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Union General William T. Sherman wrote this American Civil War-dated letter in Cincinnati in 1863. It accompanied a dispatch sent during the Siege of Knoxville (which had concluded less than a month before this letter was written) notifying General Ambrose Burnside that Sherman would relieve him. Mounted to an 18x13¾ sheet of black velvet-covered cardstock with a colored engraving of Sherman.
Autograph letter signed "W. T. Sherman/Maj.Genl.". Pencil notations in top left corners in unknown hand. 1 page, 7¾x10. Mounted to an 18x13¾ sheet of black velvet-covered cardstock with a 5¼x7¼ colored engraving of Sherman. Cincinnati, Ohio, Dec. 24, 1863. In full: "Dear Sir, A few days since at Chattanooga I received a letter from some Gentleman asking of me a letter and original documents of interest to the people for the benefit of the Western Sanitary Commission. I feel strongly disposed to do every-thing in my power to aid the Commission which has done so much for our armies in the past. I have heretofor thanked Mr. Yeatman in person and now renew my thanks for past favors to the soldiers of my command. I now enclose [not enclosed] 1. A Fifty (50) dollar Confederate note last issue. 2. Genl. Burnside's receipt for my dispatch conveying to him in Knoxville notice of the near approach of my command such to his relief. 3. Note for Genl. Burnside same date on same occasion sent by another messenger." During the American Civil War, General AMBROSE BURNSIDE (1824-1881) entered Knoxville, Tennessee on Sept. 3, 1863. He held this position despite orders to reinforce General William S. Rosecrans for the looming Battle of Chickamauga (which the Union lost). He held the city during the Siege of Knoxville (Nov. 17 to Dec. 4, 1863) by Confederate James Longstreet, who was not equipped for siege warfare. It appears that Longstreet continued the siege in order to take pressure off of General Braxton Bragg, who had just lost the Battles for Chattanooga (Nov. 23 to Nov. 25, 1863). Sherman obliged him by sending 25,000 of his soldiers from Chattanooga to relieve Burnside at Knoxville. The Western Sanitary Commission, based in St. Louis, Missouri, established and supplied hospitals during the American Civil War. It was one of many civilian organizations that not only ran hospitals for soldiers but also agitated for improving conditions in existing military hospitals. WILLIAM T. SHERMAN (1820-1891), a West Point graduate and Mexican War veteran, served as a corps commander under General U. S. Grant in successful Union campaigns down the Mississippi and in Tennessee, then took command of the western armies when Grant was reassigned to the Virginia theatre of war. His capture of Atlanta and subsequent "march to the sea" through Georgia, followed by a swift campaign north through the Carolinas to force the surrender of the last major Confederate army, are praised for their military skill but condemned to this day for their "scorched earth" approach to occupied territory. After the war, Sherman applied similarly harsh but effective methods in campaigns against Amerindian tribes of the Great Plains. As commanding general of the U. S. Army (1869-1883), Sherman established the Command School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Sherman, who personally shunned politics ("If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve."), was the brother of U. S. Senator, Cabinet member and presidential candidate John Sherman. Lightly toned. Letter is lightly soiled, creased and rippled and has been reinforced with silk on verso. Discolorations in bottom corners and top left corner, which touch body of letter but not signature. Irregular edges. Rounded corners. Light tears along left and right edges, which touch body of letter but not signature. Light nicks along left and bottom edges. Tackhead-sized hole in top left corner. Velvet is worn along bottom edge. Otherwise in fine condition.

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Born: February 8, 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio
Died: February 14, 1891 in New York City, New York

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