WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 1862.
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I was infinitely rejoiced to see in this morning's paper the announcement that you were to command at Cairo. I sincerely hope it is true. If so, you will have a noble opportunity to answer those who have belied you. Take my advice, be hopeful, cheerful, polite to everybody, even a newspaper reporter. They are in the main, clever, intelligent men, a little too pressing in their vocation.
Above all things, be hopeful and push ahead. Active, bold, prompt, vigorous action is now demanded. McClellan is dead in the estimation of even military men. . . .
Do not the cheers with which our gun-boats were received in Tennessee and Alabama show you what I have always contended, that this rebellion is a political one, managed by “Southern gentlemen” and not grounded in the universal assent of the people? Johnson has now more adherents in Tennessee than Jeff. Davis. Let our leading army officers who have been educated to defend the nation catch the spirit of our people, a generous, hopeful, self-sacrificing spirit. Let them go ahead and you will find the Union restored and strengthened by its trials. . . .
SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman letters: correspondence between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 140