there remained not one cent of balance in my hands. I charged in
my account current for my salary up to the end of February, at the
rate of four thousand dollars a year, and for the five hundred
dollars due me as superintendent of the Central Arsenal, all of
which was due and had been fairly earned, and then I stood free and
discharged of any and every obligation, honorary or business, that
was due by me to the State of Louisiana, or to any corporation or
individual in that State.
This business occupied two or three days, during which I staid at
the St. Louis Hotel. I usually sat at table with Colonel and Mrs.
Bragg, and an officer who wore the uniform of the State of
Louisiana, and was addressed as captain. Bragg wore a colonel's
uniform, and explained to me that he was a colonel in the State
service, a colonel of artillery, and that some companies of his
regiment garrisoned Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and the arsenal
at Baton Rouge.
Beauregard at the time had two sons at the Seminary of Learning. I
had given them some of my personal care at the father's request,
and, wanting to tell him of their condition and progress, I went to
his usual office in the Custom-House Building, and found him in the
act of starting for Montgomery, Alabama. Bragg said afterward that
Beauregard had been sent for by Jefferson Davis, and that it was
rumored that he had been made a brigadier-general, of which fact he
seemed jealous, because in the old army Bragg was the senior.
Davis and Stephens had been inaugurated President and
Vice-President of the Confederate States of America, February 18,
1860, at Montgomery, and those States only embraced the seven
cotton States. I recall a conversation at the tea-table, one
evening, at the St. Louis Hotel. When Bragg was speaking of
Beauregard's promotion, Mrs. Bragg, turning to me, said, "You know
that my husband is not a favorite with the new President." My mind
was resting on Mr. Lincoln as the new President, and I said I did
not know that Bragg had ever met Mr. Lincoln, when Mrs. Bragg said,
quite pointedly, "I didn't mean your President, but our President."
I knew that Bragg hated Davis bitterly, and that he had resigned
from the army in 1855, or 1856, because Davis, as Secretary of War,
had ordered him, with his battery, from Jefferson Barracks,
Missouri, to Fort Smith or Fort Washita, in the Indian country, as
Bragg expressed it, "to chase Indians with six-pounders."
I visited the quartermaster, Colonel A. C. Myers, who had resigned
from the army, January 28, 1861, and had accepted service under the
new regime. His office was in the same old room in the Lafayette
Square building, which he had in 1853, when I was there a
commissary, with the same pictures on the wall, and the letters "U.
S." on every thing, including his desk, papers, etc. I asked him
if he did not feel funny. "No, not at all. The thing was
inevitable, secession was a complete success; there would be no
war, but the two Governments would settle all matters of business
in a friendly spirit, and each would go on in its allotted sphere,
without further confusion." About this date, February 16th,
General Twiggs, Myers's father-in-law, had surrendered his entire
command, in the Department of Texas, to some State troops, with all
the Government property, thus consummating the first serious step
in the drama of the conspiracy, which was to form a confederacy of
the cotton States, before working upon the other slave or border
States, and before the 4th of March, the day for the inauguration
of President Lincoln.
I walked the streets of New Orleans, and found business going along
as usual. Ships were strung for miles along the lower levee, and
steamboats above, all discharging or receiving cargo. The Pelican
flag of Louisiana was flying over the Custom House, Mint, City
Hall, and everywhere. At the levee ships carried every flag on
earth except that of the United States, and I was told that during
a procession on the 22d of February, celebrating their emancipation
from the despotism of the United States Government, only one
national flag was shown from a house, and that the houses of
Cuthbert Bullitt, on Lafayette Square. He was commanded to take it
down, but he refused, and defended it with his pistol.
The only officer of the army that I can recall, as being there at
the time, who was faithful, was Colonel C. L. Kilburn, of the
Commissary Department, and he was preparing to escape North.
Everybody regarded the change of Government as final; that
Louisiana, by a mere declaration, was a free and independent State,
and could enter into any new alliance or combination she chose.
Men were being enlisted and armed, to defend the State, and there
was not the least evidence that the national Administration
designed to make any effort, by force, to vindicate the national
authority. I therefore bade adieu to all my friends, and about the
25th of February took my departure by railroad, for Lancaster, via
Cairo and Cincinnati.
