I wrote this letter to my daughter, Minnie:
TO MARIA BOYLE EWING SHERMAN
Camp on the Walnut Hills, Vicksburg, Mississippi
Dear Little Minnie,
I received your letter by the Reverend Mr. Carrier and was glad to hear from him such good accounts of you and Willy. The time is now near at hand when you will have an examination and go home. I Suppose you will be very glad once more to see home, and I only regret we cannot all be together. But we are here on the high hills, fighting daily with the Garrison of Vicksburg which are surrounded and must soon be destroyed or surrendered unless a very large Southern army Comes to their aid.
We also have a very large army, and it is daily increasing by the arrival of troops from the North. I need not tell you how many, but our camps extend for fourteen miles. I suppose you hear a good deal about it but it is impossible that you should yet Comprehend the Complicated operations of war, which even few men can. God Grant that you may never see a hostile army.
Our Camps used to be on the low, level and sickly banks of the River, but we have fought our way to the top. I have a good tent, plenty to eat and drink and you would be surprised to See how Comfortable we all are. Night & day our soldiers are digging Roads leading up to the Enemys forts, and I daily ride about to See how the work progresses. All the time, the heavy roar of Cannons and the Sharp Crack of rifles tells that we are near our enemy, and that at any moment a Battle may happen.
A good many of our soldiers have been Killed or wounded, and I suppose before we get Vicksburg more will be. But I hope still to escape and to See you all grow up good & happy. Mama wrote me that She would take Lizzy up to See you at the Examination. I wish I could be along, but when our Country is at war it is the duty of all men to help fight it out.
Tell Willy I will write to him in a day or so, and that I have gathered some cane fishing poles which grow here in what is called cane-brakes, which I will send for him & Tom to catch fish with in the reservoir. He will value them because I sent them and because they come from the Battle fields where so many men have fallen and where for months war has raged in all its fury. It may be some time before we conquer but I think we shall do so at last.
Give my love to Sister Angela, & to Willy, Tommy, Agnes & Elly, and write to me as often as you can, because you can now write all you feel. I can hardly realize that you are so large, but time passes faster than I think.
Your affectionate father,
W. T. Sherman