These letters show so clearly my grandfather, Genl Sherman's, great love for his children and his ardent desire to hand down his name with honor.
His two sons died, his youngest Tecumseh, was very delicate so all his love & hope were centered in Tom & in his career.
It was Tom's "abandoning the family", more than the fact of his becoming a Catholic Priest, that caused my grandfather's sorrow -- & at the time great bitterness. Eleanor Sherman Fitch March 13th 1945
Head-Quarters Military Division of the Mississppi Nashville, Tenn.,
April 25, 1864
My Dear Tommy.
Captain Roe of the Engineer Corps has put up in a Box some photographic pctures of Chattanooga and Knoxville which he sends to day to Mama by Express. When they come you can claim them to be put away for you. They are of course very accurate for they are painted by the picture itself which you will understand when you get old enough to study chemistry.
I suppose you saw Luke and he told you all about the Regulars who are now here. But I must go to the Front in a day or two and will lose their services. I cannot tell when I will come back, as we must have some more hard Battles.
Whatever may happen to me you are old enough to remember me, and will take my place Dont study too hard as it may make you weak and sick. play at all sorts of games. And learn to ride a pony this summer. Get some of the boys to break it for you. Also as soon as you are old enough you can learn to Swim, to hunt and to fish. All these things are as necessary as to read and write.
I am going to Chattanooga and from there into Georgia. I can hardly tell, and you can hardly understand the great things now transpiring, but whatever I do, is for you, and our Country. We must have peace. and that can only be had by Battle.
Give my best love to mama and Lizzie- dont let Elly and Rachel forget me. And be as you always have been a good boy.
Head-Quarters Military Division of the Mississippi In the Field Kingston Geo.
1864 Nov. 10
I have not had a letter from you for a long time, but Mama writes me often and tells me how good a boy you are, and how you like to go to the farm in the time of gathering grapes and apples. That is right. Get your share of fruit now, only be careful not to eat too many at any one time. Do you remember the time you and Willy & I gathered the Chestnuts in the little wagon. In a short time you will be able to drive Old Sam in a wagon & gather your own walnuts and hickory nuts. I well remember once taking Willy out to Mount Pleasant when we gathered a bag of hickory nuts and poor little fellow, not as big as you now are. he was so happy and so proud to carry his own bag of hisckory nuts. People write to me that I am now a Great General, and if I were to come home they would gather round me in crowds & play music and all such things. That is what the people call fame & Glory, but I tell you that I would rather come down quietly and have you and Willy meet me at the car than to have the shouts of the People. Willy will never meet us again in this world and you and I must take care of the family as long as I live and then will be your turn. So you see you have a good deal to do. You have much to learn, but while your body is growing up strong as a man you will have time to learn all I know & more too.
Mama tells me that the baby Charles C is very sick but I hope he is now well and that he too will grow up and help you. But let what happens always remember that on you now rests the care of our family. Minnie and Lizzie will soon be young ladies, will marry and charge their names, but you will always be a Sherman and must represent the family.
Mama will soon go to St Marys. I dont know much about that school, but I dont care much about the school, You can learn in any school if you want to. And if you dont want to learn, the school wont do much good - as it depends more on you than the school master. And I know in time you will be ambitious to learn as fast as other boys of your age. I want you also to learn to ride - so if I come home you can go along, when I want to ride on horseback. The girls can ride in carriages but boys & men are better in a saddle. -I am told you are all very fond of the baby [charles] Charles, and am glad of it. I have not seen him yet, and expect he will be a big fellow before I do
yr loving father
In Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi In the Field, Savannah, Geo.
1865 January 21.
I suppose Mama has told you all about my army travelling across Georgia and coming out on the Ocean at the beautiful City of Savannah. You will find it in your Geography, but can hardly understand the importance of it till you are larger and older. I expect soon to march again to danger and battle but hope the good luck of the past will stick by me, and that one of these days we will all have a home where we can live together and then I will tell you all about my travels and battles. You will be told that I am a great General and the boys will expect you to be the same, but you need not mind them. When I was a boy I was not as smart as you, and you can take your own time learning as fast as you please and when you get old enough can choose for yourself whether to be a soldier a Lawyer a Doctor or Farmer. Mama tells me the People are going to give us a farm or house in Cincinnati. If it be a farm you will have to be a farmer for the girls cannot take care of a farm. But I suppose Mama will prefer a house, which will do for us all. And then you can choose a profession. I dont want you to be a soldier or a priest but a good useful man.- We are all very sorry that poor little Charley is lost to us. But we must submit for death does not consult our wishes.
