Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
General William T. Sherman
Scope and Content
Typed transcriptions exist for much of this collection. Although not inventoried below, transcriptions also exist for Sherman’s correspondence found in the Rutherford B. Hayes Papers and other collections at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
William T. Sherman was born on February 8, 1820, in Lancaster, Ohio. His younger brother was John Sherman who later became a United States Senator. He was named after Tecumseh, the famous Shawnee leader. Sherman's father died in 1829. Sherman's mother could not take care of all of her children and had several of them adopted into other families. Thomas Ewing, a neighbor and close family friend, adopted William Sherman.
Sherman attended common schools and received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1836. He graduated in 1840, ranking sixth in a class of forty-two students. He was commissioned a second lieutenant of artillery. He participated in the Seminole War from 1840 to 1842. During the late 1840s, he was stationed in California and helped Californians secure their independence from Mexico in the Mexican War. By 1850, he was in St. Louis, Missouri, and then New Orleans, Louisiana, on commissary duty. In 1850, he married Eleanor Boyle "Ellen" Ewing, the daughter of Thomas Ewing of Lancaster. The couple had eight children and a thirty-eight year marriage. Sherman resigned his commission with the rank of captain in 1853.
After leaving the military, Sherman moved to San Francisco, California and became the manager of a banking firm. The company made some unsound investments and lost most of their investors' money. Sherman refunded all of the money that his investors lost from his own savings. In 1857, he joined a bank in St. Louis, Missouri. It failed as well, and Sherman began to practice law in Leavenworth, Kansas.
In 1859, Sherman became the superintendent of the Louisiana Military Academy. He also served as a professor of engineering, architecture, and drawing. At the beginning of the American Civil War in 1861 Louisiana's seceded from the Union. Sherman resigned his position and returned to the North. In May 1861, he joined the Union army and was immediately commissioned a brigadier-general of volunteers. He commanded the Third Brigade, First Division, of the Army of Northeastern Virginia at the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861. His men suffered numerous casualties in the battle. He was transferred to the Department of the Cumberland in August 1861, and Sherman assumed command of that department in October of that year. In this position, Sherman played a vital role in securing Kentucky for the Union.
In the first year of the war, Sherman was highly critical of the Union war effort. He believed that an army of volunteers could not successfully prosecute the war. He argued that a massive army of seasoned veterans was necessary for the North to triumph. Sherman was outspoken in his opinions and was reassigned to inspection duty at St. Louis, Missouri, in December 1861. In February and March 1862, he was responsible for shipping supplies to General Ulysses S. Grant's army. Grant was working to secure western Tennessee for the Union. Sherman developed a close friendship with Grant. Grant selected Sherman to organize the Fifth Division of the Army of the Tennessee. This division fought hard at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, and Sherman received two minor wounds. Grant gave Sherman credit for the Northern victory at this battle and Sherman was promoted to the rank of major general of volunteers in May 1862.
During the remainder of 1862 and the first seven months of 1863, Sherman participated in the campaign against Vicksburg, Mississippi. He performed well and was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general in the regular army in July 1863. In the fall of 1863, Sherman assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee and helped win the Union a victory at the Battle of Chattanooga. He pursued a Southern force into East Tennessee after Chattanooga, and he succeeded in driving the Confederates from the region. During the first few months of 1864, Sherman was stationed at Vicksburg and led raids into Mississippi. He attempted to cut railroad lines, but he met with limited success.
In March 1864, Sherman assumed command of the Military Division of the Mississippi. His command included all of the soldiers operating west of the Allegheny Mountains and east of the Mississippi River. He amassed 100,000 men at Nashville. His intention was to defeat General Joseph E. Johnston's Confederate army. After battles at Kennesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, and a number of other places along the way, Sherman's force entered Atlanta, Georgia in early September 1864. Sherman had used a variety of tactics to avoid direct military confrontations with the Southerners during this campaign. He repeatedly used flanking maneuvers to prevent his army from having to attack well-fortified Confederate positions.
Following the fall of Atlanta, Sherman set out on a "March to the Sea." He determined to break the will of the Southern population between Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia. Sherman left his wagon train behind and ordered his men to feed themselves with what they could find along the way. The Northerners even requisitioned food from the slave population. Sherman realized that the civilian population was supplying the Confederate military with food and other supplies. He decided that one way to win the war was to break the will of the civilian population and to end its ability and desire to equip an army. He left Atlanta on November 15, 1864, and traveled the more than two hundred miles to Savannah by December 21. He faced little resistance from the Confederate military. In 1865, Sherman led his army into the Carolinas, using the same tactics that he had used on the "March to the Sea." General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered at Durham Station, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865 and the Civil War soon came to an end.
