Showing posts with label Ellen (Ewing) Sherman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ellen (Ewing) Sherman. Show all posts

Thursday, November 19, 2020

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, February 3, 1860

SEMINARY, Feb. 3, 1860.

I am half sick to-night—have had the trouble that I anticipated with these boys. Some of them are very good but some are ill bred and utterly without discipline. A few nights since one cadet reported another—it resulted in mutual accusations, the lie, blow, and finally the knife—fortunately it was not used. I dismissed the one with the knife instanter—the other after examination I thought equally to blame for first giving the lie.

Yesterday the friends of all parties came and after making all sorts of apologies I had to listen. Fortunately both were fine young men and no doubt the affair was one of passion and of sudden broil.

It is against the rules for cadets to use tobacco—but we know that they do use it, but this morning one did it so openly that I supposed he did it in defiance. I went to his room to see him but he was out and in the drawer of his washstand I found plenty of tobacco. I, of course, emptied it into the fireplace. Soon after the young gentleman named C—d came to me, evidently instigated by others and complained of ill treatment and soon complained of my opening his drawer, intimating that it was a breach of propriety. Of course I soon advised him that his concealment and breach of regulations well known to him was the breach of honor. He said he would not stay and after some preliminaries I shipped him. Another came with a similar complaint and I sent him off and then the matter ended. These two last were dull at books and noisy quarrelsome fellows and a good riddance. We had fifty-three now fifty one.

We have refused to receive many after the first instant and I have now an application from thirty in one school, but we think it best now to await the action of the legislature to ascertain what they propose to do for us and I also think it best to prepare some forty steady young men as a nucleus on which to build the hereafter.

The weather has been very fine for the past ten days—except one frosty day. It is now pretty warm and the grass and trees begin to indicate spring—gardens are being fixed for vegetables—here the land is too poor, and yet there are fine orchards of apples, pear, plum, peach, and fig. All say they have abundance of figs and peaches and they also boast of pears and plums. Apples and cherries not so well.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 140-2

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Beautiful Scene In Washington, May 2, 1850

Correspondence of the Baltimore Patriot.

WASHINGTON, May 2, 1850

Last night was a glorious night for the lovers of the Union, and hundreds upon hundreds of the ‘lads of the clan’ were congregated together at the hospitable mansion of the Secretary of the Interior, on the occasion of the marriage of his daughter, Ellen B. Ewing to William T. Sherman, of the U. S. Army.  The bride and groom of course were the centre of attraction, and considering their youthfulness, and surrounded by such a numerous assembly of the magnates of the land they acted their parts with ease, simplicity and elegance.  Of the groom, I can only say, having no acquaintance, that fame speaks in the highest terms of him as a young gentleman of high toned honor and spotless integrity.  Of the Metropolitan favorite, the lady-like Ellen, I can speak by the card, and inform you that every quality that constitutes a charming woman, there is not on this broad land her superior.  Affection, pride, show, parade, are all strangers to her, and any one, rich or poor, having an unblemished reputation, is always considered by her, good society.—Her father appears to have taken uncommon pains in her education and in giving a proper direction to every act and thought.

If I wanted to adduce other evidence than that known to the world of the honesty and sterling integrity of Thomas Ewing, aye, even before the Richardson Committee, I would just point them to his daughter, brought up under his own eye as a voucher.  She strongly resembles the Secretary in mind and judgment, but is greatly ahead of him in making friends among the democracy.

The rooms above and below were crowded with ‘belles, and matrons, maids and madams.’  The President was there.  The Vice President was there.  The Cabinet were there.  Judges of the Supreme Court were there.  Senators and members were there.  Sir Henry L. Bulwer, lady and suite, with many of the Diplomatique corps, were there.  Citizens and strangers were there, and

Taylor, Clay, Cass, Benton and others,
Moved along like loving brothers.

The Bride’s cake was a ne plus ultra.—The popping of the champaigne was like the peals of artillery at Buena Vista: and the feast was all the art of Ude could make it, while Mr. and Mrs. Ewing and every member of the family made it [feel] as if they were really at home.

SOURCE:  The Lancaster Gazette, Lancaster, Ohio, Friday Morning, May 10, 1850, p. 2

William Tecumseh Sherman & Ellen Boyle Ewing’s Marriage Announcement, May 3, 1850


In this city, on the evening of the first of May, by the Rev. James Ryder, President of Georgetown College, WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, U. S. Army, and ELLEN BOYLE EWING, Eldest daughter of the Hon. THOMAS EWING.

SOURCE: The Daily Republic, Washington, D. C., Friday, May 3, 1850, p. 3

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Brigadier-General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, April 3, 1862

Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.
Camp.  April 3, 1862.
Dearest Ellen,

I have really neglected writing for some days.  I don’t know why, but I daily become more and more disposed to stop writing.  There is so much writing that I am sick & tired of it & put it off on Hammond who is sick cross and troublesome.  I have plenty of aids but the writing part is not very full.  I have been pretty busy, in examining Roads & Rivers.  We have now near 60,000 men here, and Bragg has command at Corinth only 18 miles off, with 80 Regiments and more coming.  On our Part McCook, Thomas & Nelsons Divisions are coming from Nashville and are expected about Monday, this is Thursday when I Suppose we must advance to attack Corinth or some other point on the Memphis & Charleston Road.  The weather is now springlike, apples & peaches in blossom and trees beginning to leave.  Bluebirds singing and spring weather upon the hillsides.  This part of the Tennessee differs somewhat from that up at Bellefonte.  There the Alleghany Mountains still characterized the Country whereas here the hills are lower & rounded covered with oak, hickory & dogwood, not unlike the Hills down Hocking.  The people have mostly fled, abandoning their houses, and Such as remain are of a neutral tint not Knowing which side will turn up victors.  That enthusiastic love of the Union of which you read in the newspapers as a form of expression easily written, but is not true.  The poor farmers certainly do want peace, & protection, but all the wealthier classes hate us Yankees with a pure unadulterated hate.  They fear the Gunboats which throw heavy shells and are invulnerable to their rifles & shotguns, and await our coming back from the River.

