Uncle Billy said the darndest things

KeyserSoze

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"I will order them to make up a force and go out and follow Forrest to the death, if it cost 10,000 lives and breaks the Treasury. There never will be peace in Tennessee until Forrest is dead. We killed Bishop Polk yesterday, and made good progress today, of which I will make a full report once one of my aides comes from the extreme right flank." - June 15, 1864
 

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Andersonh1

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The more Indians we can kill this year the fewer we will need to kill the next, because the more I see of the Indians the more convinced I become that they must either all be killed or be maintained as a species of pauper. Their attempts at civilization is ridiculous... Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
 

Andersonh1

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...the negro is in a transition state, and not the equal of the white man….I prefer some negroes as pioneers, cooks and servants, others gradually to experiment in the art of the soldier [with] the duties of local garrisons... William Sherman in a letter to John A. Spooner, recruitment agent for black soldiers

I never thought my n***** letter would get into the press….I lay low. I like n***** well enough as n*****, but when fools and idiots try and make n***** better than ourselves, I have an opinion.
- William Sherman, commenting to a friend when the previous letter became public.
 

1950lemans

First Sergeant
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Connecticut
"..if Lee is a soldier of genius, he will seek to transfer his army from Richmond to Raleigh or Columbia; if he is a man of detail, he will remain where he is, and his speedy defeat is sure."
-Gen. William T. Sherman commenting on whether Lee will head south and join up with Johnston or stay put in Petersburg.
 

frontrank2

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“I knew, of course, that such a measure would be strongly criticised, but made up my mind to do it with the absolute certainty of its justness, and that time would sanction its wisdom. I knew that the people of the South would read in this measure two important conclusions: one, that we were in earnest; and the other, if they were sincere in their common and popular clamor ‘to die in the last ditch,’ that the opportunity would soon come.”

From Sherman's memoirs regarding his proposal to remove all inhabitants from Atlanta.
 

frontrank2

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“Who was your accuser?” asked General Sherman; “who made the charges?”

“Why– why– I suppose it was that spiteful old woman, Mrs. Bickerdyke.”

“Oh, well, then,” said Sherman, “if it was she, I can’t help you. She has more power than I — she ranks me.”

General Sherman to a hospital surgeon who was dismissed by Mother Bickerdyke and trying to get her charges dropped.
 

frontrank2

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The more Indians we can kill this year the fewer we will need to kill the next, because the more I see of the Indians the more convinced I become that they must either all be killed or be maintained as a species of pauper. Their attempts at civilization is ridiculous... Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman
Wikiquotes labels that statement as an unsourced quotation and it was removed from the W.T. Sherman page.
 

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
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Mar 14, 2014
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Due west of the Free State stronghold of Lawrence
" War is a terrible thing! You mistake, too, the people of the North. They are a peaceable people but an earnest people, and they will fight, too. They are not going to let this country be destroyed without a mighty effort to save it … Besides, where are your men and appliances of war to contend against them? The North can make a steam engine, locomotive, or railway car; hardly a yard of cloth or pair of shoes can you make. You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. "
    • Comments to Prof. David F. Boyd at the Louisiana State Seminary (24 December 1860), as quoted in The Civil War : A Book of Quotations (2004) by Robert Blaisdell. Also quoted in The Civil War: A Narrative (1986) by Shelby Foote, p. 58.
Nearly identical to the fictional Rhett Butler's warning to the young hotheads at the Twelve Oaks party near the beginning of Gone With the Wind (chapter 6). In fact, I've always thought Margaret Mitchell may have ripped off W.T. Sherman for that scene....
 
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Sherman had been employing fugitive slaves and Black refugees streaming into his lines, as laborers at a rate of $10 per month, but when recruiting agents began luring his laborers away with the offer of $14 per month to enlist in the Army, Sherman had the agents arrested. General Lorenzo Thomas, who was in charge of recruiting Blacks in the West, complained to Secretary of War Stanton that the arrests of the agents had just about shut down the enlistment program in the areas under Sherman's control. Sherman wrote the following letter to General L. Thomas, criticizing the recruitment of Blacks into the military as an injustice to them and their families :

HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION or THE MISSISSIPPI,
Near Kenesaw Mountain, June 26, 1864.

General LORENZO THOMAS,
Louisville, Ky.:

I was gratified at the receipt of your dispatch from Chattanooga. I would have answered sooner if our telegraph had not been broken so often of late. As I wrote you, I know all the people have left North Georgia for the regions of the Flint and Appalachicola with their negroes.

