The Death of General McPherson

death of mcpherson - mssEC_10_384 cropped.jpg

10 Pm  Near Atlanta Ga
July 24. 1864
24 3 Pm for Halleck the Sudden
loss of McPherson was a heavy blow to me
– I can hardly replace him but must have
a successor – after thinking over the whole matter
I prefer that Howard be ordered to command the
Army & Dept of the Tenn – If this meets
the Prest approval notify me by telegraph when I
will put him in Command & name others to
fill the vacancies created Logan as Senior Command
the Army of the Tenn for the present – after
we have taken Atlanta I will name officers who
merit promotion, in the meantime I request that the Prest will
not give increased rank to Any officer who has
gone on leave for sickness or cause other than
wounds in battle – W.T. Sherman

General James McPherson died at the Battle of Atlanta on this day in 1864, the second highest ranking Union soldier to die in the war (John Sedgwick, the highest ranking Union fatality, had died in May of the same year). Sherman mourns the loss of an able commander but, ever the pragmatist, moves on quickly to the task of replacing him. It’s interesting to note how adamant he is about not promoting officers who aren’t in the field.

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