William Tecumseh Sherman
(February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) was an American soldier, businessman, educator
He served as a General
in the Union
during the American Civil
(1861–65), for which he received recognition for his
outstanding command of military
as well as criticism for the harshness of the
" policies that he
implemented in conducting total war
against the Confederate
. Military historian
Basil Liddell Hart
declared that Sherman was "the first modern general".
Sherman served under General Ulysses
S. Grant in 1862
and 1863 during the campaigns that led to the fall of the
Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi
River and culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies
in the state of Tennessee.
In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the
commander in the western theater
the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the
capture of the city of Atlanta, a military
success that contributed to the re-election of
President Abraham Lincoln.
march through Georgia
the Confederacy's ability to continue fighting. He accepted the
surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia,
and Florida in April
When Grant became president, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General
of the Army
(1869–83). As such, he was responsible for the
conduct of the Indian Wars
western United States
steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published
, one of the best-known firsthand accounts of
the Civil War.
was born in 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio, near the
shores of the Hocking River.
Charles Robert Sherman, a
successful lawyer who sat on the Ohio Supreme Court, died unexpectedly in 1829.
He left his
widow, Mary Hoyt Sherman, with eleven children and no inheritance.
Following this tragedy, the nine-year-old Sherman was raised by a
Lancaster neighbor and family friend, attorney Thomas Ewing
, a prominent member of the
who served as
from Ohio and as the
of the Interior
. Sherman was distantly related to the
politically influential Baldwin, Hoar & Sherman
and grew to admire American founding father Roger Sherman
Sherman's older brother Charles
became a federal judge. One of his younger
brothers, John Sherman
served as a U.S. senator and Cabinet
secretary. Another younger
brother, Hoyt Sherman
, was a successful
. Two of his foster brothers served as major generals in the Union Army during the Civil War: Hugh Boyle Ewing, later an ambassador and
author, and Thomas Ewing, Jr., who
would serve as defense attorney in
the military trials against the Lincoln
Sherman's given names
Sherman's unusual given name has always attracted considerable
attention. Sherman himself reports that his middle name grew from
the fact that his father "caught a fancy for the great chief of the
.'" Since the publication of a 1932
biography, it has often been reported that, as an infant, Sherman
was named simply Tecumseh. According to these accounts, Sherman
only acquired the name "William" at age nine or ten, after being
taken into the Ewing household. His foster mother, Maria Ewing, who
was of Irish ancestry, was a devout Catholic
. In the Ewing home, Sherman
was baptized by a Dominican
who supposedly used the name William because the event took place
on a Saint William's Day – possibly June 25, the feast day of Saint
William of Montevergine
However, this colorful account is dubious. Sherman himself states
in his Memoirs
that his father named him William Tecumseh,
and there is corroborating evidence that Sherman was baptized by a
minister as an infant
and given the name William at that time. As an adult, Sherman
signed all his correspondence – even to his wife – "W.T. Sherman,"
but his friends and family always called him "Cump". Despite having
been baptized twice in his youth, Sherman did not adhere to any
organized religion for the latter part of his adult life, although
his wife, Ellen Ewing Sherman
was a devout Catholic and his son Thomas
became a Catholic priest;
according to Thomas, Sherman attended the Catholic Church till the
outbreak of the Civil War but not thereafter.
Military training and service
Ewing secured an appointment for the 16-year-old Sherman as a
cadet in the United States
Military Academy at West Point, where he roomed and became good friends with
another important future Civil War General, George H. Thomas
Young Sherman in military
. There Sherman excelled
academically, but he treated the demerit system with indifference.
Fellow cadet William Rosecrans
would later remember Sherman at West Point as "one of the brightest
and most popular fellows" and "a bright-eyed, red-headed fellow,
who was always prepared for a lark of any kind". About his time at
West Point, Sherman says only the following in his
Upon graduation in 1840, Sherman entered the Army as a second lieutenant
in the 3rd
U.S. Artillery and saw action in Florida in the
Second Seminole War against the
Seminole tribe. He was later
stationed in Georgia and South Carolina. As the foster son of a prominent Whig
politician, in Charleston, the popular Lt.
Sherman moved within the
upper circles of Old South
many of his colleagues saw action in the Mexican-American War, Sherman performed
administrative duties in the captured territory of California. He and fellow officer Lieutenant Edward Ord reached the town of Yerba Buena two
days before its name was changed to San
In 1848, Sherman accompanied the military
governor of California, Col. Richard Barnes Mason
, in the inspection
that officially confirmed the claim that gold
had been discovered in the region, thus inaugurating the California Gold Rush
. Sherman, along
with the above-mentioned Edward Ord, assisted in surveys for the
sub-divisions of the town that would become Sacramento.
Sherman earned a brevet
for his "meritorious
service", but his lack of a combat assignment discouraged him and
may have contributed to his decision to resign his commission.
Sherman would become one of the relatively few high-ranking
officers in the Civil War who had not fought in Mexico.
Marriage and business career
Painted portrait by G.P.A.
In 1850, Sherman was promoted to the substantive rank of Captain
and married Thomas Ewing's daughter, Eleanor Boyle ("Ellen") Ewing,
in a Washington ceremony attended by President Zachary Taylor
and other political
luminaries. (Thomas Ewing was serving as the first Secretary of the
Interior at the time.) Like her mother, Ellen Ewing Sherman
was a devout Roman
Catholic, and the Shermans' eight children were reared in that
1864, Ellen took up temporary residence in South Bend, Indiana, to
have her young family educated at the University
of Notre Dame and St. Mary's College.
In 1874, with Sherman having become world
famous, their eldest child, Marie Ewing ("Minnie") Sherman, also
had a politically prominent wedding, attended by President Ulysses
S. Grant and commemorated by a generous gift from the Khedive of Egypt
. (Eventually, one of
Minnie's daughters married a grandson of Confederate general
Lewis Addison Armistead.)
Another of the Sherman daughters, Eleanor, was married to Alexander Montgomery Thackara
at General Sherman’s home in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 1880.
To Sherman's great
displeasure and sorrow, one of his sons, Thomas Ewing Sherman
, was ordained a
priest in 1879.
In 1853, Sherman resigned his captaincy and became manager of the
San Francisco branch of a St. Louis based bank. He returned to San
Francisco at a time of great turmoil in the West. He survived two
shipwrecks and floated through the Golden Gate on the overturned hull of a foundering lumber
Sherman suffered from stress-related asthma
because of the city's brutal financial
climate. Late in life, regarding his time in
real-estate-speculation-mad San Francisco, Sherman recalled: "I can
handle a hundred thousand men in battle, and take the City of the
Sun, but am afraid to manage a lot in the swamp of San Francisco."
In 1856, during the vigilante period
, he served
briefly as a major
of the California militia
Sherman's San Francisco branch closed in May 1857, and he relocated
to New York on behalf of the same bank. When the bank failed
during the financial Panic of 1857, he
turned to the practice of law in Leavenworth, Kansas, at which he
was also unsuccessful.
Military college superintendent
Sherman accepted a job as the first superintendent of the Louisiana
State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy in Pineville,
Louisiana, a position he sought at the suggestion of Major
D. C. Buell
and secured because of General G. Mason Graham. He proved an
effective and popular leader of that institution, which would later
State University (LSU). Colonel Joseph P. Taylor
, the brother of the late
President Zachary Taylor
that "if you had hunted the whole army, from one end of it to the
other, you could not have found a man in it more admirably suited
for the position in every respect than Sherman."
hearing of South
Carolina's secession from the United States,
Sherman observed to a close friend, Professor David F. Boyd of Virginia, an enthusiastic secessionist, almost perfectly
describing the four years of war to come:
In January 1861 just before the outbreak of the Civil War, Sherman
was required to accept receipt of arms surrendered to the State
Militia by the U.S. Arsenal at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Instead of complying, he resigned his
position as superintendent and returned to the North, declaring to
the governor of Louisiana, "On no earthly account will I do any act
or think any thought hostile ... to the ... United States."
