Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Senator John Sherman to Major General William T. Sherman, April 17, 1864

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17,1864.

My Dear Brother:

. . . Our finances are bubbling up and down in that feverish state where a panic might easily come. Chase is a man of ability, but in recent measures he has failed. I have been generally the laboring one in the Senate, on these measures, though very often my judgment has been against them. I have felt like a subordinate officer, who, while he does not approve the plan of operations, yet deems it his duty fairly to execute his part of it rather than by fault-finding to impair it. The war is daily driving us to extraordinary measures, and our form of Government is not unit enough to carry them out. We are embarrassed by state banks, state laws, and local issues and interests. The other day a determined effort was made in New York to run gold up to 200, but was promptly met by a free sale by the Government of gold and exchange, and the movement failed. It was aided by this very bad news from Fort Pillow, not so bad from the loss of men, but from the question of retaliation raised by the massacre of negro troops. We all feel that we must either disband negro troops or protect them. It is fearful to think about the measures that may be necessary, but what else can we do? An investigation will be made by the Secretary of War and by Congress, and if the rebels are determined to massacre prisoners, then a new and terrible stage of this war will be commenced. . . .

Affectionately yours,

SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 233-4

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