Camp Near Vicksburg
I wrote the following to my daughter Minnie who is at school at Notre Dame.
TO: MARIABOYLE EWING SHERMAN
Camp before Vicksburg, April. 26, 1863
We are on the point of moving our army south of Vicksburg. We have not yet captured that city and I don’t Know that we can, but we are gradually extending beyond it. Tomorrow I move with my army up to Millikens Bend, whence we march along a Road on the West of the Mississippi to a point on it at Carthage where we again take Boats and Cross over to the east Bank. I expect we will have some hard fighting but we don’t Know. I am in very good health, and our soldiers are generally very well, though if we pass the Summer here in these swamps, I expect a good deal of sickness.
The Spring is about a month earlier here than where you are. The trees are all now in full leaf, and the flowers in bright bloom. The Rose, the honeysuckle, the verbenia, and lilac are all in full bloom, and I wish I could send you some, but suppose it will not be long till you have them bright and beautiful in the Gardens at Notre Dame.
It will not be long now till you go home. You will all be most happy there together. Mama is now living with Granpa, and you will be all together. Uncle Charley sent to Tommy a pony for him to ride and I have written to Mama to get you and Willy a horse that you also may take plenty of exercise. I want you to learn to ride & Swim this summer. Don’t fail to try. The time will come when everything you now learn will be the source of pleasure or use. When I do come home, I will want you to read to me, to ride with me on horseback and enjoy with me the rambles through the hills and country that I know you will enjoy.
Everybody tells me how you have grown, and I can easily imagine you now as tall as your mother, for your Aunt Reese, & Julia,, long since dead were as tall at 14 as when grown women. You will be like them tall & full grown at 14 and will then be considered a young lady. I hope to See you again before then, although I cannot yet see a chance to come home. Willy & Tom & Lizzie are all growing fast, and I ought to See you from time to time lest you forget me. But I Know that although I am away, you think of me all the time. Write to me often, and I will try at some future time to write you more regularly, but as you must understand, my time is much taken up with my necessary duties.
Give my love to Willy, to Tommy Ewing, and to his Sisters, also to your Teachers.
Ever your affectionate father,
W. T. Sherman