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Philip H. Sheridan to Ulysses S. Grant, New Orleans, August 1, 1866.

Philip Henry Sheridan, detail

Louisiana Republicans had engineered the reconvening ot the Constitutional Convention of 1864 despite the declaration on the part of hostile Democratic Party officials in New Orleans and the legislature that it was an illegal gathering. President Johnson had forbade any federal intervention and despite this public appeal for calm by New Orleans mayor John Tompkins Monroe that morning, appalling violence broke out, with a siege of the site of the convention in the Mechanics' Hall, and a deadly attack on procession of African-Americans marching in support.  Murderous crowds, and the police, killed as many as forty-four blacks and four whites, many in cold blood.  Major General Philip Sheridan, the commander of the local department, had been in Texas during the trouble and on his return made this first report to his superior in Washington D.C.. Shocked and sickened, Sheridan places blame for the outbreak on the radicals calling the Convention but then condemned in harsh terms the reaction of the police accusing them of acting "in a manner so unnecessary and atrocious as to compel me to say that it was murder."  The backlash against violence helped the Republican Party to a landslide in the fall federal elections and then to more hostile measures against the South, through the Reconstruction Act.  (By John Osborne)


How to Cite This Page: "Philip H. Sheridan to Ulysses S. Grant, New Orleans, August 1, 1866.," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,