which I have answered, and the clerks are copying my
letters and as soon as finished I will send a flat steamer
to Port Royal whence a sea steamer will go to City
Point and thence this letter will be sent you. . . .
"I see that the State of Ohio talks of making me a
present of a home, etc. 2 For myself I would accept
nothing, but for you and the children I would be willing,
especially if such a present were accompanied as in
Farragut's place, with bonds enough to give interest to
pay taxes. My pay would not enable me to pay taxes
on property. I have received from high sources highest
praises and yesterday, New Year, was toasted, etc., with
allusions to Hannibal, Csesar, etc., etc., but in reply I
turned all into a good joke by saying that Hannibal and
Csesar were small potatoes as they had never read the
New York Herald, or had a photograph taken. But of
course, I feel a just pride in the confidence of my army,
and the singular friendship of General Grant, who is
almost childlike in his love for me. It does seem that
time has brought out all my old friends, Grant, Thomas,
Sheridan, etc. All sorts of people send me presents and
I hope they don't slight you or the girls. I want little
1 Schuyler Colfax, at this time Speaker of the House of Repre-
sentatives, lived at South Bend, Ind.
2 This present was never received.
324 SHERMAN'S HOME LETTERS
in that way, but I think you can stand a good deal.
Thus far success has crowned my boldest conceptions
and I am going to try others quite as quixotic. It may
be that spite of my fears I may come out all right.
Love to all."
"Savannah, January 5, 1865.
"I have written several times to you and to the chil-
dren. Yesterday I got your letter of December 23,
and realize the despair and anguish through which you
have passed in the pain and sickness of the little baby
I never saw. All spoke of him as so bright and fair that
I had hoped he would be spared to us to fill the great
void in our hearts left by Willy, but it is otherwise
decreed and we must submit. I have seen death in
such quantity and in such forms that it no longer startles
me, but with you it is different, and 'tis well that like the
Spaniards you realize the fact that our little baby has
passed from the troubles of life to a better existence. I
sent Charley off a few days ago to carry to General
Grant and to Washington some important despatches,
but told him he must not go farther than Washington as
by the time he returns I will be off again on another raid.
It is pretty hard on me that I am compelled to make
these blows which are necessarily trying to me, but it
seems devolved on me and cannot be avoided. If the
honors proffered and tendered me from all quarters are
of any value they will accrue to you and the children.
John writes that I am in everybody's mouth and that
even he is known as my brother, and that all the Sher-
mans are now feted as relatives of me. Surely you and
MISSISSIPPI AND GEORGIA 325
the children will not be overlooked by those who profess
to honor me. I do think that in the several grand
epochs of this war, my name will have a prominent part,
and not least among them will be the determination I
took at Atlanta to destroy that place, and march on this
city, whilst Thomas, my lieutenant, should dispose of
Hood. The idea, the execution and strategy are all
good, and will in time be understood. I don't know
that you comprehend the magnitude of the thing, but
you can see the importance attached to it in England
where the critics stand ready to turn against any Ameri-
can general who makes a mistake or fails in its execution.
In my case they had time to commit themselves to the
conclusion that if I succeeded I would be a great gen-
eral, but if I failed I would be set down a fool. My
success is already assured, so that I will be found to
sustain the title. I am told that were I to go north I
would be feted and petted, but as I have no intention
of going, you must sustain the honors of the family. I
know exactly what amount of merit attaches to my own
conduct, and what will survive the clamor of time.
The quiet preparation I made before the Atlanta Cam-
paign, the rapid movement on Resaca, the crossing the
Chattahoochee without loss in the face of a skilful gen-
eral with a good army, the movement on Jonesboro,
whereby Atlanta fell, and the resolution I made to
divide my army, with one part to take Savannah and the
other to meet Hood in Tennessee, are all clearly mine,
and will survive us both in history. I don't know that
you can understand the merit of the latter, but it will
stamp me in years to come, and will be more appre-
326 SHERMAN'S HOME LETTERS
ciated in Europe than in America. I warrant your
father will find parallel in the history of the Greeks and
Persians, but none on our continent. For his sake I am
glad of the success that has attended me, and I know he
will feel more pride in my success than you or I do.
Oh that Willy were living! how his eyes would brighten
and his bosom swell with honest pride if he could hear
and understand these things. . . .
