Ohio History Journal

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"Think Kindly of

"Think Kindly of

Us of the South"



edited by LEE N. NEWCOMER

The following letter to William Tecumseh Sherman dates from a short and

almost forgotten era of United States history, the few years following the

Civil War in which the South thought well of General Sherman. Southern

liking for Sherman, though short-lived, was well-grounded in fact. Before

the war Sherman taught at what later became Louisiana State University;

he liked the southerners and they liked him. Secession and war temporarily

alienated these affections, but with the war drawing to a close Sherman was

not vindictive. Grant was generous to the defeated Lee at Appomattox;

Sherman was even more generous to the defeated General Johnston at

Raleigh. For this leniency Sherman received some brickbats from the North

but only plaudits from the South, and the latter was delighted by Sherman's

speaking out after the war with gruff eloquence in the cause of peace and

reconciliation. "Our country ought not to be ruled by the extreme views of

Sumner or Stevens," he wrote.1 The reunited Union was in danger of being

doctored to death: "I do want peace and do say if all hands would stop

talking, and writing, and let the sun shine, and the rains fall for two or

three years, we would be nearer reconstruction than we are likely to be with

the three and four hundred statesmen trying to legislate amid the prejudices

begotten for four centuries."2

Early in 1869, the year of this letter, the general returned to Louisiana,

was welcomed by a friendly populace, and even was invited to stop at