Uncle Billy said the darndest things

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I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices today than any of you to secure peace.
William Tecumseh Sherman
Source/Notes:
General Sherman's Official Account of His Great March Through Georgia and the Carolinas: From His Departure from Chattanooga to the Surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston and the Confederate Forces Under His Command. To which is Added, General Sherman's Evidence Before the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War; the Animadversions of Secretary Stanton and General Halleck: with a Defence of His Proceedings, Etc (1865 edition)
 

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" I did not want them to cast in our teeth what General Hood had once done at Atlanta, that we had to call on their slaves to help us to subdue them. But, as regards kindness to the race, I assert that no army ever did more for that race than the one I commanded at Savannah. "

Sherman's Memoirs, page 249

ECWCTopicShermansMarchtotheSeaPIC.jpg
 

Saruman

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" 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.
FWIW, here's the whole quote from the Prologue of American General:

You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how this will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. 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 you 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. Only in you spirit and determination are you prepared for war. In all else you are totally unprepared, with a bad cause to start with [emphasis added]. At first you will make headway, but as your limited resources begin to fail, shut out from the markets of Europe as you will be, your cause will begin to wane. If you people will but stop and think, they must see in the end that you will surely fail.​

I'm amazed at how accurate Sherman was. I originally put this in the discussion of American General here in CWT and it's my favorite Sherman quote.

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/american-general-the-life-and-times-of-william-tecumseh-sherman.99815/#post-1502004
I doubt Sherman ever said this quote. It is too prescient. The only source is Boyd, who recounted this "conversation" in a book published in 1910.
 

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" I confess, without shame, I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands and fathers ... tis only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation." Letter to James E. Yeatman - May 21, 1865.

800px-William_Tecumseh_Sherman_and_staff_-_Brady-Handy.jpg

Sherman with generals Howard, Logan, Hazen, Davis, Slocum, and Mower - May, 1865.
 
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" I confess, without shame, I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands and fathers ... tis only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation." Letter to James E. Yeatman - May 21, 1865.

View attachment 164393
Sherman with generals Howard, Logan, Hazen, Davis, Slocum, and Mower - May, 1865.
Hazen needed another size up on the tunic.
 

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I want peace, and believe it can now only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect an early success. But, my dear sirs, when that peace does come, you may call on me for anything. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter. Now you must go, and take with you the old and feeble, feed and nurse them and build for them in more quiet places proper habitations to shield them against the weather until the mad passions of men cool down and allow the Union and peace once more to settle over your old homes at Atlanta.

Sherman's response to the mayor of Atlanta and several city councilmen begging mercy for the city.
 

Northern Light

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I'm not sure of the exact quote: "If I had my choice I would shoot every reporter, but I am sure we would soon be getting reports from hell." Can somebody please help me with the actual quote.
"If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast." - William Tecumseh Sherman quotes from BrainyQuote.com.
 

Ole Miss

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In September of 1870 the Shenandoah Herald reported a conversation overheard between General William Tecumseh Sherman (U.S.) and General Nathan Bedford Forrest (formerly C.S.A) on a riverboat somewhere on the Mississippi River. The article reported that Sherman explained to Forrest the trouble he had created for him filling not only his every waking thought, but his dreams as well. Forrest replied by telling Sherman that if he had been given the command he had asked for he would have not only been a dream but a real nightmare pressing Sherman’s flanks on their “march to the sea” and forcing them to walk through the most hazardous land.*

Would have loved to have be there and listen to these veterans sharing stories!
Regards
David
*https://historyengine.richmond.edu/episodes/view/5813
 


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