon getting in Mexico, our arrangements for its purchase, and my sending a pontoon train to Brownsville, together with which was cited the renewed activity of the troops along the lower Rio Grande. These reports and demonstrations resulted in alarming the Imperialists so much that they withdrew the French and Austrian soldiers from Matamoras, and practically abandoned the whole of northern Mexico as far down as Monterey, with the exception of Matamoras, where General Mejia continued to hang on with a garrison of renegade Mexicans.
The abandonment of so much territory in northern Mexico encouraged General Escobedo and other Liberal leaders to such a degree that they collected a considerable army of their followers at Comargo, Mier, and other points. At the same time that unknown quantity, Cortinas, suspended his free-booting for the nonce, and stoutly harassing Matamoras, succeeded in keeping its Imperial garrison within the fortifications. Thus countenanced and stimulated, and largely supplied with arms and ammunition, which we left at convenient places on our side of the river to fall into their hands, the Liberals, under General Escobedo—a man of much force of character—were enabled in northern Mexico to place the affairs of the Republic on a substantial basis.
But in the midst of what bade fair to cause a final withdrawal of the foreigners, we were again checked by our Government, as a result of representations of the French Minister at Washington. In October, he wrote to Mr. Seward that the United States troops on the Rio Grande were acting "in exact opposition to the repeated assurances Your Excellency has given me concerning the desire of the Cabinet at Washington to preserve the most strict neutrality in the events now taking place in Mexico," and followed this statement with an emphatic protest against our course. Without any investigation whatever by our State Department, this letter of the French Minister was transmitted to me, accompanied by directions to preserve a strict neutrality; so, of course, we were again debarred from anything like active sympathy.
After this, it required the patience of Job to abide the slow and poky methods of our State Department, and, in truth, it was often very difficult to restrain officers and men from crossing the Rio Grande with hostile purpose. Within the knowledge of my troops, there had gone on formerly the transfer of organized bodies of ex-Confederates to Mexico, in aid of the Imperialists, and at this period it was known that there was in preparation an immigration scheme having in view the colonizing, at Cordova and one or two other places, of all the discontented elements of the defunct Confederacy—Generals Price, Magruder, Maury, and other high personages being promoters of the enterprise, which Maximilian took to readily. He saw in it the possibilities of a staunch support to his throne, and therefore not only sanctioned the project, but encouraged it with large grants of land, inspirited the promoters with titles of nobility, and, in addition, instituted a system of peonage, expecting that the silver hook thus baited would be largely swallowed by the Southern people.
The announcement of the scheme was followed by the appointment of commissioners in each of the Southern States to send out emigrants; but before any were deluded into starting, I made to General Grant a report of what was going on, with the recommendation that measures be taken, through our State Department, looking to the suppression of the colony; but, as usual, nothing could be effected through that channel; so, as an alternative, I published, in April, 1866, by authority of General Grant, an order prohibiting the embarkation from ports in Louisiana and Texas, for ports in Mexico, of any person without a permit from my headquarters. This dampened the ardor of everybody in the Gulf States who had planned to go to Mexico; and although the projectors of the Cordova Colonization Scheme—the name by which it was known—secured a few innocents from other districts, yet this set-back led ultimately to failure.
 

