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Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman

by gmoke Thu Jul 28th, 2016 at 03:22:51 AM EST

Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
NY:  The Library of America, 1990
ISBN 0-940450-65-8

Sherman went to West Point in 1836 and graduated in 1840, 4th in his class academically. He served in Florida, South Carolina, and California, and was at Sutter's Mill as the Gold Rush began. He resigned his commission in 1853 and became a banker in San Francisco and later a lawyer in St Louis before teaching engineering at the Louisiana Seminary of Learning and Military Academy in 1860, from which he resigned in January 1861 to accept a commission in the US Army in May. After his memoirs were first published, he included a long appendix in the second edition consisting of letters from interested parties correcting mistakes and offering different recollections of the events he covered. The first time he was in battle was the first Bull Run and he remembered
"...the whole scene of the affair at Blackburn's Ford, when for the first time in my life I saw cannonballs strike men and crash through the trees and saplings above and around us, and realized the always sickening confusion as one approaches a fight from the rear;  then the night-march from Centreville, on the Warrenton road, standing for hours wondering what was meant;  the deployment along the edge of the field that sloped down to Bull Run, and waiting for Hunter's approach on the other side from the direction of Sudley Springs, away off to our right;  the terrible scare of a poor negro who was caught between our lines;  the crossing of Bull Run, and the fear lest we shoudl be fired on by our own men;  the killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Haggerty, which occurred in plain sight;  and the first scenes of a field strewed with dead men and horses."
General Sherman knew that "Generally war is destruction and nothing else."

His letter to the mayor of Atlanta is remarkable and may be read at

Along with all my other notes from the book.

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Sherman and Grant weren't very nice to my man George Thomas, though, in spite of Thomas being a better general by any measure that matters.  He just didn't have their political connections.
by rifek on Tue Aug 2nd, 2016 at 03:48:22 PM EST
"In 1877, Sherman published an article praising Grant and Thomas, and contrasting them to Robert E. Lee. After noting that Thomas, unlike his fellow Virginian Lee, stood by the Union, Sherman wrote:

'During the whole war his services were transcendent, winning the first substantial victory at Mill Springs in Kentucky, January 20th, 1862, participating in all the campaigns of the West in 1862-3-4, and finally, December 16th, 1864 annihilating the army of Hood, which in mid winter had advanced to Nashville to besiege him.'"
source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Henry_Thomas

Thomas and Grant evidently didn't get along, an antipathy perhaps exacerbated because Halleck replaced Grant with Thomas at one point.  Sherman and Thomas were in the same class and room-mates at West Point and were friends.

Thomas did himself no favors by destroying all his papers and not writing his own memoir.

I don't have the expertise to compare their relative talents but have read one book on Grant's generalship which implies that US Grant may have been the greatest military man ever as he was both a great tactician and strategist.  That same book, Grant:  Lessons in Leadership by John Mosier, Foreward by General Wesley Clark  (NY:  Palgrave Macmillan, 2006  ISBN-13:  978-0-230-61393-5), says that Grant laid out the model for a modern army, a model the US Army still follows, largely, today.  

It also quotes Robert E Lee:  "I have carefully searched the military records of both ancient and modern history, and have never found Grant's superior as a general."  But one might take that as a little self-serving by Lee, implying that his own generalship was so great that only the greatest could defeat him.  If I remember correctly, Sherman (and possibly Grant) thought Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston was more dangerous than Lee.

Another general both Grant and Sherman had a high regard for was General James B McPherson who was killed in July 1864 during the siege of Atlanta.  

So many intriguing men and women doing remarkable things during the Civil War.  I've been reading all summer about this history and could go on for the rest of my life, although I plan to quit soon and go on to other things.  

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Solar IS Civil Defense

by gmoke on Thu Aug 4th, 2016 at 05:45:59 PM EST
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