The New Shuffle of Commanders
August 20, 1867
The government removes General Sheridan from his appointment in the District of Louisiana and Texas and moves him to the Department of Missouri.Many commanders move around, as a result, and this will affect the Reconstruction process.The Dispatch does not see an advantage to this for anyone, but states that it will affect the ten states in the South that are undergoing Reconstruction. Most of these men being reappointed are Radicals and Unionists.
The New Shuffle of Commanders. The telegraph brings the news of the removal of General Sheridan from the District of Louisiana and Texas, and his appointment to the Department of Missouri. He is succeeded by General Thomas, who has heretofore commanded the Department of Tennessee and Kentucky. General Thomas is succeeded by General Hancock, an officer who belongs to the class of kind and considerate men. These movements on the chess-board of national politics must be perplexing to the Radicals. While we can see in them no immediate advantage to result to the ten States now undergoing the painful process of reconstruction, we can well understand how they both vex and perplex northern Republicans. Sheridan certainly is transported entirely out of the territory of rebeldom, and goes to the State of Missouri, where he can by no means make things worse, his removel is offensive to Radicals, and will excite their race; but, then, Thomas is appointed in his place, and he being a Republican and a Union man of sternest stamp, and distinguished for services in the field - in this particular excelling Sheridan this rage will be deprived of its effect, and its force will be broken like the waves that dash upon a rocky cliff. Thomas is a man somewhat after the order of Grant, though less generous and forbearing toward, the South. We don't know that we may decidedly congratulate the people of his district upon the exchange of Sheridan for him. Yet we confess we would prefer him. It has been suspected in some quarters that the recent change at Washington, and this which now has taken place, were designed to throw confusion into the Radical camp, it was supposed that by the removal of Sheridan it was intended to bring a new and formidable candidate for the Presidency into the field, in order to break up the game already far advanced. But the putting of Thomas in his place somewhat confounds this prophecy, by taking away from Sheridan all, or nearly all, the advantage in popular sympathy which he derived from his removal. He is left like a frosted apple, much shrivelled and stunted, and not destined to attain full growth. Grant has been claimed as a Republican. His consent to be the instrument with which to turn out Stanton has much marred his favor amongst the extreme Radicals; but the man he succeeds is as little cut out for a nominee for the Presidency as a fish is for a residence upon the land. So that what Grant may lose in the proceeding is not added to Stanton's capital, and it is not at all clear to whose benefit it will enure, if to anybody's. Thus far we cannot see that Grant is much injured, while we do not perceive that a lift is given to any Radical aspirant. Further developments must take place before it can be clearly seen that any one motive yet attributed to the Federal Administration is that which actuates it in the recent movements. We cannot see that these movements are to be especially beneficial to the South. The poor South must go through tho forms of conformity to the reconstruction acts, which no hand can lift up from off of the ten "rebellious" States. Nor can we see that by any artifice the conduct of the President can be made the pretext for further oppressions of our people. That General Sheridan had assumed more authority than any of the commanders is clear, and the President may well have conceived that his removal was demanded by considerations of justice as well as peace. But as a Republican general of austere Union sentiments takes his place, no ground is left on which the dominant party of the North can accuse the President or demand further disabilities of southern people to insure the consummation of congressional reconstruction.
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“The New Shuffle of Commanders,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 26, 2019, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/692.