Saturday, September 7, 2013

Senator John Sherman to Major General William T. Sherman, May 2, 1865

MANSFIELD, OHIO, May 2, 1865.

My Dear Brother:

Since my return home I have been constantly and often painfully engaged. I spoke at a general jubilee at Columbus on the day of Mr. Lincoln's assassination. This tragic event suspended business, and cast a general gloom over all things. . . .

The universal topic of conversation and of discussion in the newspapers was your arrangement with Johnston, and it is fair to say it was generally disapproved. The stipulation to secure to the rebels their property was construed to mean slaves, — an impossible condition after we had induced them to enter our service by promise of freedom. It was felt also that to give them the benefit of their state organizations with all their political power would be unjust to those who have been friendly to us, especially in the border States, and would inevitably lead to a renewal of the war. But while the arrangement was disapproved, the manner in which Stanton and Halleck treated it, and especially the gross and damnable perversions of many of the papers and their arraignment of your motives, was more severely condemned than your arrangement. The conduct of Grant is deserving of the highest praise. I shall always feel grateful to him. What you were reported to have said about the effect of a single mistake proved literally true. For a time, you lost all the popularity gained by your achievements. But now the reaction has commenced, and you find some defenders, but many more to denounce the base and malicious conduct of a gang of envious scamps, who seized upon this matter as a pretext for calumny. What to make of Stanton, I don't know. I was beyond measure surprised at his conduct. He telegraphs me that he has written me in full. I still think he only gave away to passion, and not to envy or malice. If you have time, I hope to have some explanation from you. I suppose the war is about over, and you will, I trust, come to Ohio.


SOURCE: Rachel Sherman Thorndike, Editor, The Sherman Letters: Correspondence Between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, p. 248-9

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