After the war, General Sherman donated two cannons to the
institution. These cannons had been captured from
Confederate forces and had been used to start the war when fired at
Sumter, South Carolina.
They are still currently on
display in front of LSU's Military
St. Louis interlude
Immediately following his departure from
Louisiana, Sherman traveled to Washington, D.C., possibly in the hope of securing a position in the
army, and met with Abraham Lincoln in the White House during
Sherman expressed concern about the
North's poor state of preparedness but found Lincoln
Thereafter, Sherman became president of the St. Louis Railroad, a
company, a position he would
hold for only a few months. Thus, he was living in border-state
Missouri as the secession crisis came to a climax. While trying to
hold himself aloof from controversy, he observed firsthand the
efforts of Congressman Frank Blair
later served under Sherman, to hold Missouri in the Union. In early
April, he declined an offer from the Lincoln administration to take
a position in the War Department that might have resulting in his
becoming Assistant Secretary of War. After the bombardment of Fort
Sumter, Sherman hesitated about committing to military service and
ridiculed Lincoln's call for 75,000 three-month volunteers to quell
secession, reportedly saying: "Why, you might as well attempt to
put out the flames of a burning house with a squirt-gun." However,
in May, he offered himself for service in the regular army, and his
brother (Senator John Sherman) and other connections maneuvered to
get him a commission in the regular army. On June 3, he wrote that
"I still think it is to be a long war – very long – much longer
than any Politician thinks." He received a telegram summoning him
to Washington on June 7.
Civil War service
Portrait by Mathew Brady, c.1864
First commissions and Bull Run
Sherman was first commissioned as a colonel
in the 13th U.S. Infantry regiment
effective May 14, 1861. This was a new regiment yet to be raised,
and Sherman's first command was actually of a brigade of
three-month volunteers. With that command, he was one of the few
Union officers to distinguish himself at the First Battle
of Bull Run on July 21, 1861, where he was grazed by bullets in
the knee and shoulder.
The disastrous Union defeat led
Sherman to question his own judgment as an officer and the
capacities of his volunteer troops. President Lincoln, however, was
impressed by Sherman while visiting the troops on July 23 and
promoted him to brigadier general
volunteers (effective May 17, 1861, with seniority in rank to
Ulysses S. Grant
, his future commander). He was assigned to
serve under Robert
Anderson in the Department of the Cumberland in Louisville, Kentucky, and in October succeeded Anderson in command of
Sherman considered his new assignment to
violate a promise from Lincoln that he would not be given such a
Breakdown and Shiloh
Having succeeded Anderson at Louisville, Sherman now had principal
military responsibility for a border state (Kentucky) in which
Confederate troops held Columbus and Bowling Green and were present
near the Cumberland Gap. He became exceedingly pessimistic about
the outlook for his command, and he complained frequently to
Washington, D.C., about shortages and provided exaggerated
estimates of the strength of the rebel forces. Very critical press
reports appeared about him after an October visit to Louisville by
the then Secretary of War, Simon
, and in early November Sherman insisted that he be
relieved. He was promptly replaced by Don Carlos Buell and transferred to
In December, however, he was put on leave
by Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck
, commander of the Department of the Missouri
considered him unfit for duty. Sherman went to Lancaster, Ohio, to
recuperate. Some consider that, in Kentucky and Missouri, Sherman
was in the midst of what today would be described as a nervous breakdown
. While he was at home,
his wife, Ellen, wrote to his brother Senator John Sherman seeking
advice and complaining of "that melancholy insanity to which your
family is subject." Sherman himself later wrote that the concerns
of command “broke me down," and he admitted contemplating
"suicide". His problems were further compounded when the
described him as "insane".
By mid-December, however, Sherman was sufficiently recovered to
return to service under Halleck in the Department of the Missouri
(in March, Halleck's command was redesignated the Department of the
Mississippi and enlarged to unify command in the West). Sherman's
initial assignments were rear-echelon commands, first of an
instructional barracks near St. Louis and then command of the
District of Cairo. Operating from Paducah, Kentucky, he provided logistical support for the operations
Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to capture Fort
Donelson. Grant, the previous commander of the
District of Cairo, had recently won a major victory at Fort
Henry and been given command of the ill-defined District
of West Tennessee.
Although Sherman was technically the
senior officer at this time, he wrote to Grant, "I feel anxious
about you as I know the great facilities [the Confederates] have of
concentration by means of the River and R Road, but [I] have faith
in you — Command me in any way."
Detail from Sherman Memorial,
After Grant captured Fort Donelson, Sherman got his wish of serving
under Grant when he was assigned on March 1, 1862, to the Army of West Tennessee
of the 5th Division
major test under Grant was at the Battle of Shiloh.
The massive Confederate attack on the
morning of April 6, 1862, took most of the senior Union commanders
by surprise. Sherman in particular had dismissed the
intelligence reports that he had received from militia officers,
refusing to believe that Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston would leave
his base at Corinth.
He took no precautions beyond strengthening
his picket lines, refusing to entrench, build abatis
, or push out reconnaissance patrols. At
Shiloh, he may have wished to avoid appearing overly alarmed in
order to escape the kind of criticism he had received in Kentucky.
He had written to his wife that, if he took more precautions,
"they'd call me crazy again".
Despite being caught unprepared by the attack, Sherman rallied his
division and conducted an orderly, fighting retreat that helped
avert a disastrous Union rout. Finding Grant at the end of the day
sitting under an oak tree in the darkness smoking a cigar, he
experienced, in his own words "some wise and sudden instinct not to
mention retreat". Instead, in what would become one of the most
famous conversations of the war, Sherman said simply: "Well, Grant,
we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?" After a puff of his
cigar, Grant replied calmly: "Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow, though."
Sherman would prove instrumental to the successful Union
counterattack of April 7, 1862. At Shiloh, Sherman was wounded
twice—in the hand and shoulder—and had three horses shot out from
under him. His performance was praised by Grant and Halleck and
after the battle, he was promoted to major general
effective May 1, 1862.
in late April, a Union force of 100,000 moved slowly against
Corinth, under Halleck's command with Grant relegated to a
role he found unsatisfactory as second-in-command to Halleck;
Sherman commanded the division on the extreme right of the Union's
right wing (under George H.
Thomas). Shortly after the Union
forces occupied Corinth on May 30, Sherman persuaded Grant not to
leave his command, despite the serious difficulties he was having
with his commander, General Halleck. Sherman offered Grant an
example from his own life, "Before the battle of Shiloh, I was cast
down by a mere newspaper assertion of 'crazy', but that single
battle gave me new life, and I'm now in high feather." He told
Grant that, if he remained in the army, "some happy accident might
restore you to favor and your true place." In July, Grant's
situation improved when Halleck left for the East to become
general-in-chief, and Sherman became the military governor of
Vicksburg and Chattanooga
Map of the Battles for Chattanooga,
The careers of both officers ascended considerably after that time.