cash

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Among the Liberal leaders along the Rio Grande during this period there sprang up many factional differences from various causes, some personal, others political, and some, I regret to say, from downright moral obliquity—as, for example, those between Cortinas and Canales—who, though generally hostile to the Imperialists, were freebooters enough to take a shy at each other frequently, and now and then even to join forces against Escobedo, unless we prevented them by coaxing or threats. A general who could unite these several factions was therefore greatly needed, and on my return to New Orleans I so telegraphed General Grant, and he, thinking General Caravajal (then in Washington seeking aid for the Republic) would answer the purpose, persuaded him to report to me in New Orleans. Caravajal promptly appeared, but he did not impress me very favorably. He was old and cranky, yet, as he seemed anxious to do his best, I sent him over to Brownsville, with credentials, authorizing him to cross into Mexico, and followed him myself by the next boat. When I arrived in Brownsville, matters in Matamoras had already reached a crisis. General Mejia, feeling keenly the moral support we were giving the Liberals, and hard pressed by the harassing attacks of Cortinas and Canales, had abandoned the place, and Caravajal, because of his credentials from our side, was in command, much to the dissatisfaction of both those chiefs whose differences it was intended he should reconcile.
The, day after I got to Brownsville I visited Matamoras, and had a long interview with Caravajal. The outcome of this meeting was, on my part, a stronger conviction than ever that he was unsuitable, and I feared that either Canales or Cortinas would get possession of the city. Caravajal made too many professions of what he would do—in short, bragged too much—but as there was no help for the situation, I made the best of it by trying to smooth down the ruffled feathers of Canales and Cortinas. In my interview with Caravajal I recommended Major Young as a confidential man, whom he could rely upon as a "go-between" for communicating with our people at Brownsville, and whom he could trust to keep him informed of the affairs of his own country as well.
A day or two afterward I recrossed the Gulf to New Orleans, and then, being called from my headquarters to the interior of Texas, a fortnight passed before I heard anything from Brownsville. In the meanwhile Major Young had come to New Orleans, and organized there a band of men to act as a body-guard for Caravajal, the old wretch having induced him to accept the proposition by representing that it had my concurrence. I at once condemned the whole business, but Young, having been furnished with seven thousand dollars to recruit the men and buy their arms, had already secured both, and was so deeply involved in the transaction, he said, that he could not withdraw without dishonor, and with tears in his eyes he besought me to help him. He told me he had entered upon the adventure in the firm belief that I would countenance it; that the men and their equipment were on his hands; that he must make good his word at all hazards; and that while I need not approve, yet I must go far enough to consent to the departure of the men, and to loan him the money necessary to provision his party and hire a schooner to carry them to Brazos. It was hard in deed to resist the appeals of this man, who had served me so long and so well, and the result of his pleading was that I gave him permission to sail, and also loaned him the sum asked for; but I have never ceased to regret my consent, for misfortune fell upon the enterprise almost from its inception.
By the time the party got across the Gulf and over to Brownsville, Caravajal had been deposed by Canales, and the latter would not accept their services. This left Young with about fifty men to whom he was accountable, and as he had no money to procure them subsistence, they were in a bad fix. The only thing left to do was to tender their services to General Escobedo, and with this in view the party set out to reach the General's camp, marching up the Rio Grande on the American side, intending to cross near Ringgold Bar racks. In advance of them, however, had spread far and wide the tidings of who they were, what they proposed to do, and where they were going, and before they could cross into Mexico they were attacked by a party of ex-Confederates and renegade Mexican rancheros. Being on American soil, Young forbade his men to return the fire, and bent all his efforts to getting them over the river; but in this attempt they were broken up, and became completely demoralized. A number of the men were drowned while swimming the river, Young himself was shot and killed, a few were captured, and those who escaped—about twenty in all—finally joined Escobedo, but in such a plight as to be of little use. With this distressing affair came to an end pretty much all open participation of American sympathizers with the Liberal cause, but the moral support afforded by the presence of our forces continued, and this was frequently supplemented with material aid in the shape of munitions of war, which we liberally supplied, though constrained to do so by the most secret methods.
The term of office of Juarez as President of the Mexican Republic expired in December, 1865, but to meet existing exigencies he had continued himself in office by proclamation, a course rendered necessary by the fact that no elections could be held on account of the Imperial occupation of most of the country. The official who, by the Mexican Constitution, is designated for the succession in such an emergency, is the President of the Supreme Court, and the person then eligible under this provision was General Ortega, but in the interest of the Imperialists he had absented himself from Mexico, hence the patriotic course of Juarez in continuing himself at the head of affairs was a necessity of the situation. This action of the President gave the Imperialists little concern at first, but with the revival of the Liberal cause they availed themselves of every means to divide its supporters, and Ortega, who had been lying low in the United States, now came forward to claim the Presidency. Though ridiculously late for such a step, his first act was to issue a manifesto protesting against the assumption of the executive authority by Juarez. The protest had little effect, however, and his next proceeding was to come to New Orleans, get into correspondence with other disaffected Mexicans, and thus perfect his plans. When he thought his intrigue ripe enough for action, he sailed for Brazos, intending to cross the Rio Grande and assert his claims with arms. While he was scheming in New Orleans, however, I had learned what he was up to, and in advance of his departure had sent instructions to have him arrested on American soil. Colonel Sedgwick, commanding at Brownsville, was now temporary master of Matamoras also, by reason of having stationed some American troops there for the protection of neutral merchants, so when Ortega appeared at Brazos, Sedgwick quietly arrested him and held him till the city of Matamoras was turned over to General Escobedo, the authorized representative of Juarez; then Escobedo took charge, of Ortega, and with ease prevented his further machinations.
During the winter and spring of 1866 we continued covertly supplying arms and ammunition to the Liberals—sending as many as 30,000 muskets from Baton Rouge Arsenal alone—and by mid-summer Juarez, having organized a pretty good sized army, was in possession of the whole line of the Rio Grande, and, in fact, of nearly the whole of Mexico down to San Louis Potosi. Then thick and fast came rumors pointing to the tottering condition of Maximilian's Empire-first, that Orizaba and Vera Cruz were being fortified; then, that the French were to be withdrawn; and later came the intelligence that the Empress Carlotta had gone home to beg assistance from Napoleon, the author of all of her husband's troubles. But the situation forced Napoleon to turn a deaf ear to Carlotta's prayers. The brokenhearted woman besought him on her knees, but his fear of losing an army made all pleadings vain. In fact, as I ascertained by the following cablegram which came into my hands, Napoleon's instructions for the French evacuation were in Mexico at the very time of this pathetic scene between him and Carlotta. The despatch was in cipher when I received it, but was translated by the telegraph operator at my headquarters, who long before had mastered the key of the French cipher:

"PARIS, January 10, 1867. FRENCH CONSUL, New Orleans, La.

"To GENERAL CASTELNAU, at Mexico.

"Received your despatch of the 9th December. Do not compel the Emperor to abdicate, but do not delay the departure of the troops; bring back all those who will not remain there. Most of the fleet has left.

"NAPOLEON."
This meant the immediate withdrawal of the French. The rest of the story—which has necessarily been but in outline—is soon told. Maximilian, though deserted, determined to hold out to the last, and with the aid of disloyal Mexicans stuck to his cause till the spring. When taken prisoner at Queretaro, he was tried and executed under circumstances that are well known. From promptings of humanity Secretary Seward tried hard to save the Imperial prisoner, but without success. The Secretary's plea for mercy was sent through me at New Orleans, and to make speed I hired a steamer to proceed with it across the Gulf to Tampico. The document was carried by Sergeant White, one of my scouts, who crossed the country from Tampico, and delivered it to Escobedo at Queretaro; but Mr. Seward's representations were without avail—refused probably because little mercy had been shown certain Liberal leaders unfortunate enough to fall into Maximilian's hands during the prosperous days of his Empire.
At the close of our war there was little hope for the Republic of Mexico. Indeed, till our troops were concentrated on the Rio Grande there was none. Our appearance in such force along the border permitted the Liberal leaders, refugees from their homes, to establish rendezvous whence they could promulgate their plans in safety, while the countenance thus given the cause, when hope was well-nigh gone, incited the Mexican people to renewed resistance. Beginning again with very scant means, for they had lost about all, the Liberals saw their cause, under the influence of such significant and powerful backing, progress and steadily grow so strong that within two years Imperialism had received its death-blow. I doubt very much whether such, results could have been achieved without the presence of an American army on the Rio Grande, which, be it remembered, was sent there because, in General Grant's words, the French invasion of Mexico was so closely related to the rebellion as to be essentially a part of it.​
 

Complicity

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Mile's supports my contention -- Grant outfoxed Seward. Referring to Grant's plan, which had to be rushed before Seward could try to stop it, Miles wrote: "It worked. ... Napolean III blinked. ... He'd have to start looking for a way out ..." Unfortunately, Seward undercut Grant's efforts by placating the French so they were able to extend their stay in Mexico for longer.

1. Only a few paragraphs before the isolated quote you select the author states that Grant and Sheridan were acting without the approval of the President or the Secretary of State. He adds that Grant wanted to hide the movement from President Johnson and Secretary Seward. Later he also notes that Sheridan gave Juarez 30,000 rifles in violation of President Johnson's ban on exporting weapons. Other sources I listed describe additional provocative acts such as drunken African-American troops invading the Mexican town of Baghdad, terrorizing the citizens, and murdering most of the French troops.

2(a) Yes, Napoleon III "blinked." However, based upon the diplomatic actions of President Johnson and Secretary Seward Grant's move was reckless brinksmanship that could have led to an unnecessary war. Johnson and Seward were handing the matter fine w/o Grant's irresponsible brinksmanship.

2(b) Shortly after Lincoln's assassination Maximilian wrote President Johnson explaining his intention for friendly relations with the USA. Johnson refused to even acknowledge the letter. Thus, Max knew he was not welcomed by the USA's new president.

2(c) Seward announced that he would replace Corwin as Minister to Mexico with Black Jack Logan. It was another unmistakable diplomatic message that the USA was hostile to Maximilian's presence.

2(d) Seward later sent General John Schofield on a diplomatic mission to Paris with instructions to make certain that Napoleon III understood that the USA would not tolerate a monarchy in the Western hemisphere.

I have provided five sources for anyone wanting to genuinely understand the truth of the episode in its full context.

As moderator jgoodguy, inappropriate text has been deleted from this post.
 
