« EelmineJätka »
WHATEVER history preserves of what a man said
and what he did forms the basis of the opinion that posterity gathers of him. History will carry to coming generations the evidences of the military genius of General Sherman and the far-reaching and great breadth of his mind. His marches and battles and triumphs and speeches and letters will do all this, but that is not all that should be preserved to carry into coming time a knowledge of what manner of man this patriot, hero, brainy American was. I write of, him of my personal knowledge. He was capable of preserving the calmest demeanor under circumstances provocative of the greatest excitement; his friendship, freely given to all whom he thought deserving, was always intense. If he had dislikes he did not manifest or speak of them, unless in defence of his self-respect. In all the years in which I was honored with his familiar association, I do not recall an instance of hearing him speak unkindly of any one, but he always had a word of commendation for all who deserved it. He never grumbled. He was eminently a just
man-liberal in all things, but would resent and resist vigorously the smallest infringement on his rights as a man, or any unjust exaction of him on the part of any one, he cared not who. He never shirked or dodged any responsibility, as witness the facts of the battle of Chickasaw Bayou, 29th December, 1862.
Genl. Morgan reported to him that he had bridged the bayou, whereas, in fact, he had only bridged a small lateral bayou; he reported to him that there was nothing between our troops and the hills, when the bayou, wide and deep, and an abattis almost impassable lay before us. I reconnoitered the situation and reported it to Genl. Blair, and Blair, in my presence, reported it to Morgan, and yet Morgan assured Genl. Sherman that he would be on the hills in ten minutes after the firing of the signal-guns for the charge, and misled him in every material fact as to the situation. The disastrous charge raised a howl against Genl. Sherman all along the line of that great army of stay-at-home army critics, and yet the brave and generous soldier wrote: “I assume all responsibility and attach fault to no one;" and there it stands on the official records of the Republic.
McClernand was sent to relieve him of his command and brought him the first intelligence he had that Genl. Grant had lost his base of supplies at Holly Springs, and had to fall back, thereby being prevented from co-operating with him at Chickasaw Bayou, and allowing Pem
berton to re-enforce Vicksburg. McClernand assumed command, Sherman's army was divided into two corps, he was given command of one and Morgan of the other.
Of all his army Genl. Sherman was the only man who was not heard vigorously protesting against his treatment; he never murmured, but went right on. He could wait on slow-paced reason to demonstrate the truth by the aid of time, and yet in war he seemed to act from the inspirations of genius that waits not on anything.
In readiness of apprehension, quickness of perception of facts and conclusion as to course in an emergency and rapidity of execution, he excelled any officers of his time.
Annually, ever since the war, we have met with the society of the Army of the Tennessee, meeting at all the cities and principal towns of the great valley. He delighted in our meetings; hundreds and thousands of the old soldiers greeted him on all occasions; for every one he had a kind word of earnest inquiry, as to his present condition in life, his family, etc. He was our president for about twenty years. He dispatched the business of the society promptly, rapidly and with little regard to parliamentary law or rules; he properly regarded formality of proceedings as unnecessary, and went right at it and put it through. He enjoyed our songs. "The Sword of Bunker Hill” and “Old Shady" were two of his favorites. He was a model toast-master, and his speeches, preserved in the volumes of our proceedings, are remark
able for brevity, point and appropriateness. He had the keenest appreciation of humor, and always encouraged the class of speeches that drew forth the heartiest laugh.
He lived with us in St. Louis. I had the honor to administer to him the obligation of a comrade of the Grand Army of the Republic. I shall never forget the expression of uncertainty or doubt which his face wore until I reached that portion of it which pledged his honor as a soldier to honor the Constitution of our country, obey its laws, defend the Union and uphold the flag of our country as the emblem of liberty, equal rights and national unity; then he straightened himself to his full height and his face lighted with a halo of patriotic fire, he vigorously nodded his assent and repeated it in an emphatic tone. We buried him there. The whole mass of people there knew and loved him. The old soldiers took up the line of march to follow him in death as they had done in life. The old Confederate soldiers, too, fell in and marched with the great procession; a half million of people, of every party, sect and nationality-men, women and children-stood uncovered, and thousands wept as the cortége moved to the cemetery, all moved by a feeling not only that he was the greatest military chieftain at his death in all the world, but because he was esteemed by them as a kind-hearted, social, benevolent friend, whom they had learned to love in their social contact with him.
THOS. C. FLETCHER.
WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN was
born Feb. 8th, 1820, at Lancaster, Fairfield County, Ohio. It is an interesting coincidence that the two great Union soldiers who first successively rose to the full rank of General were born in the same State of Ohio, and that there also Sheridan, the third and only other Union soldier who reached that exalted grade, passed all his boyhood from infancy, his home being only a few miles distant from the birth-place of Sher
William's paternal ancestor, Samuel Sherman, emigrated to America in 1635, only thirteen years behind the “Mayflower." He was a strict Puritan