In Sherman's case, this was in part because he developed close
personal ties to Grant during the two years they served together in
the West. However, at one point during the long and complicated
Vicksburg campaign, one newspaper complained that the "army was
being ruined in mud-turtle expeditions, under the leadership of a
drunkard [Grant], whose confidential adviser [Sherman] was a
Sherman's own military record in 1862–63 was mixed. In December 1862,
forces under his command suffered a severe repulse at the Battle of
Chickasaw Bayou, just north of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Soon after, his XV Corps
was ordered to join Maj. Gen.
John A. McClernand in his successful assault on
Post, generally regarded as a politically motivated
distraction from the effort to capture Vicksburg.
Campaign in the spring of 1863, Sherman expressed serious
reservations about the wisdom of Grant's unorthodox strategy, but
he went on to perform well in that campaign under Grant's
After the surrender of Vicksburg to the Union
forces under General Grant on July 4, 1863, Sherman was given the
rank of brigadier general in the regular army
in addition to his
rank as a major general of volunteers. Sherman's family came from
Ohio to visit his camp near Vicksburg; their visit resulted in the
death of his nine-year-old son, Willie, the Little Sergeant, from
While traveling to Chattanooga, General Sherman departed Memphis on
a train that arrived at the Battle of Collierville
, Tenn., while
the Union garrison there was under attack on October 11, 1863.
General Sherman took command of the 550 men and successfully
defended against an attack of 3,500 Confederate cavalry.
Thereafter, command in the West was unified under Grant (Military Division of the
), and Sherman succeeded Grant in command of the
Army of the Tennessee
the Battle of
Chattanooga in November, under Grant's overall command, Sherman
quickly took his assigned target of Billy Goat Hill at the north
end of Missionary Ridge, only to discover that it was not part of
the ridge at all, but rather a detached spur separated from the
main spine by a rock-strewn ravine.
When he attempted to
attack the main spine at Tunnel Hill, his troops were repeatedly
repulsed by Patrick Cleburne
heavy division, the best unit in Braxton Bragg's army. Sherman's
effort was overshadowed by George
's army's successful assault on the center of the
Confederate line, a movement originally intended as a diversion.
Subsequently, Sherman led a column to
relieve Union forces under Ambrose
Burnside thought to be in peril at Knoxville and, in February 1864, led an expedition to
Meridian, Mississippi, to disrupt
Map of Sherman's campaigns in Georgia
and the Carolinas, 1864–1865
Despite this mixed record, Sherman enjoyed Grant's confidence and
friendship. When Lincoln called Grant east in the spring of 1864 to
take command of all the Union armies, Grant appointed Sherman (by
then known to his soldiers as "Uncle Billy") to succeed him as head
of the Military
Division of the Mississippi
, which entailed command of Union
troops in the Western Theater
the war. As Grant took overall command of the armies of the United
States, Sherman wrote to him outlining his strategy to bring the
war to an end concluding that "if you can whip Lee
and I can march to the Atlantic I think
ol' Uncle Abe
will give us twenty
days leave to see the young folks."
proceeded to invade the state of Georgia with three armies: the 60,000-strong Army of the Cumberland under George Henry Thomas, the 25,000-strong
Army of the Tennessee under
James B. McPherson
, and the 13,000-strong Army of the Ohio
under John M. Schofield
. He fought a lengthy campaign of
terrain against Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee, attempting a direct
assault only at the disastrous Battle of
In July, the cautious Johnston was replaced
by the more aggressive John Bell
, who played to Sherman's strength by challenging him to
direct battles on open ground. Meanwhile, in August, Sherman
"learned that I had been commissioned a major-general in the
regular army, which was unexpected, and not desired until
successful in the capture of Atlanta."
Campaign concluded successfully on September 2, 1864, with
the capture of the city, abandoned by Hood.
all civilians to leave the city, Sherman ordered that all military
and government buildings be burned, although many private homes and
shops were burned as well. This was to set a precedent for future
behavior by his armies. Capturing Atlanta was an accomplishment
that made Sherman a household name in the North and helped ensure
in November. In the summer of that year, it had
appeared likely that Lincoln would be defeated; in August, the
nominated as its candidate George
, the former
Union army commander. Lincoln's defeat might well have meant the
victory of the Confederacy, as the Democratic Party platform called
for peace negotiations based on the acknowledgment of the
Confederacy's independence. Thus the capture of Atlanta, coming
when it did, may have been Sherman's greatest contribution to the
Green-Meldrim house, where Sherman
stayed after taking Savannah in 1864
During September and October, Sherman and Hood played cat-and-mouse
in north Georgia (and Alabama) as Hood threatened Sherman's
communications to the north. Eventually, Sherman won approval from
his superiors for a plan to cut loose from his communications and
march south, having advised Grant that he could "make Georgia
howl". This created the threat that Hood would move north into
Tennessee. Trivializing that threat, Sherman reportedly said that
he would "give [Hood] his rations" to go in that direction as "my
business is down south." However, Sherman left forces under Maj.
Gens. George H. Thomas and John M. Schofield to deal with Hood; their forces
eventually smashed Hood's army in the battles of Franklin (November 30) and Nashville (December 15–16).
Meanwhile, after the November elections,
Sherman began a march with 62,000 men to the port of Savannah, Georgia, living off the land and causing, by his own
estimate, more than $100 million in property damage.
called this harsh tactic of material war "hard war", often seen as
a species of total war
. At the end of this
campaign, known as Sherman's
March to the Sea
, his troops captured Savannah on December 21,
1864. Sherman then dispatched a famous message to Lincoln, offering
him the city as a Christmas
Sherman's success in Georgia received ample coverage in the
Northern press at a time when Grant seemed to be making little
progress in his fight against Confederate General Robert E. Lee
Army of Northern Virginia
A bill was introduced in Congress to promote Sherman to Grant's
rank of lieutenant
, probably with a view towards having him replace Grant
as commander of the Union Army. Sherman wrote both to his brother,
Senator John Sherman, and to General Grant vehemently repudiating
any such promotion. According to a war-time account, it was around
this time that Sherman made his memorable declaration of loyalty to
While in Savannah, Sherman also suffered the blow of learning from
a newspaper that his infant son Charles Celestine had died during
the march to the sea; the general had never even seen the
Final campaigns in the Carolinas
For the next step, Grant initially ordered Sherman to embark his
army on steamers to join the Union forces confronting Lee in
Virginia. Instead, Sherman persuaded Grant to allow him to march
north through the Carolinas
destroying everything of military value along the way, as he had
done in Georgia. He was particularly interested in targeting
Carolina, the first
state to secede from the
Union, for the effect it would have on Southern morale.
army proceeded north through South Carolina against light
resistance from the troops of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston
. Upon hearing that Sherman's men were
advancing on corduroy roads through
the Salkehatchie swamps at a rate of a dozen
miles per day, Johnston "made up his mind that there had been no
such army in existence since the days of Julius Caesar."
captured the state capital of Columbia, South Carolina, on February 17, 1865.
Fires began that
night and by next morning, most of the central city was destroyed.
The burning of Columbia has engendered controversy ever since, with
some claiming the fires were accidental, others a deliberate act of
vengeance, and still others that the retreating Confederates burned
bales of cotton on their way out of town. Local Native American
guides helped Sherman's army cross the
through torrential rains
and into North Carolina. According to Sherman, the trek across the
Lumber River, and through the swamps, pocosins
, and creeks of Robeson County
"was the damnedest marching I
ever saw." Thereafter, his troops did little damage to the civilian
infrastructure, as North Carolina, unlike its southern neighbor,
which was seen as a hotbed of secession, was regarded by his men to
be only a reluctant Confederate state, because of its position as
one of the last to join the Confederacy.
