That Obnoxious Order
In the name of that class of loyal citizens of these U. S. which we in part represent… In the name of hundreds who have been driven from their homes, deprived of their liberty and injured in their property without having violated any law or regulation . . .
- Letter from B’nai B’rith Missouri Lodge President Henry Kuttner in St. Louis to President Abraham Lincoln, January 5, 1863
On December 17, 1862, Major General Ulysses S. Grant issued General Orders No. 11, expelling Jews “as a class” from the Department of the Tennessee—an area under his command that included parts of southern Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi. Blaming Jewish traders for the black market sale of southern cotton across Union lines, Grant gave Jews—men, women, and children—24 hours to leave.
As word of the outrage spread and Jews were evicted from their homes, Jewish communal leaders rushed to respond.