I have been troubles some days by a Slight diarrhea but am well enough for work.  My Division is very raw and needs much instruction.  Brigade commanders are McDowell, Stuart, Hildebrand & Buckland.  Genl. Grant commands in chief, and we have a host of other Generals, so that I am content to be in a mixed crowd.

I don’t pretend to look ahead far and do not wish to guide events.  They are too momentous to be a subject of personal ambition.

We are constantly in the presence of the enemys pickets, but I am satisfied that they will await our coming at Corinth or some point of the Charleston Road.  If we don’t get away soon the leaves will be out and the whole country an ambush.

Our letters come very irregularly I have nothing from you for more than a week but I know you are well and happy at home and that is a great source of consolation.  My love to all

Yrs. ever
W. T. Sherman

SOURCES: William Tecumseh Sherman Family Papers, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, Box 1, Folder 144, image #’s 03-0046 & 03-0047; M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 219-20; Brooks D. Simpson, Jean V. Berlin, Editors, Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, p. 170-1; 

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Major-General Henry Wager Halleck to Elizabeth Hamilton Halleck, December 14, 1861

St. Louis, Dec. 14, 1861.

MY DEAR WIFE: It is Saturday night and pretty late at that. My week’s work is ended and a hard one it has been. To-morrow I shall rest, at least a part of the time. Schuyler (Hamilton), Cullum and the other members of the staff, are pretty well worked out, but I feel in better working order than when I first came here. I have often felt that my powers of labor had never been fully tested, but now I have as much as I can possibly do. The task before me is immense, but I feel that I can accomplish it. I believe I can say it without vanity that I have talent for command and administration. At least I have seen no one here who can accomplish half so much in twenty-four hours as I do. I never go to bed leaving anything of the day's business undone. Nearly all back business is cleaned up, and everything is getting straightened out and put in its place. This is very encouraging and I begin to see my way through the chaos and corruption which Fremont left behind him. Of course all his satellites abuse me in the newspapers, but this does not annoy me in the least.

I enclose a letter just received from Mrs. Sherman. How do you suppose I answered it? I could not say her husband was not crazy, for certainly he has acted insane. Not wishing to hurt her feelings by telling her what I thought, and being unwilling to say what I did not believe, I treated the whole matter as a joke, and wrote her that I would willingly take all the newspapers said against General Sherman, if he would take all they said against me, for I was certain to gain by the exchange!

SOURCE: T. F. Rodenbough, Editor, Journal of the Military Service Institution of the United States, Volume 36, Issue 135: May-June 1905, p. 554

Brigadier-General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, December 18 or 19, 1861

St. Louis, Dec. 17 [18 or 19], 611
Dearest Ellen,

I arrived here today at noon without interruption—saw Halleck at once and the copy of the letter he wrote to me, and which you will see.2  My movement at Sedalia was premature, the Same that is now going on save that I think Price should be attacked in his camp at Osceola.  Pope has been intercepting parties of recruits bound to prices camp and is on his way back to Sedalia.  I cannot see that affairs here are materially changed in my absence.  Charley is at the Barracks, and I suppose will be up in a day or so.  I will drop him a note, for he complained to Hammond3 that neither I or you wrote to him.

Matters here look gloomy & unnatural.

Thomas was not on the list, but Mr. Lucas was, but got off on some representations.  He I suppose would not like to be classified as a Secessionist lest it affect the body of his property.

I am not yet assigned a command and hardly know whether to push it or take it easy, leaving Halleck time to assign me.  I will try to be more punctual in my duties to you, who really deserve a better husband than I have been.  How I envy the bawling crowd that passes by that care not for the morrow.  If I could see any end to this war, save ruin to us all, I could occasionally feel better, but I see no hope at all.  You can trust in Providence, and why he has visited us with this terrible judgment is incomprehensible.  As soon as I know my destination I will write again.

W. T. Sherman

1 Misdated. Halleck's letter to Sherman is dated December 18, 1862.

2 Major-General Henry W. Halleck to Brigadier-General William T. Sherman, December 18, 1861.

3 Captain John Henry Hammond (1833-1890), a member of Sherman’s staff.

SOURCES: Brooks D. Simpson, Jean V. Berlin, Editors, Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, p. 170-1; William Tecumseh Sherman Family Papers, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, Box 1, Folder 140, image #’s 02-1020 & 02-1020

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Brigadier-General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, February 21, 1862

Paducah, February 21, 1862
Dearest Ellen,

I have received your letter1 from St. Louis and I cannot express to you how sorry I am to have caused you that Journey at that time.  I wrote you & telegraphed you the moment I received my orders and did all I could to advise you of my movements, but now that you are at home I trust that the fatigue is over and it is forgotten.  The news of Grants victory must have electrified the whole country.  It certainly was most opportune.  More troops are passing into Kentucky—about 10,000 have arrived today—Six Ohio Regiments without arms, and a division from Green River.  Our next move must be against Columbus.  I have written to Halleck asking as a special favor that he ordered here the four companies of my regiment.  I think he will do it.

