Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Senator John Sherman to Major General William T. Sherman, March 26, 1864

Washington, D. C., March 26, 1864.

My Dear Brother:

Your movements have been so rapid of late that I scarcely knew where to address you. I have recently met with several officers who have been with you, among others General Grant and General Butterfield. General Grant is all the rage; he is subjected to the disgusting but dangerous process of being lionized. He is followed by crowds and is cheered everywhere. While he must despise the fickle fools who run after him, he, like most others, may be spoiled by this excess of flattery. He may be so elated as to forget the uncertain tenure upon which he holds and stakes his really well-earned laurels. I conversed with him but little, as I did not wish either to occupy his time or to be considered his flatterer. The opinion I form of him from his appearance is this, —  his will and common-sense are the strongest features of his character. He is plain and modest, and so far bears himself well. All here give him hearty co-operation, but an officer who does not like Halleck tells me that Halleck will ruin Grant with the President in sixty days, or on failure to do so will resign. . . .

We all here are disposed to take a hopeful view of the status in quo. The enormous Government bounties have been effective, but they are terribly severe on our finances. We can't forever endure such expenditures. Warning and caution to this danger are unheeded. Our people are so hopeful and energetic that they will bear more than any other. . . .

You are now in a position where any act of yours will command public attention. You will be unduly lauded and sharply abused. I hope you have seen enough of the base motives that dictate praise and blame to disregard both, but preserve the best of your judgment in utter disregard of flattery or clamor.

When any of your friends come to Washington, give them notes to me. I may be of service to them. At all events I like to see them.

Affectionately yours,


SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 224-5

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