William Tecumseh Sherman

William Tecumseh Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
  • Born: February 8, 1820
  • Died: February 14, 1891
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Soldier









William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the scorched earth policies he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States.

Quote Topics Cited
… those who have never heard a shot, never hears the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … but cry out for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
A fatal mistake in war is to underrate the strength, feeling and resources of an enemy. War & Peace
A transcontinental railroad will not be built in my lifetime, or my children’s lifetime, or their children’s lifetime. Transportation
Does General Grant think I care what the newspapers say? Media, Journalism & The Press
Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster. War & Peace
Everybody was talking of “Gold! gold!!” until it assumed the character of a fever. Some of our soldiers began to desert; citizens were fitting out trains of wagons and pack-mules to go to the mines. We heard of men earning fifty, five hundred, and thousands of dollars per day, and for a time it seemed as though somebody would reach solid gold. Some of this gold began to come to Yerba Buena [San Francisco] in trade, to disturb the value of merchandise, particularly of mules, horses, tin pans, and articles used in mining. Public Works & Natural Resources
For five days, 10,000 men worked hard with a will in that work of destruction with axes, crowbars, sledges, clawbars and fire, and I have no hesitation in pronouncing the work well done. Meridian, with its depots, storehouses, arsenal, hospitals, offices, hotels and cantonments, no longer exists. War & Peace
For my part though silent I have at times felt that I would prefer to be governed by Davis, Beauregard & Bragg, [than] to be thus abused by a set of dirty newspaper scribblers who have the impudence of Satan. They come into camp, poke around among the lazy shirks & pick up their camp Rumors & publish them as facts. . . . They are a pest and Shall not approach me, and I will treat them as spies, which in truth they are. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Forty or fifty executions now would in the next twelve months save thousands of lives. Capital Punishment, Dealth Penalty & State Execution
I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah. War & Peace
I believe in Freedom as near absolute, as is consistent with safety. I believe in free thought, free speech and free Press. . . . Freedom & Liberty
I can make this march, and I will make Georgia howl. War & Peace
I immediately sent a regiment up with orders to destroy the place, leaving [at least] one house. . . . The regiment has returned and Randolph is gone. It is no use tolerating such acts as firing on [civilian] steamboats. Punishment must be speedy, sure, and exemplary. . . . I would not do wanton mischief or destruction, but so exposed are our frail boats, that we must protect them by all the terrors by which we can surround [them]. . . . The town was of no importance, but the example should be followed up on all similar occasions. Terrorism
I knew that if ever I was in a tight place, you would come for me, if alive. Leaders & Leadership
I know it is no use for us now to discuss this–war is on us. We are Enemies, still private friends. In the one Capacity I will do you all the harm I can, yet on the other if here. you may have as of old my last Cent, my last shirt and pants, You ask of me of your negroes. and I will immediately ascertain if they be under my Military Control and I will moreover see that they are one and all told what is true of all– ‘Boys if you want to go to your master, Go– You are free to choose, You must now think for yourselves. Your Master has seceded from his Parent Government and you have seceded from him–both wrong by law–but both exercising an undoubted natural Right to rebel, If your boys want to go, I will enable them to go, but I won’t advise, persuade or force them–‘ War & Peace ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
I know that the Southern People prefer a Govt. of their own but as soon as it is demonstrated that there cannot be an independent Southern Confederacy, many then will yield obedience rather than lose their Estates. War & Peace
I will back you with my whole authority... I will say nothing and do nothing to restrain our troops from doing what they deem proper on the spot, and will allow no mere vague general charges of cruelty and inhumanity to tie their hands, but will use all the powers confided to me to the end that these Indians, the enemies of our race and of our civilization, shall not again be able to begin and... carry out their barbarous warfare. War & Peace
I will write plain & slow because I know you have no time to listen to trifles. This is no trifle. When one nation is at war with another, all the People of the one are the enemies of the other. . . . Most unfortunately the war in which we are now Engaged, has been complicated with the belief on the one hand that all on the other were not Enemies. It would have been better if at the outset this mistake had not been made, and it is wrong longer to be misled by it. War & Peace
If any individual belonging to said tribe, or legally incorporated with it, being the head of a family, shall desire to commence farming, he shall have the privilege to select, in the presence and with the assistance of the agent in charge, a tract of land within said reservation, not exceeding one hundred and six acres in extent … the same may be occupied and held in the exclusive possession of the person selecting it, and of his family, so long as he or they may continue to cultivate it Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If bad men among the Indians shall commit a wrong or depredation upon the person or property of any one, white, black, or Indian, subject to the authority of the United States and at peace therewith, the Navajo tribe agree that they will, on proof made to their agent, and on notice by him, deliver up the wrongdoer to the United States, to be tried and punished according to its laws Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
