Memphis, October 10, 1863
I still feel out of heart to write. The moment I begin to think of you and the children, poor Willy appears before me as plain as life. I can see him now stumbling over the sand hills on Harrison Street, San Francisco, at the table in Leavenworth, running to meet me with open arms at Black River, and last, moaning in death at this hotel. . . . I see ladies and children playing in the room where Willy died, and it seems sacrilege. I know you are now at home, and I pray that Minnie1 has gradually recovered her health and strength, and I hope all our children will regain their full health. Why should I ever have taken them to that dread climate! It nearly kills me when I think of it. Why was I not killed at Vicksburg, and left Willy to grow up to care for you? God knows I exhausted human foresight and human love for that boy, and will pardon any error of judgment that carried him to death.
1 Sherman’s oldest daughter.
SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 275-6. 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 2/07.