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Grant’s Infamous General Order 11 Expelling Jews—and Lincoln’s Revocation of it
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The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order by post commanders.

—Grant’s General Orders No. 11, in the New York Herald, Jan. 5, 1863

This Collection of eighteen original historic newspapers starts as soon as Grant’s infamous order reached New York on January 4th, 1863. (It was common for news sent to Washington D.C. to reach New York, the main telegraph communications hub, first.) That same day, a delegation of Jews that had arrived from Paducah Kentucky to protest the order went to Ohio Congressman John Gurley, who took them to the White House. Lincoln, while dealing with prosecuting the war and watching for reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation—which he had just issued on January first—received them right away.

Lincoln immediately directed General-in-Chief Henry W. Halleck to have Grant revoke the order. Early on January 5th, Halleck telegraphed Grant that “a paper purporting to be General Orders, No. 11, issued by you December 17, has been presented here. By its terms, it expells all Jews from your department. If such an order has been issued, it will be immediately revoked.” Grant rescinded his order on January 6, 1863.

Publication of the order, its revocation, and resolutions in the Senate and House (both legitimately objecting, and also using the order as an excuse to attack Grant and Lincoln), are included in the collection.

Abraham Lincoln. Collection of eighteen original historic newspapers.

Inventory #25501       Price: $13,500

THE COLLECTION

This list follows the order of events, with dates noted in parentheses on the first line. Publication dates are listed on the second line. Excerpts are italicized when we are quoting directly from the documents in the collection; we don’t italicize excerpts from reference materials.

Grant’s Anti-Semitic General Order #11
(the order was issued Dec. 17, 1862 and reached N.Y. on Jan. 4)

New York Herald, January 5, 1863, 8 pp., 15¾ x 22¼ in.  #24867

Prussian-born Jewish immigrant Cesar J. Kaskel telegrammed Lincoln on behalf of a group of Jewish merchants from Paducah, condemning the order as "the grossest violation of the Constitution and our rights as good citizens under it... [it would] place us...as outlaws before the world. We respectfully ask your immediate attention to this enormous outrage on all law and humanity....” Other telegrams were sent to President Lincoln from Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.

Grant’s order is printed here in full.

“General Grant’s Order Expelling the Jews from Paducah, Ky.

GENERAL ORDER—no. 11./ Headquarters Thirteenth Army Corps, Department of the Tennessee, Oxford, Miss., Dec. 17, 1862.

The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order by post commanders.They will see that all this class of people are furnished with passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permits from these headquarters. No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application for trade permits. / By order of / Major General GRANT (p1/c3)

News and Protest Reaches Washington (Jan. 4-5, 1863)

New-York Daily Tribune, January 5, 1863, 8 pp., 15¼ x 20½ in.  #30059.02

Not content just with a telegraph, Cesar Kaskel traveled from Paducah to Washington, arriving on January 3, and meeting with influential Jewish Republican Adolphus Solomons. On January 4, they met with Congressman John A. Gurley of Cincinnati on Jan. 4, and were taken directly to the Executive Mansion. Lincoln promptly received them, studied the documents, and immediately told Halleck to have Grant revoke his order. News of this was printed in New York as it was being sent to Grant.

“GEN. GRANT’S ORDER AGAINST JEWS REVOKED.

Deputations of Jews began arriving here yesterday to solicit the President to countermand or modify the order of Gen. Grant excluding Israelites from his lines. The operation of it upon families and merchants long established in regular business proved exceedingly oppressive and produced great excitement in every city in the West. On the application last night of Mr. Kaskel, one of the expelled Jewish citizens of Paducah, sustained by Representative Gurley of Ohio, the President instructed Gen. Halleck to countermand the order imperatively. Such countermand was sent West this morning by telegraph.” (p5/c2)

NOTE: We haven’t seen a newspaper that prints Halleck’s order verbatim, rather than simply reporting that he issued such an order. This is the text: “War Department/ Washington, January 4, 1863 / Major General Grant, Holly Springs, Miss. / A paper purporting to be General Orders, No. 11, issued by you December 17, has been presented here. By its terms, it expells (sic) all Jews from your department. If such an order has been issued, it will be immediately revoked./ H.W. Halleck/ Commander-in-Chief”

Resolution That Grant’s Order is “tyrannical, usurping and unjust” (Jan. 5, 1863)

New York Daily Tribune, January 6, 1863, 8 pp., 15¼ x 20½ in.  #25161

“GEN. GRANT’S ORDER AGAINST JEWS.

