April 6, 1865: U.S. Grant to William T. Sherman


AMs 435-8_13 Grant to Sherman 4-6-1865


Head Quarters Dept. of N.C.

Army of the Ohio

April 8” 1865.

By telegraph from Burkeville Va Apl. 6”

Maj. Gen Sherman

We have Lee’s army pressed hard his men scattering and going to their homes by thousands. He is endeavoring to reach Danville where Jeff Davis and his cabinet have gone. I shall press the pursuit to the end. Push Johnson at the same time and let us finish up this job at once.

Signed U. S. Grant

Lt. General


(Signed) Theo Cox

Maj. & A.A.G.

Citation: Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), autograph letter signed to William T. Sherman. Burkeville, Va.; 8 April 1865. AMs 435/8.13

February 27, 1865: Wade Hampton to William T. Sherman

AMS 360-12 p1 Wade Hampton reply to William T. Sherman AMS 360-12 p2 Wade Hampton reply to William T. Sherman AMS 360-12 p3 Wade Hampton reply to William T. Sherman



In the Field. 27 February 1865

Majr Genl W. T. Sherman

U. S. Army.

General. –

Your communication of the 24th just reached me today. You state that it has been officially reported that your foraging parties are “murdered” after capture. Also you go on to say that you have “ordered a similar number of prisoners in our hands to be disposed of in like manner.” That is to say – you have ordered a number of Confederate soldiers to be “murdered.”

You characterize your order in proper terms; for the public voice even in your own country where it seldom dares to express itself in vindication of truth, honor or justice will surely agree with you in pronouncing you guilty of murder, in your order is carried out.

Before discussing this portion of your letter, I beg to assure you, that for every soldier of mine “murdered” by you I shall have executed at once two of yours giving in all causes preference to any officers who may be in my hands.

In reference to the statement you you make regarding the death of your foragers I have only to say that I know nothing of it; that no orders given by me authorize the killing of prisoners after capture, also that I do not believe my men killed any of yours except under circumstances in which it was perfectly legitimate and proper that they should kill them.

It is a part of the system of the thieves whom you designate as your foragers to fire the dwellings of those citizens whom they have robbed. To check this inhuman system, which is justly execrated by every civilized nation, I have directed my men to shoot down all of your men who are caught burning houses. This order shall remain in force, as long as you disgrace the profession of arms by allowing your men to destroy private dwellings.

You say that I cannot, of course, question your right to forage on the country “ It is a right as old as History” I do not, Sir, question this right. But there is a right older even that this, also one more inalienable, the right that every man as to defend his home, and to protect those who are dependant on him. And from my hear I wish that every old man and boy in my country who can fire a gun would shoot down, as he would a wild beast, the men who are desolating their land, burning their houses, and insulting their women.

You are particular in defining and claiming “war rights.” May I ask if you enumerate amongst them the right to fire upon a defenseless city without notice, to burn that city to the ground after it had been surrendered by the authorities who claimed though in vain, that protection which is always accorded in civilized warfare to non-combatants to fire the dwelling houses of citizens after robbing them also to perpetrate even darker crimes than these, crimes too black to enumerated?

You have permitted if you have not ordered the commission of these offences against humanity and the rules of war. You fired into the city of Columbia without a word of warning after its surrender by the mayor who demanded protection to private property you laid the whole city in ashes, leaving amid its ruins thousands of old men and helpless women and children who are likely to perish of starvation and exposure. Your line of march can be traced by the lurid light of burning houses and in more than one household there is now an agony far more bitter than that of death.

The Indian scalped his victim regardless of sex or age but with all his barbarity he always respected the persons of his female captives, Your soldiers, more savage than the Indians, insult these whose natural protectors are absent.

In conclusion I have only to request that whenever you have any of my men “disposed of” or “murdered” for the terms appear to be synonymous with you, you will let me hear of it in order that I may know what action to take in the matter on the meanwhile I shall hold fifty-six of your men as hostages for those whom you have ordered to be executed.

I am yours &c

Wade Hampton

Lt. Gen.

Citation: Wade Hampton, letter to William T. Sherman. 27 February 1865. AMs 360/12

February 24, 1865: William T. Sherman Letter to Wade Hampton

AMS 360-12 p1 William T. Sherman with Wade Hampton AMS 360-12 p2 William T. Sherman with Wade Hampton AMS 360-12 p3 William T. Sherman with Wade Hampton


Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi,

In the Field. Feb 24 1865

Lt Genl Wade Hampton

Comdg Cavalry forces. C. S. A.


It is officially reported to me that our foraging parties are murdered after capture and labeled “Death to All Foragers”. One instance of a Liut and seven men near Chesterville, and another of twenty “near a Ravine 80 rods from the main road” about 3 miles from Feasterville. I have ordered a similar number of prisoners in our hand to be disposed of in like manner.

I hold about 1000 of prisoners cap-tured in various ways. And can stand it as long as you. But I hardly think these murders are committed with your knowledge. And would suggest that you give notice to the people at large that every life taken by them simply results in the death of one of your Confederates.

