Friday, August 5, 2011

The Incessant Wants of 5,000 Men

This entry is from Home Letters of General Sherman, by William T. Sherman, 1820-1891.  Sherman  is writing to his wife.

[Undated: apparently August, 1861.]
. . . .The incessant wants of 5,000 men, all complaining, with sick wives and children and fathers at home, wanting to go to Georgetown and Washington and every-wheres where they should not go, growling about clothing, shoes, beef, pork, and everything! Now in an army all these things are regulated by sergeants, captains and colonels. A brigadier only has to operate through them. An irregularity in a regiment is checked by a word to the colonel; but here every woman within five miles who has a peach stolen or roasting ear carried off comes to me to have a guard stationed to protect her tree, and our soldiers are the most destructive men I have ever known. It may be other volunteers are just as bad, indeed the complaint is universal, and I see no alternative but to let it take its course. When in Fairfax County we had a majority of friends. Now I suppose there is not a man, woman or child but would prefer Jeff Davis or the Czar of Russia to govern them rather than an American volunteer army. . . .
William Tecumsah Sherman, Brady National Photographic Art Gallery, from Library of Congress Collection

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