You ask me to pardon you—the idea of your asking my pardon—I ought to get on my Knees and implore your pardon for the anxiety & Shame I have caused you.  All I hope for is a chance to recover from the Past—I had a long interview with Buckner today.  I used to Know him well and he frankly told me of many things  which I wanted to Know—He was restrained from doing what I Knew was his purpose and what he ought to have done, but he was restrained by Sidney Johnston.

We are here in the midst of mud and dirt, rains & thaw.  We expect orders every day to move somewhere but no one knows where.

I got your telegraph last night.  I had previously written to Halleck asking him to Send the Battalions of four companies to me here at Paducah from Alton, I don’t know whether he will.  I suppose a large part of the prisoners of war are at Alton and will need Guard.

Give my love to all, and I cant tell now how my thoughts dwell on our dear children & you[.]  I am very busy—

W. T. Sherman

1 Not found.

SOURCE: Brooks D. Simpson, Jean V. Berlin, Editors, Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, p. 192; William Tecumseh Sherman Family Papers, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, Box 1, Folder 142, image #’s 03-0026 & 03-0027

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Ellen Ewing Sherman to Brigadier-General William T. Sherman, April 9, 1862

Lancaster O. April 9th 1862

Yesterday, my dearest Cump, I received your letter of the 3rd inst. I feel uneasy about your having the complaint common to that latitude & to Camp life. I hope by this time you are entirely recovered from it. You must not let it go too far but if you find it becoming chronic come home & take care of yourself. I trust Halleck will soon go down and have the work commenced in desperation & finished before the hot weather & the yellow fever come on. McClellan has been playing into their hands - he is sworn to them under pain of assassination - and he has allowed things to work so as to leave our troops to be killed off by yellow fever when Summer comes on. Men high in authority are watching him & he will likely be in Fort Warren in Stone's place before long. Stone was a scape goat for him & he send Stone to prison to prevent his own treason being discovered. May vengeance fall on him! It surely will for God will have justice done us sooner or later.

I am sorry Hammond is so unwell. You had better send him up to take a rest & recruit. I have a bed room fitted up on the first floor of the house & can entertain him comfortably. The house is delightful Large pleasant halls with south windows, two parlours a sitting room, a large dining room & pantry & a few paces off, but under coveredway, a large nice kitchen with fire place. Up stairs rooms over the two parlors a small room at the end of the hall and rooms over the sitting room & dining room. All the windows have nice shutters. The rear buildings are good, the stable is very nice & I intend to keep a cow. The yard is fine & has many fruit trees & grape vines on it. So you may rest assured the children will be comfortable and happy. Rachel has been weaned & is thriving wonderfully. She is the image of Willy in appearance & disposition. She is very fond of me & I hardly know why for I do not pay much attention to her. She is so healthy & strong it does not seem necessary. You would be highly entertained could you hear Elly chatting. She is a great talker & singer. "Our flag is there" is her favorite song at present. She calls herself "Ellen Sherman" & talkes about what she is going to do "after to-morrow". She knows everything is very smart & interesting but she is still cross after Emily & frets when out of her sight long. Willy & Tommy are growing finely & Willy & Minnie are studying well with Kate Willock. Tommy is a real Yankee for calculating. Yesterday he wanted a cent to buy licquorice. I gave him five cents & told him that would get one stick & I wd give him part of it. "Five cents for one stick, said he, twenty sticks for a dollar". Kate is quite proud of him when he does go to school which is only when he feels disposed. Lizzie is very deaf again & as usual, when deaf she is full of mischief.

Mr Willock has just called & given me the first gleanings of the terrible battle Thank our merciful God you are alive but your poor hand gone - Will you come home. Telegraph me what to do. Send Hammond Mr Bowman anyone you wish here & for God's sake come yourself for awhile. In life or death   Yours ever, Ellen

SOURCE: William T. Sherman Family Papers, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, Box 2, Folder 105 for the letter & Box 9, Folder 38 for the transcript.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Brigadier-General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, April 14, 1862

Camp Shiloh, Apl. 14, 1862
Dearest Ellen,

The day before yesterday I heard Halleck had arrived at the River and upon making a short turn through the Camps I found him on board the Continental and Grant on the Tigress.  I was there ordered again to try to destroy the Memphis and Charleston Road, a thing I had twice tried and failed.  I at once ordered 100 4 Illinois Cavalry under Bowman to be embarked on board [illegible phrase] and a Brigade of Infantry Fry’s1 on board the [illegible boat name] and White Cloud, and with two Gunboats went up the Tennessee 32 miles to Chickasaw, just at the Corner of Alabama, then I disembarked there and sent them on their errand—Bowman reached the Railroad and destroyed the Bridge and some 500 feet of trestles succeeding perfectly in the undertaking which is very important as it prevents all communication of the enemy with the East.  I tried to go up to Florence but the water would not let us pass two shoals above so I returned & Halleck was delighted.  This has been with him a chief object.  When I got down this morning he handed me the enclosed copy of one sent last night to Washington2—so at last I Stand redeemed from the vile slanders of that Cincinati paper—I am sometimes amused at these newspaper Reporters.  They keep shy of me as I have said the first one I catch will hang as a Spy.  I now have the lawful right to have a Court martial, and if I catch one of those Cincinati Newspapers in my camp I will have a Court and they will do just as I tell them.  It would afford me a real pleasure to hang one or two—I have seen a paragraph in the Cincinati Commercial about Dr. Hewit.3  He never drinks, is as moral a man and as intelligent as ever, and all his time is working for the Sick, but because he will not drop his work & listen & babble with a parcel of false humorists who came here from the various [illegible phrase] of our Country he must be stigmatized as a corrupt drunkard.  Rebellion is a sin, & of course should be punished but I feel that in these Southerners there are such qualities of Courage, bold daring and manly that though I know they are striving to subvert our Government and bring them into contempt, Still I feel personal respect for them as individuals, but for these mean contemptible slanderous and false villains who seek reputation by abuse of others—Here called off by a visit of my Kentucky friends who express to me unbounded confidence.

