3 May 1862
Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891)
Autograph letter signed
Title: to Thomas Ewing
Sherman writes about the Battle of Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862. He discusses his experiences in it, the strategy of the battle, the officers' uniforms, and various Union generals. Explains his daring position at Shiloh, "I do not think I exposed myself at Shiloh more than was necessary from the shape of the ground and the nature of my men." Writes that he had to give orders that usually would have been left to officers of a lower rank and therefore had to be out in the open. From the experiences of that day, he relays that he thinks officers should wear uniforms that differ from the enlisted men so they may recognize each other in battle. Praises General Henry Halleck, who had taken command in Tennessee on 11 April, as very competent and "naturally of good strong mind ... If Halleck cannot handle 100000 men in a campaign no one can ... " Comments that Halleck had to use "fresh lines" as real soldiers. Sherman states " ... this is the serious mistake of the War, in not preparing men by drill and organization all last summer, fall, and winter." Goes on to discuss Halleck's first order to destroy the Memphis and Charleston Road and mentions his own attempt to do this stating that he succeeding in destroying the road at Bear Creek Bridge. Explains his own movements and the movements and work details of other officers and their troops, notably Generals Robert Mitchell, George Henry Thomas, Don Carlos Buell, John Pope, John Alexander McClernand, and Lewis Wallace. Writes that if New Orleans is taken, "Beauregard and Bragg, both of Louisiana will be desperate. and will fight like Devils." Describes the destruction of the land, "The distruction of farms & outhouses follows in the wake of each army. To save or protect property appears a waste of patience & labor." He ends by praising his fellow generals, "Buell is our best soldier. Halleck the ablest man. Grant very brave, but not brilliant. Thomas slow, cool & methodic. I don't think much of Pope or McClernand."