Mr. POWELL (Dem., Ky.) offered a resolution reciting the order of Gen. U. S. Grant expelling the Jews from his department and stating that many citizens of Paducah, Ky., had been driven from their homes by military authority, without any specific charges; therefore,    Resolved, by the Senate, That said order of Major-Gen. Grant is condemned as tyrannical, usurping and unjust, and the President is requested to countermand the same. Laid over.” (p8/c2)

Also includes a report of January 5 resolution of Missouri’s legislature supporting the Emancipation Proclamation (p1/c6).

Senator Powell’s Resolution Opposing Grant’s Order (Jan. 5, 1863)

New York Herald, January 6, 1863, 8 pp., 15⅝ x 22 in.  #25164

The former Governor of Kentucky, Democratic Senator Lazarus W. Powell (1812-1867), saw this as an opportunity to damage both Grant and Lincoln. Powell sponsored a resolution condemning Grant as tyrannical, while criticizing the administration for suspending the writ of habeas corpus and for interfering with elections in Kentucky.

“CONGRESS / A resolution declaring General Grant’s order expelling Jews from his department tyrannical, usurping and unjust, and requesting the President to countermand the same, was introduced by Mr. Powell, and laid over.” (p4/c2)     

This issue also includes a map of Murfreesboro on p1; a report and map of the sinking of the USS Monitor on p2; and a large heading very prematurely publishing “The reported Capture of Vicksburg” with a large map on p8.

Grant’s General Order 14, Revoking his Anti-Semitic Order 11 (Jan. 6, 1863)

New York Herald, January 12, 1863, 8 pp., 15½ x 22 in.  #25170 

“Rescinding the Israelite Order.

GENERAL ORDER—NO. 14 / Headquarters, Army Corps, Department Tennessee/ Holly Springs, Jan. 6, 1863.

By directions of the General-in-Chief of the Army at Washington, the general order issued from these headquarters, expelling the Jews from this department is hereby revoked. By order                             Major General U. S. GRANT.”  (p8/c2)  

Isaacs’ Letter Asking the Herald to Publicize Revocation of Grant’s Order (Jan. 7, 1863)

New York Herald, January 8, 1863, 8 pp., 15½ x 22 in.  #25166

“The Israelites and General Grant. / to the editor of the herald.

Office of the Executive Committee, Board of Delegates of American Israelites,

                                                                        New York, Jan. 7, 1863.

Inasmuch as you published in Monday’s Herald “General Order No. 29,” [sic: 11]issued by Major General Grant, commanding Department of the Mississippi, in which he excludes “all Jews” from his lines, may I ask you to give equal publicity to the fact that the order has been revoked? As soon as it was brought to the attention of this committee the President placed himself in communication with the authorities at Washington, and he had the gratification of receiving a despatch, dated January 6, to the effect that Major General Halleck promptly rescinded the inequitable and obnoxious order the same day that it was officially placed before him. Yours, respectfully,    MYER S. ISAACS, Secretary.  (p4/c5)

[Jan. 8th] GENERAL GRANT’S EXPULSION OF THE JEWS. 

Some excitement was occasioned in the House to-day by Mr. Pendleton’s resolution censuring Gen., Grant for expelling Jews from the Department of Tennessee. The censorious resolution was promptly voted down.”(p4/c6)

The Board of Delegates of American Israelites was founded in 1859. Headquartered in New York City, it was the first Jewish civil and political rights organization in the United States and merged with the Union of Hebrew Congregations in 1878. Myer S. Isaacs (1841-1904) served as secretary of the organization from 1859 to 1876, and as president from 1876 to 1878.

Democratic Congressman George H. Pendleton(1825-1889) of Ohio submitted a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning the order and the president. Pendleton became George B. McClellan’s running mate in 1864.

Republican Congressman Elihu B. Washburne (1816-1887) of Illinois, a close friend and supporter of Lincoln and Grant, immediately moved to table Pendleton’s preamble and resolution. The House voted 56 to 53 to table them.

 

Cincinnati and Louisville Delegation Thanks Lincoln for so Promptly Rescinding Grant’s Order; Rep. Pendleton’s Resolution Condemning Lincoln and Grant (Jan. 8, 1863)

New York Daily Tribune, January 8, 1863, 8pp. 15½ x 20½,  #30059.03

A delegation led by Rabbi Isaac M. Wise of Cincinnati expressed its gratitude that the order had been rescinded. The President cordially expressed “surprise that General Grant should have issued so ridiculous an order.” Lincoln said he “knew of no distinction between Jew and Gentile,” and would allow no American to be wronged because of his religious affiliation. “To condemn a class is, to say the least, to wrong the good with the bad. I do not like to hear a class or nationality condemned on account of a few sinners.”  