I have just got yours of the 9th my hand is not off4—it was a buckshot by a Cavalry man who got a shot at me but was almost instantly killed in return.—My shoulder is well and I am as good as ever.

For mercy’s sake never speak of McClellan as you write.  He ought to have Sent me men & officers in Kentucky but did not, but that he had any malice or intention of wrong I dont believe.  I committed a fearful mistake in Kentucky and if I recover it will be a wonderful instance.  I have made good progress here, and in time can illustrate the motives that influenced me—I know McClellan to be a man of talents & having now a well organized & disciplined army, he may by some rapid strokes achieve a name that would enable him to Crush me—Keep your own counsel, and let me work for myself on this Line.  Halleck has told me that he had ordered the 4 Cos. Of the 13 Inf. to me as soon as a certain Battalion could be spared at New Madrid.  Charley need not be impatient[.] The southern army was repulsed but not defeated.  Their Cavalry hangs about our front now—we must have one more terrible battle—we must attack—My Division is raw—some regts. behaved bad but I did the best I could with what remained, and all admit I was of good service—I noticed that when we were enveloped and death stared us all in the face my seniors in rank leaned on me—Well I am not in search of honor or fame and only count it for yours & childrens sake.

I think you will have some satisfaction and I know your father will be please that I am once more restored to favor.  Give him Hallecks letter & tell himI broke the Charleston Road[.]  Yrs.

W. T. Sherman

1 James B. Fry (1827-94) was Buell’s chief of staff.

2 Henry W. Halleck to Edwin M. Stanton, April 13, 1862, OR I, 10: pt. 1, p. 98.

3 Dr. Henry S. Hewit (1825-73).

4 Sherman wash shot in the hand on April 6, 1862 during the battle of Shiloh.

SOURCE: Brooks D. Simpson, Jean V. Berlin, Editors, Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, p. 203-5

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, January 24, 1860

Seminary, Jan. 24, i860.

. . . Things along here about as I expected. We have had many visitors – ladies with children, who part with them with tears and blessings, and I remark the fact that the dullest boys have the most affectionate mothers, and the most vicious boys come recommended with all the virtues of saints. Of course I promise to be a father to them all.

We now have fifty-one and the reputation of the order, system, and discipline is already spreading and I receive daily letters asking innumerable questions. The legislature also has met and the outgoing Governor Wickcliffe has recommended us to the special attention of the legislature, and a bill is already introduced to give us $25,000 a year for two years, which is as long as the legislature can appropriate. I think from appearances this bill will pass, in which case we can erect two professors' houses this summer.

This sum of money will enable us to make a splendid place of this. In addition it is also proposed to make this an arsenal of deposit, which will increase its importance and enable me to avoid all teaching which I want to do, confining myself exclusively to the supervision and management. Thus far not a soul has breathed a syllable about abolitionism to me. One or two have asked me if I were related to the gentleman of same name whose name figures so conspicuously in Congress. I of course say he is my brother, which generally amazes them because they regard him as awful bad. . .

Professor Smith and Boyd are very clever gentlemen and so are Vallas and St. Ange but these are foreigners with their peculiarities. We have also a Dr. Sevier here, of Tennessee, a rough sort of fellow but a pretty fair sort of man. . .

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 127-8

Thursday, April 4, 2019

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, January 12, 1860

Seminary, Jan. 12.

. . . I have allowed more time than usual to pass without writing. Indeed I have had a good many calls upon my time not properly belonging to me. The steward was sick of sore throat that made it imprudent of him to come so I had to supervise his mess affairs. I had a parcel of lazy negroes scrubbing and cleaning, and lastly new cadets arriving and receiving their outfits. I have to do everything but teach. We have now forty cadets all at work reciting in mathematics, French, and Latin, also drilling once a day. I drill one squad, but as soon as I get a few of the best far enough advanced to help I will simply overlook. Hereafter I will have none of this to do.

Everything moves along satisfactorily, all seem pleased, and gentlemen have been here from New Orleans and other distant points who are much pleased. I have knowledge of more cadets coming, and this being the first term and being preceded by so much doubt I don't know that we have reason to be disappointed with only forty. The legislature meets next Monday, and then will begin the free discussion which will settle the fact of professors' houses and other little detailed improvements which will go far to make my position here comfortable or otherwise.

Nobody has said boo about John. Indeed I have two letters from John which I showed to General Graham who gave them to the senator from this Parish, who took them to Baton Rouge. In them John tells me he signed the Helper card without seeing it, not knowing it, but after Clark1 introduced his resolution he would make no disclaimer. He was right, and all men acquainted with the facts will say so. Even southern men. The supervisors can't spare me. I manage their affairs to their perfect satisfaction, and all here in the parish would never think of complicating me. But the legislature may – we shall soon see. . .

1 John B. Clark, a member of Congress from Missouri, introduced a resolution to the effect that no person who endorsed Helper's book was fit to be speaker of the House of Representatives. —  Ed.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 117-8

Sunday, January 6, 2019

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, January 4, 1860

Seminary, Jan. 4, 1860.

