Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman (Library of America)
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.
Battle of the war gave rise to such wild and damaging reports. It was publicly asserted at the North that our army was taken completely by surprise; that the rebels caught us in our tents; bayoneted the men in their beds; that General Grant was drunk; that Buell’s opportune arrival saved the Army of the Tennessee from utter annihilation, etc. These reports were in a measure sustained by the published opinions of Generals Buell, Nelson, and others, who had reached the steamboat-landing from the.
Vicksburg to Haines’s Bluff, at fifteen thousand men, commanded by the rebel Generals Martin Luther Smith and Stephen D. Lee. Aiming to reach firm ground beyond this bayou, and to leave as little time for our enemy to reënforce as possible, I determined to make a show of attack along the whole front, but to break across the bayou at the two points named, and gave general orders accordingly. I pointed out to General Morgan the place where he could pass the bayou, and he answered, “General, in ten.
His Peach-Tree line, had occupied the fortified line of Atlanta, facing north and east, with Stewart’s — formerly Polk’s — corps and part of Hardee’s, and with G. W. Smith’s division of militia. His own corps, and part of Hardee’s, had marched out to the road leading from McDonough to Decatur, and had turned so as to strike the left and rear of McPherson’s line “in air.” At the same time he had sent Wheeler’s division of cavalry against the trains parked in Decatur. Unluckily for us, I had sent.
Supposed would be the course of events that I was very much concerned. I supposed, as a matter of course, that a fleet of vessels would soon pour in, ready to convey the army to Virginia, and as General Grant’s orders contemplated my leaving the cavalry, trains, and artillery, behind, I judged Fort McAllister to be the best place for the purpose, and sent my chief-engineer, Colonel Poe, to that fort, to reconnoitre the ground, and to prepare it so as to make a fortified camp large enough to.
About sixty-five thousand men. Wilson started on Monday, with twelve thousand cavalry, from Eastport. Stoneman started on the same day, from East Tennessee, toward Lynchburg. Thomas is moving the Fourth Corps to Bull’s Gap. Canby is moving with a formidable force on Mobile and the interior of Alabama. I ordered Gillmore, as soon as the fall of Charleston was known, to hold all important posts on the sea-coast, and to send to Wilmington all surplus forces. Thomas was also directed to forward to.