Friday, August 23, 2013

Senator John Sherman to Major General William T. Sherman, July 24, 1864

MANSFIELD, OHIO, July 24, 1864.

My Dear Brother:

I have not written you for some time as I knew you were so well occupied and hoped by this time you have attained the goal of your present movements, Atlanta. We all feel that upon Grant and you, and the armies under your command, the fate of this country depends. If you are successful, it is ardently hoped that peace may soon follow with a restored union. If you fail, the wisest can hope for nothing but a long train of disasters and the strife of factions. All our people cling to the hope of success, and seem perfectly willing to submit to taxation, bad administration, and every ill short of disunion. Whether it is the result of education, the constant warnings of the early Southern statesman, or the reason of the thing, everybody here dreads the breaking up of the union as the beginning of anarchy. The very thing they fight for in the South is for them, and for us, the worst calamity. What can be more terrible than the fate of Kentucky and Missouri. A man cannot go to bed at night, except in fear of the knife and torch. This lawlessness will extend all over the country if we do not have military success. All the clamor the Copperheads can make about personal liberty doesn't affect the people, if they can only see security and success. Bad precedents in time of war will easily be corrected by peace. But the anarchy of unsuccessful war will reduce us to a pitiable state, in which we shall easily fall victims to demagogism or tyranny. Every one feels that you have done your part nobly. Grant has not had such success. No doubt he has done as well as any one could with his resources and such adversaries. Still he has not taken Richmond, and I fear will not this campaign. . . .

I congratulate you on the ability and success of your campaign. I see many officers, and they all speak of it, not only as a success but as a scientific success, evincing abilities of a high order. I found on a short visit to Cincinnati that you were very popular there. I saw Anderson, Swords, Dunn, and a host of others, all of whom entertained great kindness for you. . . .

Affectionately yours,

SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 236-7

No comments: