Sherman's Slaves

ole

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Sometime back, I got spanked for implying that Sherman never owned slaves.

I have not seen any evidence that he did, or that his wife did (plenty of evidence that Grant was given one and that Julia had at least three, whether or not they belonged to her).

So. What do we have on Sherman's slaves?

Ole
 

5fish

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Sometime back, I got spanked for implying that Sherman never owned slaves.

I have not seen any evidence that he did, or that his wife did (plenty of evidence that Grant was given one and that Julia had at least three, whether or not they belonged to her).

So. What do we have on Sherman's slaves?

Ole

Did the North sucker their soldiers into fighting to "Free The ...
15 posts - 9 authors - Last post: Oct 7, 2008
Ulysses S. Grant owned one slave named William Jones in 1858 and freed him in .... Sherman did own a couple slaves while he was in Louisiana ...
boards.history.com/topic/civil-war/did-the.../520015574 - Cached - Similar

This link is to another forum

William Tecumseh Sherman Vs. John C. Calhoun, Page 3 of 6 ...
Apr 26, 2009 ... He even mentions that Sherman thought slavery would survive the war, and that Sherman himself said that he would own slaves one day. ...
www.associatedcontent.com/.../william_tecumseh_sherman_vs_john_c_pg3.html -

This is a review of a paper..


The Confederate Battle Flag: A Symbol of Racism? (Charles Davidson)
... such as Union General William T. Sherman, who owned a number of slaves .... Is the U.S. flag a symbol of slavery because the North owned slaves ... Northern Abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, burned the U.S. ... President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate States Congress never did such things. ...
www.pointsouth.com/csanet/confederate_flag.htm - Cached - Similar

A weird site

This are some links that implied that he owned saves. I bet he did he did live in LA. for a few years...
 

K Hale

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Sherman was the first person I got really interested in when I found myself turning into a Civil War buff. I read several biographies of him and also Brooks Simpson's monumental book of his correspondence.

When Sherman was a young officer at Ft. Moultrie, he rented a slave. I want to say he rented him from a cousin who was living there. I can't recall which book I read this in, of course...

When he was at proto-LSU he wrote to his wife that whether she liked it or not (and she didn't), once she moved down there with the kids, she'd have to buy a slave because you couldn't get free blacks or whites to work because everybody down there was lazy. So unless she wanted to do for herself, she'd be forced to break down and buy a slave. That's definitely in the Simpson correspondence tome.

In that same book is a reference from the same time period to a body servant who was caring for Sherman's sick horse... this is way more vague than the other two examples I remember...

If nobody has the book, I can dig it out and try to find the particulars.
 

Bonny Blue Flag

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Studying Sherman's life might shed some light on whether or not he was a slave owner.

Sherman was born in 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio. His father was a lawyer and sat on the Ohio Supreme Court. In 1829, his father passed away and 9 yr old Sherman was sent to live with the Ewing family in town, Mr. Ewing was a lawyer. I get the impression that Mrs. Sherman could not raise all the children by herself.

Sherman graduated 6th in his class at West Point in 1840.

He served in Georgia and South Carolina, and in the Mexican-American war. But his lack of a combat assignment discouraged him and may have led to his decision to leave the army in 1853.

In 1850 he married Eleanor "Ellen" Boyle Ewing, a daughter of the family that raised him.

They had 8 kids.

After leaving the army in 1853, Sherman went to work in a St. Louis branch of a bank in San Fransisco. This branch closed in 1857 and he relocated to New York, same bank. The bank failed in 1857, so he turned to the practice of law in Leavensworth, Ks. Again, not successfully.

Sherman was named president of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning in 1859, a military college. We know this college as Louisiana State University. (LSU)

In January 1861, Sherman was required to accept receipt of arms surrendered to the State Militia by the U.S. Arsenal at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Instead of complying, he resigned, telling the gov. of Louisiana, "On no earthly account will I do any act or think any thought hostile...to the.. United States."

He went to D.C., probably in hopes of securing a position in the army. President Lincoln was unresponsive to Sherman's concerns of the North's poor state of preparedness for the upcoming war.

Therefore, Sherman became president of the St. Louis Railroad, a streetcar company. This job lasted only a few months, as he was living in a border state as seccesion crisis came to a climax.

In April 1861 Sherman declined an offer from the Lincoln administration to take a position in the war Department that might have resulted in his becoming the Secretary of War.

He offered himself for service in the regular army in May 1861. On June 7th, he was called to Washington D.C.

After the war, July 1865, Sherman was put in charge of the Military Division of the Missouri, which included every territory west of the Mississippi. His main concern was to protect the construction and operation of the railroads from attack by Indians, by any means possible.

In 1866, Sherman was promoted to lieutenant general of the army. When Grant became president of the U.S. in 1869, Sherman was promoted to Commanding General of the United States Army.

Sherman moved his headquarters to St. Louis, Missouri from 1874 to 1876 in order to escape political difficulties.

During his tenure, he established the Command School, now known as the Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth.

In 1875, Sherman published his memoirs in two volumes.

Sherman stepped down as commanding general on November 1, 1883, and retired from the army in 1884.

He lived most of the rest of his life in New York City.

Sherman was proposed as a Republican canditate for the presidential election of 1884, but declined, saying, "If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve." Such a catagorical rejection of a candidacy is now referred to as a Shermanesque statement. ( I recall President Lyndon B. Johnson saying words to that effect)

Sherman died February 14th, 1891 in New York City. It was at Sherman's funeral that Joseph E. Johnston, serving as pallbearer on that bitterly cold day, refused to wear a hat, became ill and one month later died of pneumonia.

Sherman's body was transported to St. Louis, Missouri where another funeral service was conductedon February 21, 1891, presided over by his son, Thomas Ewing Sherman, a Jesuit priest.

Sherman is buried in Calvary Cemetary in St. Louis.

Did Sherman own slaves? Didn't seem like he had alot of time or money to do so.

--BBF
 

K Hale

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It takes time?

At Fort Moultrie, there evidently was not much to do. Sherman took up painting in his spare time. He painted so much that he eventually forced himself to give it up, because he feared art was taking over his life.
 

cash

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Right here.
Sometime back, I got spanked for implying that Sherman never owned slaves.

I have not seen any evidence that he did, or that his wife did (plenty of evidence that Grant was given one and that Julia had at least three, whether or not they belonged to her).

So. What do we have on Sherman's slaves?

Ole

"Sherman had adopted the southern attitude toward slavery: it was part of the natural order. He had a slave in both Mobile and Charleston, and he strongly defended the institution in letters home, on one occasion using Fort Moultrie's sorrow over the death of Braxton Bragg's retainer to demonstrate 'the strong attachment between master and slave.'" [John F. Marszalek, _Sherman: A Soldier's Passion for Order,_ pp. 45-46]

Regards,
Cash
 

5fish

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I like to bring up the observation that most everyone knows Grant owned a slave...and the Lost Cause fellows always make a point of it..

Here's Sherman and no one is sure he owned a slave or slaves. I think this is odd for he is the idle of many and to others he was the devil on earth...

So why is there not a definitive answer to Ole simple question and why is it not widely know?

I could see the Lost Cause fellows point that out all the time.

a muse...
 

5fish

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Will have to get a copy of his memoirs. Maybe that will help anwer the question.

--BBF

A link to his memoirs


General Sherman's Memoirs
This WEB site features the Memoirs of General William T. Sherman.
www.sonofthesouth.net/.../sherman/.../general-sherman-memoirs.htm - Cached - Similar
 

johan_steele

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5fish, do you know if that link is to the full set of the memoirs or an abridged. I seem to remember an abridged set available on the net which ended up confusing some people some time back.

I have no idea one way or the other just asking out of curiousity.

I'm rather certain he rented a slave for a while and I thought he owned one while at LSU but my memory is far from perfect and the wife is rearranging the porch where my books are so my chances of finding anything for the next week or two is pretty much little more than a wing n a prayer.
 

5fish

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5fish, do you know if that link is to the full set of the memoirs or an abridged. I seem to remember an abridged set available on the net which ended up confusing some people some time back.

I have no idea one way or the other just asking out of curiousity.

I don't know if abridge or not but I found other places on the net where the memoirs were.....
 

ole

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So, in conclusion, we have only a vague reference by Marzaleck, in one sentence, on one page of his excellent book, that Sherman ever owned or rented a slave.

We know the name of Grant's only slave. We know when he acquired the man and we know when he gave the man his freedom. But we have nothing about Sherman's.

We can toss off the "servant" that took care of his horses. It is fairly obvious that Sherman hired the man because he was good with horses. Maybe not but, at the time Sherman employed this groom, Grant was telling Julia to distance herself from her unpaid servants. Does anyone think that Sherman could get away with having a slave right about then?

