I wrote a letter to my wife, Ellen:
TO ELLEN EWING SHERMAN
Memphis, January 11, 1864
I only got here yesterday, four days floating down the Arctic Ice. Think of Ice floating by New Orleans but it must be so. All the way from Cairo here the River was one mass of floating Ice and navigation above is closed by ice, and even below it is very bad. I find all things here as I expected. Only Forrest is below, joined to the Same Brigade that used to hover on my front at Big Black. It is exceedingly difficult to deal with these Mounted Devils and I am sure all we can do is to make the Country feel that the People must pay for these wandering Arabs.
I will run down to Vicksburg, and back to Memphis and be ready to start on some expedition by the 20th. I may strike for Meridian and Selma. I wrote you from the Gunboat Juliet, telling you that I left Minnie in Cincinnati with orders to Send her out to the College, Mount Notre Dame. Phil will also tell you all about it. I would feel much better Could I have gone out, but the day was bitter cold, and we were employed all day.
I ought to be well schooled now at parting but really I felt bad to leave Minnie alone in that dark house, Almost as bad as when Lizzie clung to me as for life in the School at Mrs. Kings Old House. I confess myself amazed at the calm & easy manner of Minnie at all times, unabashed, almost too much so for her years, and yet she seems loving and kind. To me she acts somewhat like Willie with that Simple confidence that is very captivating. She will make a beautiful woman, and we cannot be too careful of her in her next three years. I must be away, and you have your hands full, but I saw that even in Cincinnati you & I have friends that will watch her with parental Care. I wrote to Mrs. Swords, and She will be like a hen with a Single Chicken. I would not be surprised if she were to make herself Minnie’s confidante. Tell Tommie I will draw him a good picture one of these days.
Today my pen has been going for ten hours, and I have signed the death warrant of several soldiers, two negros & one Guerilla, all for murder & hard crimes. People here have Crowded about all day and seem disappointed I am not coming here to Stay, but I will make some salutary changes. I will put Buckland in Command. I Know him to be sober, industrious and honest. Hurlbut will Command the District but I will take him with me down to Vicksburg and out to Meridian.
I came down in a Gunboat Juliet; small but very comfortable, have been very well, but now am hoarse, but no sore throat or other ailment. A great many have inquired after you most kindly, Colonel Cockrill, General Hurlbut, Valeria & Mrs. Williamson. The latter is unwell, but sent her little daughter & son to call and insist on my coming out. I fear I cant go.
This cold weather will try our troops up the Tennessee. You need not fear that I will let Condit Smith, Sanger or anybody put any cause of difference between Charley & me. No danger. I don’t object to your having strong dislikes & expressing them to me, but I do object to your stooping to noticing any man with whom you may be as a stranger, or putting any one between me & you. Leave me to play my game of life and I honestly believe you will be satisfied. I am now past forty & according to natural Law can’t change and you must take me “for worse.”
W. T. Sherman