William T. Sherman

William T. Sherman fought on the Northern side as a general in the American Civil War. He was one of the most controversial generals and, through his "scorched earth" tactics, one of the northern leaders most hated in the South.



Origin and teenage years:

William Tecumseh Sherman was born on February 8, 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio, the son of Charles Robert and Mary Hoyt Sherman. He received his middle name as a veneration of his parents to the same Indian chief of the Shawnee.

William, like most of the known generals, also attended the West Point Military Academy in New York, which he finished as one of the most successful of his year.


Frühe Aufnahme von William T. Sherman

Early recording by William T. Sherman




Military service:

After completing his training at West Point, William did not participate in the later war against Mexico. At that time he was based in California, which was experiencing an economic boom and intoxication as a result of gold discoveries. William also participated in the ruling gold run by speculating on land and land.

Subsequently, he was stationed in the eastern United States, where he was deployed in areas whose geographic knowledge should bring him crucial benefits later in the Civil War. He also carried out an inspection trip to the south of the US, following the same route as his later campaign against the southern states, only in the opposite direction.

In 1853 William left the military and tried to settle as a banker and later as a lawyer in California and St. Louis. In both professions, he achieved only moderate success until 1859 President of the military school in Alexandria, Louisiana was.




The American Civil War:

When the American Civil War broke William his officer patent back and appointed him on May 14, 1861 Commander of the 13th Infantry Regiment. With this unit, he also took part in the first battle of Bull Run, which ended in defeat for the northern states.

On August 7, 1861 he was promoted to Brigadier General and took command of the troops stationed in Kentucky. After making a tactical mistake and misjudging the situation with the Confederate forces approaching, he was again deprived of his command and sharply criticized in public for his behavior, which later developed into depression and suicidal thoughts.

In early 1862 William was charged despite the criticism with the command of a division. This led him in April to the Battle of Shiloh, which was initially considered lost, but still could be won by strengthening by the Tennessee army and bad tactics of the Confederates. It was considered one of the most lossy battles of the entire war. After the victory he was promoted on May 1, 1862 major general.

From the end of December 1862 William took as commanding General of the XV. Corps under the command of General Grant in the conquest of the Confederate city of Vicksburg in Mississippi part. It was not until July 4, 1863, after weeks of siege, that the city capitulated.

In November 1863 William was given command of the Tennessee Army in the western United States, with whom he participated, among others, in the Battle of Chattanooga. From mid-1864 he was assigned to take over the Confederate city of Atlanta, which he succeeded on September 2, 1864 also.

His next destination on his Western campaign was the march through Georgia to the port city of Savannah. For the first time, William relied on his controversial "Scorched Earth" tactic, which was to protect his soldiers from what the conquered territory had yielded. This tactic made him one of the most despised generals in the northern states in Confederate-held territory.

After taking Savannah, he convinced his Commander-in-Chief, General Grant, to invade his forces in South and North Carolina. There he also wanted to use the "scorched earth" tactic to demoralize the Confederates and force them to capitulate. On February 17, 1865, he took Columbia with the capital of South Carolina. This was destroyed by a fire for the most part, and is still controversial, which was the reason for the attack. His soldiers continued to march through North Carolina, devastating his soldiers there much less than in Georgia. In Goldsboro he united his troops with the soldiers waiting there.

His next target was to unite with General Grant's soldiers to march against Confederate General Lee's Northern Virginia Army in Petersburg, Virginia. Due to the surrender of General Lee and the associated end of the civil war, it was no longer to this union.


William T. Sherman im Jahr 1865

William T. Sherman in 1865




Williams's military service after the Civil War:

After the end of the Civil War William remained in the US Army and was promoted to lieutenant general on 25 July 1866. His other missions were limited to the Indian wars.


US-General William T. Sherman in Verhandlung mit Indianern bei Fort Laramie

US General William T. Sherman in negotiation with Indians at Fort Laramie


In 1869, the former General Grant became President of the United States. William Sherman was then promoted to General of the Army of the United States and appointed Commander in Chief of the Army. This post he led until his departure from the military on 8 February 1884.




Williams end of life:

Even during his tenure as Commander in Chief of the Army William published his memoirs. From these went his best-known saying: "War is hell".

William died on February 14, 1891 in New York. His funeral procession included some former Confederate generals, such as General Joseph E. Johnston.






You can find the right literature here:


William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life

William Tecumseh Sherman: In the Service of My Country: A Life Hardcover – June 14, 2016

General Sherman’s 1864 burning of Atlanta solidified his legacy as a ruthless leader. Yet Sherman proved far more complex than his legendary military tactics reveal. James Lee McDonough offers fresh insight into a man tormented by the fear that history would pass him by, who was plagued by personal debts, and who lived much of his life separated from his family. As a soldier, Sherman evolved from a spirited student at West Point into a general who steered the Civil War’s most decisive campaigns, rendered here in graphic detail. Lamenting casualties, Sherman sought the war’s swift end by devastating Southern resources in the Carolinas and on his famous March to the Sea. This meticulously researched biography explores Sherman’s warm friendship with Ulysses S. Grant, his strained relationship with his wife, Ellen, and his unassuageable grief over the death of his young son, Willy. The result is a remarkable, comprehensive life of an American icon whose legacy resonates to this day. 8 pages of illustrations, 10 maps

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Memoirs of General William T. Sherman

Memoirs of General William T. Sherman Hardcover – March 1, 2019

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This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

As a reproduction of a historical artifact, this work may contain missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. We appreciate your support of the preservation process, and thank you for being an important part of keeping this knowledge alive and relevant.

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The Memoirs of W.T. Sherman: All Volumes

The Memoirs of W.T. Sherman: All Volumes Paperback – December 12, 2013

William Tecumseh Sherman is one of the most important and controversial generals in American history. Just about the only thing everyone would agree on is his effectiveness. While he's lauded as a Union war hero during the Civil War and a forerunner of modern warfare, the South despised him for his heavy-handed tactics, particularly the burning of Columbia and his March to the Sea.
The hard-hitting Sherman was just as tough in his memoirs, a candid look at his experiences in the war and his analysis of the generalship of others in every theater. His memoirs are considered one of the most important post-war works by a general on either side of the Civil War.

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