HEADQUARTERS, CAMP OF INSTRUCTION,
BENTON BARRACKS (near St. Louis, Mo.),
. . . . . . . . . .
I am still here at the Barracks doing my best to organize, equip, and prepare regiments for the coming Spring. . . .
I believe an attempt will be made on the Forts on the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers in co-operation with Buell who finds with his 120,000 men he still needs help. I rather think they will come up to my figures yet. Halleck is expected to send them from 30,000 to 50,000 men. Had this been done early and promptly, the Confederates could not have made Bowling Green and Columbia next to impregnable. Until these places are reduced it will not do to advance far into Tennessee and I doubt if it will be done. East Tennessee cannot exercise much influence on the final result. West Tennessee is more important, as without the navigation of the Mississippi all commercial interests will lean to the Southern cause. If the Southern Confederacy can control the navigation of the lower Mississippi, and European nations from the mouths of the Mississippi, what can Missouri and Kentucky do? These are, however, questions for the future. . . .
W. T. SHERMAN.
SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman letters: correspondence between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 139