 “Gen. Grant’s Jew Order.

The leading Jews of Cincinnati and Louisville, among them Dr. Wise and Dr. Lilienthal, came here to-day to thank the President for his prompt revocation of Gen. Grant’s order expelling their race from the lines of his command. Their interview with the President was of unusual interest.(p4/c6)

In the House...the resolution denouncing Gen. Grant for expelling Jews from his army, was laid on the table.” (p4/c1)

Pendleton’s resolutionand debate is published:

GEN. GRANT AND THE JEWS.            

Mr. PENDLETON (Dem., O.,) introduced a preamble, reciting Gen. Grant’s order of the 17th of December, excluding the Jews, as a class, from the Army lines, and saying in pursuance thereof, Gen. Grant hath caused many peaceful citizens and residents in his department to be expelled within 24 hours, without allegation of misconduct, and with no other proof than that they were members of a certain religious denomination; and whereas such sweeping order made no distinction between the innocent and the guilty, and is illegal, unjust, and tyrannical; therefore,

            Resolved, That the said order deserves the sternest condemnation of this House and of the President, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy.

            On motion of Mr. WASHBURNE (Rep., Ill.,) it was tabled; 56 against 53. (p8/c2)

Additional Content

 “Jackson on Color. This is the 8th of January, and, according to long-established custom, the Tammany Society of Seymour Democrats will commemorate the Battle of New Orleans, and grow eloquent over the unadulterated and unquestioned Democracy of that old Roman, Gen. Andrew Jackson. Let it not be forgotten that this is the same Gen. Jackson who suspended the liberty of the press in New-Orleans, kept the city under martial law even after the British had been whipped off, arrested Judge Hall for presuming to issue a writ of habeas corpus, enlisted, armed, and fought a battalion of negroes, and paid them the following generous and manly compliment in a special order:....

Soldiers! From the shores of Mobile I collected you to arms. I invited you to share in the perils and to divide the glory of your white countrymen. I expected much from you, for I was not uninformed of those qualities which must render you so formidable to an invading foe. I knew that you could endure hunger and thirst, and all the hardships of war. I knew that you loved the land of your nativity, and that, like ourselves, you had to defend all that is most dear to man, but you surpass my hopes. I have found in you, united to those qualities, that noble enthusiasm which impels to great deeds.” (p4/c5)

This issue also includes details of the Battle of Stones River (Murfreesboro) (p1/c2-3); news from the Vicksburg campaign (p1/c1, 4); news of southern reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation: “The Rebel pickets besiege ours for papers containing the Emancipation Proclamation. Their officers who meet us with flags of truce make the same petition. All through the Rebel lines the matter seems to excite peculiar and anxious curiosity.” (p1/c6); Confederate Commodore Matthew F. Maury’s letter to the Times of London (p5/c2); reports of Samuel Carter’s Union cavalry raid into East Tennessee (p5/c4); Governor Horatio Seymour’s message to the New York State legislature (p6/c1-p7/c2); summary of Governor Richard Yates’ message to the Illinois General Assembly (p8/c3-4); etc.

Report from St. Louis on Fallout from Grant’s Order (Jan. 7, 1863)

New York Herald, January 11, 1863, 8 pp., 15¾ x 22 in.  #25202  

INTERESTING FROM MISSISSIPPI.

Our St. Louis Correspondence.

St Louis, Jan 7, 1863.

Nothing has occurred in this city for many years to stir up so much real excitement among the Jews as General Grant’s order expelling Hebrews from his lines, which order has since been rescinded by the President. The St. Louis Jews feel the weight of an oppression of this character with great force, as they have given freely of their substance, and sent many of their people to support the war against rebellion. In the early regiments raised in this State are many Jews, and they have been as loyal as any other class. Their wholesale proscription fell like a thunderbolt upon them. Probably three fourths of the Jew traders in Gen. Grant’s department are residents of St. Louis, and the exiles returned here last week in great tribulation. A public meeting was held in this city last week to denounce Gen. Grant’s order and thank the President for its repeal.(p3/c2)

The fact that many Jews in the state had demonstrated their devotion to the Union made Grant’s directive all the more hurtful. In 1807, Joseph Philipson(1773-1844), who emigrated from Poland to Pennsylvania, opened the first permanent general merchandise store in St. Louis. Three decades later, the United Hebrew Congregationwas organized as the first synagogue west of the Mississippi River. Other congregations were founded in the 1850s. From the start of the Civil War, Jewish volunteers served in a number of Missouri regiments. Brothers Frederick and Charles Salomon, emigrants from Prussia, were both officers in the 5th Missouri Infantry, which fought at Wilson's Creek, Missouri in August 1861.

