First Bull Run Col. W. T. Sherman: "Then for the first time I saw the Carnage of battle"

Andy Cardinal

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Feb 27, 2017

Although a regular army officer, William T. Sherman had never seen major combat before First Bull Run. The following is from a letter to his wife Ellen written a few days after the battle:

"After an hour of close contest our men began to fall into confusion. 111 had been killed and some 250 wounded and the Soldiers began to fall back in disorder -- My horse was shot through the foreleg -- my knee was cut round by a ball, and another had hit my Coat collar and did not penetrate an aide Lt. Bagley was missing, and in spite of all exertions the confusion increased, and the men would not reform -- Similar confusion had already occurred among other Regiments & I saw we were gone. Had they kept their Ranks we were the gainers up to that point -- only our field Batteries exposed had been severely cut up, by theirs partially covered. Then for the first time I saw the Carnage of battle -- men lying in every conceivable shape, and mangled in a horrible way -- but this did not make a particle of impression on me -- but horses riding around riderless with blood streaming from their nostrils -- lying on the ground hitched to guns, gnawing their sides in death -- I sat on my horse on the ground where Ricketts Battery had been shattered to fragments, and saw the havoc done.

Source: Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence