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General william tecumseh sherm

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General william tecumseh sherm

General William Tecumseh Sherman

General William T. Sherman, one of the greatest Civil War generals, proved to be an extremely significant factor for the Northern cause due to his mastery of military warfare and thus notable contribution to the South's defeat. Despite of the fact that early on his military career looked quite grim and hopeless, being publicly ridiculed and called insane, he later displayed great strategic expertise and proved his adversaries wrong. Although he begun his wartime career as colonel of a volunteer brigade, he finished it as General of the American Army and was even nominated various times to presidency. His most significant feats include the capture of Atlanta and Savannah, thus splitting the confederacy in two. He is also notoriously known for his famous "March To Sea", in which he wreaked havoc throughout the central Southern states. Sherman's most famous words, spoken until after the war, stand up for his belief of total war with the statement "war is hell" (Boys Life 366).

William T. Sherman lived through many circumstances in life which, at first appearing to be negative, greatly aided him in becoming the second greatest Union general. Sherman was born into a large family in Lancaster, Ohio on February 8, 1820 (McPhersonxxx 731). His family had had a long history of political positions, although Sherman was always strong in his dislike for the such. 1829 proved to be an impacting year in his life, when his father died leaving his mother responsible for their ten children (Sherman 1). Sherman was taken in as an adoptive child by Mr. Thomas Ewing, a family friend (Sherman 1). This man proved to be an important figure in his life because his political influence managed to get Tecumseh into West Point when he was sixteen. He graduated sixth in his class in 1840 (Ward 706). Sherman then held insignificant military positions in Florida and Mexico, and played no fighting role in the Mexican War, posted as a recruiting officer (Britannica 1). In 1853, after being stationed in California, he retired from service due to the Gold Rush and took up a banking position in a nearby bank (Ward 706). He failed in this area and attempted at being a lawyer and farmer, but also failed. He then wished to enter the military once again, yet encountered difficulties, and was able to receive a teaching position at a military college in Louisiana only through friend contacts (Sherman 1). He was quite happy here but had to resign when Louisiana seceded in 1861, because felt it "treason to talk of secession" (Sherman 2). He then continued his search for a military position, and declined several because he felt "unwilling to take a mere private's place" because of his several years of military service (Sherman 2). On May 14th 1861, William T. Sherman was appointed a colonel of the Thirteenth Regular Infantry (Sherman 3).

Although Sherman's involvement in the war had finally begun, the contributions he rendered early on were quite small. He played minor parts at Fort Sumter and the 1st Battle of Manassas (Bull Run). Sherman was then put in command of a small brigade at the 1st Bull Run on July 21, 1861, and although the Union lost this battle, Sherman and his men performed well (Ward 731). After this battle he was promoted to brigadier-general and later left in charge of the Department of Cumberland (Sherman 3). It was then when a great injustice was done unto him, when the Secretary of War, Mr. Cameron, asked him how many men he would need for his campaign and answered he needed said two hundred thousand. He was later publicly ridiculed for this and called "Crazy Sherman" (McPherson 707). Sherman obviously proved these critics wrong with his significant contribution at the battle of Shiloh.

At the battle of Shiloh, which began on March 10, 1862, Sherman finally displayed his military brilliance by dazzling the Confederate army with his superior military stratagems (Sherman 3). Sherman joined forces here with other generals under the leadership of U.S. Grant and battled against Confederate General Johnston (Americana 172). He and his men fought bravely for two days, and even ran behind retreating Confederate men as they ran for their lives. His casualties, including wounded, dead and missing, were only 2, 034 men (Sherman 4). Although the Union lost this battle, Sherman was promoted to Major General as merit of his great valor and leadership (McPherson 707). Sherman at this time had developed a valuable friendship with U.S. Grant, and even persuaded him from resigning after Grant received numerous false accusations (Sherman 4). They then began planning for their strategy for the capturing of Vicksburg, which would open the Mississippi for Union transportation.

The siege of Vicksburg was a significant battle in Sherman's career because it solidified his reputation as a great general. Sherman, in charge of four divisions, first attempted to take Vicksburg on December 29, 1862 (Sherman 5). He had planned to land by boat and attack from the river while Grant came from the north to prevent Confederate General Pemberton, who was defending Vicksburg, from receiving reinforcements (Ward 707). Both parts of the plan failed for various reasons. Sherman and his men retreated by boat. In 1863 the assault would begin again (Sherman 5). They tried two more times but again failed to break Pemberton. On July 4, 1863, Vicksburg surrendered after Sherman and his ...

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