WILLIAM T. SHERMAN
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
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.
For more documents by these signers click the names below:
GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN
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