HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
ST. LOIUS, Mo., Sept. 21, 1865.
I got your letters by Mr. Kinneard, and spent a whole day with him and his party,1 first in a steamboat going up and down the river, then in carriages, and finally at a banquet. The whole party seemed much pleased with the courtesies shown them, and to me were sufficiently complimentary. General Grant was here also, and they expressed themselves more than usually pleased at the opportunity to see us together. In Europe they are settling down to the conviction that Grant and I accomplished the military problem, and now they look to you to bring order, system, and prosperity out of the wreck. I am well satisfied at the course things are taking. No matter what change we may desire in the feelings and thoughts of people South, we cannot accomplish it by force. Nor can we afford to maintain there an army large enough to hold them in subjugation. All we can, or should, attempt is to give them rope, to develop in an honest way if possible, preserving in reserve enough military power to check any excesses if they attempt any. But I know they will not attempt any, and you may look for outbreaks in Ohio quicker than in Georgia or Mississippi. You hardly yet realize how completely this country has been devastated, and how completely humbled the man of the South is. Of course editors and talkers may express opinions we don't like, but they will take good care not to reduce those opinions to acts.
W. T. SHERMAN.
1 A party of Englishmen with letters of introduction from John Sherman.
SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 255-6