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HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Dear Brother : I see my name was used in the debate yesterday on Louisiana matters.
Neither the President or Secretary of War ever consulted me about Louisiana matters. Sheridan received his orders direct from the Secretary of War and Adjutant-General Townsend, and started on telegraphic notice, writing me a short note stating the fact, and that the Secretary of War would explain to me.
The latter sent me a copy of the orders and instructions by mail, which I received after General Sheridan had gone, and I simply acknowledged their receipt.
I have all along tried to save our officers and soldiers from the dirty work imposed on them by the city authorities of the South ; and may, thereby, have incurred the suspicion of the President that I did not cordially sustain his force. My hands and conscience are free of any of the breaches of fundamental principles in that quarter. And I have always thought it wrong to bolster up weak State governments by our troops. We should keep the peace always ; but not act as bailiff constables and catch thieves. That should be beneath a soldier's vocation. If you want information of the conditions up the Red River, call for a report recently made by Lieutenant-Colonel Morrow, personally known to you. . . .
As ever, your brother,
- William Sherman