Before leaving this subject, I will simply record the fate of some
of my associates. The seminary was dispersed by the war, and all
the professors and cadets took service in the Confederacy, except
Yallas, St. Ange, and Cadet Taliaferro. The latter joined a Union
regiment, as a lieutenant, after New Orleans was retaken by the
United States fleet under Farragut. I think that both Yallas and
St. Ange have died in poverty since the war. Major Smith joined
the rebel army in Virginia, and was killed in April, 1865, as he
was withdrawing his garrison, by night, from the batteries at
Drury's Bluff, at the time General Lee began his final retreat from
Richmond. Boyd became a captain of engineers on the staff of
General Richard Taylor, was captured, and was in jail at Natchez,
Mississippi, when I was on my Meridian expedition. He succeeded in
getting a letter to me on my arrival at Vicksburg, and, on my way
down to New Orleans, I stopped at Natchez, took him along, and
enabled him to effect an exchange through General Banks. As soon
as the war was over, he returned to Alexandria, and reorganized the
old institution, where I visited him in 1867; but, the next winter,
the building took fire end burned to the ground. The students,
library, apparatus, etc., were transferred to Baton Rouge, where
the same institution now is, under the title of the Louisiana
University. I have been able to do them many acts of kindness, and
am still in correspondence, with Colonel Boyd, its president.
General G. Mason Graham is still living on his plantation, on Bayou
Rapides, old and much respected.
Dr. S. A. Smith became a surgeon in the rebel army, and at the
close of the war was medical director of the trans-Mississippi
Department, with General Kirby Smith. I have seen him since the
war, at New Orleans, where he died about a year ago.
Dr. Clark was in Washington recently, applying for a place as
United States consul abroad. I assisted him, but with no success,
and he is now at Baltimore, Maryland.
After the battle of Shiloh, I found among the prisoners Cadet
Barrow, fitted him out with some clean clothing, of which he was in
need, and from him learned that Cadet Workman was killed in that
Governor Moore's plantation was devastated by General Banks's
troops. After the war he appealed to me, and through the
Attorney-General, Henry Stanbery, I aided in having his
land restored to him, and I think he is now living there.
Bragg, Beauregard, and Taylor, enacted high parts in the succeeding
war, and now reside in Louisiana or Texas
APRIL AND MAY, 1861.
During the time of these events in Louisiana, I was in constant
correspondence with my brother, John Sherman, at Washington; Mr.
Ewing, at Lancaster, Ohio; and Major H. S. Turner, at St. Louis. I
had managed to maintain my family comfortably at Lancaster, but was
extremely anxious about the future. It looked like the end of my
career, for I did not suppose that "civil war" could give me an
employment that would provide for the family. I thought, and may
have said, that the national crisis had been brought about by the
politicians, and, as it was upon us, they "might fight it out"
Therefore, when I turned North from New Orleans, I felt more
disposed to look to St. Louis for a home, and to Major. Turner to
find me employment, than to the public service.
I left New Orleans about the 1st of March, 1861, by rail to Jackson
and Clinton, Mississippi, Jackson, Tennessee, and Columbus,
Kentucky, where we took a boat to Cairo, and thence, by rail, to
Cincinnati and Lancaster. All the way, I heard, in the cars and
boats, warm discussions about polities; to the effect that, if Mr.
Lincoln should attempt coercion of the seceded States, the other
slave or border States would make common cause, when, it was
believed, it would be madness to attempt to reduce them to
subjection. In the South, the people were earnest, fierce and
angry, and were evidently organizing for action; whereas, in
Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, I saw not the least sign of
preparation. It certainly looked to me as though the people of the
North would tamely submit to a disruption of the Union, and the
orators of the South used, openly and constantly, the expressions
that there would be no war, and that a lady's thimble would hold
all the blood to be shed. On reaching Lancaster, I found letters
from my brother John, inviting me to come to Washington, as he
wanted to see me; and from Major Tamer, at St. Louis, that he was
trying to secure for me the office of president of the Fifth Street
Railroad, with a salary of twenty-five hundred dollars; that Mr.
