Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, August 10, 1862

MEMPHIS, August 10, 1862.

. . . The fact is we are fast approaching a state of war and if soon we don't awake to the dream we will find ourselves involved in war. Thus far it has been by-play, and whilst the whole South is in deep intense earnest we of the north still try reconciliation, etc. I am putting the screws to some, but find more trouble in combatting the North whose merchants and traders think they have a right to make money out of the present state of things, and Memphis was on my arrival fast becoming a depot of supplies for the hostile army in the interior.

If Mr. Lincoln had accepted the fact of war on the start and raised his army, as I then advised, of a million of men, the South would have seen they had aroused a lion. Whereas by temporizing expedients, first 75,000, then ten new regiments, then half a million, etc., they find it necessary again and again to increase the call. Well, at last I hope the fact is clear to their minds that if the North design to conquer the South, we must begin at Kentucky and reconquer the country from there as we did from the Indians. It was this conviction then as plainly as now that made men think I was insane. A good many flatterers now want to make me a prophet . . . .

SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 230-1.  A full copy of this letter can be found in the William T Sherman Family papers (SHR), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556, Folder CSHR 1/147.

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