Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865

Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865

Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865

Marching with Sherman: Passages from the Letters and Campaign Diaries of Henry Hitchcock, Major and Assistant Adjutant General of Volunteers, November 1864-May 1865

Synopsis

'Tomorrow morning we set out on a campaign which will be remembered. God grant it aid to bring to a speedy end this terrible and lamentable war!' So wrote Major Henry Hitchcock on the eve of General William Sherman's epic march across Georgia to the sea. Hitchcock on the eve of General William Sherman's epic across Georgia to the sea. Hitchcock, a new member of Sherman's staff, was right about the fame, or infamy, that would attach to the campaign. His diaries and letters describe at first hand and pillage with as much sorrow as satisfaction.

Excerpt

Brooks D. Simpson

On 12 September 1864, ten days after the fall of Atlanta to Union soldiers, Ulysses S. Grant dispatched staff officer Horace Porter to the headquarters of General William T. Sherman to discuss what to do next. Porter had never met Sherman, although he had heard more than enough from Grant about the general and the man. Eight days later, he approached Sherman's headquarters, a brick house off the courthouse square, and saw the general sitting on the porch, scanning a newspaper. "With his large frame, tall, gaunt form, restless hazel eyes, aquiline nose, bronzed face, and crisp beard," the staff officer recalled, "he looked the picture of 'grim-visaged war.'" Sherman called on Porter to take a seat and began to talk, exhibiting "a peculiar energy of manner in uttering the crisp words and epigrammatic phrases which fell from his lips as rapidly as shots from a magazine-gun. I soon realized that he was one of the most dramatic and picturesque characters of the war." He is also one of the most controversial figures in American military history, primarily because of his willingness to bring the war home to Confederate civilians--a policy most vividly demonstrated in the March to the Sea (November-December 1864) and the March through the Carolinas (February-April 1865).

Henry M. Hitchcock, who joined Sherman's staff as military secretary some six weeks later, got a chance to observe the general up close during the military campaigns which would mark his chief claim to fame--and infamy. a nephew of General Ethan Allen Hitchcock, he had practiced law in St. Louis before the war. For three years he had watched the course of conflict; by 1864, he wanted to participate, and so his uncle presented him to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton with the words, "Here is a young fellow spoiling for a fight." He was assigned to the Judge Advocate General and sent to Sherman (who had met him in St. Louis).

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.