Saturday, March 12, 1864

Memphis, Tennessee

I wrote a letter to my wife:

Memphis, March 12,1864

Dearest Ellen,
I wrote you a long letter from on board the Westmoreland on my way up from Vicksburg, which I sent up to Cairo by General Butterfield Bearer of dispatches. I then told you that I was en route for Huntsville, but was compelled to Stop at Memphis and send back orders to General McPherson at Vicksburg, and await the answers before resuming my journey. I sent a steamer back the day before yesterday and expect to hear by return of it in six days when I propose to start for Cairo Louisville & Huntsville. I expect to be at Cairo on the 20, Louisville 21.

Write me at latter place Care of Silas Miller at the Galt House. I Shall not stop any where but hurry to Huntsville as I know an immense amount of business awaits me there. I Enclose you the letter from Grant, which you can show to Phil, and then put it away as one of the family Records which I fear is swelling to an inconvenient Size. Dayton has not copied my official Report in the Book, but so soon as he has it too Shall be sent you.

Of all the expeditions sent out this Spring mine has been best conducted & most Successful, simply because of the secrecy and expedition with which it was planned and executed. Had the Enemy been informed of these in advance by our Prying Correspondents I might have shared the Fate of Seymour. He did not go 40 miles from his Base, whereas I went 182 miles.

I have written Grant a long letter & begged him to adhere to his Resolution not to stay at Washington. He would not stand the intrigues of politicians a week. He now occupies a dazzling height and it will require more courage to withstand the pressure than a dozen battles. I wonder if you Kept a certain dispatch Halleck made me from Corinth in June 1862 and my answer from Moscow. I foretold to Halleck his loss, and the fact that the man who won the Mississippi would be the man. I wish you would hunt it up. I Know I saw it among your papers, and show it to Phil to satisfy him however extravagant my early assertions may have seemed, how they are verified by time. I feel that whilst my mind naturally slights the events actually transpiring in my presence, it sees as clear as any one’s the results to be evolved by Time.

Now Halleck has more Book learning & Knowledge of men than Grant, and is therefore better qualified for his present Post, whereas the latter by his honesty, simplicity, candor & reliance on friends is better suited to act with soldiers. I would rather occupy my present relations to the military world than any other command & therefore must serve out this Campaign which is to be the Test. All that has gone before is mere Skirmishing. The War now begins and with heavy well disciplined masses, the issue must be settled in hard fought Battles.

I think we can whip them in Alabama and it may be Georgia, but the Devils seem to have a determination that cannot but be admired. No amount of poverty or adversity seems to shake their faith. Slaves gone, wealth & luxury gone, money worthless, starvation in view within a period of two or three years, are Causes enough to make the bravest tremble, yet I see no signs of let up. Some few deserters are plenty tired of war, but the masses determined to fight it out. I will take McPherson & two Divisions of 5000 each from the River to add to my Army at Huntsville, but they are not available till they get the furlough of 30 days. I will write more frequent now to make up.

W. T. Sherman

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