Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Major General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, January 2, 1865

SAVANNAH, Geo., January 2, 1865.

. . . I am now in a magnificent mansion living like a gentleman, but soon will be off for South Carolina and then look out for breakers. You may count on my being here till the 15th. I have not yet had one word from you since you knew of my having reached the coast, and only know of the death of our little boy1 by the New York papers of December 22, but was in a measure prepared for it by your letter received at Kingston. I suppose you feel his loss far more than I do because I never saw him, but all the children seemed to be so attached to him that you may be so grieved at his death you cannot write to me. I know by the same source that you are now at South Bend in Mr. Colfax'2 house. It must be very cold up there. It is really cold here, though the sun shines warm and the trees have green leaves. Of course no snow, but ice found in the gutters and on the pond. General Barnard got here last night from General Grant with dispatches, which I have answered, and the clerks are copying my letters and as soon as finished I will send a flat steamer to Port Royal whence a sea steamer will go to City Point and thence this letter will be sent you. . . .

I see that the State of Ohio talks of making me a present of a home, etc.3 For myself I would accept nothing, but for you and the children I would be willing, especially if such a present were accompanied as in Farragut's place, with bonds enough to give interest to pay taxes. My pay would not enable me to pay taxes on property. I have received from high sources highest praises and yesterday, New Year, was toasted, etc., with allusions to Hannibal, Csesar, etc., etc., but in reply I turned all into a good joke by saying that Hannibal and Caesar were small potatoes as they had never read the New York Herald, or had a photograph taken. But of course, I feel a just pride in the confidence of my army, and the singular friendship of General Grant, who is almost childlike in his love for me. It does seem that time has brought out all my old friends, Grant, Thomas, Sheridan, etc. All sorts of people send me presents and I hope they don't slight you or the girls. I want little in that way, but I think you can stand a good deal. Thus far success has crowned my boldest conceptions and I am going to try others quite as quixotic. It may be that spite of my fears I may come out all right. Love to all.

1 Writing from Kingston, Georgia, on June 12, 1864, Sherman had acknowledged the news of the birth of this child.

2 Schuyler Colfax, at this time Speaker of the House of Representatives, lived at South Bend, Ind.

3 This present was never received.

SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 322-4.  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 2/20

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