. . . Since my last I have been pretty busy. Last week was very cold and stormy. The snow fell one night to depth of five inches and lay all next day. On New Years however it cleared off and was bright. Monday was our opening day - was bright cold and clear. All the professors were on hand and nineteen cadets made their appearance. Since then four more. Today we begin reciting in mathematics and French. Tomorrow mathematics and Latin. These studies and drilling will occupy this year till June. There are sixteen state appointments and forty-three by the Board — fifty-nine in all, so that there are about thirty-six to come yet. Not punctual, according to southern fashsion, but partly occasioned by the severe weather of last week which has interrupted travel.

If I were to tell you of the thousand and one little things that stand in the way of doing things here you would be amused. As a sample, in New Orleans I could not find the French grammars wanted by the professor. I telegraphed to New York and got answer that they would come in time; they reached New Orleans and were sent up this river by boat, but the boat did not land them, and they have gone up to Shreveport and when they will get here we cannot guess.

The Latin professor did not get here until the Saturday before the Seminary opened, and now he has to begin instruction without text books. But I am determined they shall teach, and I cause the young men to be marched to their recitation rooms, where the professors must teach by lecture till we get our books. Even New Orleans is badly supplied with books and we must order everything from New York. Some of the hot-bloods talk of non-intercourse with New York, but that is absurd, everything but cotton and sugar must come from the North.

Professor Boyd is a young man of about twenty-five years, and a very clever gentleman. Indeed on the whole the professors are above mediocrity. The young cadets too are a very clever set of young men. Our messing arrangements are also quite complete, and things work well.

You say that ——— still thinks of coming south. I still am incredulous and shall do or say nothing to commit me till I am sure. Seven thousand five hundred dollars a year secured for two years would be better than the post I now hold, as I do not believe this Seminary without legislative aid can pay us the salaries they have agreed to do. Thus the state has compelled us to receive sixteen cadets without pay. Their board, clothing, books, etc., have to be paid for by the Seminary out of the endowment of $8,100. The actual cost of board, etc., of these sixteen will be near $4,000, leaving about the same amount out of which to pay professors salaries amounting to $12,500, or in other words we shall receive only one-third the pay stipulated for. The pay cadets pay barely enough to support themselves. Everything will depend on the legislature for this year, and the whole matter will be fully submitted to them.

Now that I have fairly got the Seminary started, a great point about which there was much doubt, I shall apply myself to this, to procure legislation that will put the college on safe financial ground. The governor and many members are highly favorable and none thus far has breathed a word against me on John's account. I was in hopes that General Graham would go down to Baton Rouge, but he says he cannot, that he has an antipathy to such business - politics and politicians being obnoxious to him as they are to me. . .

SOURCES: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 100-2

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, December 23, 1859

Seminary, Dec. 23,1859.

. . . I have the New Orleans papers of the 18th.  I see that the election of speaker was still the engrossing topic, John's vote being 112, 114 being necessary to a choice. Still I doubt his final success on account of his signing for that Helper book. Without that his election would be certain. I was at Alexandria yesterday and was cornered by a Dr. Smith, a member of the Board of Supervisors and at present a candidate of this Parish for a seat in the state senate, to which he will surely be elected. He referred pointedly to the deep intense feeling which now pervades the South, and the importance that all educational establishments should be in the hands of its friends. I answered in general terms that I had nothing to do with these questions, that I was employed to do certain things which I should do, that I always was a strong advocate of our present form of government, and as long as it remained I should be true to it, that if disunion was meditated in any quarter I should oppose it, but that if disunion did actually occur, an event I would not contemplate, then every man must take his own course and I would not say what I would do. I still believe somehow or other efforts will be made to draw me out on these points and I shall be as circumspect as possible.

A good many gentlemen and ladies have been here to see the Seminary which begins to attract notice. All express great pleasure at seeing the beautiful building and hope it will become a center of attraction. About the time you receive this we will begin to receive cadets and then things will be pretty lively. I will have nothing to do in the way of teaching this term, my time will be mostly taken up by supervising others, and seeing to the proper supplies and furnishment. . .

SOURCES: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 86-7

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, December 16, 1859

Seminary, Alexandria, La., Dec. 16,1859.

. . . I wrote you and Minnie from New Orleans as I told you I would. I did start back in the “Telegram” Monday evening, and Red River being up, we came along without delay, reaching here Wednesday morning. I had despatched by a former boat a good deal of freight, brought some in the same boat, and all the balance will be here in a day or so. I walked out from Pineville, which is the name of a small group of houses on this side of Red River, and sent the cart in for my trunk and for the drummer I had picked up in New Orleans. I wanted also a tailor and shoemaker, but failed to get them. On getting out I was much disappointed at receiving no letters, but was assured that all the mails had failed for a week; and last night being mail night I sent in my new drummer who brought out a good budget, among them your letters. . . So, as you seem to know, this is an out of the way place without telegraphs, railroads, and almost without mails.

It so happened that General Graham came out the very day of my return, not knowing that I was here, and he brought with him Mr. Smith, the professor of chemistry, who is one of the real Virginia F. F. V.'s, a very handsome young man of twenty-two, who will doubtless be good company. He is staying with General Graham, but will move here in a few days. General Graham seemed delighted with the progress I had made, and for the first time seemed well satisfied that we would in fact be ready by January 1.