"You will doubtless read all the details of our march
and stay in Savannah in the papers, whose spies infest
our camps, spite of all I can do, but I could tell you
thousands of little incidents which would more interest
you. The women here are, as at Memphis, disposed to
usurp my time more from curiosity than business.
They had been told of my burning and killing until
they expected the veriest monster, but their eyes were
opened when Hardee, G. W. Smith and McLaws, the
three chief officers of the Rebel army, fled across the
Savannah river consigning their families to my special
care. There are some very elegant people here, whom
I knew in better days and who do not seem ashamed to
call on the 'vandal chief.' They regard us just as the
Romans did the Goths and the parallel is not unjust.
Many of my stalwart men with red beards and huge
frames look like giants, and it is wonderful how smoothly
all things move, for they all seem to feel implicit faith in
me not because I am strong or bold, but because they
think I know everything. It seems impossible for us
to go anywhere without being where I have been before.
My former life from 1840 to 1846 seems providential
and every bit of knowledge then acquired is returned,
MISSISSIPPI AND GEORGIA 327
tenfold. Should it so happen that I should approach
Charleston on that very ground where I used to hunt
with Jim Poyas, and Mr. Quash, and ride by moonlight
to save daytime, it would be even more strange than here
where I was only a visitor. Col. Kilburn arrived here
from Louisville yesterday, and begged me to remember
him to you. I continue to receive letters, most flattering,
from all my old friends and enclose you two, one from
General Hitchcock and one from Professor Mahan.
Such men do not flatter and are judges of what they
write. . . ."
"Savannah, Geo., January 15, 1865.
" . . .It may be some days yet before I dive again be-
neath the surface to turn up again in some mysterious
place. I have a clear perception of the move, but take it
for granted that Lee will not let me walk over the track
without making me sustain some loss. Of course my
course will be north. I will feign on Augusta and
Charleston, avoid both and make for Columbia, Fay-
etteville and Newbern, N. C. Don't breathe, for the
walls have ears, and foreknowledge published by some
mischievous fool might cost many lives. We have lived
long enough for men to thank me for keeping my own
counsels, and keeping away from armies those pests of
newspaper men. If I have attained any fame it is pure
and unalloyed by the taint of parasitic flattery and the
result is to you and the children more agreeable, for it
will go to your and their benefit more than all the surface
flattery of all the newspaper men of the country. Mr.
Stanton has been here and is cured of that Negro non-
328 SHERMAN'S HOME LETTERS
sense which arises, not from a love of the Negro but a
desire to dodge service. Mr. Chase and others have
written to me to modify my opinions, but you know I
cannot, for if I attempt the part of a hypocrite it would
break out at each sentence. I want soldiers made of
the best bone and muscle in the land, and won't attempt
military feats with doubtful materials. I have said that
slavery is dead and the Negro free, and want him treated
as free, and not hunted and badgered to make a sol-
dier of, when his family is left back on the plantations.
I am right and won't change. 1 The papers of the 11th
are just in and I see Butler is out. That is another of
the incubi of the army. We want and must have pro-
fessional soldiers, young and vigorous. Mr. Stanton
was delighted at my men and the tone which pervades
the army. He enjoyed a good story, which is true,
told by one of my old 15th corps men. After we
reached the coast we were out of bread, and it took some
days for us to get boats up. A foraging party was out
and got a boat and pulled down the Ogeechee to Ossa-
baw and met a steamer coming up. They hailed her
and got answer that it was the Nemeha, and had Major
General Foster on board; the soldiers answered 'Oh
H â€” 1, we've got twenty-seven Major-Generals up at
1 Sherman's unwillingness to weaken his army by increasing it
with any but the most effective fighting men was frequently con-
strued as an evidence of hostility to the negro. His true feeling
on this subject is shown especially in the account of Stanton's
visit to Savannah in the Memoirs (Vol. II, chap. xxii). The
clear remembrance of those who knew him best warrants the
belief that his knowledge of the South gave him a sympathetic
understanding of the moral effect of employing negro troops,
which increased his reluctance to include them in his army.