In late March, Sherman briefly left his forces and traveled to City
Point, Virginia, to consult with Grant. Lincoln happened to be at
City Point at the same time, allowing the only three-way meeting of
Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman during the war.
Sherman's victory over Johnston's troops at the Battle of Bentonville, Lee's surrender
to Grant at Appomattox Court House, and Lincoln's assassination, Sherman met with
Johnston at Bennett
Place in Durham, North
negotiate a Confederate surrender.
At the insistence of
Johnston and Confederate President Jefferson Davis
, Sherman offered generous
terms that dealt with both political and military issues. Sherman
thought his terms were consistent with the views Lincoln had
expressed at City Point, but the general had no authority to offer
such terms from General Grant, newly installed President Andrew Johnson
, or the Cabinet
. The government in Washington,
D.C., refused to honor the terms, precipitating a long-lasting feud
between Sherman and the Secretary of War
, Edwin M. Stanton
. Confusion over this issue lasted
until April 26, 1865, when Johnston, ignoring instructions from
President Davis, agreed to purely military terms and formally
surrendered his army and all the Confederate forces in the
Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, becoming the largest surrender of
the American Civil War. Sherman proceeded with his troops to
Washington, D.C., where they marched in the Grand Review of the Armies
24, 1865 and were then disbanded. Having become the second most
important general in the Union army, he thus had come full circle
to the city where he started his war-time service as colonel of a
non-existent infantry regiment.
Slavery and emancipation
Though he came to disapprove of slavery
, Sherman was not an
before the war, and like
many of his time and background, he did not believe in "Negro
equality". His military campaigns of 1864 and 1865 freed many
slaves, who greeted him "as a second Moses
" and joined his marches through Georgia
and the Carolinas by the tens of thousands.
The fate of these refugees became a pressing military and political
issue. Some abolitionists accused Sherman of doing little to
alleviate the precarious living conditions of the freed slaves. To
address this issue, on January 12, 1865, Sherman met in Savannah
with Secretary of War Stanton and with twenty local black leaders.
After Sherman's departure, Garrison Frazier, a Baptist
minister, declared in response to an inquiry
about the feelings of the black community:
Four days later, Sherman issued his Special Field Orders,
The orders provided for the settlement of 40,000 freed slaves and
black refugees on land expropriated from white landowners in South
Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Sherman appointed Brig. Gen.
Rufus Saxton, an abolitionist from Massachusetts who had previously directed the recruitment of
black soldiers, to implement that plan.
Those orders, which
became the basis of the claim that the Union government had
promised freed slaves "40 acres and
", were revoked later that year by President Andrew Johnson
Although the context is often overlooked, and the quotation usually
chopped off, one of Sherman's most famous statements about his
hard-war views arose in part from the racial attitudes summarized
above. In his Memoirs
, Sherman noted political pressures
in 1864–1865 to encourage the escape of slaves, in part to avoid
the possibility that "'able-bodied slaves will be called into the
military service of the rebels.'" Sherman thought concentration on
such policies would have delayed the "successful end" of the war
and the "liberat[ion of] all
slaves." He went on to
summarize vividly his hard-war philosophy and to add, in effect,
that he really did not want the help of liberated slaves in
subduing the South:
General Sherman's record as a tactician
was mixed, and his military
legacy rests primarily on his command of logistics
and on his brilliance as a
. The influential 20th
century British military historian and theorist Basil Liddell Hart
ranked Sherman as one
of the most important strategists in the annals of war, along with
, Napoleon Bonaparte
, T. E. Lawrence
, and Erwin
. Liddell Hart credited Sherman with mastery of maneuver warfare
(also known as the
"indirect approach"), as demonstrated by his series of turning
movements against Johnston during the Atlanta Campaign. Liddell
Hart also stated that study of Sherman's campaigns had contributed
significantly to his own "theory of strategy and tactics in
", which had in
turn influenced Heinz Guderian
doctrine of Blitzkrieg
Rommel's use of tanks
during the Second World War
. Another WWII-era student of
Liddell Hart's writings about Sherman was George S. Patton
, who "'spent a long vacation
studying Sherman's campaigns on the ground in Georgia and the
Carolinas, with the aid of [LH's] book'" and later "'carried out
his [bold] plans, in super-Sherman style'".
Sherman's greatest contribution to the war, the strategy of
—endorsed by General Grant
and President Lincoln—has been the subject of much controversy.
Sherman himself downplayed his role in conducting total war, often
saying that he was simply carrying out orders as best he could in
order to fulfill his part of Grant's master plan for ending the
Like Grant, Sherman was convinced that the Confederacy
economic, and psychological ability to wage further war needed to
be definitively crushed if the fighting were to end. Therefore, he
believed that the North had to conduct its campaign as a war of
conquest and employ scorched earth
tactics to break the backbone of the rebellion, which he called
Sherman's advance through Georgia and South Carolina was
characterized by widespread destruction of civilian supplies and
infrastructure. Although looting
officially forbidden, historians disagree on how well this
regulation was enforced. The speed and efficiency of the
destruction by Sherman's army was remarkable. The practice of
bending rails around trees, leaving behind what came to be known as
, made repairs
difficult. Accusations that civilians were targeted and war crimes
were committed on the march have made
Sherman a controversial figure to this day, particularly in the
The damage done by Sherman was almost entirely limited to the
destruction of property
. Though exact
figures are not available, the loss of civilian life appears to
have been very small. Consuming supplies, wrecking infrastructure,
and undermining morale were Sherman's stated goals, and several of
his Southern contemporaries noted this and commented on it.
instance, Alabama-born Major Henry Hitchcock, who served in Sherman's
staff, declared that "it is a terrible thing to consume and destroy
the sustenance of thousands of people", but if the scorched earth
strategy served "to paralyze their husbands and fathers who are
fighting ... it is mercy in the end."
The severity of the destructive acts by Union troops was
significantly greater in South Carolina than in Georgia or North
Carolina. This appears to have been a consequence of the animosity
among both Union soldiers and officers to the state that they
regarded as the "cockpit of secession". One of the most serious
accusations against Sherman was that he allowed his troops to burn
the city of Columbia. Sherman himself stated that "[i]f I had made
up my mind to burn Columbia I would have burnt it with no more
feeling than I would a common prairie dog village; but I did not do
it ..." Historian James M.
Sherman's official report on the burning placed the blame on
Confederate Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton
, who Sherman said had ordered the burning of cotton in the
streets. In his memoirs, Sherman said, "In my official report of
this conflagration I distinctly charged it to General Wade Hampton,
and confess I did so pointedly to shake the faith of his people in
him, for he was in my opinion a braggart and professed to be the
special champion of South Carolina." In this general connection, it
is also noteworthy that Sherman and his subordinates (particularly
John A. Logan) took steps to protect Raleigh, North Carolina, from
acts of revenge after the assassination of President Lincoln.
In 1867 a chance meeting of former combatants occurred in Federal
Governor Orr's office in Columbia. Gen. Howard, commander of the US
15th Corps of Sherman's army during the burning, was to be
introduced to Gen. Hampton in the presence of many dignitaries.
Gen. Hampton said, "Before I take your hand General Howard, tell me
who burnt Columbia?" Gen. Howard replied, "It is useless to deny
that our troops burnt Columbia, for I saw them in the act." (See
Edwin J. Scott, Random Recollections of a Long Life. page 185; The
Burning of Columbia, Charleston, SC, 1888, page 11.)
