William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh

American Soldier, Businesman, General in the Union Army, Educator, Author

Author Quotes

Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other.

I regard the death and mangling of a couple thousand men as a small affair, a kind of morning dash ? and it may be well that we become so hardened.

In treading upon the ashes of dead men in Italy, Egypt - on the banks of the Bosphorus, one almost despairs to think how idle are the dreams and toils of this life, and were it not for the intellectual pleasure of knowing and learning, one would almost be damaged by travel in these historic lands.

War is at its best barbarism.

He belonged to that army known as invincible in peace, invisible in war.

I regret exceedingly the arrest of many gentlemen and persons in Kentucky, and still more that they should give causes of arrest. I cannot in person inquire into these matters, but must leave them to the officer who is commissioned and held responsible by Government for the peace and safety of Kentucky. It does appear to me when our national integrity is threatened and the very fundamental principles of all government endangered that minor issues should not be made by Judge Bullitt and others. We cannot all substitute our individual opinions, however honest, as the test of authority. As citizens and individuals we should waive and abate our private notions of right and policy to those of the duly appointed agents of the Government, certain that if they be in error the time will be short when the real principles will manifest themselves and be recognized. In your career how often have you not believed our Congress had adopted a wrong policy and how short the time now seems to you when the error rectified itself or you were willing to admit yourself wrong.

It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.

War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.

Hold the fort! I am coming!

I tell you, war is Hell!

It will be a thousand years before Grant's character is fully appreciated. Grant is the greatest soldier of our time if not all time... he fixes in his mind what is the true objective and abandons all minor ones. He dismisses all possibility of defeat. He believes in himself and in victory. If his plans go wrong he is never disconcerted but promptly devises a new one and is sure to win in the end. Grant more nearly impersonated the American character of 1861-65 than any other living man. Therefore he will stand as the typical hero of the great Civil War in America.

War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want; not a word of argument, not a sign of let up, no cave in till we are whipped or they are.

I am a damned sight smarter man than Grant. I know more about military history, strategy, and grand tactics than he does. I know more about supply, administration, and everything else than he does. I'll tell you where he beats me though and where he beats the world. He doesn't give a damn about what the enemy does out of his sight, but it scares me like hell? I am more nervous than he is. I am more likely to change my orders or to countermarch my command than he is. He uses such information as he has according to his best judgment; he issues his orders and does his level best to carry them out without much reference to what is going on about him and, so far, experience seems to have fully justified him.

I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers.

It's a disagreeable thing to be whipped.

War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.

I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.

I want peace, and believe it can only be reached through union and war, and I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect an early success.

Let it be known that if a farmer wishes to burn his cotton, his house, his family, and himself, he may do so. But not his corn. We want that.

War is too serious a matter to leave to soldiers.

I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty guns and plenty of ammunition, also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.

I will accept no commission that would tend to create a rivalry with Grant. I want him to hold what he has earned and got. I have all the rank I want.

My aim then was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. 'Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' I did not want them to cast in our teeth what General Hood had once done at Atlanta, that we had to call on their slaves to help us to subdue them. But, as regards kindness to the race... I assert that no army ever did more for that race than the one I commanded at Savannah.

We are not only fighting hostile armies, but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war, as well as their organized armies. I know that this recent movement of mine through Georgia has had a wonderful effect in this respect. Thousands who had been deceived by their lying newspapers to believe that we were being whipped all the time now realize the truth, and have no appetite for a repetition of the same experience...

I can make this march, and I will make Georgia howl!

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American Soldier, Businesman, General in the Union Army, Educator, Author