If Politicians want fame let them win it, if newspapers know best how to maneuver & fight, why for godssake let them pitch in. There is fighting enough for them all. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
If secession were allowed, the U. S. Constitution would be a mere rope of sand that would break with the first pressure. Constitution / Bills & Declarations of Rights
If we allow the passions of our men to get full command then indeed will this war become a reproach to the names of liberty and civilization. War & Peace
If you will live in peace with your neighbors, we will see that your neighbors will be at peace with you. The government will stand between you and other Indians and Mexicans …. Our government is determined that the enslavement of the Navajos shall cease and those who are guilty of holding them in slavery shall be punished Intergovernmental Relations ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
In order to insure the civilization of the Indians entering into this treaty, the necessity of education is admitted, especially of such of them as may be settled on said agricultural parts of this reservation, and they therefore pledge themselves to compel their children, male and female, between the ages of six and sixteen years, to attend school; and it is hereby made the duty of the agent for said Indians to see that this stipulation is strictly complied with; and the United States agrees that, for every thirty children between said ages who can be induced or compelled to attend school, a house shall be provided, and a teacher competent to teach the elementary branches of an English education shall be furnished, who will reside among said Indians, and faithfully discharge his or her duties as a teacher. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
It is useless to talk about Constitutional means for a condition of things never contemplated by any constitution. Constitution / Bills & Declarations of Rights
No future treaty for the cession of any portion or part of the reservation herein described, which may be held in common, shall be of any validity or force against said Indians unless agreed to and executed by at least three-fourths of all the adult male Indians occupying or interested in the same; and no cession by the tribe shall be understood or construed in such manner as to deprive, without his consent, any individual member of the tribe of his rights to any tract of land selected by him Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Of all the men I have ever met, he seems to combine greatness with goodness more than any. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
People paid their 3 percent a month interest without considering it excessive. Business, Commerce & Finance
Said Indians, further expressly agree: ….That they will not attack any persons at home or traveling, nor molest or disturb any wagon trails, coaches, mules or cattle belonging to the people of the United States, or to persons friendly therewith. That will never capture or carry off from the settlements women or children. They will never kill or scalp white men, nor attempt to do them harm. They will not in future oppose the construction of railroads, wagon roads, mail stations, or other works of utility or necessity which may be ordered or permitted by the laws of the United States; but should such roads or other works be constructed on the lands of their reservation, the government, will pay the tribe whatever amount of damage may be assessed by three disinterested commissioners to be appointed by the President for that purpose, one of said commissioners to be a chief or head man of the tribe. Negotiating & Negotiations
Success will be accepted in due course. Whereas should we fail, this will be regarded as the mad venture of a fool. Leaders & Leadership
The carping and bickering of political factions in the nation's capitol reminds me of two pelicans quarreling over a dead fish. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
The idea of making them take the oath is absurd. Loyalty & Loyalty Oaths
The Northern People are forced by the Principle of self-existence to push their Power and Dominion so as to embrace the lands whose waters flow to the Mississippi. In this they must be despotic. If the Patriotism of our People is unequal to the task of subjugating the whole South still there can and will be no Peace till a Power exists able & determined to be respected within the limits of our Government. I have always supposed therefore that a large proportion of the People north must move south & possess the soil. As to changing the opinions of the People of the South that is impossible, and they must be killed or dispossessed. We have finished the first page of this war vainly seeking a union sentiment in the South, and our Politicians have substantially committed suicide by mistaking the Extent and power of the Southern People & its Government, and are about Entering a Second period. Those who sought political advantage by a display of military Zeal have disappeared from the Field of action, and now will begin the real struggle of conquest. War & Peace
The United States agrees, at its own proper expense, to construct, at some place on the Missouri river, near the center of said reservation where timber and water may be convenient, the following buildings, to wit, a warehouse, a store-room for the use of the agent in storing goods belonging to the Indians, to cost not less than $2,500; an agency building, for the residence of the agent, to cost not exceeding $3,000; a residence for the physician, to cost not more than $3,000; and five other buildings, for a carpenter, farmer, blacksmith, miller, and engineer-each to cost not exceeding $2,000; also, a school-house, or mission building, so soon as a sufficient number of children can be induced by the agent to attend school, which shall not cost exceeding $5,000. The United States agrees further to cause to be erected on said reservation, near the other buildings herein authorized, a good steam circular saw-mill, with a grist-mill and shingle machine attached to the same, to cost not exceeding $8,000. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
