Saturday, August 1, 1863

HeadQuarters, 15th Army Corps
Camp on Black River, Near Vicksburg, Mississippi, August 1,1863

General David Stuart, Chicago

Dear Stuart,

I had expected you would write to me from time to time, keeping me advised of your whereabouts, plans and purposes. I have heard of you from Sawyer, but not from yourself. At last I have a little promise of leisure, and avail myself of it, to remind the absent, that we still live and retain them in kindly remembrance. I know, that you are satisfied, that your separation from my Command cost me no little feeling; and even yet I never see the 55th Illinois or my old Second Division, without being reminded of you.

From among the mass of events, painted by that busy mischievous class, the Press, I doubt not, you have kept the run of our movements, somewhat eccentric, but always producing good results. How few in this world can look back to causes, and trace their true bearings. When Vicksburg fell, how many appreciated the fact, that it resulted from the labor and plans laid in Oxford, last November. I only regret, that those who started with me, had not remained to the end. But in a revolution, such as now sweeps us along with resistless force, we hardly have time to philisophize, but must go on to the end.

The capture of Vicksburg, the opening the Missisippi and driving out of the valley all the main armies, that threatened it, are the only real events of the War thus far, that look to a conclusion. In the East, and in Kentucky and Missouri they have fought battles and manouvered fast armies, but no great results have been achieved. Here we have achieved a real conclusion. I know, there must be in our country minds, that see all this, and that will appreciate it.

McPhersons Corps occupies Vicksburg, now a gnarled, cut up fortified town, full of foul smells, and full I fear of the seeds of pestilence. Grant offered to send me to Natchez, but I preferred to halt out here on Black River for the summer. We have beautiful camps, and I should delight to have you, or your friends come down to see us. Ord’s Corps, the 13th, will probably go to Natchez and have the bore that I avoid, by remaining here: of the pillage and plunder, of a district, heretofore not much visited by our troops. Here the country is cleared out and all the mischief done.

I am rejoiced at Morgan s fate, but more especially at the promptness, with which the rioters were put down. You remember, how I feared anarchy at home. Extreme Democracy is anarchy; not in a party sense, but in the sense of proper language. I certainly will favor any species of despotism, rather then the wild, terrible despotism of mobs, vigilance committees or any species of irresponsible crowds.

Should you “take on” to Soldiering again, come to me, and I will make a place for you, or should you or any of your friends come as visitors, you will not be classed as “irresponsible hangers on.”

The newspapers give me a wide berth, knowing full well, that if power should ever settle into my hands, their number and unbridled license would cease very promptly.

With respects to your wife and daughters, I remain you friend.

W.T. Sherman

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