Mama tells me that you have had a sore throat but that you would be well in a day or so and back at school which you like very much. I cannot expect to come to see you till next summer and even then I may not but I will come to see you all as soon as I can. I sent you some photographs which are not good but the best I have. One of these days I will send you some war maps and papers to keep as me-mentos of the war. Give my best to Tommy Ewing and all the children.
W.T. Sherman Maj. Gen
Head-Quarters Military Division of the Mississippi In the Field, Goldsboro, N C.
Apl 9 1865
I have been very busy since our arrival, and must start again for Battle tomorrow. I have written to Mama, Minnie, & Lizzie, and now write to you to say that I hope some time this summer to be able to come and see you. The great Battles at Richmond are very important and may bring peace to our country when we will all be able to come home but as long as the war lasts you know that we have to fight the Rebels. I will have a good deal to tell you, when you are older for I have travelled all the way from the Mississippi since we were in our Camp at the Big Black. I have with me the same soldiers except the regulars that I left at Nashville. I did intend to send and bring them here, but there is not time for as I said tomorrow I move for Raleigh and Greensborro. Greensboro.
Mama always tells me what a fine manly boy you are going to be and I am very proud of you. I have in my pocket at all times a photograph of Mama, of you, Elly & Rachel. I have none of Minnie or Lizzy, but I remember all as plainly as if I had seen you yesterday. The last I heard of you and Mama was in the newspapers at Chicago. Mama was receiving the mayor and citizens at Bishop Duggans and Tommy Sherman was on the steps with a flag.
This flag you know is the emblem of our country and is what we are fighting for. I have seen that flag in many battles and on long marches through Georgia and South Carolina. So that it is more than Country to me. It will recall as long as I live many scenes of which I will tell you when we have a home all together. No doubt you are now learning fast, and I want you to write to me by way of Fortress Monroe. We will have a Regular Mail from there up to our Army in the Interior of North Carolina. Uncle Charley is now a Genl and has his own soldiers and his own Camp. He used to be with me, but now he is in his own Camp, and with his own soldiers. He ought to write home often but I fear he does not. Give my love to Minnie & Lizzy and to your cousin Tommy Ewing and the girls. Tell Sister Angela that I think I have done a good deal of good and that she will do all that any person can for my children. Indeed you will find plenty of friends for all know I am off at the war, fighting that you may have Peace.
I enclose in this an hundred Dolls which you can give to Mama, or Minnie to pay to the Academy for your Board and schooling. I will send more as soon as I get time to see the Paymaster, but we travel so fast and so far in the Country that Paymasters dont come where we are.
Your loving father,
Jan 10, 1868
I have Mama's letter of the 6th in which she says you are waiting for an answer to your letter, some weeks ago. I thought I had answered it but fear I overlooked it. I am at times so occupied that it is impossible to promise anything definite, but if you will write me once a week I will do the same. Tell me of your studies, how you progress and your standing in the Class.
Minnie told me she would have plenty to tell you and Lizzie in her letters from New York as soon as she got settled down to her work. I take it for granted she has done so, and I need not repeat. I left her at her school last Sunday.
Willy Cox Ewing is now well and going to school. :ittle Tommy has I hear got the scarles fever which has troubled all the family, and I will hear this afternoon how he is. Your Grandpa & Uncle Tom live in the same house they did when you were here, near the Capitol. I on the other hand live near the Presidents, and have to come daily to this place the Library of the War Department where Gn Sheridan, Gen Auger and I am making up New Regulations for the Army. Our old ones are out of pattern for the New Army, since the War.
I was sorry to hear that your throat was sore, but glad also to learn that it was well, and that you were again going to school.
When you write to me, dont work to make the letter too good but just write whatever you think in your own way, and if it is wrong I can tell you better. Tell Elly and Rachel I will be home time enough to fix up the yard for them in the spring. You can tell Pat to speak for the peach, apple and cherry trees, to be ready to set out as soon as the frost is out of the ground, say in March or April.
Head-Quarters Armies of the United States Washington,
Dec. 19 1867
I send you in this a photograph of Genl Geralbaldi for your album. I dont think much of him but he has some fame in Europe. I will stop in at Brady's in this city someday in passing and bring you enough photographs of Union Generals to fill your book.
Grand pa, Uncle Tom and Charles and all the family are well except Mary who has something like scarlet fever. Willy Cox always asks about you and you ought to write him when you have a good chance.
I am going over to New York to bring Minnie here for Christmas.
Tell Mama I got the ring this morning after I had mailed her letter. I want you and Lizzie to write me, for I will be here some time.