Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891) to W. F. Giles [?]

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC06340 Author/Creator: Sherman, William Tecumseh (1820-1891) Place Written: St. Louis, Missouri Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 21 June 1885 Pagination: 4 p. ; 20.5 x 12.7 cm. Order a Copy

Last name of recipient is illegible. Takes responsibility for his former law partner's death at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain under Sherman's command. "McCook was my law partner and I caused his death. I have already written his child the exact truth...." Informs that he is trying to obtain an appointment for the orphaned daughter of McCook. Describes a dilemma Ulysses S. Grant relayed to him during his presidency. Grant apparently agreed to find a position for a veteran fired by his postmaster General Creswell, but was not aware the former soldier was severely disabled by war wounds. Sherman comments that Grant found him a place anyway. He hopes he doing the right thing to get this orphaned girl a position as he does not know the incumbent in office.

912 Garrison Avenue,
St. Louis, Mo. June 21 1885
Hon. W. F. Vilas
Washington DC.
Dear Sir,
I cannot refrain from Expressing in the [illegible] words prescribe my gratification at this Spontanious & gracious Expressions in your letter of June 19 just received. I promise not to draw on such a friend of love & respect without Cause.
McCook was my Law Partner, & I Caused his death - [2] I have already written his child then exact truth, and will again write her to get the principal Citizens of East Ruttland to petition for her appointment, or that of his [inserted: Ship] Father for the office She Covets.
I have had much Experience in these matters, and Know the different between Setiment and fact - Grant when President told me of a dilemma in which he was [inserted: once] pleased. - His Postmaster General Creswell of Maryland recommended the removal of A.B at Hagerstown, and the appointment of CD. - Knowing [3] nothing of the parties he Assented - In a few days came to the White House, A.B. who had been a Soldier, minus an Eye, a crippled arm, and a leg tortured & twisted by half a dozen musket bullets in the Wilderness. - He simply inquired why he had been removed to make place for a man who Kept a Livery Stable and controlled a dozen votes.
Grant was simply dumb-founded and finally concluded he must give AB a better place which he did.
So, I do not know the present incumbent, and may in my desire to help McCooks [struck: two] orphan girl [4] be actually doing a wrong to a most worthy person -
Please Construe me aright, and deliever me. that I merely want to respond feelingly to the appeal of [inserted: the child of] an Old Friend & Comrade - but be the Action of the President or the Department what it may, I will be Equally positive that the decision is right, just and conclusive,
With great respect as always
Your Friend,
W.T. Sherman

Citation Guidelines for Online Resources