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SHERMAN, William Tecumseh. Autograph letter signed ("W.T. Sherman") as Major General, to Philemon Ewing, "In the Field, Goldsboro, N.C.", 9 April 1865. 4 pages, 4to (7¾ x 9 11/16in.), Head-Quarters, Military Division of the Mississippi stationery, in fine condition.

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SHERMAN, William Tecumseh. Autograph letter signed ("W.T. Sherman") as Major General, to Philemon Ewing, "In the Field, Goldsboro, N.C.", 9 April 1865. 4 pages, 4to (7¾ x 9 11/16in.), Head-Quarters, Military Division of the Mississippi stationery, in fine condition.

SHERMAN ANTICIPATES THE WAR'S END: "THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO SUCCEED IN WAR AND THAT IS TO STICK CLOSE AND PERSEVERE"

An intriguing letter, written on the day that Lee surrendered at Appomattox, in which a victorious Sherman anticipates the final days of the war and remarks upon the purpose and success of his march through Georgia and the Carolinas. Sherman launched his infamous "March to the Sea" in November of 1864. After capturing Savannah, his armies marched through the Carolinas, endeavoring to force the surrender of the army of Joseph Johnston. The Confedrates finally challenged Sherman on March 19, 1865 at Bentonville, but were driven from the field by superior numbers.

Here, Sherman writes from the front, still in pursuit of Johnston's fleeing army: "I must be off again tomorrow to look after Joe Johnston. Grant has made good work at Richmond, and I hope between us we can prevent Davis from making any new combinations." Noting the determined resistance of the southern cause, Sherman predicts that defeat will not be accepted easily: "Don't conclude yet that the war is over for there is a class of men who can no more adapt themselves to the new order of things than Cherokee Indians. They must die or remove to some other Country. All who have property, families or expect to live a civilized life may if they get a chance to act, submit and go to work to save what little of property is left them. But the young men, who have been taught to regard us with abhorence will continue to fight to the last... they are a determined class and manage by appeals to the pride or fear of the many to control others of less determined character." Despite his concerns about continued pockets of resistance, Sherman returns to the strategic situation at hand: "Yet of course we cannot begin to think of these fragments till the Main Army of the Confederacy cease their existence. I can whip Joe Johnston if I can bring him to bay, but he may retreat so far that I cannot follow him. I may therefore maneuver some to get him where he can not escape." Unaware of events taking place in Virginia, he notes: "Grant at my last advice had reached Parkerville, with Lee still to his North. He may pin him in Lynchburg and cut off all chances of supply. I can hardly expect to do the same by Joe Johnston who has a more open country."

In a revealing commentary, Sherman gives insight into the goals of his campaign: "in my progress through the country I necessarily make such harm that the farmers and people are getting very tired. They expected we would confine ourselves to public stores, but I take all food, sometimes leaving with a family a small supply enough to last them till the male part can come home & procure more. This gives the men an occupation different from fighting us at a distant point." Sherman further demonstrates his grasp of the strategic concepts of modern warfare: "My march through Georgia and South Carolina, beside its specific points, actually produced a marked effect on Lee's Army, because fathers and sons in his ranks felt a natural solicitude about Children or relatives in the regions through which I had passed with such relentless effort. I begin to hope that lesser armies will soon be needed and that I can leave Junior Generals [to] finish up what we have done." Sherman concludes on a note that symbolizes his Civil War career: "There is only one way to succeed in war and that is to stick close and persevere."

Just over two weeks later, Johnston finally surrendered to Sherman near Durham Station, North Carolina.

Provenance: Paul C. Richards, 1980.
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