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[379] the most prompt and vigorous military action, while others, not unmindful of the long-existing friendship between the people of the United States and France, preferred more peaceful measures.

As the first and necessary step in either line of policy, whether for immediate active military operations or as conclusive evidence of ultimate military purpose in aid of diplomacy, General Sheridan was sent, with an army of about fifty thousand men, to the line of the Rio Grande. But Sheridan's troops were Union volunteers who had been enlisted especially for the Civil War, then terminated; and the necessity was at once recognized of organizing a new army for the express purpose of acting against the French army in Mexico, in case of need. It was proposed that this new army should be enlisted and organized under the republican government of Mexico, the only government recognized by the United States in that country. This course would avoid the necessity of any political action of the government of the United States in the premises. Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, then commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States, was requested to select an officer to organize and command the proposed army.

In June, 1865, at Raleigh, North Carolina, I received a message from General Grant informing me of my selection, and desiring me, if I was willing to consider the proposition, to come to Washington for consultation on the subject. Upon my arrival in Washington, I consulted freely with General Grant, SeƱor Romero (the Mexican minister), President Johnson, Secretary of State Seward, and Secretary of War Stanton, all of whom approved the general proposition that I should assume the control and direction of the measures to be adopted for the purpose of causing the French army to evacuate Mexico. Not much was said between me and the President or either of the secretaries at that time about the

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