William Tecumseh Sherman (February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) holds a unique position in American history. Synonymous with barbarity in the South, Sherman is lauded as a war hero in the North, and modern historians consider him the harbinger of total war. As a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), Sherman was recognized for his outstanding command of military strategy but criticized for the harshness of the "scorched earth" policies that he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States, especially in 1864 and 1865. Military historian B. H. Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was "the first modern general."
After Grant captured Fort Donelson, Sherman got his wish to serve under Grant when he was assigned on March 1, 1862, to the Army of West Tennessee as commander of the 5th Division. His first major test under Grant was at the Battle of Shiloh. The massive Confederate attack on the morning of April 6, 1862, took most of the senior Union commanders by surprise. Sherman had dismissed the intelligence reports received from militia officers, refusing to believe that Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston would leave his base at Corinth. He took no precautions beyond strengthening his picket lines, refusing to entrench, build abatis, or push out reconnaissance patrols. At Shiloh, he may have wished to avoid appearing overly alarmed in order to escape the kind of criticism he had received in Kentucky. He had written to his wife that, if he took more precautions, "they'd call me crazy again".
Despite being caught unprepared by the attack, Sherman rallied his division and conducted an orderly, fighting retreat that helped avert a disastrous Union rout. Finding Grant at the end of the day sitting under an oak tree in the darkness and smoking a cigar, Sherman felt, in his words, "some wise and sudden instinct not to mention retreat". In what would become one of the most notable conversations of the war, Sherman said simply: "Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?" After a puff of his cigar, Grant replied calmly: "Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow, though." Sherman proved instrumental to the successful Union counterattack of April 7, 1862. At Shiloh, Sherman was wounded twice—in the hand and shoulder—and had three horses shot out from under him. His performance was praised by Grant and Halleck and after the battle, he was promoted to major general of volunteers, effective May 1, 1862.
Sherman wrote an official account of the Battle of Shiloh that was preserved in The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. This edition includes maps of the campaign and pictures of the campaign’s important military commanders.
|Publisher:||Charles River Editors|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|