“Well we have had a big battle where they Shot real bullets and I am safe. Except a buckshot wound in the hand and a bruised shoulder from a spent ball…” – Letter from William T. Sherman to his wife Ellen Ewing Sherman, April 11, 1862, after the Battle of Shiloh.
Growing up, I had a grandmother who referred to the Civil War as “The War of Northern Aggression” which had been won for the North by “that drunkard General Useless Grant.” Her father-in-law had been a young soldier in the war; relatives on both sides had fought and died. A century later, the Civil War was still being fought, at least when she was present, wrapped up in loss, memory, and an unshakeable belief in the “Lost Cause.”
But no Union officer received my grandmother’s opprobrium like William Tecumseh Sherman, whom I understood to be a personification of Lucifer.
And that so-called Lucifer is the subject of Man of Fire: William Tecumseh Sherman in the Civil War, the highly readable, fact-filled, and wonderfully illustrated biography by Derek Maxfield. This is not a comprehensive, “be-all-and-end-all” study of the man; instead, it focuses on his Civil War years and military service.
To continue reading, please see my post today at Dancing Priest.