Saturday, November 23, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Major General Henry W. Halleck, July 16, 1862

MOSCOW, July 16, 1862

General HALLECK,  Corinth:

I cannot express my heartfelt pain at hearing of your orders and intended departure. You took command in the Valley of the Mississippi at a period of deep gloom, when I felt that our poor country was doomed to a Mexican anarchy, but at once arose order, system, firmness, and success in which there has not been a pause.

I thank you for the kind expression to me, but all I have done has been based on the absolute confidence I had conceived for your knowledge of national law and your comprehensive knowledge of things gathered, God only knows how.

That success will attend you wherever you go I feel no doubt, for you must know more about the East than you did about the West when you arrived at Saint Louis a stranger. And there you will find armies organized and pretty well commanded, instead of the scattered forces you then had. I attach more importance to the West than the East. The one has a magnificent future, but enveloped in doubt. The other is comparatively an old country. The man who at the end of this war holds the military control of the Valley of the Mississippi will be the man. You should not be removed. I fear the consequences.

Personally you will rule wherever you go, but I did hope you would finish up what you had begun, and where your success has attracted the world's notice.

Instead of that calm, sure, steady progress which has dismayed our enemy, I now fear alarms, hesitations, and doubt. You cannot be replaced out here, and it is too great a risk to trust a new man from the East. We are all the losers; you may gain, but I believe you would prefer to finish what you have so well begun.

With great respect,

SOURCE: The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 17, Part 2 (Serial No. 25), p. 100-1

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