Sherman the Kisser

John Hartwell

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#1
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San Francisco Bulletin, Feb. 7, 1885​
The famous opera singer Mme. Patti, however, was not impressed. In a March 15, 1884, interview with a reporter from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on the subject of "Kissing," she recounted her experience with the "impudent" general:
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She expressed her general opinion on the subject:
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diane

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#3
That's hilarious about Sheridan! He has quite a reputation out here during the Oregon Indian wars - he wasn't red-faced about kissing his Indian girlfriends. In fact, some time after the CW and he was very famous, he invited his favorite to come visit him in Washington. No word on what Mrs Sheridan had to say about that!
 

John Hartwell

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Well, be it said that Sherman's kissing, as often described, was quite innocent (though enjoyable) cheek-kissing. Ladies, young and old alike, lining up to be kissed by political or military celebrities seems to have been something of a regular custom in the 19th century. Attached below is an account of the practice (at which Henry Clay seems to have been most diligent, though Andy Jackson assigned the task to his Cabinet).

As to Sheridan, it must be said that in 1874, at an event in Toledo, Ohio, attended by President Grant and generals Sherman, Sheridan, and Custer, a local reporter claimed to have kept count of their relative "kissing scores." Little Phil did pretty well for himself:
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Sherman was clearly not on his game on that occasion. But there are literally thousands of reports of Sherman's osculatory inclinations. Most of them are good-natured, tongue-in-cheek (sometimes clearly exaggerated), but a few sour-faced puritans complain that there's altogether too much kissin' going on, like this August 1887 letter to the New York Star, that concludes:
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DRW

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#8
yep, charming Victorian times when rich, white girls got respectable kisses from esteemed gentlemen and the poor girls (of all backgrounds) received them and their diseases in the brothels.
 

dlavin

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#9
Uncle Billy did like the ladies. I remember listening to his biography by James Lee McDonough and hearing this. Though it may have had a different meaning in the mid 1800s than it does today.
 

David Moore

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Mildred Hazen, wife of the General Hazen, wrote the following about Sherman's kissing proclivities.
‘‘Sherman was most interesting as a house companion but presumed terribly upon his rank with army people. A mixture of brusquerie and cunning, he always made believe he was absent-minded. And if a woman was young he made a habit of kissing her in an off-hand way every time he met her. I stood it when he arrived pretty fairly though reluctantly. But when the next morning he prepared to go through the same performance, I pulled back.
I've posted more on her impression of Sherman on another thread.
 

DRW

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Mildred Hazen, wife of the General Hazen, wrote the following about Sherman's kissing proclivities.
‘‘Sherman was most interesting as a house companion but presumed terribly upon his rank with army people. A mixture of brusquerie and cunning, he always made believe he was absent-minded. And if a woman was young he made a habit of kissing her in an off-hand way every time he met her. I stood it when he arrived pretty fairly though reluctantly. But when the next morning he prepared to go through the same performance, I pulled back.
I've posted more on her impression of Sherman on another thread.
so a couple of these accounts, veiled through the tact of the era, certainly insinuate that Sherman was not some eccentric old chamer, but a pathological sexual harasser of young women in little position to rebuff him.
 
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#15
That's hilarious about Sheridan! He has quite a reputation out here during the Oregon Indian wars - he wasn't red-faced about kissing his Indian girlfriends. In fact, some time after the CW and he was very famous, he invited his favorite to come visit him in Washington. No word on what Mrs Sheridan had to say about that!
Oh dear...
 
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#16
Well some of this stuff strikes me as downright funny. Whether his behavior should have been better, I really can't say. I am not inclined to make too much of it. The way some of those people wrote about his behavior is hilarious to me.
 



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