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My Dear Brother: I have been here ever since you left, hardly taking off my clothes at night. McClellan is so confident that Beauregard will attack that I try to be prepared at all times. Our forts are in pretty good condition, but whether the volunteers can serve the guns or not is to be tested. It does seem to me strange that when all know that if Beauregard get Washington, the Southern Confederacy will be an established fact that they should leave volunteers to hold the most important point in the world. Out of my seven regiments three are in a state of mutiny, and I have been compelled to put about 100 men as prisoners on board a man-of-war. And yesterday I had my Regulars all ready with shotted guns to fire on our own troops, some of whom not only claim their discharge, but threaten to spike our guns. They claim to be only 3 months men, whereas the War Department claims their services for 3 years. Even some of the 3 years men say the President had no right to call for 3 years men and that the subsequent legislation of Congress was ex-post facto. . . .
General McDowell commanded the Union army of about 28,000 men, and Sherman, then a colonel, commanded a brigade in this army.
A few days since Gen. Robert Anderson sent for me to meet him at Willard's. I found him with Senator Johnson, a Mr. Maynard, and several other members from Kentucky and Tennessee. They told me the President had resolved to send assistance to the Union men of Kentucky and Tennessee, that Anderson being a Kentuckian to him was given the lead, and that he was allowed to select three Brigadiers, that he had chosen me first and Burnside and Thomas next. The President agreed, but McClellan would not spare me till the danger in his front was lessened. It was then agreed to wait a week, when if nothing happens here I am to be ordered into Kentucky. As I understand we are to go there in person, mingle with the people, satisfy ourselves of their purpose to oppose the Southern Confederacy and then to assist in the organization there of a force adequate to the end in view, that when Kentucky is assured in her allegiance that we then push into East Tennessee. I feel well satisfied that unless Kentucky and Tennessee remain in our Union it is a doubtful question whether the Federal Government can restore the old Union. . . .
There is no time to be lost and I will not spare my individual efforts, though I still feel as one groping in the dark. Slowly but surely the public is realizing what I knew all the time, the strong vindictive feeling of the whole South.
- William Sherman