Sheridan’s Secret Mission

Audiobook Details

Author:

Robert Cwiklik

Narrated By:

Rick Adamson

Length:

7 hrs and 34 mins

File Type:

.m4b

Release Date:

01-16-24

File Size:

215.57 MB

Audiobook Summary

An impeccably researched, character-driven narrative history recounting the fascinating late-Reconstruction Era mission of General Philip Sheridan, a Union hero dispatched to the South 10 years after the Civil War to protect the rights of newly freed black men, who were under siege by violent paramilitary groups like the White league intent on erasing their postwar gains.

On New Year’s Eve 1874, Sheridan made a splash on his arrival in New Orleans. Accompanied by family and friends, he claimed to be on vacation and bound for Cuba. In reality, he was in the Crescent City on behalf of President Ulysses S. Grant, who had asked him to undertake a vital mission: to investigate the activities of violent vigilante groups menacing the rights of former slaves, or freedmen.

Grant had been alarmed as Southern white paramilitaries staged a flurry of attacks against freedmen in recent months to neutralize their political clout. The citizenship and voting rights of former slaves were among the most consequential fruits of the Union’s Civil War victory. Republicans were now reckoning with the possibility that outlaw gangs like the White League, made up mostly of former Confederate soldiers and winked at by Democratic officials, could turn back the clock and consign freedmen to an existence little better than slavery. A few days after Sheridan’s arrival in New Orleans, Democrats, apparently assisted by White League operatives, seized control of the state House of Representatives through trickery and violence. After federal soldiers stationed nearby ushered several Democratic claimants to office out of the House chamber, at the request of the Republican governor, Sheridan publicly denounced the “spirit of defiance to all lawful authority” in Louisiana and threatened to round up White League leaders to face trial before military tribunals. Many Northern newspapers condemned Sheridan’s actions and those of the federal troops; some called for Grant’s impeachment.

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