After the fall of Atlanta in 1864, Sherman ordered the city's
evacuation. When the city council appealed to him to rescind that
order, on the grounds that it would cause great hardship to women,
children, the elderly, and others who bore no responsibility for
the conduct of the war, Sherman sent a response in which he sought
to articulate his conviction that a lasting peace would be possible
only if the Union were restored, and that he was therefore prepared
to do all he could do to quash the rebellion:
Literary critic Edmund Wilson
a fascinating and disturbing account of
an "appetite for warfare" that "grows as it feeds on the South".
to the statement that "war is cruelty and you cannot refine it" in
both the book Wilson's Ghost
and in his interview for the
film The Fog of War
But when comparing Sherman's scorched-earth campaigns to the
actions of the British Army
Second Boer War
war in which civilians were targeted because of their central role
in sustaining an armed resistance—South African historian Hermann
Giliomee declares that it "looks as if Sherman struck a better
balance than the British commanders between severity and restraint
in taking actions proportional to legitimate needs". The admiration
of scholars such as Victor Davis
, Basil Liddell Hart
Lloyd Lewis, and John F. Marszalek
for General Sherman owes much to what they see as an approach to
the exigencies of modern armed conflict that was both effective and
Illustration from the second edition
of Sherman's Memoirs
In May 1865, after the major Confederate armies had surrendered,
Sherman wrote in a personal letter:
In July 1865, only three months after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at
Appomattox, General W. T. Sherman was put in charge of the Military
Division of the Missouri, which included every territory west of
the Mississippi.Sherman's main concern as commanding general was to
protect the construction and operation of the railroads
from attack by hostile Indians. In his
campaigns against the Indian tribes, Sherman repeated his Civil War
strategy by seeking not only to defeat the enemy's soldiers, but
also to destroy the resources that allowed the enemy to sustain its
warfare. The policies he implemented included the extensive killing
of large numbers of buffalo
were the primary source of food for the Plains Indians
Sherman's views on Indian matters were often strongly expressed. He
regarded the railroads "as the most important element now in
progress to facilitate the military interests of our Frontier."
Hence, in 1867, he wrote to Grant that "[w]e are not going to let a
few thieving, ragged Indians check and stop the progress of [the
railroads]." After the 1866 Fetterman
, Sherman wrote Grant that "[w]e must act with
vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their
extermination, men, women and children." After George Armstrong Custer's defeat at
the Battle of
Little Bighorn, Sherman wrote that "hostile savages like Sitting Bull and his band of outlaw Sioux ...
must feel the superior power of the Government."
wrote that "[d]uring an assault, the soldiers can not pause to
distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to
age." Despite his harsh treatment of the warring tribes, Sherman
spoke out against the unfair way speculators and government agents
treated the natives within the reservations
On July 25, 1866, Congress created the rank of General of the Army
Grant and then promoted Sherman to lieutenant general
Grant became president
in 1869, Sherman
was appointed Commanding General
of the United States Army
. After the death of John A. Rawlins
, Sherman also served for one
month as interim Secretary of War
tenure as commanding general was marred by political difficulties,
and from 1874 to 1876, he moved his headquarters to St. Louis,
Missouri in an attempt to escape from them.
his significant contributions as head of the Army was the
establishment of the Command School (now the Command and General Staff
College) at Fort
In 1875 Sherman published his memoirs in two volumes. According to
critic Edmund Wilson
Shoulder strap insignia, introduced by
Sherman in 1872 for his use as General of the Army
On June 19, 1879, Sherman delivered an address to the graduating
class of the Michigan Military
, in which he may have uttered the famous phrase "War Is
Hell". On April 11, 1880, he addressed a crowd of more than 10,000
at Columbus, Ohio: "There is many a boy here today who looks on war
as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell." In 1945, President Harry
S. Truman would say: "Sherman was wrong. I'm telling you I find
peace is hell."
Sherman stepped down as commanding general on November 1, 1883, and
retired from the army on February 8, 1884. He lived most of the
rest of his life in New York
He was devoted to the theater and to
amateur painting and was much in demand as a colorful speaker at
dinners and banquets, in which he indulged a fondness for quoting
. Sherman was
proposed as a Republican
the presidential election
, but declined as emphatically as possible, saying, "If
drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if
elected, I will not serve." Such a categorical rejection of a
candidacy is now referred to as a "Shermanesque statement
Autobiography and memoirs
1868, Sherman wrote (or at least began) a “private” recollection
for his children about his life before the Civil War—identified now
as his unpublished “Autobiography, 1828-1861.” This manuscript is
held by the Ohio Historical Society.
Much of the material in it would
eventually be incorporated in revised form in his memoirs.
Sheet music for "Sherman's March to
In 1875, ten years after the end of the Civil War, Sherman became
one of the first Civil War generals to publish a memoir. His
Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. By
, published by D. Appleton & Co.
, in two
volumes, began with the year 1846 (when the Mexican War began) and
ended with a chapter about the “military lessons of the [civil]
war” (1875 edition: Volume I
; Volume II
).The memoirs were controversial, and
sparked complaints from many quarters. Grant (serving as President
when Sherman’s memoirs first appeared) later remarked that others
had told him that Sherman treated Grant unfairly but “when I
finished the book, I found I approved every word; that ... it was a
true book, an honorable book, creditable to Sherman, just to his
companions — to myself particularly so — just such a book as I
expected Sherman would write.”
In 1886, after the publication of Grant’s memoirs, Sherman produced
a "second edition, revised and corrected" of his memoirs with
Appleton. The new edition added a second preface, a chapter about
his life up to 1846, a chapter concerning the post-war period
(ending with his 1884 retirement from the army), several
appendices, portraits, improved maps, and an index (1886 edition:
, Volume II
). For the most part, Sherman refused
to revise his original text on the ground that “I disclaim the
character of historian, but assume to be a witness on the stand
before the great tribunal of history” and “any witness who may
disagree with me should publish his own version of [the] facts in
the truthful narration of which he is interested." However, Sherman
did add the appendices, in which he published the views of some
Sherman in his later years, in
civilian evening clothes
Subsequently, Sherman shifted to the publishing house of Charles L.
Webster & Co., the publisher of Grant’s memoirs. The new
publishing house brought out a “third edition, revised and
corrected” in 1890. This difficult-to-find edition was
substantively identical to the second (except for the probable
omission of Sherman's short 1875 and 1886 prefaces).
After Sherman died in 1891, there were dueling new editions of his
memoirs. His first publisher, Appleton, reissued the original
(1875) edition with two new chapters about Sherman’s later years
added by the journalist W. Fletcher Johnson (1891 Johnson edition:
, Volume II
). Meanwhile, Charles L. Webster &
Co. issued a “fourth edition, revised, corrected, and complete”
with the text of Sherman’s second edition, a new chapter prepared
under the auspices of the Sherman family bringing the general’s
life from his retirement to his death and funeral, and an
appreciation by politician James G.
(who was related to Sherman's
wife). Unfortunately, this edition omits Sherman’s prefaces to the
1875 and 1886 editions (1891 Blaine edition: Volume I
, Volume II
In 1904 and 1913, Sherman’s youngest son (Philemon Tecumseh
Sherman) republished the memoirs, ironically with Appleton (not
Charles L. Webster & Co.). This was designated as a “second
edition, revised and corrected.” This edition contains Sherman’s
two prefaces, his 1886 text, and the materials added in the 1891
Blaine edition. Thus, this virtually invisible edition of Sherman's
memoirs is actually the most comprehensive version.
There are many modern editions of Sherman’s memoirs. The edition
most useful for research purposes is the 1990 Library of America
version, edited by Charles Royster. It contains the entire text of
Sherman’s 1886 edition, together with annotations, a note on the
text, and a detailed chronology of Sherman’s life. Missing from
this edition, however, is the useful biographical material
contained in the 1891 Johnson and Blaine editions.
