Head-Quarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tennessee
I got your letter enclosing Miss Bailey’s appreciation for a lock of my hair. Her first letter was referred to my redheaded orderly Hill, whose modesty was so shocked that his face outrivalled in brilliancy his brick top. Miss Bailey’s 2nd letter I answered sending autograph and describing my hair as red, bristly & horrid. I think She is satisfied to leave my locks out of the cluster of flowers to be made up out of the hairs of the Great men of the day. Such nonsense is repulsive to me, and I can’t stop to notice Such things.
I am intent on Collecting from all the corners the vast army I have on paper, and by May 1st, I hope to have a host as vast & terrible as Alaric led into Rome’s doomed Empire. I am waiting for the men I sent up Red River which were loaned to Banks for one month, and which Should now be coming back. I hope they took Shreveport, as the expedition will not be complete till that Stronghold is ours.
Grant is now the Chief & I abstain from any action west of the Mississippi further than is imposed on me by orders. I have given it as my opinion that all the Department west of the Mississippi should be united under one mind. It should be done as my thoughts and interests will naturally be drawn to the objects to my immediate front, and may lead me to Slight other & quite as important interests.
My opinion is Grant will unite everything East and go straight on Lee. I will do the Same against Johnston. If we can defeat these two armies, the Smaller ones will gradually disband leaving us to deal only with scattered bands, which however mischievous to neighborhoods, can in no wise influence the great course of the war. Forrest’s whole movement was intended to divert our attention from this concentration, which Johnston has surely detected.
Hugh is at Mumfordsville commanding the District of West Kentucky, and Charley is Lt. Colonel of the 15th Corps at Huntsville. I suppose both want to be with me, but my staff is now less than even before, because I deal only with the heads of these large armies, which have a complete organization.
W. T. Sherman