Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Senator John Sherman to Major General William T. Sherman, May 19, 1862


Dear Brother:

Your official report was so complete and satisfactory that it has settled forever all the absurd stories about the battle of the 6th and 7th. It also shows me that with all my care to be right I made several mistakes, especially as to the volunteers of the 6th and 7th.

Deep anxiety is felt here as to your position. I talked with the President on Saturday about the general state of the war. He evidently fears the accumulation of forces under Beauregard and said he had and would again telegraph Halleck not to move forward until he was certain to win. If the Mississippi is clear of the enemy and we get Richmond, it is thought that will secure the border States and we can afford to wait. In the mean time, even under terrible financial pressure and drain of active war, the country is flourishing. Our bonds are above par, trade is active and produce bears a good price. Much of this may be induced by the inflation of paper money, but gold is abundant, foreign importations active, and foreigners are making investments here heavily. In my experience in public affairs I have never known times more easy. If the war could only be brought to a close upon the basis of the unity and integrity of the Government, we should have a rebound of national prosperity that would soon heal all the losses and burdens of the war. As to politics now, lines are being drawn. Radicals and Conservatives are taking sides without regard to party reasons. If the rank Secessionists would only give up their insane attempt at division they could easily secure every reasonable right. They must, however, lay aside the insolence and dogmatism with which they have domineered over our better men. If they do not abandon their cause, events will force a war in the cotton States between the whites and blacks. Hunter has already invited it, but his inconsiderate proclamation will be set aside. However, delay, defeat or a much longer continuance in the barbarity of rebel warfare will prepare the public mind in the North for a warfare that will not scruple to avail itself of every means of subjection.

In the course of business I have received many kind messages for you from your many friends, among others from Swords, Van Vleit, Garesche and others.

Affectionately yours,


SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman letters: correspondence between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 150-1

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