Sherman remained in the military following the Civil War, serving first as the commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi and then commander of the Military Division of the Missouri. When Ulysses S. Grant became President of the United States in 1869, Sherman replaced him as General of the United States Army. He retired on November 1, 1883, and was succeeded by General Philip Sheridan. Sherman moved to New York City in 1886. He died on February 14, 1891, and was buried in St. Louis, Missouri. Ohio History Central/Ohio Historical Society.
Scope and Content
This small collection of miscellaneous correspondence dates from 1862 to 1891. The bulk of the collection consists of originals, photocopies, and transcriptions of letters written by Sherman after the Civil War, during his years as General of the United States Army and in retirement. The subject matter is wide ranging - touching on the Civil War and military matters including promotions, pardons, recommendations, pensions, appointments, disciplinary actions, and travels. The correspondence also includes replies to inquiries regarding the activities of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee and the Grand Army of the Republic. Additionally, the collection contains numerous letters written by Sherman to Mary Audenreid in the decade following the death of her husband, Colonel Joseph C. Audenreid, Sherman’s long time chief-of-staff. Sherman’s letters to Mary Audenreid offer advice on personal, family, and business matters.
The collection description includes an item-level inventory arranged alphabetically by the surname of the correspondent.
To R. Saxton dtd Aug. 13, 1880 (telegram).
To Thos. F. Barr dtd Aug. 30, 1880 w/expense memo & voucher [copies f+rom originals in the General Accounting Office, Washington, D. C.].
HUNTER, H.H. & others
To James H. Thompson dtd Jan. 16, 1865.
dtd Aug. 13, 1880
Undated - Note.
To Maj. Gen. I. McDowell dtd Dec. 14, 1862.
To Gen. Johnston dtd Apr. 24, 1865. [Copy - from original in the Library of Congress]
To Gen. Wilson dtd Apr.26, 1865. [Copy]
To Admiral Theodorus Bailey dtd Jly. 14, 1868.
To T.D. Jones dtd Jly. 14, 1868.
To A.N.S. to Report of Gen. E.D. Townsend (Adjt. Gen.) dtd Apr. 15, 1869. [Copy].
To ADear [email protected] dtd Aug. 12, 1869. [Copy].
To [J.H. Ralston?] dtd Feb. 18, 1870. [Copy].
To Robert McLean dtd . [Copy].
To "Dear Turner" dtd Nov. 10, 1873 [Copy].
To [Joseph] Audenreid dtd Aug. 18, 1874.
To "Dear Scott" dtd Jan. 22, 1875 [Copy].
To [Joseph C.] Audenreid dtd Sept. 9, 1875.
To James M. Dalzell dtd Feb. 2 , 1876.
To F. Cunningham dtd Feb. 4, 1876.
To [Joseph C.] Audenreid dtd May 7, 1876.
To "Dear Strong" dtd Aug. 23, 1876.
To [Joseph C.] Audenreid dtd Aug. 29, 1876.
To J[oseph] C. Audenreid dtd Nov. 18, 1876.
To Mrs. [Wickham] Hoffman dtd Jne. 19, 1877.
To [Joseph] Audenreid dtd Jly. 2, 1877.
To Mrs. Senator Cameron of Wisconsin dtd Mch. 18, 1878.
To Hornell Woodhull dtd. Oct.. 20, 1878.
To Maxwell Woodhull dtd Apr. 3, 1878.
To J.P. Reynolds dtd Apr. 28, 1878.
To J.P. Reynolds dtd May 12, 1878.
To J.P. Reynolds dtd May 24, 1878.
To Mrs. General [Irvin] McDowell dtd Sept. 28, 1878.
To Howell Woodhull dtd Oct. 20, 1878.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Oct. 25, 1878.
To C. Edwards Lester dtd Oct. 28, 1878.
To H.W. Benham dtd Apr. 3, 1879. [copy - from original in the Ingersoll Collection, Historical
Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia].
To [Gen. E.O.C.] Ord dtd Jne. 4, 1879.
To [Gen. E.O.C.] Ord dtd Jly.13, 1879.
To Genl. H[oratio] G. Wright dtd Jly 15, 1879.
To [Gen. E.O.C.] Ord dtd Aug. 1, 1879.