MISSISSIPPI AND GEORGIA 329
camp. What we want is hard tack.' The soldiers
manifest to me the most thorough affection, and a won-
derful confidence. They haven't found out yet where
I have not been. Every place we go, they hear I lived
there once, and the usual exclamation is, The 'Old
Man' must be 'omnipresent' as well as 'omnipotent'
I was telling some officers the other day if events
should carry us to Charleston I would have advantage
because I know the ground, etc., etc. They laughed
heartily at my innocence, for they knew I had been
everywhere. But really my long sojourn in this
quarter of the world from 1840 to 1846 was and is
providential to me.
"I have read most of the current discourses about me,
those you sent inclusive; but take more interest in the
London Spectator, the same that reviewed my Knoxville
Campaign. He is surely a critic, for he catches the real
points well. The Times utterly overstates the cases
and the Dublin papers are too fulsome. Our American
papers are shallow. They don't look below the surface.
I receive letters from all the great men, so full of real
respect that I cannot disregard them, yet I dread the
elevation to which they have got me. A single mistake
or accident, my pile, though well founded, would
tumble; but I base my hopes of fair fame on the opinion
of my own army, and my associates. . . .
"I will surely be off in the course of this week, and
you will hear of me only through Richmond for two
months. You have got used to it now and will not be
concerned though I think the chances of getting killed
on this trip about even. If South Carolina lets me pass
330 SHERMAN'S HOME LETTERS
across without desperate fighting, her fame is gone
forever. . . .
"I would not be surprised if I would involve our
government with England. I have taken all the cotton
as prize of war, thirty thousand bales, equal to thirteen
millions of dollars, much of which is claimed by English
merchants. I disregard their consular certificates on
the ground that this cotton has been notoriously em-
ployed to buy cartridges and arms and piratical ships,
and was collected here for that very purpose. Our
own merchants are equally culpable. They buy cotton
in advance and take the chances of capture, and then
claim. . . ."
THE WAR ENDED
A vivid element of the picturesque, all that con-
tributes to song and story, has given to Sherman's
march across Georgia a distinction somewhat out of
proportion with the fame of his other campaigns. The
Campaign of the Carolinas, which immediately followed
the March to the Sea, holds a far less conspicuous place
in popular knowledge and esteem. Yet the latest
testimony of General Sherman's son confirms much
that has been printed before: "My father always rated
this campaign as his greatest military achievement, and
believed that it settled the fate of the Confederacy." *
"The March to the Sea," says Mr. James Ford Rhodes,
"was a frolic, that northward a constant wrestling with
the elements." 2 Leaving Savannah with sixty thou-
sand men on February 1, 1865, Sherman reached Golds-
boro, North Carolina, on March 23, having marched, in
the face of a resourceful enemy, four hundred and
twenty-five miles, across swamps, rivers, and mountains,
and having done the Confederacy incalculable harm in
1 See "General Sherman in the Last Year of the Civil War."
An address delivered at the Thirty-eighth Reunion of the Society
of the Army of the Tennessee at St. Louis, Mo. By P. Tecumseh
Sherman. Nov. 11, 1908.
2 See Rhodes's History oj The United States, Vol. V, p. 85.
332 SHERMAN'S HOME LETTERS
the destruction of property and lines of transportation.
From the last important stopping-place before reaching
Goldsboro, he wrote to Mrs. Sherman as follows:
"In the Field, Fayetteville, N. C, Sunday,
"March 12, 1865.
"We reached this place yesterday in good health and
condition. We have had bad roads and weather but
made good progress, and have achieved all I aimed to
accomplish. Our main columns came through Co-
lumbia and Cheraw, South Carolina. We have had no
general battle, and only skirmishes on the skirts of the
army. The enemy gave ground when I moved in
force. The importance of this march exceeds that
from Atlanta to Savannah. South Carolina has had
a visit from the West that will cure her of her pride and
boasting. I sent couriers to Wilmington and a tug
boat got up this morning, and I will start her back at
6 p. M. with despatches to Grant, the Secretary of War,
and all my subordinate commanders. I do not intend
to go to the sea shore, but will move on. I have no
doubt you have all been uneasy on our account, but bar-
ring bad weather and mud we have had no trouble. . . .
"The same brags and boasts are kept up, but when
I reach the path where the lion crouched I find him
slinking away. My army is in the same condition as
before, and seems to possess abiding confidence in its
officers. It would amuse you to hear their comments
on me as I ride along the ranks, but I hope you will hear
the jokes and fun of war at a fitter time for amusement.
