Letter from William Tecumseh Sherman to John Sherman, December 1, 1860

Source citation
William Tecumseh Sherman, Letter from William Tecumseh Sherman to John Sherman, December 1, 1860,  The Sherman Letters: Correspondence between General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891, Thorndike, Rachel Sherman, editor, New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1894, p. 398.
Author (from)
Sherman, William Tecumseh
Recipient (to)
Sherman, John
Date Certainty
Michael Blake
Transcription date
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy,

Alexandria, Dec. 1, 1860.

Dear Brother:

The quiet which I thought the usual acquiescence of the people was merely the prelude to the storm of opinion that now seems irresistible. Politicians, by hearing the prejudices of the people and running with the current, have succeeded in destroying the government. It cannot be stopped now, I fear. I was in Alexandria all day yesterday, and had a full and unreserved conversatioin with Dr. S. A. Smith, State senator, who is a man of education, property, influence, and qualified to judge. He was during the canvass a Breckinridge man, but, though a Southerner in opinion, is really opposed to a dissolution of our government. He has returned from New Orleans, where he says he was amazed to see evidences of public sentiment which could not be mistaken.

The Legislature meets December 10 at Baton Rouge. The calling a convention forthwith is to be unanimous, the bill for army and State ditto. The Convention will meet in January, and only two questions will be agitated, -- Immediate dissolution, a declaration of State independence, and a General Convention of Southern States, with instructions to demand of the Northern States to repeal all laws hostile to slavery and pledges of future good behavior. . . . When the Convention meets in January, as they will assuredly do, and resolve to secede, or to elect members to a General Convention with instructions inconsistent with the nature of things, I must quit this place, for it would be neither right for me to stay nor would the Governor be justified in placing me in this position of trust; for the moment Louisiana assumes a position of hostility, then this becomes an arsenal and fort.

Let me hear the moment you think dissolution is inevitable. What Mississippi and Georgia do, this State will do likewise.


W. T. Sherman.
How to Cite This Page: "Letter from William Tecumseh Sherman to John Sherman, December 1, 1860," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/2345.