SHERMAN, William T. Autograph letter signed ("W. T. Sherman"), as General, Cairo, 3 March 1862. 3 pages, 4to, remnants of mounting on blank integral.
SNAFU'S IN THE WESTERN THEATRE: GRANT, HALLECK, AND FLOODS: "I HAVE NOT THE CONTROL & DIRECTION OF AFFAIRS THAT YOU SUPPOSE"
A lengthy war-date letter mentioning Grant's problems with Halleck, actions in Columbus, New Madrid, Island No. 10, and the fouled-up delivery of 4,000 muskets. "I have not the control & direction of affairs which you suppose," Sherman says, evidently responding to military suggestions from Ewing. "General Halleck at St. Louis directs all movements west of the Cumberland River. I know what they are and they only differ from what you suggest in the changed status of affairs since you last heard. Gen. Buell is accumulating a very large force at Nashville. Gen. Halleck will and is now transferring Gen. Grant's Army over to the Tennessee and will operate up it somewhat in the manner you suggest. Gen. Pope is moving on New Madrid. Another command watching Columbus. I heard from there yesterday and am satisfied they have for some days been evacuating the place. And tomorrow a joint naval & army expedition goes down in front. Movements cannot now be made by land except at a snail's pace. Rivulets are becoming rivers and the flatlands are all inundated." Sherman expects that the Union troops will find Columbus emptied of rebels, "and the Confederate force moved down to the vicinity of New Madrid. The force I have at Paducah is mostly unarmed. The moment I discovered they were without arms I telegraphed to St. Louis and was shipped 4,000 muskets which by some blunder were landed at Commerce, Missouri where Genl. Pope's forces were made up. I now have notice that another steamer has been sent for them....If Columbus be evacuated the Expedition should go down to Island No. 10 and New Madrid to cooperate with Genl. Pope. But I think the Gunboats will be shy of Land batteries. The forces now in motion are approximate to the object to be obtained. But I cannot flatter myself with the belief that I shall be entrusted with any important command, although Halleck has promised me..."
An excellent letter detailing the many problems in the Missouri-Kentucy theatre. Lots of people were unhappy with Halleck, whose most decisive action so far was demoting Grant following his capture of Forts Henry and Donelson. That blunder got corrected just in time to keep Grant from quitting in disgust. Sherman, in fact, was crucial in convincing Grant to stay on in this difficult period. Yet he also butted heads with Halleck, although the Union chief of staff did come through on the promised major command. On 1 March Sherman took charge of the 5th Division of the Army of the Tennessee, in time for the Battle of Shiloh.