CAMP BEFORE VlCKSBURG, March 14, '63.
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The Conscript Bill is all even I could ask, it is the first real step toward war. And if Mr. Lincoln will now use the power thus conferred, ignore popular clamor and do as near right as he can, we may at last have an army somewhat approximating the vast undertaking which was begun in utter, blind, wilful ignorance of the difficulties and dangers that we were forced to encounter. . . .
I have been much pleased with your course in Congress, and regret that anything I have done or may do has given you trouble or concern. I could easily have been popular, as I believe I am with my own command, by courting the newspaper men; but it does go hard to know that our camps are full of spies revealing our most secret steps, conveying regularly to the enemy our every act, when a thousand dollars won't procure us a word of information from Vicksburg. I know the press has defeated us, and will continue to do it, and as an honest man I cannot flatter them. I know they will ruin me, but they will ruin the country too. . . .
Napoleon himself would have been defeated with a free press. But I will honestly try to be patient, though I know in this, as in other matters, time must bring about its true result, just as the summer ripens the fruits of the season. . . .
My corps is alone here at the neck opposite Vicksburg, fighting off the water of the Mississippi which threatens to drown us. Grant is here on board a boat and Admiral Porter at the mouth of Yazoo.
W. T. SHERMAN
SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman letters: correspondence between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 193-4