William Tecumseh Sherman to Ellen Sherman, November 29, 1860, in Walter L. Fleming, ed., General W. T. Sherman as College President... (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1912), 309-311.
Transcription adapted from General W. T. Sherman as College President (1912), edited by Walter L. Fleming
Adapted by Michael Blake, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from General W. T. Sherman as College President... (1912).
Alexandria, Nov. 29, 1860.
. . . This is a holiday, thanksgiving and prayer, but holidays and Sundays are my worst days, as then the cadets are idle and mischievous.
Governor Moore has issued his proclamation calling the legislature together for December 10, and the proclamation is couched in ugly language, different from his usual more conservative tone. It is manifest to me now that the leading politicians of the state have conferred together and have agreed to go out of the Union, or at all events to favor the new doctrine of secession. The legislature will determine the call of a convention, and the convention will decide very much according to the other events that may occur in the meantime. This imposes on us a change of purpose, and it will not do for you or any one to come south unless the state of feeling changes. I know the governor and believe him an excellent thermometer of the political atmosphere of Louisiana. I hear that business is dead in New Orleans, all of which is evidence that the abolitionists have succeeded in bringing on the "Inevitable Conflict."
I am sick of this everlasting subject. The truth has nothing to do with this world. Here they know that all you have to do in Ohio is to steal niggers, and in Ohio though the people are quiescent yet they believe that the South are determined to enlarge the area of niggers. Like Burton in Toodles I say, Damn the niggers. I wish they were anywhere or be kept at their work.
I observe more signs of a loosened discipline here. Boys are careless and last night because the supper did not please them they smashed the crockery and made a riot generally. Pistols were fired, which scared Joe very much -- his education has been neglected, but I think he will get used to it. We have dismissed five cadets and others must share their fate. I fear the institution is in danger from causes which arose after I left last summer. The alterations made after I left were wrong in principle, causing General Graham to resign, and since then he will take no interest in our affairs. Governor Moore is intent on politics, same of Dr. Smith, so we are left to the chances of the caprices of a parcel of wild boys. Still this is a small matter susceptible of remedy, but the secession movement underlies the very safety of everything. . .