Now it is too serious. I think we are bringing matters
THE WAR ENDED 333
to an issue. Johnston is restored to the supreme com-
mand and will unite the forces hitherto scattered and
fight me about Raleigh or Goldsboro. Lee may rein-
force him from Richmond, but if he attempts that
Grant will pitch in. I can whip Joe Johnston unless
his men fight better than they have since I left Savannah.
"As I rode into Columbia crowds gathered round me,
composed of refugees and many officers who had
escaped their prison guards and hid themselves. One
of them handed me the enclosed ! which is so hand-
somely got up that I deem it worthy of preservation.
I want Lizzie to keep it. The versification is good, and
I am told the music to which the prisoners set and sung
it is equally so. I have never heard it sung, as the officers
who composed the Glee Club in their prison at Co-
lumbia were not of the number who did escape. The
author did escape and he is the one I have appointed
to carry my despatches down to Wilmington tonight.
"I expect to stay here a few days in hopes to receive
some bread and shoes from Wilmington. The river is
now high and easily navigated, and had I time I should
have no trouble in getting supplies up, but time is so
important that I must 'Forward.' . . .
" It is now 2 p. m. and I have written ten letters of
four pages each, orders and instructions to my com-
manders on the seaboard. . . ."
On March 15 the great army moved on, toward
Goldsboro, where the next letter was written.
1 A copy of "Sherman's March to the Sea," by Major S. H. M.
Byers, later U. S. Consul-General to Italy and Switzerland.
334 SHERMAN'S HOME LETTERS
"In the Field, Goldsboro, N. C,
"March 23, 1865.
"I wrote you from Fayetteville. On our way thence
the enemy struck our left flank and I turned on him
and after three days maneuvering and fighting defeated
him and drove him off towards Raleigh. The fight
was near Bentonsville, 20 miles from here on the south
side of the Neuse in the direction of Smithfield. I got
here to-day and all the army will be in by to-morrow.
Thus have I brought the army from Savannah in good
order, beaten the enemy wherever he attempted to
oppose our progress, and made junction with Schofield
and Terry from Newbern and Wilmington on the 21st,
one day later than I had appointed before leaving
Savannah. It is far more difficult and important than
the Savannah march. Besides the immediate results
we have forced the Rebels to abandon the whole sea
"I almost fear the consequences of the reputation
this will give me among military men. I have received
one letter from you and one from Minnie, also a vast
package from everybody. I now have a staff officer,
Maj. Hitchcock, 1 to answer them. I only have time
to make general orders, and to write special letters. I
must be more careful, as I find silly people to claim my
acquaintance publish my letters or extracts. You know
how hurriedly I always write and that I might be falsely
placed by such things. I will be here some weeks. I
should see Grant before assuming the offensive and I
think he will come down. I could have time to run to
1 Major Henry Hitchcock, judge-advocate on Sherman's staff.
THE WAR ENDED 335
Washington, but prefer to stay with my troops. It
gives me great power with them to share the days and
nights. I always encamp and am now in a shaky fly,
open, with houses all round occupied by Rebels or
staff officers. Soldiers have a wonderful idea of my
knowledge and attach much of our continued success
to it. And I really do think they would miss me, if I
were to go away even for a week. I notice that you
propose to take part in a Sanitary Fair at Chicago. I
don't much approve of ladies selling things at a table.
So far as superintending the management of such
things, I don't object, but it merely looks unbecoming
for a lady to stand behind a table to sell things. Still
do as you please. I have nothing that would engross
the profits â€” my saddlebags, a few old traps, etc. I
could collect plenty of trophies but have always re-
frained and think it best I should. Others do collect
trophies and send home, but I prefer not to do it.
"I have no doubt that you will be sufficiently grati-
fied to know that I have eminently succeeded in this
last venture, and will trust to luck that in the next still
more hazardous I will be again favored. I don't believe
anything has tended more to break the pride of the
South than my steady persistent progress. My army
is dirty, ragged and saucy. I have promised them rest,
clothing and food, but the railroads have not been com-
pleted as I expected and I fear we may be troubled
thereby. I am just informed that the telegraph line is
finished from the sea to this place, so our lines of com-
munication will be shortened. Strange to say we are
all in fine health and condition, only a little blackened
336 SHERMAN'S HOME LETTERS
by the pine smoke of our camp fires. I would like to
march this army through New York just as it appears
today, with its wagons, pack mules, cattle, niggers and
bummers, and I think they would make a more attrac-
tive show than your fair. . . ."
