" This rapid popular change makes me monarchist and raises the question whether the self interest of one man is not a safer criterion than the wild opinions of ignorant men."
letter to Ellen Sherman - Jan., 1861
" War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over."
Reply to a woman of Southern sympathies, who criticized him for the destruction of Mississippi during the Meridian Campaign.
Cited in Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction, by Alan C. Guelzo, Oxford University Press (2012), p. 439
“I have no doubt I have been much biased by my association with Southern people and that in consequence I have overrated their power. I certainly have not their temper and purpose—There is not power enough in this country to change that....”
letter to foster brother Philemon Ewing - Jan.20, 1862
"I know them well, and the very impulses of their nature. And to deal with the inhabitants of that part of the south which boarders on the great river, we must recognize the classes into which they have divided themselves"
War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want; not a word of argument, not a sign of let up, no cave in till we are whipped or they are.
Every negro who is fit for a soldier and is willing I invariably allow to join a Negro Regiment, but I do oppose and rightfully too, the forcing of negros [sic] as soldiers. You cannot Know the acts and devices to which base white men resort to secure negro soldiers, not to aid us to fight, but to get bounties for their own pockets, and to diminish their quotas at home. Mr. Secretary Stanton is now here and will bear testimony to the truth of what I say.
Excerpt from January 11, 1865 letter to Salmon Chase