The regiments of blacks now in Chattanooga and Tennessee will absorb all the recruits we can get, but if you raise new regiments they could be well employed about Clarksville, Bowling Green, and on the Tennessee River, say at the terminus of the Northwestern Railroad. My preference is to make this radical change with natural slowness. If negroes are taken as soldiers by undue influence or force and compelled to leave their women in the uncertainty of their new condition, they cannot be relied on; but if they can put their families in some safe place and then earn money as soldiers or laborers, the transition will be more easy and the effect more permanent.

What my order contemplated was the eagerness of recruiting captains and lieutenants to make up their quota in order to be commissioned.

They would use a species of force or undue influence and break up our gangs of laborers as necessary as soldiers. We find gangs of negro laborers well organized on the Mississippi at Nashville and along the railroads most useful, and I have used them with great success as pioneer companies attached to divisions, and I think it would be well if a law would sanction such an organization—say of 100 to each division of 4,000 men.

The first step in the liberation of the negro from bondage will be to get him and family to a place of safety, then to afford him the means of providing for his family, for their instincts are very strong, then gradually use a proportion—greater and greater each year—as sailors and soldiers. There will be no great difficulty in our absorbing the four million of slaves in this great industrious country of ours, and being lost to their masters the cause of war is gone, for this great money interest then ceases to be an element in our politics and civil economy. If you divert too large a proportion of the able-bodied into the ranks, you will leave too large a. class of black paupers on our hands; the great mass of our soldiery must be of the white race, and the black troops should for some years be used with caution and with due regard to the prejudice of the races. As was to be expected, in some instances they have done well, in others badly, but on the whole the experiment is worthy a fair trial, and all I ask is that it be not forced beyond the laws of natural development.

In Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky it may be wisely used to secure their freedom with the consent of owners.

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General, Commanding.
 
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"We build iron roads, and you cannot stop the locomotive any more than you can stop the sun or moon, and you must submit, and do the best you can, and if any of you want to travel east to see the wealth and power of the whites you can do so, and we will pay your expenses. Our people east hardly think of what you call war here, but if they make up their minds to fight you they will come out as thick as a herd of buffalo, and if you continue fighting you will all be killed. We advise you for the best. We now offer you this, choose your own homes, and live like white men, and we will help you all you want. We are doing more for you than we do for white men coming from over the sea. This Commission is not only a Peace Commission, but it is a War Commission also. We will be kind to you if you keep the peace, but if you won't listen to reason, we are ordered to make war upon you in a different manner from what we have done before."
Excerpt from General Sherman's September 20, 1867 speech to Indian Chiefs, "Swift Bear," "Man-that-walks-under-the-Ground," "Pawnee Killer," and "Big Mouth " at North Platte, Nebraska.
 

diane

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Sherman and the Indians! :x3: He got the chiefs there to listen to his speech by stopping the food supplies at Ft Larned, so they wouldn't arrive to feed the people stuck at the agencies. He was very efficient and very much the soldier, and his interpretation of Grant's peace policy was perfectly Shermanesque. Here's your treaty, here's your rubber stamp, make it happen. He listened to some eloquent and reasonable speeches back but it all fell on deaf ears. And...a few years later nobody could explain the awls stuck in Custer's ears at Little Big Horn...
 
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"His sphere of action was. however, local. He never rose to the grand problem which involved a continent and future generations. His Virginia was to him the world. Though familiar with the geography of the interior of the great continent, he stood like a stone wall to defend Virginia against the 'Huns and Goths' of the North, and he did it like a valiant knight as he was. He stood at the front porch battling with the flames whilst the kitchen and house were burning, sure in the end to consume the whole. Only twice, at Antietam and Gettysburg, did he venture outside on the 'offensive defensive.' In the first instance he knew personally his antagonist and that a large fraction of his force would be held in reserve; in the last he assumed the bold 'offensive,' was badly beaten by Meade, and was forced to retreat back to Virginia. As an aggressive soldier Lee was not a success, and in war that is the true and proper test. 'Nothing succeeds like success.' In defending Virginia and Richmond he did all a man could, but to him Virginia seemed the 'Confederacy,' and he stayed there while the Northern armies at the West were gaining the Mississippi, the Tennessee, the Cumberland, Georgia, South and North Carolina, yea, the Roanoke, after-which his military acumen taught him that further tarrying in Richmond was absolute suicide."
Excerpt from an 1887 Sherman letter to the North American Review responding to British military critic Lord Wolseley's comment that Robert E. Lee had "towered above all men on either side of that struggle."
 

unionblue

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Ocala, FL (as of December, 2015).
"There are about 6 million men in this country, all thinking themselves sovereign and qualified to govern, some 34 governors of states who feel like petty kings, and about 10,000 editors who presume to dictate to generals, presidents, and cabinets."

--Sherman in a letter to his brother, Senator John Sherman of Ohio, August 3, 1862.
 


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