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NedBaldwin

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1. Only a few paragraphs before the isolated quote you select the author states that Grant and Sheridan were acting without the approval of the President or the Secretary of State. He adds that Grant wanted to hide the movement from President Johnson and Secretary Seward. Later he also notes that Sheridan gave Juarez 30,000 rifles in violation of President Johnson's ban on exporting weapons.

I'm not disputing anything in the above. In fact it is the basis for my statement that Grant outfoxed Seward.

2(a) Yes, Napoleon III "blinked." However, based upon the diplomatic actions of President Johnson and Secretary Seward Grant's move was reckless brinksmanship that could have led to an unnecessary war. Johnson and Seward were handing the matter fine w/o Grant's irresponsible brinksmanship.
I dont think its clear that they were "handling the matter fine"


2(c) Seward announced that he would replace Corwin as Minister to Mexico with Black Jack Logan. It was another unmistakable diplomatic message that the USA was hostile to Maximilian's presence.
And Logan refused the post becuase he felt Seward's policy wasnt unmistakable enough.




Unfortunately, after a short time on this forum I've learned some participants really don't use sources provided to discover the truth.
So when challenged you stoop to insults. Charming.
 

jgoodguy

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is a terrible thing...
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1. Only a few paragraphs before the isolated quote you select the author states that Grant and Sheridan were acting without the approval of the President or the Secretary of State. He adds that Grant wanted to hide the movement from President Johnson and Secretary Seward. Later he also notes that Sheridan gave Juarez 30,000 rifles in violation of President Johnson's ban on exporting weapons. Other sources I listed describe additional provocative acts such as drunken African-American troops invading the Mexican town of Baghdad, terrorizing the citizens, and murdering most of the French troops.

2(a) Yes, Napoleon III "blinked." However, based upon the diplomatic actions of President Johnson and Secretary Seward Grant's move was reckless brinksmanship that could have led to an unnecessary war. Johnson and Seward were handing the matter fine w/o Grant's irresponsible brinksmanship.

2(b) Shortly after Lincoln's assassination Maximilian wrote President Johnson explaining his intention for friendly relations with the USA. Johnson refused to even acknowledge the letter. Thus, Max knew he was not welcomed by the USA's new president.

2(c) Seward announced that he would replace Corwin as Minister to Mexico with Black Jack Logan. It was another unmistakable diplomatic message that the USA was hostile to Maximilian's presence.

2(d) Seward later sent General John Schofield on a diplomatic mission to Paris with instructions to make certain that Napoleon III understood that the USA would not tolerate a monarchy in the Western hemisphere.

I have provided five sources for anyone wanting to genuinely understand the truth of the episode in its full context.

As moderator, objectionable material deleted from this post.
 

Complicity

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And Logan refused the post becuase he felt Seward's policy wasnt unmistakable enough.

Author Miles makes it clear that Seward did not need for Logan to accept the position. His announcement of the intention had the desired effect at a private dinner with the French ambassador Montholon.

'Montholon was visibly shaken. As he fumbled to regain his composure, he called the appointment a provocation and an openly hostile act on the part of the United States.'

Seward knew that Logan was likely to turn down the offer, but he correctly anticipated the effect of the mere announcement.

As for the rest of your comment, which of the other four sources I listed did you investigate?
 

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
Incorrect.
In response to direction from the Lincoln Administration (including Seward), Banks had created a US presence in Texas in late 1863 (for which Seward and Lincoln thanked him). When Grant assumed command in March 1864, there was no longer pressure to create a presence in Texas such that Grant actually ordered the presence in Texas reduced!
YES! Thank you for being the one person on this thread to actually point this out. I finished Grant's memoirs not long ago, and one thing that struck me was how frustrated Grant was that he couldn't seem to get those forces moved out of Texas, where he thought they were unnecessary, when he desperately wanted them further east, such as in Mobile.
 

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
I've provided three sources, two of which cite the applicable figure.

For anyone genuinely wanting to lean more about the incident, here are a couple of more:

Miles, Donald Cinco de Mayo

Arthur, Anthony General Shelby's March

Grant's motivation is obscure...One biographer suggests a simple inability to let go of war because he had no life to lead without it.
Nothing obscure here. The French had made and were making trouble. The last thing Grant wanted was another war. Indeed, even historians critical of Grant's presidency give him props for having prevented war with Spain and England during his presidency, and for setting a valuable precedent in showing the power of international arbitration.

Also, where Mexico is concerned, Grant was opposed to the Mexican War and fought in it because that was where the U.S. Government sent him. He thought the war was an unjust one, and while in Mexico, he developed a deep sympathy for the Mexican people that abided with him for the rest of his life.
 
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