William Tecumseh Sherman: Memoirs of W. T. Sherman (Library of America)
William Tecumseh Sherman
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Hailed as prophet of modern war and condemned as a harbinger of modern barbarism, William Tecumseh Sherman is the most controversial general of the American Civil War.
"War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it," he wrote in fury to the Confederate mayor of Atlanta, and his memoir is filled with dozens of such wartime exchanges. With the propulsive energy and intelligence that marked his campaigns, Sherman describes striking incidents and anecdotes and collects dozens of his incisive and often outspoken wartime orders and reports.
This complex self-portrait of an innovative and relentless American warrior provides firsthand accounts of the war's crucial events--Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, the Atlanta campaign, the marches through Georgia and the Carolinas.
Chattanooga and in person I returned to Bridgeport, rowing a boat down the Tennessee from Kelly’s Ferry, and immediately on arrival put in motion my divisions in the order in which they had arrived. The bridge of boats at Bridgeport was frail, and, though used day and night, our passage was slow; and the road thence to Chattanooga was dreadfully cut up and encumbered with the wagons of the other troops stationed along the road. I reached General Hooker’s headquarters during a rain, in the
found quartermasters hid away in some comfortable nook to the rear, with tents and mess-fixtures which were the envy of the passing soldiers; and I frequently broke them up, and distributed the tents to the surgeons of brigades. Yet my orders actually reduced the transportation, so that I doubt if any army ever went forth to battle with fewer impedimenta, and where the regular and necessary supplies of food, ammunition, and clothing, were issued, as called for, so regularly and so well. My
same that had marched from Atlanta to Savannah. The same general orders were in force, and this campaign may properly be classed as a continuance of the former. The right wing, less Corse’s division, Fifteenth Corps, was grouped at or near Pocotaligo, South Carolina, with its wagons filled with food, ammunition, and forage, all ready to start, and only waiting for the left wing, which was detained by the flood in the Savannah River. It was composed as follows: Fifteenth Corps, Major-General
ample supply of ammunition for a great battle; forage for about seven days, and provisions for twenty days, mostly of bread, sugar, coffee, and salt, depending largely for fresh meat on beeves driven on the hoof and such cattle, hogs, and poultry, as we expected to gather along our line of march. RECAPITULATION—CAMPAIGN OF THE CAROLINAS. The enemy occupied the cities of Charleston and Augusta, with garrisons capable of making a respectable if not successful defense, but utterly unable to meet
others, equally raw in war, could have done better than we did at Bull Run; and the lesson of that battle should not be lost on a people like ours. I insert my official report, as a condensed statement of my share in the battle: HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, FIRST DIVISION, FORT CORCORAN, July 25, 1861. To Captain A. BAIRD, Assistant Adjutant-General, First Division (General Tyler’s). SIR: I have the honor to submit this my report of the operations of my brigade during the action of the 21st