Tell Us How You Really Feel, Cump

mssEC_10_280 - shermans thoughts on forrest - suzanneny.jpg

12 pm 15th  Big Shanty Ga June 15 1864
Near Kenesaw June 15th 630 pm for Halleck Washn I will
have the matter of Sturgis critically examined and if he
be at fault he shall have no mercy at my
hands – I cannot but believe he had troops enough
I know I would have been willing to attempt the
same task with that force but Forrest is the very
devil and I think he has got some of our
troops under cow – I have two Officers at Memphis
that will fight all the time – A J Smith
and Mower – The latter is a young Br Genl of
fine promise & I commend him to your notice –
I will order them to make up a force &
go out & follow Forrest to the death if it
cost ten thousand lives & breaks the treasury – there
never will be peace in Tennessee till Forrest is dead
– We Killed Bishop Polk yesterday & have made good
progress today of which I will make a full report
as soon as one of my aids come from the extreme right
flank Gen Grant may rest easy that Johnston will not
trouble him if I can
help it by labor or
thought sig W T Sherman

In spite of his fierce reputation, William Tecumseh Sherman was generally on fairly cordial terms with Confederate generals – see for example his later relationship with Joe Johnston – but he had nothing but bile and invective for Nathan Bedford Forrest. Although he was prone to hyperbole, Sherman seems to have despised Forrest with a particular intensity.

This telegram was sent only a few days after Samuel Sturgis’s forces were defeated by a Confederate force that they outnumbered more than 2 to 1 in the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads. This disastrous outcome marked the end of Sturgis’s involvement in the Civil War, though Sherman must have softened towards him at least partially, for he returned to service in the Indian Wars of the late 1860s and 1870s.

Thanks to Zooniverse user SuzanneNY for bringing this message to our attention!

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