Of course you cannot question my right to “forage on the Country”. It is a war Right as old as History. The manner of exacting in various with circumstances. And if the Civil Authorities will supply my Requisitions I will forbid all foraging. But I find no Civil Authorities who can respond to calls for forage or provision. And therefore must collect directly of the People. I have no doubt this is the occasion of much misbehavior an the part of our men, but I cannot permit an enemy to judge, or punish with wholesale murder.

Personally I regret the bitter feelings engendered by this war: but they are to be expected, and I simply allege that those who struck the first blow and made war inevitable ought not in fairness to reproach us for the natural consequences. I merely assert our War Right to Forage. And my resolve to protect my foragers to the extent of Life for Life.

I am with respect

Your obt servant

W. T. Sherman

Maj. Genl.


Citation: William T. Sherman (1820-1891), autograph letter signed to Wade Hampton. 24 February 1864. AMs 360/12

January 29, 1865: William T. Sherman to U. S. Grant

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Transcript [excerpt p2]

Therefore I am moving as hitherto designed for the Railroad west of Branchville, then swing across to Orangeburg, which will interpose my Army between Charleston and the Interior. Contemporaneous with this Foster will demonstrate up the [illeg.] and afterwards make a lookout at Bulls Bay and occupy the Common Road which leads from Mount Pleasant towards Georgetown. When I get to Columbia I think I shall move straight for Goldsboro via Fayetteville. By this circuit I cut all Roads and devastate the land; and the forces along the Coast commanded by Foster will follow by movement taking anything the Enemy lets go or so occupies his attention that he cannot attack all his forces against me. I feel sure of getting Wilmington & maybe Charleston: and being at Goldsboro with its railroad finished back to Morehead City & Wilmington. I can easily take Raleigh, when it seems that Lee must come out of his trenches or allow his Army to be assaulted instead.

March 21, 1864: A. S. Mitchell to William T. Sherman

 AMs 777-1_1 AMs 777-1_2 AMs 777-1_3

AMs 777-1_4


Cincinnati, O.

March 21. 1864


I wish to procure the release of Alex W. Smith, Jr., James D. Harrell, and Joseph B. Douglas–Confederate prisoners, lately sent North from Memphis—on the condition that they take the Amnesty oath as prescribed by President Lincoln. These young men are all minors, two of them were conscripted into the Rebel service, the other was sold into it, as a substitute at the age of 16 years. They all left it voluntarily, and without furlough, with the intention of escaping from that service. They were captured at the Federal lines on their return towards their homes, confined at Memphis + then sent North, as above stated. I regard the case of these young men as in itself meritorious; but I chiefly solicit their release on the grounds of public policy. Lately I went into Tipton County, West Tennessee, under your authority, General, to organize the citizens thereof for self-defence, + to put them in a position to suppress guerillaism & robbery and maintain peace and order in the County without military intervention. In this work I was entirely successful. A large majority of the County enrolled, under your guarantee of favor, and filed their enrollment with Maj. Gen. Hurlbut. I am sure they are going to fight the thing through unaided + in good faith. Among the most prominent & decidedly the most efficient citizens in this good work were Alexander W. Smith, Sr. and John B. Douglas, who have been respectively the presiding County Justice and County Clerk of Tipton Co. for many years. One is the father of one of the prisoners, the other the uncle of the other two. They make this application for the release of their young relatives, & I desire that they should have their petition granted as a reward for their good work, and for the moral effect their success will have in Tipton County, showing as it will to all doubting men, that favors begin to flow to good citizens as soon as friendship to the government begins. Maj. Gen. Hurlbut who examined into this application at Memphis promptly recommended it to your favorable consideration. Not expecting to meet you in Cincinnati I left the papers at St. Louis. I would be glad to have you say to the Secretary of War that you would like to have Maj. Gen. Hurlbut’s recommendation in behalf of these young men carried out, +I will present the original papers with his endorsement in Washington. With sentiment of high regard, I am General, your obt. Servant A.S. Mitchell

Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman U.S.A.

If the statement of facts as to these prisoners is true I have no objection to their release

W.T. Sherman [illeg]


March 20. 64

Let these three boys take the oath of Dec. 8th and be discharged. A Lincoln April 14, 1864


Citation: A. S. Mitchell, autograph letter signed to William T. Sherman. Cincinnati: 21 March 1864. AMs 777/1

October 6, 1863: William T. Sherman to James B. McPherson

At he end of this military letter,  Sherman writes about the death of his nine-year-old son Willie from typhoid on October 3. Willie and the rest of Sherman’s family had been visiting him in Vicksburg and traveled with him to Memphis on the steamboat Atlantic, after which they planned to continue home. Willie took sick on the boat and died shortly after reaching Memphis.

 AMs 360-16 p1  Sherman to Mcpherson 300dpi AMs 360-16 p2  Sherman to Mcpherson 300dpi AMs 360-16 p3  Sherman to Mcpherson 300dpiAMs 360-16 p4  Sherman to Mcpherson 300dpi

Transcript [excerpt—p4 to end]

I will go out to Corinth in a couple of days and would much like to hear from Genl. Grant in the mean time. It would be to me a great service of satisfaction to know he was to be at Nashville.