Many of Sherman's official war-time letters (and other items)
appear in the Official Records of the War of the
. Some of these letters are rather personal in
nature, rather than relating directly to operational activities of
the army. There also are at least five published collections of
- Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William
T. Sherman, 1860-1865, edited by Brooks D. Simpson
and Jean V. Berlin (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina
Press, 1999) – a large collection of war-time letters (November
1860 to May 1865).
- Sherman at War, edited by Joseph H. Ewing (Dayton, OH:
Morningside, 1992) – approximately thirty war time letters to
Sherman's father-in-law, Thomas Ewing, and one of his
brothers-in-law, Philemon B. Ewing.
- Home Letters of General Sherman,
edited by M.A. DeWolfe Howe (New York: Charles Scribner's Son,
1909) – edited letters to his wife, Ellen Ewing Sherman, from 1837
- The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between
General Sherman and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891,
edited by Rachel Sherman Thorndike (New York: Charles Scribner's
Son, 1894) – edited letters to his brother, Senator John Sherman,
from 1837 to 1891.
- General W.T. Sherman as College President, edited
by Walter L. Fleming (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1912) –
edited letters and other documents from Sherman's 1859–1861 service
as superintendent of the Louisiana Seminary of Learning and
Death and posterity
Sherman died in New York City on February 14, 1891. On February 19,
there was a funeral service held at his home there, followed by a
military procession. Sherman's body was then transported to St.
Louis, where another service was conducted on February 21, 1891 at
a local Catholic church. His son, Thomas Ewing Sherman
, a Jesuit priest,
presided over his father's funeral mass. General Joseph E. Johnston
, the Confederate officer who had
commanded the resistance to Sherman's troops in Georgia and the
Carolinas, served as a pallbearer
York City. It was a bitterly cold day and a friend of Johnston,
fearing that the general might become ill, asked him to put on his
hat. Johnston famously replied: "If I were in [Sherman's] place,
and he were standing in mine, he would not put on his hat."
Johnston did catch a serious cold and died one month later of
is buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis. Major memorials to
Sherman include the gilded bronze equestrian statue by Augustus Saint-Gaudens at the main
entrance to Central
Park in New York City and the major monument by Carl Rohl-Smith near President's
Park in Washington, D.C. Other posthumous tributes include the naming
of the World War II M4 Sherman tank and the
Sherman" Giant Sequoia tree, the most massive documented single-trunk tree in
Some of the artistic treatments of Sherman's march are the Civil
War era song "Marching Through
" by Henry Clay Work
's poem "The March to the Sea"
; Ross McElwee
's film Sherman's March
's novel The March
. At the beginning of
Gone with the Wind
first published in 1936, the fictional character Rhett Butler
warns a group of upper-class
secessionists of the folly of war with the North in terms very
reminiscent of those Sherman directed to David F. Boyd before
leaving Louisiana. Sherman's invasion of Georgia later plays a
central role in the plot of the novel. Charles Beaumont
in the Twilight Zone
episode "Long Live Walter Jameson
" has the
lead character (a history professor) comment on the burning of
Atlanta that the union soldiers did it unwillingly at the behest of
a Sherman described as sullen and brutish. The presentation of
Sherman in popular culture is now discussed at book-length in
Sherman's March in Myth and Memory
Littlefield, 2008), by Edward Caudill and Paul Ashdown.
- General Sherman's Official Account of His Great March to
Georgia and the Carolinas, from His Departure from Chattanooga to
the Surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston and
Confederate Forces under His Command (1865)
- "Autobiography, 1828-1861" (circa 1868), Mss. 57, WTS Papers,
Ohio Historical Society. Private recollections for Sherman's
- Memoirs of General William T. Sherman, Written by
Himself (1875), 2d ed. with additional chapters (1886)
- Reports of Inspection Made in the Summer of 1877 by
Generals P. H. Sheridan and W. T.
Sherman of Country North of the Union Pacific Railroad
- The Sherman Letters: Correspondence between
General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891 (posthumous,
- Home Letters of General Sherman
- General W. T. Sherman as College President: A Collection of
Letters, Documents, and Other Material, Chiefly from Private
Sources, Relating to the Life and Activities of General William
Tecumseh Sherman, to the Early Years of Louisiana State University,
and the Stirring Conditions Existing in the South on the Eve of the
Civil War (posthumous, 1912)
- The William Tecumseh Sherman Family Letters
(posthumous, 1967). Microfilm collection prepared by the Archives
of the University of Notre Dame contains letters, etc. from
Sherman, his wife, and others.
- Sherman at War (posthumous, 1992)
- Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William
T. Sherman, 1860 – 1865 (posthumous, 1999)
- One historian has written that Sherman's "genius" for "strategy
and logistics ... made him one of the foremost architects of Union
victory." Steven E. Woodworth, Nothing but Victory: The Army of
the Tennessee, 1861-1865 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005),
631. For a very critical study of Sherman, see John B. Walters,
Merchant of Terror: General Sherman and Total War
(Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1973).
- Liddell Hart, p. 430.
- See, William T. Sherman papers, Notre Dame University CSHR
19/67 Folder:Roger Sherman's Watch 1932–1942
- One nineteenth century source, for example, states that
"General Sherman, we believe, is the only eminent American named
from an Indian chief."Howe's Historical Collections of
Ohio (Columbus, 1890), I:595.
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 11.
- Lewis, p. 34.
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 11; Lewis, p. 23; Schenker, "'My
Father . . . Named Me William Tecumseh': Rebutting the Charge That
General Sherman Lied About His Name", Ohio History (2008),
vol. 115, p. 55; Sherman biographer John Marszalek considers the
cited article to "present a convincing case regarding Sherman's
name". Marszalek, "Preface" to 2007 edition of Sherman: A
Soldier's Passion for Order, pp. xiv-xv n.1.
- See, e.g., the many Civil War letters reproduced in Brooks D.
Simpson and Jean V. Berlin, Sherman's Civil War: Selected
Correspondence of William T. Sherman (Chapel Hill: Univ. of
North Carolina Press, 1999).
- See, for instance, Walsh, p. 32.
- For discussion of Sherman's religious views, see Hirshson, pp.
387–388. At the time of Sherman's death, his son Thomas, a Jesuit,
reportedly said: "My father was baptized in the Catholic Church,
married in the Catholic Church, and attended the Catholic Church
until the outbreak of the civil war. Since that time he has not
been a communicant of any church ..." Thomas C. Fletcher, Life
and Reminiscences of General Wm. T. Sherman by Distinguished Men of
His Time (Baltimore: R.H. Woodward Co., 1891), 139.
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 14
- Quoted in Hirshson, p. 13
- See, for instance, Hirshson, p. 21
- See Sherman at the Virtual Museum of San Francisco and
excerpts from Sherman's Memoirs
- Katherine Burton, Three Generations: Maria Boyle Ewing -
Ellen Ewing Sherman - Minnie Sherman Fitch (Longmans, Green
& Co., 1947), pp. 72–78.
Sorin, CSC, The Chronicles of Notre Dame Du Lac ed.
James T. Connelly, CSC (Notre Dame: Notre Dame Press, 1992),
- Burton, pp. 217–21, 226–27, 291.
- See, for instance, Hirshson, pp. 362–368, 387
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 125–129.
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 131–134, 166.
- Quoted in Royster, pp. 133–134
- Memoirs, chronology, p. 1093.
