Talk:William Tecumseh Sherman

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Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable, precise and verifiable source for any quote on this list please move it to William Tecumseh Sherman. --Antiquary 18:05, 15 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • An army is a collection of armed men obliged to obey one man. Every change in the rules which impairs this principle weakens the army.
  • Courage — a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger, and a mental willingness to endure it.
  • The more Indians we can kill this year, the less will have to be killed next year.
  • Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and defeat.
  • Grant stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other always.
    • A reference to rumors that plagued both men during the Civil War — that Sherman was unstable and Grant was a drunkard.
  • I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah.
    • Letter to President Lincoln
  • I can handle a hundred thousand men in battle, and take the City of the Sun, but am afraid to manage a lot in the swamp of San Francisco.
  • I hate newspapermen. They come into camp and pick up their camp rumors and print them as facts. I regard them as spies, which, in truth, they are. If I killed them all there would be news from Hell before breakfast.
    • Variant: If I had my choice I would kill every reporter in the world, but I am sure we would be getting reports from Hell before breakfast.
  • I will accept no commission that would tend to create a rivalry with Grant. I want him to hold what he has earned and got. I have all the rank that I want.
  • I make up my mind from facts and reasoning, and not to suit any body but myself. If people don't like my opinions, it makes little difference as I don't ask for their vote or solicit their opinions.
  • I think I understand what military fame is: to be killed on the field of battle and have your name misspelled in the newspapers.
  • I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptoms of tiring till the South begs for mercy.
  • If forced to choose between the White House and the penitentiary for four years, I would say the penitentiary, thank you.
  • If the people raise a great howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking.
  • If you get blown up I don't care!
    • To a Confederate prisoner ordered to dig for land mines.
  • My aim, then, was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us. Fear is the beginning of wisdom.
  • The carping and bickering of political factions in the nation's capitol reminds me of two pelicans quarreling over a dead fish.
  • The legitimate object of war is a more perfect peace.
  • The scenes on this field would cure anyone of war.
  • This war differs from other wars in this particular: We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make young and old, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war.
  • Vox populi, vox humbug!
  • War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want.
  • War is, at its best, barbarism.

Letter of 21 May 1865 to James E. Yeatman : Sourcing Information[edit]

Since my last edit on this quote, I have discovered a better source, as well as some additional information. This quote appears in, and is footnoted in, Sherman: A Soldier's Passion For Order, John F, Marszalek, Southern Illinois University Press (2007) ; the quote is found in Chapter 15 ('Fame Tarnished'), on p. 358, and the related footnote is on p. 562. It reads : 60. WTS(William Tecumseh Sherman) to James E. Yeatman, May 21, 1865. copy, SFP(Sherman Family Papers), UNDA(Archives of the University of Notre Dame). I have expanded the abbreviations WTS, SFP, & UNDA with information from a list of Abbreviations found on pp. 501-504. The actual quote is on p. 358, and begins "I confess without shame," he told a St. Louis friend, "I am tired & sick of war." Mr. Yeatman is further mentioned on p. 290, as follows: "Sherman's St. Louis friend, James E. Yeatman, and his Western Sanitary Commission." Some, but not all of these pages can be displayed using a Google Books search; the page containing the actual quote is not available thru this method; I was, however, able to borrow a physical copy of the book thru my local library. Finally, I ascertained Mr. Yeatman's position with the Western Sanitary Commission by a search of The Memoirs of W. T. Sherman: All Volumes, William Tecumseh Sherman, Acheron Press (paperback, 2012), which yielded the following fragment : "I telegraphed to my friend Mr. James E. Yeatman, Vice-President of the Sanitary Commission at St. Louis." I have placed this explanation of the sourcing information for this quote here on the discussion page, in lieu of cluttering up the main page with a lengthy discursion that would be of no interest to the average Wikiquote reader. CononOfSamos (talk) 21:21, 11 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As noted on the Main Page, there is more than one text for this quote. The version quoted in Sherman: Merchant of Terror, Advocate of Peace is also found in several other books; the version quoted in Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion For Order is found in only one other source (using a Google Books search), Labor Digest Volume 7 (1915). I felt compelled to use this text as the primary version in light of the fact that I am taking the date & recipient of this letter from the book that contains this textual version. CononOfSamos (talk) 22:29, 11 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]