Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sherman I.

This is coolbert:

W.T. Sherman - - INSANE!

That most controversial soldier and significant general officer of the American Civil War, William Tecumseh Sherman, his detractors often citing mental derangement and insanity as being a malady afflicting the man. NOT a condition suitable under any circumstances for a senior military commander, obviously and intuitively so!! An image perpetuated by the press and repeated throughout history as a glaring mental and character flaw, "Uncle Billy" a man not worthy of command at any level!

From the article: "Sherman Modern Warrior" by Captain B.H. Liddell Hart also as printed in the magazine: "CIVIL WAR Chronicles"

 "Gen. William T. Sherman Insane."

"The painful intelligence reaches us in such form that we are not at liberty to discredit it, that Gen. W.T. Sherman, later commander of the Department of the Cumberland is insane. It appears that he was at times when commanding in Kentucky, stark mad. We learn that he at one time telegraphed to the War department three times in one day permission to evacuate Kentucky, and retreat into Indiana. he also, on several occasions, frightened the leading Union men of Louisville almost out of their wits, by the most astounding representations of the overwhelming force of BUCKNER, and the assertion that Louisville could not be defended. The retreat from Cumberland Gap was one of his mad freaks. when relieved of the command in Kentucky, he was sent to Missouri and placed at the head of a brigade at Sedalia, whee the shocking fact that he was a madman, was developed, by orders that his subordinates knew to be preposterous and refused to obey." As printed in the Cincinnati Commercial December 11, 1861 - - thanks to the American Heritage magazine "CIVIL WAR Chronicles"

Sherman a strong-willed man and commander who had many [?] detractors and enemies, some in high places?

Sherman, as described being "insane" in the figurative sense of the word, NOT literal. Thanks to the very poorly chosen  words of the Secretary of War, Sherman having an image created that HAD NO REAL BASIS!

"He also had a clash with Secretary of War Simon Cameron, who came to Louisville on a short visit. Sherman, pointing out that he had only 20,000 men to cover a frontage of 300 miles, argued that at least 60,000 were needed for the immediate purpose . . . But the Secretary of War described it as an 'insane' demand and this careless phrase was exploited by Sherman's political and press critics, who now depicted him as a lunatic."

There you have it. The context being most important. The soldier Sherman giving his professional opinion to his superior - - the latter of whom responding with terms, a "careless phrase" that caused a lot of grief for W.T. both at the time and for what has seemed to be time immemorial!

NOW you know the full story and are the better for it.


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