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Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891) to William Hopkins Morris

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01223 Author/Creator: Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 17 August 1882 Pagination: 4 p. ; 21 x 13 cm. Order a Copy

Writes to Union General Morris about revising the Infantry Tactics. Informs that he has decided to not change the tactics during the short time he has remaining in office as it will take several years to process. Remarks, "Therefore I must beg you to hold your horses another full year when [Philip] Sheridan may think it wise to open up the subject." Compares the infantry tactics to clothing for the body, " ... a correct deportment for good society - yet we cannot afford to change our fashions as often as would the Tailor, or Master."
Written on printed stationery of headquarters of the army. Back page tipped to a border.

General Sheridan replaced Sherman as Commander-in-Chief upon Sherman's retirement in 1884.

Headquarters Army of the United States,
Washington, D.C. Aug 17 1882
Genl W.H.Morris
Fordham N.Y. City,
Dear General,

I have your valued letter of Aug 15 and also an official application [struck: of] [inserted: for] a Board [struck: for the] [inserted: to] Revise [struck: of] [inserted: the Infantry] Tactics I report that recieving [inserted: so] Many systems of tactics from everybody who believed honestly he could wish an improvement, I had long since concluded not to open up the prolific subject [2] during the remaining Short period of my official Career. Therefore I must by you to hold your horses another full year, when Sheridan may think it wise to open up the subject. It would take a Board several years to read over the many Systems of Tactics deposited with the Adjutant General Endorsed "For file. to await the action of a Board when the time comes." Yours must go for the present into the same file. Tactics "by Authority" are as necessary for every Army as clothing for the human body- a correct deportment for good Society- yet we cannot afford to change our fashion as often as would the Tailor, or Master. I have had a little experience from the Squad up to a respectable Army of one hundred thousand men, and confess I never had the least trouble about "Tactics" even though Upton was then unknown.
Appreciating your time [3] and earnestness in this matter I must beg you to persevere in the "improvements" which will not cease with your life, and trust your chances with my
successor, who may not like most Old Fogies dread [struck: the] [inserted: a] change of Tactics which usually forces the Colonel to ask his Adjutant, what are the Tactics now. I consider our present Tactics are sufficient for my day and generation.

With great respect-
W. T. Sherman

Sherman, William T. (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891
Morris, William Hopkins, 1827-1900

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