Senate Debate on Powell’s Resolution, Despite the Fact that the Order
had Already Been Revoked (Jan. 9, 1863)

New York Herald, January 10, 1863, 8 pp., 15¾ x 20⅛ in.  #25168 and

New York Times, January 10, 1863, 8 pp., 15¼ x 20¾ in.  #25157

PROCEEDINGS OF CONGRESS.

general grant’s order expelling the jews.

Mr. Powell, (opp.) of Ky., called up the resolution censuring General Grant’s order expelling Jews.

Mr. Hale, (rep.) of N. H., said the order had already been revoked.

Mr. Powell was glad of that, and commended the President for so doing; but he wished to have the resolution passed, to show the opinion of the Senate on such an order against a class of citizens.

Mr. Clark, (rep.) of N. H., thought the order was wrong, but he was not willing to censure Gen. Grant, now fighting in the field, unheard. He moved to postpone the resolution indefinitely.

Mr. Wilson said Gen. Grant had issued an order which no one thought right, and which had been promptly revoked; and there, he thought the matter ought to rest.

Mr. Hale moved to lay the resolution on the table, which was agreed to—yeas 30, nays 7.(Herald p8/c1; Times p8/c2)

 

The New York Times issue also includes General Robert E. Lee’s General Order No. 138, which conveys his appreciation to his army and to God for the victory at Fredericksburg, but admits “The war is not yet ended. The enemy is still numerous and strong, and the country demands of the army a renewal of its heroic efforts in her behalf” (p8/c5).

 

 

Post-War Formation of “Hebrew Grant and Colfax Campaign Club” (Sept. 2, 1868)

 

New York Times, September 2, 1868,8 pp. 17½ x 22¾  #30059.01

 

The Club will endeavor to remove the prejudice against Gen. Grant still lingering in the minds of a few of their race, on account of his old order excluding a few Hebrew settlers from his army in the West.”

 

In 1868, The Democratic Party cited General Order No. 11 in an attempt to engage Jewish voters against Grant’s campaign as the Republic nominee for president. A pamphlet titled “General Grant and the Jews” warned him that “every Jew, with the voters he can command, will endeavor to defeat, and with God’s blessing, will defeat you!” Mass meetings organized by Jewish anti-Grant groups were held in several cities; one in Memphis attracted considerable press attention.

 

The Hebrew Grant and Colfax Campaign Club was organized on the 22d of August, and has its headquarters at No. 7 Delancy Street. It held its first regular meeting last evening, and will continue to hold them every Tuesday throughout the campaign. The President is Dr. Abram G. Sevy; the Vice-Presidents, S. Lang and H. Waterman; the Secretary, H.D. Kalinski, and the Treasurer, M. Floersheim. This claims to be the first Jewish political club organized in this country. According to its circular it was formed to demonstrate that the Hebrews of this city, as a body, have no affinity with traitors, smugglers or repudiators.The Club will endeavor to remove the prejudice against Gen. Grant still lingering in the minds of a few of their race, on account of his old order excluding a few Hebrew sutlers from his army in the West. The assemblage last evening was exclusively for business purposes, and plans were laid for a thorough canvas of the Hebrew population of this City. Sixty names were added to the roll, and great interest was manifested in the proceedings. Rev. Wolf Schreier, Mr. Abram D. Levy and Mr. S. Lang made short addresses. Mr. Levy made allusion to a Democratic club of Hebrews, about forming in St. Louis, which will make Gen. Grant’s anti-Hebrew army order a leading feature of its opposition to him. The Grant and Colfax Hebrew Club would do its best, he said, by publications, to neutralize the effect of the St. Louis Club among the Hebrews in the South and West.” (p1/c6)

 

Grant addressed the issue during the campaign. In a September 14, 1868 letter to Isaac N. Morris, he wrote that: “I do not pretend to sustain the order...The order was issued and sent without any reflection and without thinking of the Jews as a set or race to themselves, but simply as persons who had successfully...violated an order...I have no prejudice against sect or race, but want each individual to be judged by his own merit.” According to Jonathan Sarna, "Grant's self-serving explanation did not actually bear close scrutiny," but his determination to court Jewish voters ultimately resulted in his capturing the majority of that vote, and the election.