So that leaves his early service in the South as a young man. It is not likely that a young lieutenant could buy a slave. He could rent one ... temporarily ... to keep his room and personal effects in order ... but owning one?

If he did, in fact, own a slave, then I'd like to see some evidence.

So long as I'm on a roll, we might also take a look at his racism. In reading his letters, it is obvious that Sherman did not believe the black would make a good soldier, but not simply because they were black and "inferior." Sherman felt that, because they had been held in bondage for so long, they hadn't been prepared for the responsibility of being a soldier. The USCT proved him wrong, but his attitude is certainly understandable.

Seems that Ms. Hale has also read the book. What say, K, was Sherman a racist?

Ole
 

K Hale

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I think modern terms like "racist" are pretty much inapplicable to 19th century life. It would be unusual to find someone who wasn't a "racist" in some way. Did Sherman think white folks were superior to black folks? Sure he did, but so did the vast majority of the white American populace. I'd like there to be some other standard than declaring someone a racist. It just doesn't have the same meaning as it has today.

He certainly was not anti-slavery before the war; he relates in his memoirs a conversation from his Louisiana days where he said the law ought to be modified so that families could not be sold apart. That's as far as it went. He chided his senator brother John for declaring his support for a controversial anti-slavery book that John had not even read; he warned John that this could get him (Cump) in hot water down there in Louisiana, and what was he thinking declaring support for that d____d book, etc etc.

I never found Sherman to be hateful or cruel towards blacks, for what that's worth. He did believe ex-slaves would make poor soldiers, would not stand and fight, and he refused to have them toting muskets in his army although he was happy to have them as pioneers and other support staff. He said instances like Battery Wagner were "exceptions" to this rule. I never have been clear whether Sherman was speaking only of freedmen or if he meant blacks in general. IIRC, the 54th Massachusetts were not freedmen (despite what the movie said), is that correct?

Perhaps the defining thing Sherman had to say, which keeps coming to mind, was, "I like n_____ well enough -- as n______."
 

cash

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So that leaves his early service in the South as a young man. It is not likely that a young lieutenant could buy a slave. He could rent one ... temporarily ... to keep his room and personal effects in order ... but owning one?

I see the logic behind his just renting a slave, but as an adopted scion of the Ewings, could Sherman not have money of his own outside his Army pay?

I've met Marszalek once, and if I come across him again I'll certainly ask him about this and what he used as a source.

In the meantime, I'll scour whatever of his letters I can come across from 1841-1843 to see if anything is mentioned there.

Regards,
Cash
 

ole

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Could be interesting, but I wonder if the whole topic has any value? Guess if we're going to toss it about, it has value.
I see the logic behind his just renting a slave, but as an adopted scion of the Ewings, could Sherman not have money of his own outside his Army pay?
That would seem logical, but Sherman fought, tooth and nail, throughout his career, to avoid going back to Ohio and getting a comfortable spot running one or two of the Ewing properties.

Sherman very much wanted to succeed on his own. This is not to say that Ellen may not have been feeding him funds, but I do doubt it. The profile doesn't fit.

Ole
 

Henry

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Sherman in St. Louis

Sherman writes of fighting outside the window of his office. He had position as Superintendent of the Street-Car system in the City of St. Louis, Missouri. The incident caused Sherman to make a rapid evaluation of the situation and get back in uniform.
 

ole

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There's little doubt where Sherman's loyalties were. But he didn't want to do a rag-tag volunteer unit. He wanted a ready-made regular unit. He didn't get one, but he made do and acquitted himself pretty well. And this was before he tilted.

Ole
 

K Hale

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I see the logic behind his just renting a slave, but as an adopted scion of the Ewings, could Sherman not have money of his own outside his Army pay?
No, Sherman had a bee in his bonnet about accepting monetary aid from Mr. Ewing. He did not ask for or receive an allowance. This is what eventually led to him leaving the army in the 1850s, he was unable to support his growing family on his army pay and wouldn't take cash from Ewing. IIRC, most of the time, Ellen Sherman and at least one of the kids was actually living with the Ewings in Ohio while Sherman and the rest of the kids were in California, or Sherman alone was in Louisiana or wherever, but Sherman still had to quit the army and get a higher paying job. Mr. Ewing offered him a job, but he wouldn't take that, since it smacked of a handout. So, no, Sherman had no money of his own other than what he earned in the army or his later jobs.
 

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