I have not yet been to Alexandria, as I landed on this side the river and came out at once, but I shall go in on Monday and see all the supervisors, who are again to meet. I know the sentiments of some about abolitionism, and am prepared if they say a word about John. I am not an abolitionist, still I do not intend to let any of them reflect on John in my presence, as the newspapers are full of angry and bitter expressions against him. All I have met have been so courteous that I have no reason to fear such a thing, unless some one of those who came, applicants to the post I fill, with hundreds of letters, should endeavor to undermine me by assertions on the infernal question of slavery, which seems to blind men to all ideas of common sense
Your letters convey to me the first intimation I have received that the project of ——— had not long since been abandoned. . . You remember I waited as long as I decently could before answering Governor Wickliffe's letter of appointment, in hopes of receiving a word from ——— who promised Hugh to write from London.  Not hearing from him and having little faith in the scheme, I finally accepted this place as the best thing offering. Even yet I think this is my best chance unless the question of slavery and my northern birth and associations should prejudice me, and should ——— make his appearance here I should have to be very strongly assured on the subject of pay and permanency before I would even hint at leaving. Of course if I could do better, there is no impropriety in my quitting as there are many strong applicants for the post, many of whom possess qualifications equal if not superior to me. I still do not believe that ——— is to be relied on and I don't expect he has the most remote intention of coming here. . .

These southern politicians have so long cried out wolf that many believe the wolf has come and therefore they might in some moment of anger commit an act resulting in Civil War. As long as the Union is kept I will stand by it, but if we are going to split up into sections I would prefer our children should be raised in Ohio or some northern state to the alternative of a slave state, where we never can have slave property.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

I have already described this place to you — the building being of course not at all designed for families and I shall not, as long as I control, permit a woman or child to live in it. The nearest house is an open, cold house a quarter of a mile distant occupied at present by Professor Vallas, wife and five children. During my absence at New Orleans they had here bitter cold weather, the same that killed all the orange trees at New Orleans, and Mr. Vallas tells me he and his family nearly froze, for the house was designed for summer, of the “wentilating” kind.

There are other houses between this and Alexandria of the same general kind, but they are from one and one-half to two and one-half miles distant, too far off for any person connected with the Seminary to live. The plan is and has been to build, but the Seminary is utterly unable to build, nor can it hope to get the money save by a gift from the legislature. General Graham thinks they will appropriate $30,000. Governor Moore, though in favor of doing so, has his doubts and was candid enough to say so. Without that it will be impossible for me to bring you south even next winter. The legislature meets in the latter part of next January and we cannot even get our pay until they appropriate, but they must appropriate $8,1001 because it belongs lawfully to the Seminary. . .

1 Interest on the Seminary land fund. - Ed.

SOURCES: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 84-6

Thursday, September 27, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, Sunday, December 12, 1859

New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 12.

. . . I am stopping at the City Hotel which is crowded and have therefore come to this my old office, now Captain Kilburn's, to do my writing. I wish I were here legitimately, but that is now past, and I must do the best in the sphere in which events have cast me. All things here look familiar, the streets, houses, levees, drays, etc., and many of the old servants are still about the office, who remember me well, and fly round at my bidding as of old.

I have watched with interest the balloting for speaker, with John as the Republican candidate. I regret he ever signed that Helper book, of which I know nothing but from the extracts bandied about in the southern papers. Had it not been for that, I think he might be elected, but as it is I do not see how he can expect any southern votes, and without them it seems that his election is impossible. His extreme position on that question will prejudice me, not among the supervisors, but in the legislature where the friends of the Seminary must look for help. Several of the papers have alluded to the impropriety of importing from the north their school teachers, and if in the progress of debate John should take extreme grounds, it will of course get out that I am his brother from Ohio, universally esteemed an abolition state, and they may attempt to catechize me, to which I shall not submit.

I will go on however in organizing the Seminary and trust to the future; but hitherto I have had such bad luck, in California and New York, that I fear I shall be overtaken here by a similar catastrophe. Of course there are many here such as Bragg, Hebert, Graham, and others that know that I am not an abolitionist. Still if the simple fact be that my nativity and relationship with Republicans should prejudice the institution, I would feel disposed to sacrifice myself to that fact, though the results would be very hard, for I know not what else to do.

If the Southern States should organize for the purpose of leaving the Union I could not go with them. If that event be brought about by the insane politicians I will ally my fate with the north, for the reason that the slave question will ever be a source of discord even in the South. As long as the abolitionists and the Republicans seem to threaten the safety of slave property so long will this excitement last, and no one can foresee its result; but all here talk as if a dissolution of the Union were not only a possibility but a probability of easy execution. If attempted we will have Civil War of the most horrible kind, and this country will become worse than Mexico.

What I apprehend is that because John has taken such strong grounds on the institution of slavery that I will first be watched and suspected, then maybe addressed officially to know my opinion, and lastly some fool in the legislature will denounce me as an abolitionist spy because there is one or more southern men applying for my place.

I am therefore very glad you are not here, and if events take this turn I will act as I think best. As long as the United States Government can be maintained in its present form I will stand by it; if it is to break up in discord, strife and Civil War, I must either return to California, Kansas or Ohio. My opinions on slavery are good enough for this country, but the fact of John being so marked a Republican may make my name so suspected that it may damage the prospects of the Seminary, or be thought to do so, which would make me very uncomfortable. . .

SOURCES: Walter L. Fleming, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 75-7

Thursday, September 6, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, December 2, 1859

Seminary Of Learning, Alexandria, La., Dec. 2,1859

. . . . Last Monday there was a meeting of the Board of Supervisors called but the governor could not come, and consequently there was no quorum and the Board had to work informally. They could not adopt the regulations, but called another meeting for December 10. I attended the meeting and found they were willing to vest me with ample powers but they will be embarrassed in their finances unless the legislature help or unless we have more students than we now expect. We shall prepare for one hundred, but sixty are as many as I expect. I will have no teaching to do this year unless I choose, but will have all the details of discipline and management.

I found that there are two distinct parties in the Board — one in favor of a real out and out military college and another who prefer a literary seminary, only consenting to the military form of government. The former party led by General Graham, want a continuous course, without vacations, as at West Point, the summer vacations to be taken up with a regular encampment. This would keep me here all the time until everything had settled down into such a fixed system that I could go away. I can hardly forsee how it will turn out but for the present believe we will have a summer vacation of two months, during which I can come to Ohio.

The legislature meets the third Monday in January, soon after which we will discover their temper and whether they will be willing to build any buildings for the professors, but I believe they will not, as I notice a hesitation to ask it and unless it be asked and urged very strongly of course they will not appropriate. All kinds of labor, building especially, costs so much that though the state as such is liberal, yet they cannot answer half the calls made on them for such purposes.

I am lonely enough out here alone in this big house, but will have plenty to divert me the next two weeks, and afterwards, the session will be so near at hand with new duties and new things. I suppose my patience will be tested to its utmost by a parcel of wayward boys.

SOURCES: The article is abstracted in Walter L. Fleming’s, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 72-4

Sunday, July 15, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, November 25, 1859

Seminary Of Learning, Alexandria, Nov. 25, 1859.

I am still out here at the Seminary, pushing on the work as fast as possible, but people don't work hard down here. The weather has been warm and springlike, but tonight the wind is piping and betokens rain. This is Friday. I have been writing all week, the regulations, and have been sending off circulars - indeed everything is backward, and it will keep us moving to be ready for cadets January 1. The Board of Supervisors are to meet on Monday, and I will submit to them the regulations and lists of articles indispensably necessary, and I suppose I will be sent to New Orleans to make the purchases.

The planters about Alexandria are rich but the town is a poor concern. Nothing like furniture can be had. Everybody orders from New Orleans. General Graham is at his plantation nine miles from Alexandria and twelve from here. I get a note from him every day urging me to assume all responsibility as he and all the supervisors are busy at their cotton or sugar.

I believe I have fully described the locality and the fact that although the building for the Seminary is in itself very fine, yet it is solitary and alone in the country and in no wise suited for families. Of course I will permit no family to live in the building. There happens to be one house about one-fourth mile to the rear, belonging to one McCoy in New Orleans, but that is rented by Mr. Vallas, the professor of mathematics, who now occupies it with his family, wife and seven children. They are Hungarians and he is an Episcopal Clergyman, but his religion don't hurt him much. He seems a pleasant enough man, fifty years old, fat, easy and comfortable. . . They have an Irishman and wife as servants and have plenty of complaints. The house is leaky and full of holes, so that they can hardly keep a candle burning when the wind is boisterous. Indeed the house was built for summer use and calculated to catch as much wind as possible. The design is to ask the legislature to appropriate for two professors' houses for Vallas and ourselves.

If they appropriate I will have the building and will of course see to their comfort, but I will make no calculations until the amount is settled on. I fear the cost of the building will deter the legislature from appropriating until the institution begins to make friends.

The new governor, Moore, lives near Alexandria and will be highly favorable to liberal appropriation. We have fine springs of pure water all round, and I doubt not the place is very healthy. Indeed there is nothing to make it otherwise unless the long hot summers create disease. I am now comparatively free of my cough and am in about usual condition - have to burn nitre paper occasionally. It is very lonely here indeed. Nobody to talk to but the carpenters and sitting here alone in this great big house away out in the pine wood is not cheerful. . .

SOURCES: The article is abstracted in Walter L. Fleming’s, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 60-1

Thursday, July 5, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, November 19, 1859

Alexandria, Seminary of Learning, Nov. 19, 1859.

Since my last I have been out to General Graham's who has a large plantation on Bayou Rapides, nine miles from Alexandria. There met Graham and Whittington,1 and Sherman, Vallas, and St. Ange, professors, to make rules for the new institution after the model of the Virginia Military Institute. We took their regulations, omitted part, altered other and innovated to suit this case, and as a result I have it all to write over and prepare for the printer.

Yesterday I moved my things out and am now in the college building, have taken two rooms in the southwest tower and shall make the large adjoining room the office, so as to be convenient. There are five carpenters employed here and I take my meals with them.

It is only three miles to Alexandria. I walked out yesterday, and in this morning; but Captain Jarreau, who is appointed steward, lent me a horse for the keeping, so that hereafter I will have a horse to ride about the country; but for some days I will have writing enough to do, and afterwards may have to go down to New Orleans to buy furniture, of which the building is absolutely without, being brand new. The weather has been excessively dry here, but yesterday it rained hard and last night it thundered hard. Today was fine clear and bright like Charleston. . .

1 Graham and Whittington were delegated by the supervisors to assist the committee of the faculty in drawing up rules. — Ed.

SOURCES: The article is abstracted in Walter L. Fleming’s, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 57-8

Monday, June 11, 2018

Braxton Bragg to William T. Sherman, November 13, 1859

Near Thibodaux, La., November 13, 1859.

My Dear Sherman: It was a great pleasure to receive your note from Baton Rouge, and I sincerely hope that we may soon meet. I should have written to you at once on seeing your election to the important position you are to fill, but did not know where to find you. The announcement gave me very great pleasure, though my influence to some extent was given against you, never dreaming you could be an aspirant. I had united with many gentlemen in New Orleans to recommend Professor Sears, with whom I have no acquaintance, but simply on the ground of his being a graduate of West Point. Indeed, my letter was general, and might have applied to any graduate. Had I known your application I should have attended personally to forward your wishes. But as it is all is well.