There is a power in our land, irresponsible, corrupt and malicious—‘the press,’ which has created the intense feelings of hostility that has arrayed the two parts of the country against each other, which must be curbed and brought within the just limits of reason and law, before we can have peace in America. We can deal with armies who have a visible and tangible existence, but it will require tact and skill and courage to clip the wings of this public enemy. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
There is many a boy here to-day who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell War & Peace
This city has done more to supply and carry on this war than any other save perhaps Richmond. They have attacked us and our government. It must be destroyed. War & Peace
This is where the rebellion was begun, and by God, this is where it will end. Rebellion, Revolution, Insurgency & Resistance
To those who submit to rightful law and authority, all gentleness and forbearance; but to the petulant secessionist … death is a mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out War & Peace
We are forced to invade—we must keep the War South, till they are not only ruined, exhausted, but humbled in pride and spirit. War & Peace
We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children. Minorities & Women
We should fight on all occasions even if we get worsted—we can stand it longest. War & Peace
Where are they to get work, who is to feed them, clothe them, & house them? We cannot now give tents to our soldiers, and our wagon trains are now a horrible impediment, and if we are to take along & feed the negroes who flee to us for refuge, it will be an impossible task. You cannot solve this negro question in a day. Military & Veterans ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Whites looking for gold kill Indians just as they would kill bears and pay no regard for treaties. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
You are in Lancaster and I am here the Stern & Cruel tyrant, slave of a Despotic Master, Lincoln. Hundreds of children like yourself are daily taught to curse my name, and each night thousands Kneel in prayer & beseech the almighty to consign me to Perdition. Such is War. War & Peace
You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail. War & Peace
You or any fair man, looking back on the history of our own country for the past forty years must admit, that the Press has gradually intensified he feelings of mutual jealousy and hatred between the North and the South till war not only resulted, but was bound to result. You see yet the Press of each Section, instead of healing the gap, is vigorously widening it. Media, Journalism & The Press
You people of the South don't know what you are doing. This country will be drenched in blood, and God only knows how it will end. It is all folly, madness, a crime against civilization! You people speak so lightly of war; you don't know what you're talking about. War is a terrible thing! War & Peace
Your people put the land mines on the road, and you will remove them, and if you get blown up, I don’t give a damn. War & Peace
A battery of field artillery is worth a thousand muskets.
An Army is a collection of armed men obliged to obey one man. Every change in the rules which impairs the principle weakens the army.
But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter. War & Peace
Courage - a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger, and a mental willingness to endure it.
Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other.
He belonged to that army known as invincible in peace, invisible in war. War & Peace
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. War & Peace
I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. Truth
I intend to make Georgia howl.
I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices today than any of you to secure peace. War & Peace
I make up my opinions from facts and reasoning, and not to suit any body but myself. If people don't like my opinions, it makes little difference as I don't solicit their opinions or votes.
I think I understand what military fame is; to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers.
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.
I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptoms of tiring till the South begs for mercy. War & Peace
If forced to choose between the penitentiary and the White House for four years, I would say the penitentiary, thank you.
If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast.
If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
If the people raise a great howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking. War & Peace
If you don't have my army supplied, and keep it supplied, we'll eat your mules up, sir.
In our Country... one class of men makes war and leaves another to fight it out. War & Peace
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 & Peace
It's a disagreeable thing to be whipped.
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.
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 is the beginning of wisdom.
The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war. War & Peace
The voice of the people is the voice of humbug.
There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell. War & Peace
There will soon come an armed contest between capital and labor. They will oppose each other, not with words and arguments, but with shot and shell, gun-powder and cannon. The better classes are tired of the insane howling of the lower strata and they mean to stop them.
There's many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory but it is all hell. War & Peace
This war differs from other wars, in this particular. We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war. War & Peace
War is at its best barbarism. War & Peace
War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over. War & Peace
War is hell. War & Peace
War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want. War & Peace
War is too serious a matter to leave to soldiers. War & Peace
You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War & Peace
You may as well say, 'That's a valiant flea that dare eat his breakfast on the lip of a lion.

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