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My Dear Brother : . . . I hear you have gone on to New York, and therefore I must go off without seeing you. I have been off the line of communication since leaving Memphis, save a few hours at Bridgeport, during which I had hardly time to put my official signature to papers demanding my hand. I have made a report of our movements up to the return to Bridgeport and enclose it with this, a copy which I brought here, and which you may keep, only, of course, under the confidence of absolute secrecy until the War Department thinks proper to make the original public. . . .
I suppose you will read this report, and I invite attention to the part referring to the assault on Tunnel Hill. I know that Grant in his report will dwell on this same part. I was provoked that Meigs, looking at us from Chattanooga,. should report me repulsed, and that Mr. Stanton should publish his letter as semi-official. Meigs apologized to me for using Thomas's name instead of mine throughout, which he charged to a copyist, but made no amends for the repulse. The whole philosophy of the battle was that I should get, by a dash, a position on the extremity of the Missionary Kidge, from which the enemy would be forced to drive me, or allow his depot at Chickamauga station to be in danger. I expected Bragg to attack me at daylight, but he did not, and to bring matters to a crisis quickly, as time was precious, for the sake of Burnside in East Tennessee, Grant ordered me to assume the offensive. My report contains the rest. Again, after the battle, Granger was ordered to push for Knoxville, but his movements were so slow that Grant, impatient, called on me, and my move was the most rapid of the war and/perfectly successful. I could have gone on after/Longstreet, but Burnside ranked me, and it was his business, not mine. So I reinforced him all he asked, ami returned.
The Fifteenth Corps, now Logan/s, and Dodge's division of the Sixteenth Corps are now at work on the railroad from Nashville to Decatur, land from Decatur to Stevenson, thus making a triangle of railroad which it is estimated will relieve the great difficulty of supplies which has paralyzed the Army of the Cumberland. This will take five weeks. I leave my headquarters at Huntsville, and go in person down the Mississippi to strike some lateral blows, to punish the country for allowing guerillas to attack the boats. I go on Friday to Cincinnati, and thence to Cairo, where with Admiral Porter I will concert measures to produce the result. I expect to send one expedition up the Yazoo, and go myself with another up Eed Eiver, levying contributions to make good losses to boats, and punish for deaths and wounds inflicted. I think we can make people feel that they must actually prevent guerillas from carrying out their threats that though we have the river, it will do us no good. My address will be Memphis, for a month, and Huntsville after. We can hardly fashion out the next campaign, but it looks as though we should have to move from the Tennessee Eiver. I should prefer to take Mobile and the Alabama as well as the Chattahoochee, and move east from Montgomery and Columbus, Miss.
I wish you would introduce a bill in Congress increasing the number of cadets on this basis one from each congressional district per annum. In districts not represented, vest the appointments in the Secretary of War out of boys not over eighteen in the armies in the field, to be selected in any manner that may be prescribed by law, or by the regulation of the President. This would hold out to young fellows the prospect of getting a cadetship. Last summer we were called on to recommend candidates, and I was amazed to find so many worthy applicants. All who came forward for examination preferred West Point to a commission. The great want of the army is good subordinate officers. The army is a good school, but West Point is better. It is useless to deny that a special preliminary education is necessary to the military officers, and the cheapest school is now at West Point and is susceptible of infinite increase. . . .
I think the President's proclamation unwise. Knowing the temper of the South, I know that it but protracts the war by seeming to court peace. It to them looks like weakness. I tell them that as they cool off, we warm to the work. That we are just getting ready for the war, and I know the effect is better than to coax them to come back into the Union. The organization of a Civil Government but complicates the game. All the Southern States will need a pure military Government for years after resistance has ceased. You have noticed the debate in Richmond, on the President's proclamation. That is a true exhibit of the feeling South. Don't fall into the error that the masses think differently. Of course property-holding classes South deplore the devastation that marks the progress of their own and our armies, but the South is no longer consulted. The Army of the Confederacy is the South, and they still hope to worry us out. The moment we relax, they gain strength and confidence. We must hammer away and show such resistance, such bottom that even that slender hope will fail them.
I still am opposed to all bounties. The draft pure and simple, annual, to fill vacancies in the ranks. Pay of men in the front increased to even forty^ dollars a month, and that of men at depots and to the rear diminished to a bare maintenance if not less. /'Four hundred dollars bounty is an absurd commentary -y^here two-thirds draw bounty and remain absent from their rank and are discharged for disability without hearing a shot. Deal with the army as you would if you were hiring men for special work. Pay those who do the work high; those who are sick, unfortunate, or shirking, pay little or nothing. The same of officers from the major-generaL-to lieutenant. The President must make vacancies for the rising officers, the " creations " of the war. I am willing to quit if a younger and better man can be found for my place. . . .
Your affectionate brother,
- William Sherman