Two days after writing this letter, Sherman set out
for a meeting with Grant at City Point. Lincoln was
also there, and from their joint discussion Sherman car-
ried away the impression of the government's plans
which led him a few weeks later to make the terms with
Johnston which plunged him temporarily into a sea of
troubles. On the way to the conference he wrote as
follows to Mrs. Sherman:
"On Board Steamer Russia
"At Sea, Sunday, March 26, 1865.
"The railroad was finished yesterday into Goldsboro
and I came down to Newbern and Morehead City and
am now in a fleet blockade runner on my way to meet
General Grant at City Point to confer on some points,
when I shall forthwith go back to Goldsboro and get
ready for another campaign. There is no doubt we
have got the Rebels in a tight place and must not let
them have time to make new plans. They abandoned
all their cities to get men enough to whip me but did not
succeed. They may unite Johnston and Lee, when if
they make the further mistake of holding on to Rich-
mond, I can easily take Raleigh and the Roanoke,
when Richmond will be of little use to them. If Lee
lets go of Richmond the people of Virginia will give up.
THE WAR ENDED 337
I regard my two moves from Atlanta to Savannah and
Savannah to Goldsboro as great blows as if we had
fought a dozen successful battles. At Bentonsville,
Johnston attempted to prevent my making a junction
with Schofield, but he failed and I drove him off the
field with my own army without the help of a man
from Schofield, also got all my armies at Goldsboro the
21st of March, only one day from the time appointed.
I will now conduct with great care another move. I
have all the army I want and can take an hundred
thousand if I want them. . . . The ship is pitching a
good deal, we are just off Hatteras, and I cannot write
more. . . ."
A full description of the interview at City Point may
be found in the Memoirs. Immediately upon return-
ing from it, Sherman wrote thus to his father-in-law:
[TO THE HON. THOMAS EWING]
"In the Field, Goldsboro, N. C.,
11 March 31, 1865.
"... I have already been to see General Grant and
am back before the enemy or newspaper spies revealed it.
I have a clear view of another step in the game, and
think I am on the right road. It does seem to me that
one or two more such chasms in our enemy's ranks and
resources will leave him gasping and begging for quarter.
It is perfectly impossible for me in case of failure to
divest myself of responsibility as all from the President,
Secretary of War, General Grant, etc., seem to vie with
each other in contributing to my success.
338 SHERMAN'S HOME LETTERS
"You need not fear my committing a political mis-
take, for I am fully conscious of the fact that I would
imperil all by any concessions in that direction. I have
and shall continue to repel all advances made me of
such a kind.
"I would like to see my family occasionally, but it
seems impossible. It is manifest I am in the rapids
and must go on till the cataract is passed and the boat
in smooth water."
In the next letter to Mrs. Sherman the reader will
find for himself an interesting allusion to the value
which Sherman himself placed upon these informal
letters as historical records.
"In the Field, Goldsboro, N. C,
"April 5, 1865.
"I have now finished my Report and answered all
letters that called for my personal action. These are
being copied and sent by a courier to-morrow and then
'What next' as old Lincoln says. 1 That next is also
thought over and it again takes me into danger and
trouble, but you must now be so used to it that you can
hardly care. I have no late letters from you, none
since you went to Chicago, but you too are becoming a
public character and the busy newspapers follow you.
I see that the public authorities and citizens of Chicago
paid you a public visit with speeches and music and
1 When Sherman took Savannah, Lincoln wrote to him, Dec.
26, 1864: "It brings those who sat in darkness to see a great
light. But what next? I suppose it would be safer if I leave
Gen. Grant and yourself to decide."
THE WAR ENDED 339
that Bishop Duggan responded for you. If these give
you pleasure I am glad of it for I would rather that you
and the children should be benefitted by any fame I
may achieve than that it should ensue to me personally.
Of course as a General my case will be scrutinized very
closely by men abroad as well as here, and my reputa-
tion will rather depend on their judgment than on any