I cannot bear to write you of the death of my boy. He must have been ill the night he staid at your House. but he had been so uniformly well that we little heard from him till he had been on board the Atlantic two days and then Medicine availed nothing. Though I mourn his death as you can understand I think of him with pain and grace commingled. I regard you as more than an ordinary man & sincere friend.

W. T. Sherman


Citation: William T. Sherman (1820-1891), autograph letter signed to James B. McPherson. Memphis, 6 October 1863. AMs 360/16

June 14, 1863: William T. Sherman to David Porter

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Transcript (excerpt):

Our siege is settling down into a chronic state, but I feel certain that Time is working favorably to us. We have as you know received reinforcements and they are composed of good troops. I feel no concern about Johnson though assured public feeling, as the South will force him to make a desperate attack, [but he has genius?]. We must commit no mistake. I think their men have fought so much behind parapets that we can whip them in the open field and therefore we must manage not to be too much divided and to catch Johnson the moment he offers Battle. The Garrison of Vicksburg will soon feel the effects of pestilence. I see acres of hospital tents and the yellow flag denotes nearly all the hospitals. I can see dead animals lying unburied, but I am free to admit their men stand to their places like heroes. My “sap” is up to their Main Ditch and I have two side parallels quite close up…

I have read the Black Hawk Chronicles and will always read it with pleasure emanating from such a quarter. In return I send you the Vicksburg Daily Citizen of reduced dimensions. I know you will read it and though you will pity the poor victims? of your bombs, you will not feel hurt as they charged with purposely firing at yellow flags. They stream from nearly every house top.

I hope you will keep up the Shelling in the maximum capacity day & night whilst we dig our trenches. The web is closing in fast and we will secure our victim unless some superhuman effort from without relax our grasp…

Citation: William T. Sherman (1820-1891), autograph letter signed to David D. Porter. Camp, Walnut Hills, Miss., 14 June 1863. AMs 532/6

April 17, 1863: Ulysses S. Grant to John Aaron Rawlins

AMs 435-8_2 p1 Grant to Rawlins 4-17-1863 AMs 435-8_2 p2 Grant to Rawlins 4-17-1863


Richmond Louisiana

April 17th 1863

Lt. Col. J. A. Rawlins

A.A.Gen. Dept of the Ten.


Riding along the bayou through which a channel must be made teaches that much more work is to be done to make it navigable. Instruct Prime & Pride to call for all the force they can possibly work and distribute them to the best advantage. Call in McPhearson to ride over the road himself and put that in the best order he can and also give every assistance to clearing out the bayou.

Pride should have every saw that it is possible to rig at work with men enough to keep them constantly going.

Very respectfully,

U. S. Grant

Maj. Gen.

Citation: Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), autograph letter signed to John Aaron Rawlins. Richmond, La.; 17 April 1863. AMs 435/8.2

February 1, 1863: William T. Sherman to U.S. Grant

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Head Qrs 15 Army Corps

Camp February 1, 1863

Maj Gen U.S. Grant.

Dear Sir,

I am almost absolutely certain the Vicksburg is exactly where she was yesterday. For I have her watched by Commissioned officers and no Report of any change in affairs has been made. I will send an aid Capt McCoy to see with his own eyes and to report to you on board the Magnolia. You should be safe in reporting as much to the Admiral adding that in two hours you will have the official Report of a responsible officer. I will myself ride round and give orders to my Batteries. Notify the Admiral the best place for his Ram to round to will be immediately in front of the Briggs House, where the Ferry boat lay when he visited here.

I am &c

W. T. Sherman


If the Vicksburg has changed position I will inform you of the fact as soon as it is ascertained. No further communication from me this afternoon will indicate this fact. Should your boat not run the blockade to-night I will have the position of the Vicksburg watched to-morrow and in case of any change will report the fact.

U.S. Grant

Maj. Genl.

Citation: William T. Sherman (1820-1891), autograph letter signed to Ulysses S. Grant. 1 February 1863. AMs 523/28

December 22, 1862: William T. Sherman to David Porter

AMS 360-10 p1 William T. Sherman to David D. Porter


Head Qu. Forest Queen.

Dec 22. 6. PM.

Rear Admiral Porter.

Flag Ship Black Hawk.

Dear Sir.

General Steele should have [completed?] his lading by daylight and reported to me this AM by 8 oclock. but I waited for him till 10 AM, and then sent word to him that I should move on to [Gaines?] Landing and then await his coming. If he overtake me tonight and everything be up I will fire a gun at day break & start by sunrise. If however he do not report to me tonight I shall fire a gun at 8 am and run down to [Gaines?] Landing & then await his coming. He has 13000 men & some 20 boats. By laying here tonight we [discovered?] Gen. Holmes who is doubtless at the “Port of Arkansas” from which to watch our movement. After we pass [Gaines?]  Landing our purpose can no longer be doubted. I suppose you agree with me that in the heavy smoky state of the air it is better to lay by of nights.

I am with great respect. W. T. Sherman

Maj. Gen.

Citation: William T. Sherman (1820-1891), autograph letter signed to David D. Porter. aboard the Forest Queen, 22 December  [1862]. AMs 360/10