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 150–61.
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 160–62.
- See History of LSU.
- Quoted in Hirshson, p. 68.
- Letter by W.T. Sherman to Gov. Thomas O. Moore, January 18,
1861. Quoted in Sherman, Memoirs, p. 156
- Department of Military Science: Unit
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 184–86; see Marszalek, pp.
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 186–89.
- Samuel M. Bowman and Richard B. Irwin, Sherman and His
Campaigns (New York, 1865), 25.
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 189–90; Hirshson, pp.
- WTS to Thomas Ewing Jr., June 3, 1861, in Sherman and Berlin
- WTS 1861 Diary, University of Notre Dame Archives, microfilm
roll 12, 0333, 0355.
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 200.
- See, e.g., Hirshson, pp. 90–94, 109.
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 216; see also p. 210: In
Washington, after Bull Run, Sherman explained to Lincoln "my
extreme desire to serve in a subordinate capacity, and in no event
to be left in a superior command. He promised me this with
promptness, making the jocular remark that his chief trouble was to
find places for the too many generals who wanted to be at the head
of affairs, to command armies, etc."
- For more detailed discussion of this overall period, see
Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 154–67; Hirshson, White
Tecumseh, pp. 95–105; Kennett, Sherman, pp.
- Sherman to George B. McClellan, November 4, 1861, in Stephen W.
Sears, ed., The Civil War Papers of George B. McClellan:
Selected Correspondence, 1861-1865 (New York, 1989), p. 127,
note 1; Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 161–64.
- Quoted in Lewis, p. 203.
- Sherman to John Sherman, January 4, 8, 1862, in Simpson and
Berlin, Sherman’s Civil War, 174, 176.
- See Cincinnati Commercial, December 11, 1861;
Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 162, 164.
- At one point, Halleck suggested to General-in-Chief McClellan
that Sherman be given command of an expedition on the Cumberland
River (on which Fort Donelson was located), but Secretary of War
Stanton objected, telling Lincoln that any "expedition ... will
prove disastrous under the charge of General Sherman." Kennett, pp.
155–56, quoting EMS to AL, February 14, 1862.
- WTS to USG, February 15, 1862, Papers of Ulysses S. Grant
4:216n; see Smith, pp. 151–52.
- Eicher, p. 485
- Daniel, p. 138
- Quoted in Walsh, pp. 77–78
- Smith, Grant, p. 212.
- Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 188–201.
- Daniel, pp. 309–10.
- Whitelaw Reid, Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her
Generals, and Soldiers (New York, 1868), 1:387.
- See Marszalek, Sherman, pp. 202-08. Sherman's
operations were supposed to be coordinated with an advance on
Vicksburg by Grant from another direction. Unbeknownst to Sherman,
Grant abandoned his advance. "As a result, [Sherman's] river
expedition ran into more than they bargained for." Smith,
Grant, pp. 224.
- Smith, p. 227. It should be noted, however, that Sherman had
targeted Arkansas Post independently and considered the operation
there worthwhile. See Marszalek, pp. 208–10; Sherman,
Memoirs, pp. 318–25.
- To wit: an invading army may separate from its supply train and
subsist by foraging. Smith, pp. 235–36
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 370–75.
- McPherson, pp. 677–80.
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 406–34; Buck T. Foster,
Sherman's Meridian Campaign (University of Alabama Press,
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 589
- McPherson, p. 653
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 576. The nomination was not
submitted to the Senate until December. Eicher, p. 702.
- For extended discussion of Lincoln's reelection prospects and
the effect of Sherman's capture of Atlanta, see James M. McPherson,
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief (New
York: Penguin, 2008), 231–50.
- Telegram W.T. Sherman to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, October 9,
1864, reproduced in Sherman's Civil War, p. 731.
- Faunt Le Roy Senour, Major General William T. Sherman, and
His Campaigns (Chicago, 1865), 293; see also Hirshson,
White Tecumseh, pp. 246–47, 431 n.23.
- W.T. Sherman to Gen. U.S. Grant, November 1, 1864, reproduced
in Sherman's Civil War, pp. 746–47.
- Report by Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman, January 1, 1865, quoted in
Grimsley, p. 200
- History Channel.
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 693.
- This message was put on a vessel on December 22, passed on by
telegram from Fort Monroe, Virginia, and apparently received by
Lincoln on Christmas Day itself. Sherman, Memoirs, p. 711;
Official Records, Series I, vol. 44, 783; New York
Times, December 26, 1864.
- See, for instance, Liddell Hart, p. 354
- Brockett, p. 175 (p. 162 in 1865 edition).
- Marszalek, Sherman, p. 311.
- John F. Marszalek, "'Take the Seat of Honor': William T.
Sherman," in Steven E. Woodworth, ed., Grant's Lieutenants:
From Chattanooga to Appomattox (Larwence: Univ. of Kansas
Press, 2008), pp. 5, 17–18; Marszalek, Sherman, pp.
- Jacob D. Cox, Military Reminiscences of the
Civil War (1900), vol. 2, 531–2; Jacob D. Cox, The March to the Sea (1882),
p. 168; Johnston is also quoted in McPherson, p. 828.
- Marszalek, pp. 322–25.
- Lewis, p. 513.
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 806–17; Donald C. Pfanz, The
Petersburg Campaign: Abraham Lincoln at City Point (Lynchburg,
VA, 1989), 1–2, 24–29, 94–95. This meeting was memorialized in
G.P.A. Healy's famous painting "The Peacemakers".
- See, for instance, Johnston's Surrender at Bennett Place on Hillsboro
- See, for instance, letter by W.T. Sherman to Salmon P. Chase,
January 11, 1865, reproduced in Sherman's Civil War, pp.
794–795, and letter by W.T. Sherman to John Sherman, August 1865,
quoted in Liddell Hart, p. 406
- Letter to Chase, cited above
- See, for instance, Sherman, Memoirs, vol. II, p.
- Special Field Orders, No. 15, January 16, 1865. See
also McPherson, pp. 737–739
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 728–29, quoting a December 30,
1864 letter from Henry W. Halleck.
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 729.
- Liddell Hart, foreword to the Indiana University Press's
edition of Sherman's Memoirs (1957). Quoted in Wilson, p.
- Hirshson, p. 393, quoting B.H. Liddell Hart, "Notes on Two
Discussions with Patton, 1944", February 20, 1948, GSP Papers, box
6, USMA Library.
- See, for instance, Grimsley, pp. 190–204; McPherson, pp.
- See, for instance, Grimsley, p. 199
- Hitchcock, p. 125
- See, for instance, Grimsley, pp. 200–202.
- December 11, 1872 deposition, Mixed Commission, XIV, 91, quoted
in Marion B. Lucas, Sherman and the Burning of Columbia
(Univ. of S. Car. Press, 2000), p. 154. However, on April 5, 1865,
Sherman wrote to his father-in-law that "I think you will be
satisfied with the manner in which I dispose of Charleston, as also
of the burning of Columbia." Simpson and Berlin, Sherman's
Civil War, p. 842.
- Sherman, Memoirs, p. 767.
- Sherman, Memoirs, pp. 838–39; Woodworth, Nothing
but Victory, p. 636.
- Wilson, p. 184
- McNamara and Blight, p. 130
- Giliomee, p. 253
- See Isenberg, pp. 128, 156
- Sherman to Rawlins, October 23, 1865, quoted in Ahearn,
Sherman and the Settlement of the West, 24; Sherman to
Grant, May 28, 1867, quoted in Fellman, Citizen Sherman,
264 & 453 n.5 (see also Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Vol. 17, p.
