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Dear Brother :
The war has really commenced. You will have full details of the fall of Sumter. We are on the eve of a terrible war. Every man will have to choose his position. You fortunately have the military education, prominence, and character, that will enable you to play a high part in the tragedy. You can't avoid taking such a part. Neutrality and indifference are impossible. If the government is to be maintained, it must be by military power, and that immediately. You can choose your own place. Some of your best friends here want you in the War Department; Taylor, Shires, and a number of others talk to me so. If you want that place, with a sure prospect of promotion, you can have it, but you are not compelled to take it; but it seems to me you will be compelled to take some position, and that speedily. Can't you come to Ohio and at once raise a regiment ? It will immediately be in service. The administration intend to stand or fall by the Union, the entire Union, and the enforcement of the laws. I look for preliminary defeats, for the rebels have arms, organization, unity; but this advantage will not last long. The government will maintain itself or our Northern people are the veriest poltroons that ever disgraced humanity.
For me, I am for a war that will either establish or overthrow the government and will purify the atmosphere of political life. We need such a war, and we have it now,
- John Sherman