Union General Ulysses Grant from his headquarters on Wednesday, December 17, 1862 issued his very controversial, General Order no. 11, expelling all those of the Hebrew faith from his area of military command. Illegal speculation, especially in cotton, was widespread along the Mississippi River, and Grant apparently equated those of the Jewish faith with the peddlers and speculators that plagued his camps.
Grant advocated that the federal government buy cotton at a fixed rate and put the speculators out of business. Although never put entirely in effect before being rescinded on January 4, 1863, Grant’s order resulted in widespread protests from Jewish community leaders and an outcry by members of Congress and the press who perceived the order many years to come as an indictment of those of the Jewish faith.