- Sherman to Grant, December 28, 1866, reproduced in Wild
Life on the Plains and Horrors of Indian Warfare (1891),
- Seemingly Sherman to Tappan, July 21, 1876, quoted in
Marszalek, Sherman: A Soldier's Passion, 398.
- Seemingly Sherman to Herbert A. Preston, April 17, 1873, quoted
in Marszalek, Sherman: A Soldier's Passion, 379.
- See, for instance, Lewis, pp. 597–600.
- Fred R. Shapiro and Joseph Epstein, eds., The Yale Book of
Quotations (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 708.
- From transcript published in the Ohio State Journal,
August 12, 1880, reproduced in Lewis, p. 637.
- Richard S. Kirkendall, ed., Harry's Farewell: Interpreting
and Teaching the Truman Presidency (Columbia: University of
Missouri Press, 1880), 63.
- See, for instance, Woodward
- Marszalek in Encyclopedia of the American Civil War,
- Marszalek, p. 461.
- Marszalek, p. 463. In 1875, Henry V. Boynton published a
critical book-length review of Sherman's memoirs "based
upon compilations from the records of the war office." This led to
the publication of a defense of Sherman by C.W. Moulton.
- Extract from John Russell Young, Around the World with
General Grant, vol. II, 290–91, quoted in Sherman,
Memoirs (Library of America ed., 1990), p. 1054.
- 1886 Preface. In one amusing change to his text, Sherman
dropped the assertion that John Sutter, of gold rush fame, had become “very
‘tight’” at a Fourth of July celebration in 1848 and stated instead
that Sutter “was enthusiastic.” Sherman, Memoirs (Library
of America ed., 1990), Note on the Text, p. 1123; H.W. Brands,
The Age of Gold (Doubleday, 2002), p. 271.
- Sherman, Memoirs (Library of America ed., 1990), Note
on the Text, p. 1123.
- See, for instance, Lewis, p. 652; Marszalek, pp. 495–98.
- The U.S. M4 tank was first given the service name General
Sherman by the British
- Bowman, Samuel M. and Richard B. Irwin, Sherman and His Campaigns (New
- Brockett, L.P., Our Great Captains: Grant,
Sherman, Thomas, Sheridan, and Farragut, C.B. Richardson, 1866.
- Daniel, Larry J., Shiloh: The Battle That Changed the Civil
War, Simon & Schuster, 1997, ISBN 0-684-80375-5.
- Eicher, John H., and Eicher, David J., Civil War High
Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN
- Giliomee, Hermann, The Afrikaners: Biography of a
People, University Press of Virginia, 2003, ISBN
- Grimsley, Mark, The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy
toward Southern Civilians, 1861–1865, Cambridge University
Press, 1997, ISBN 0-521-59941-5.
- Hanson, Victor D., The
Soul of Battle, Anchor Books, 1999, ISBN 0-385-72059-9.
- Hirshson, Stanley P., The White Tecumseh: A Biography of
General William T. Sherman, John Wiley & Sons,
1997, ISBN 0-471-28329-0.
- Hitchcock, Henry, Marching with Sherman: Passages from the
Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and
Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864 – May
1865, ed. M.A. DeWolfe Howe, Yale University Press, 1927.
Reprinted in 1995 by the University of Nebraska Press, ISBN
- Isenberg, Andrew C., The Destruction of the Bison,
Cambridge University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-521-00348-2.
- W. Fletcher Johnson, Life of Wm. Tecumseh Sherman, Late General, U.S.A.
(1891) Useful 19th century biography.
- Kennett, Lee, Sherman: A Soldier's Life,
HarperCollins, 2001, ISBN 0-06-017495-1.
- Lewis, Lloyd, Sherman: Fighting Prophet, Harcourt,
Brace & Co., 1932. Reprinted in 1993 by the University of
Nebraska Press, ISBN 0-8032-7945-0.
- Liddell Hart, Basil Henry,
Sherman: Soldier, Realist, American, Dodd, Mead & Co.,
1929. Reprinted in 1993 by Da Capo Press, ISBN 0-306-80507-3.
- Marszalek, John F.,
Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order, Free Press, 1992,
ISBN 0-02-920135-7; "reissued with new preface", Southern Illinois
University Press, 2007.
- Marszalek, John F., "William Tecumseh Sherman",
Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social,
and Military History, Heidler, David S., and Heidler, Jeanne
T., eds., W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, ISBN
- McNamara, Robert S. and Blight,
James G., Wilson's Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict,
Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century, Public Affairs,
2001, ISBN 1-891620-89-4.
- McPherson, James M.,
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, illustrated ed.,
Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-19-515901-2.
- Royster, Charles, The Destructive War: William Tecumseh
Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans, Alfred A.
Knopf, 1991, ISBN 0-679-73878-9.
- Schenker, Carl R., Jr., "'My Father . . . Named Me William
Tecumseh': Rebutting the Charge That General Sherman Lied
About His Name", Ohio History (2008), vol. 115,
- Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William
T. Sherman,1860–1865, eds. Brooks D. Simpson and J.V.
Berlin, University of North Carolina Press, 1999, ISBN
- Sherman, William T., Memoirs of
General W.T. Sherman, 2nd ed., D. Appleton & Co., 1913
(1889). Reprinted by the Library of
America, 1990, ISBN 978-0-94045065-3.
- "William Tecumseh Sherman", A Dictionary of Louisiana
Biography, Vol. II (1988), p. 741.
- Smith, Jean Edward,
Grant, Simon and Schuster, 2001, ISBN 0-684-84927-5.
- Walsh, George, Whip the Rebellion, Forge Books, 2005,
- Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union
Commanders, LSU Press, 1964, ISBN 0-8071-0822-7.
- Wilson, Edmund, Patriotic
Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1962. Reprinted by W. W. Norton &
Co., 1994, ISBN 0-393-31256-9.
- Woodward, C. Vann, "Civil Warriors", New York Review of Books, vol.
37, no. 17, November 8, 1990.
- Woodworth, Steven E., Nothing but Victory: The Army of the
Tennessee, 1861-1865 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005).
- Military Orders of General William T. Sherman, 1861-'65 Substantial collection of
Sherman's war-time orders
- Sherman Genealogy Including Families of Essex,
Suffolk and Norfolk, England By Thomas Townsend Sherman
- Thanks of Congress to Major-General W. T. Sherman and command for Chattanooga
- Lincoln's Order of Thanks to Major-General W.
T. Sherman and command for capture of Atlanta
- Thanks of Congress to Major-General William T.
Sherman and command for Georgia Campaign
- U.S. Army Center of Military History
- General William Tecumseh Sherman, from About North Georgia,
concentrates on Sherman's time in Georgia
- William T. Sherman Family papers from the University of Notre
- William Tecumseh Sherman, from the Virtual Museum of the
City of San Francisco, concentrates on Sherman's time in
- California military history Sherman's time in
California, more info
House Museum, at Sherman's birthplace in Lancaster, Ohio
- St. Louis Walk of Fame
- Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman
- Digitized collection of letters between William
Sherman and his brother Senator John Sherman
- Sherman Thackara Collection at the Digital Library
@ Villanova University
- William T. Sherman’s First Campaign of Destruction Article by
Buck T. Foster
- New York Times obituary
- New York Times report on NY funeral
- New York Times report on St. Louis funeral
- Eulogy by brother, Senator John Sherman
- Retrieved on 2007-12-13
- William Tecumseh Sherman Collection at Missouri
History Museum Archives
- Official depostions concerning the burning of
Columbia, South Carolina Sherman testimony begins at