Since seeing your appointment I have taken pains to try and advance the institution, and several friends speak of sending their sons. Whatever is in my power will be most cheerfully done for your personal interest, and for the institution generally. We must meet, but it is impossible for me to leave home now. Until nearly Christmas I shall be overrun with business, or rather confined by it. We are in the midst of [sugar] manufacturing, and a cold spell is now on us which inflicts a heavy loss every day lost. I even work on Sunday from this time to the end.

At home I have leisure, and am most happy to see friends. Kilburn,14 who is stationed in the city, [is] coming tomorrow to spend a few days. Why can't you do so? You can take dinner with me after breakfast in the city. Kilburn can put you in the way, should you have time to come down. I heard something of your misfortunes,15 and sympathised most deeply with you, but it is not too late for a man of your energy and ability to repair such a disaster.

Your institution I hope will prove a success. It is fairly endowed and has strong and enthusiastic friends. Among them you will find the master spirit my friend, General G. Mason Graham. My acquaintance with him was very short, but very agreeable. Friendships formed under the enemy's guns ought to last.16 I knew he liked me, and I admired his gallantry and devotion. Present my regards to him. You may safely trust to his friendship. Our new governor17 will be your friend, too. He is a plain man, but of excellent character, business habits and very large fortune, placing him above temptation and demagogery. Your professor of mathematics, a foreigner,18 is very highly spoken of; the others I do not know.

Mrs. Sherman and the little ones are not with you I suppose from your not mentioning them. We should be most happy to see them when they come to join you. In the meantime, when you can see enough to form any plan, let me hear from you again, and when and where we may meet. About January 1, I expect to be in Baton Rouge.

Accept my cordial wishes for your success, and happiness.


14 An officer in the commissary department, United States Army. — Ed.
15 The failure of the banking firms with which Sherman had been connected. — Ed.
16 Bragg and Graham had served together in the Mexican War. — Ed.
17 Thomas O. Moore who was to take office in January, 1860. — Ed.
18 Dr. Anthony Vallas, an Hungarian. — Ed.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, Editor, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 52-4

Sunday, June 3, 2018

William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, November 12, 1859

Alexandria, La., Sunday, Nov. 12 [1859].

I wrote you a hasty letter yesterday whilst the stage was waiting. General Graham and others have been with me every moment so that I was unable to steal a moment's time to write you. I left the wharf boat at the mouth of Red River, a dirty, poor concern where I laid over one day, the stage only coming up tri-weekly, and at nine o'clock at night started with an overcrowded stage, nine in and two out with driver, four good horses, Troy coach, road dead level and very dusty, lying along the banks of bayous which cut up the country like a net work. Along these bayous lie the plantations rich in sugar and cotton such as you remember along the Mississippi at Baton Rouge.

We rode all night, a fine moonlight, and before breakfast at a plantation we were hailed by Judge Boyce who rode with us the rest of the journey. His plantation is twenty-five miles further up, but he has lived here since 1826 and knows everybody. He insisted on my stopping with him at the plantation of Mr. Moore, who is just elected governor of Louisiana for the coming four years, and who in that capacity will be President of the Board of Supervisors, who control the Seminary of Learning, and whose friendship and confidence it is important I should secure. He sent us into town in his own carriage. Alexandria isn't much of a town, and the tavern where I am, Mrs. Fellow's, a common rate concern, as all southern taverns out of large cities are. Still I have a good room opening into the parlor.

General Graham came in from his plantation nine miles west of this, and has been with me ever since. At this moment he is at church, the Episcopal. He will go out home tonight and to-morrow I go likewise, when we are to have a formal meeting to arrange some rules and regulations, also agree on the system of study. He is the person who has from the start carried on the business. He was at West Point, but did not graduate, but he has an unlimited admiration of the system of discipline and study. He is about fifty-five years, rather small, exceedingly particular and methodical, and altogether different from his brother, the general.1

Sherman's office was the room to the left of the entrance.
The building is a gorgeous palace, altogether too good for its purpose, stands on a high hill three miles north of this. It has four hundred acres of poor soil, but fine pine and oak trees, a single large building. Like most bodies they have spent all their money on the naked building, trusting to the legislature for further means to provide furniture, etc. All this is to be done, and they agree to put me in charge at once, and enable me to provide before January 1 the tables, desks, chairs, blackboards, etc., the best I can in time for January 1, and as this is a mere village I must procure all things from New Orleans, and may have to go down early next month. But for the present I shall go to General Graham's tomorrow, be there some days, return here and then remove to the college, where I will establish myself and direct in person the construction of such things as may be made there.

There is no family near enough for me to board, so I will get the cook who provides for the carpenters to give me my meals.

It is the design to erect two buildings for the professors, but I doubt whether the legislature will give any more, $135,000 having already been expended. The institution, styled by law the Seminary of Learning, has an annual endowment of $8,100, but it is necessary for the legislature to appropriate this annually, and as they do not meet till the third Monday in January, I don't see how we can get any money before hand. I think when the appropriation is made, however, my salary will be allowed from November 1.

When I first got here it was hot, but yesterday it changed, and it is now very cold. I have a fire here, but several windows are broken, and the room is as cold as a barn, and the lazy negroes have to be driven to bring in wood.

I expect plenty of trouble from this source, the high wages of servants and the necessity to push them all the time to do anything. I would hire whites, but suppose it would be advisable and good policy to submit to the blacks for the present.

On arrival here I found your and Minnie's2 letters, seven days in coming, which is better time than I expected. Mails come here tri-weekly by stage by the route I came. . .

1 General R. B. Mason, Sherman's commanding officer in California. — Ed.

2 Sherman’s eldest daughter.

SOURCE: Walter L. Fleming, Editor, General W.T. Sherman as College President, p. 47-52