To General [Horatio G.] Wright dtd Aug..6, 1879.
To [Gen. E.O.C.] Ord dtd Oct. 25, 1879.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Jan. 8, 1880.
To Gen. G.W. Bulloch dtd Jan. 27, 1880.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Feb. 8, 1880.
To [Gen. E.O.C.] Ord dtd Feb. 27, 1880
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd May 12, 1880.
To Gen. I McDowell dtd Jly. 31, 1880.
To Miss Marion Del. Adams dtd Aug. 15, 1880.
To James E. Taylor dtd Aug. 15, 1880 [Incomplete?]. [Copy]
To [Irvin] McDowell dtd Aug. 22, 1880.
To [Gen. E.O.C.] Ord dtd A ug. 29, 1880.
To Major R.H. Savage dtd Sept. 17, 1880.
To [Gen. E.O.C.] Ord dtd Dec. 5, 1880.
To John Sherman dtd Jan. 31, 1881.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Feb. 8, 1881.
To Col. C.E. Dawes dtd Mch. 5, 1881.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Mar. 25, 1881.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Apr. 20, 1881.
To Gen. Francis A. Walker dtd Jne. 3, 1881 [Copy].
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Jne. 25, 1881.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Feb. 7, 1882.
To "Mrs. Alexander" dtd Jne. 2, 1882. [Copy].
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Jly. 11, 1882.
To "Dear Dalzell" dtd Aug. 9, 1882.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Aug. 15, 1882.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Sept. 11, 1882.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Mar. 4, 1883.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Apr. 27, 1883.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd May 1, 1883.
To Mrs. Audenreid dtd Oct. 6, 1883.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Nov. 20, 1883.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Dec. 9, 1883.
To H.M. Hoxie dtd Jan. 25, 1884. [Copy].
To Mrs. Audenreid dtd Feb. 5, 1884.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Feb. 6, 1884.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Feb. 11, 1884.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Mar. 22, 1884.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Jne. 21, 1884.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Aug. 10, 1884.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Aug. 24, 1884.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Nov. 20, 1884.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Mar. 3, 1885
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Apr. 21, 1885.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Jne. 28, 1885.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Jly. 4, 1885.
To Gen. William Warner dtd Aug. 19, 1885. [Copy].
To Col. R.N. Scott dtd Sept. 6, 1885.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Sept. 13, 1885.
To Alfred S. Roe dtd Nov. 22, 1885.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Dec. 4, 1885.
To [John Easton] Tourtelotte dtd Feb. 27, 1886.
To [Mary] Audenreid dtd Apr. 11, 1886.
To Gen. O.M. Poe dtd Nov. 30, 1886.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Jan. 15, 1887.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Mar. 24, 1887.
To Major E.C. Dawes dtd Mch. 25, 1887.
To E.W. Bok dtd Mar. 28, 1887. [Copy].
To Mrs. Audenreid dtd May 3, 1887.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Sept. 5, 1887.
To Gen. [William] Warner dtd Sept. 30, 1887. [Copy].
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Oct. 4, 1887.
To W.P. Cutter dtd Oct. 31, 1887.
To Gen. James Grant Wilson dtd Nov. 26, 1887. [Copy].
To "Dear Murray" dtd Feb. 1, 1888. [Copy].
To Gen. William Warner dtd Apr. 3, 1888. [Copy].
To E.F. Andrews dtd Nov..7, 1888.
To General Woodbury dtd Aug. 24, 1889.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Nov. 27, 1889.
To B. Fernow dtd Jan. 29, 1890.
To Genl. [M.C.] Meigs dtd Feb. 5, 1890.
To Gen. Ed McCook dtd Feb. 12, 1890.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Feb. 21, 1890.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Mar. 13, 1890.
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd June 14, 1890.
To Lloyd Brice dtd Jly. 7, 1890 [Copy]
To Lloyd Bryce dtd Jly. 7, 1890. [Copy]
To Dr. D.W. Hartshorn dtd Jly. 16, 1890.
To [Andrew] Carnegie dtd Oct. 29, .
To Richd. Fleisher dtd Feb. 3, 1891. [Copy].
To Wilson Barrett dtd Feb. 4, 1891. [Copy].
To Gen. [John M.] Schofield dtd Jne. 28
To Mrs. [Mary] Audenreid dtd Dec. 22 .
To Daniel M. Martin undated, Prtd. copy of letter [newspaper clipping].
To Wm T. Sherman dtd Dec. 3, 1868.