 

Subsequently, Grant appointed more Jews to public office than any previous president. He also went public on behalf of Jews in Russia and Romania who were threatened with expulsion, and attended the dedication of a synagogue in Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

 

TIMELINE

1862 Timeline of Grant’s Orders and Communications Before News Reached the Capital

 

November 9.Grant orders Major-General Stephen A. Hurlbut: “Refuse all permits to come south of Jackson [Tennessee] for the present. The Israelitesespecially should be kept out.”

 

November 10.Grant orders Colonel Joseph D. Websterto “Give orders to all the conductors on the [rail]road that no Jews are to be permitted to travel on the Rail Road southward from any point. They may go north and be encouraged in it; but they are such an intolerable nuisance that the Department must be purged of them.”

 

December 5. Grant writes to Major General William T. Sherman, commanding the right wing of Grant’s army: “Before leaving LaGrange orders were issued that no Cotton Buyers should accompany the Army but would be allowed to follow as the Army advanced and buy in the rear, but in consequence of the total disregard and evasion of orders by the Jews my policy is to exclude them so far as practicable from the Dept.”

 

December 8. Colonel John V. D. DuBois issues General Orders No. 2, which directed that “cotton-speculators, Jews and other Vagrants having no honest means of support, except trading upon the miseries of their Country...will leave in twenty-four hours or they will be sent to duty in the trenches.”

 

December 9. Grant writes to Colonel DuBois, “Instructions from Washington are to encourage getting Cotton out of the country. Department orders have been published regulating this matter and any violation of them can be punished by sending the offender out of the Dept. Any order you have published different from this contravenes Dept orders and will have to be rescinded.”

 

December 17.Grant writes to Assistant Secretary of War Christopher P. Wolcott:

“I have long since believed that in spite of all the vigilance that can be infused into Post Commanders that the Specie regulations of the Treasury Dept. have been violated, and that mostly by Jews and other unprincipled traders. So well satisfied of this have I been at this that I instructed the Commdg Officer at Columbus [Kentucky] to refuse all permits to Jews to come south, and frequently have had them expelled from the Dept. But they come in with their Carpet sacks in spite of all that can be done to prevent it. The Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel any where. They will land at any wood yard or landing on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy Cotton themselves they will act as Agents for some one else who will be at a Military post, with a Treasury permit to receive Cotton and pay for it in Treasury notes which the Jew will buy up at an agreed rate, paying gold.

“There is but one way that I know of to reach this case. That is for Government to buy all the Cotton at a fixed rate and send it to Cairo, St Louis, or some other point to be sold. Then all traders, they are a curse to the Army, might be expelled.”

 

 

For more background, see this articlein Slate, March 13, 2012.

NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER INFORMATION

New-York Tribune(1841-1924) was established as a daily newspaper in 1841 by Horace Greeley (1811-1872). By the 1850s, it reached a circulation of 200,000 copies, making it the largest daily newspaper in New York City at the time. Greeley also published weekly and semi-weekly issues of the Tribune through much of his tenure. The New-York Tribune became the dominant Whig and then Republican newspaper in the United States, helping to shape public opinion, especially as other newspapers often copied its articles and editorials. It was one of the first newspapers in the Union to send reporters and correspondents to cover the military campaigns of the Civil War. Greeley used his newspaper to support many reforms, including abolitionism, pacifism, socialism (for a time), and feminism. After Greeley’s failed campaign as the Liberal Republican candidate for President, Whitelaw Reid (1837-1912) assumed control of the Tribune until his death. His son, Ogden Mills Reid (1882-1947), acquired the New York Herald and merged the newspapers in 1924.

New York Herald(1835-1924) was a prominent daily newspaper published in New York City. Initially published by James Gordon Bennett (1795-1872) as the Morning Herald and alternating between that title and The Herald until 1840, when it became The New York Herald. By 1845, it was the most popular and profitable newspaper in the nation. Circulation grew to 84,000 by 1861. The September 23, 1862 issue contains a notice that the New York Herald has an average daily circulation of 123,460 copies, which is “unequalled by that of any other paper in the world.” During the Civil War, Bennett loyally supported the Democratic Party. In 1866, Bennett passed control of the newspaper to his son James Gordon Bennett Jr. (1841-1918).


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