Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, October 21, 1864

GAYLESVILLE, Ala., October 21, 1864.

. . . Since I have become famous for taking Atlanta and writing independent letters I get the most wonderful medley that you can conceive of from all parts of the world. Some are amusing, but all breathe the utmost respect and cannot be disregarded. Some I toss in the camp fire, and some I answer, but usually in a very hasty, imperfect manner; but it seems that my letters now even are sought after like hot cakes.

As long as I am not a candidate I hope none will be published as samples of literary composition. You can read my letters and guess at the meaning, but judging from my copy clerks, some readers would make an awful jumble of my letters, written usually in the small hours of the night, by a single candle on a box. Actually, one man wrote that it was seriously contemplated even to put me up for President!

That was cruel and unkind. You remember when the solemn Committee waited on me at San Francisco to tender the Regular Democratic nomination for Treasurer my answer was that I was ineligible because I had not graduated at the 'Penitentiary.'1 If a similar committee should be rash enough to venture the other nomination I fear I should proceed to personal violence, for I would receive a sentence to be hung and damned with infinitely more composure than to be the executive of this nation. I send you a few letters that may interest you as samples. . . .

This Army is now ready to march to Mobile, Savannah or Charleston, and I am practising them in the art of foraging and they take to it like ducks to water. They like pigs, sheep, chickens, calves and sweet potatoes better than rations. We won't starve in Georgia. Our mules are doing better on the corn fields than on the bagged corn brought by the railroad. . . .

1 See p. 142.

SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 313-4.  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 2/18

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