Lucas and D. A. January held a controlling interest of stock, would
vote for me, and the election would occur in March. This suited me
exactly, and I answered Turner that I would accept, with thanks.
But I also thought it right and proper that I should first go to
Washington, to talk with my brother, Senator Sherman.
Mr. Lincoln had just been installed, and the newspapers were filled
with rumors of every kind indicative of war; the chief act of
interest was that Major Robert Anderson had taken by night into
Fort Sumter all the troops garrisoning Charleston Harbor, and that
he was determined to defend it against the demands of the State of
South Carolina and of the Confederate States. I must have reached
Washington about the 10th of March. I found my brother there, just
appointed Senator, in place of Mr. Chase, who was in the cabinet,
and I have no doubt my opinions, thoughts, and feelings, wrought up
by the events in Louisiana; seemed to him gloomy and extravagant.
About Washington I saw but few signs of preparation, though the
Southern Senators and Representatives were daily sounding their
threats on the floors of Congress, and were publicly withdrawing to
join the Confederate Congress at Montgomery. Even in the War
Department and about the public offices there was open, unconcealed
talk, amounting to high-treason.
One day, John Sherman took me with him to see Mr. Lincoln. He
walked into the room where the secretary to the President now sits,
we found the room full of people, and Mr. Lincoln sat at the end of
the table, talking with three or four gentlemen, who soon left.
John walked up, shook hands, and took a chair near him, holding in
his hand some papers referring to, minor appointments in the State
of Ohio, which formed the subject of conversation. Mr. Lincoln
took the papers, said he would refer them to the proper heads of
departments, and would be glad to make the appointments asked for,
if not already promised. John then turned to me, and said, "Mr.
President, this is my brother, Colonel Sherman, who is just up from
Louisiana, he may give you some information you want." "Ah!" said
Mr. Lincoln, "how are they getting along down there?" I said, "They
think they are getting along swimmingly--they are preparing for
war." "Oh, well!" said he, "I guess we'll manage to keep house."
I was silenced, said no more to him, and we soon left. I was sadly
disappointed, and remember that I broke out on John, d--ning the
politicians generally, saying, "You have got things in a hell of a
fig, and you may get them out as you best can," adding that the
country was sleeping on a volcano that might burst forth at any
minute, but that I was going to St. Louis to take care of my
family, and would have no more to do with it. John begged me to be
more patient, but I said I would not; that I had no time to wait,
that I was off for St. Louis; and off I went. At Lancaster I found
letters from Major Turner, inviting me to St. Louis, as the place
in the Fifth Street Railroad was a sure thing, and that Mr. Lucas
would rent me a good house on Locust Street, suitable for my
family, for six hundred dollars a year.
Mrs. Sherman and I gathered our family and effects together,
started for St. Louis March 27th, where we rented of Mr. Lucas the
house on Locust Street, between Tenth and Eleventh, and occupied it
on the 1st of April. Charles Ewing and John Hunter had formed a
law-partnership in St. Louis, and agreed to board with us, taking
rooms on the third floor In the latter part of March, I was duly
elected president of the Fifth Street Railroad, and entered on the
discharge of my duties April 1, 1861. We had a central office on
the corner of Fifth and Locust, and also another up at the stables
in Bremen. The road was well stocked and in full operation, and
all I had to do was to watch the economical administration of
existing affairs, which I endeavored to do with fidelity and zeal.
But the whole air was full of wars and rumors of wars. The
struggle was going on politically for the border States. Even in
Missouri, which was a slave State, it was manifest that the
Governor of the State, Claiborne Jackson, and all the leading
politicians, were for the South in case of a war. The house on the
northwest corner of Fifth and Pine was the rebel headquarters,
where the rebel flag was hung publicly, and the crowds about the
Planters' House were all more or less rebel. There was also a camp
in Lindell's Grove, at the end of Olive, Street, under command of
General D. M. Frost, a Northern man, a graduate of West Point, in
open sympathy with the Southern leaders. This camp was nominally a
State camp of instruction, but, beyond doubt, was in the interest
of the Southern cause, designed to be used against the national
authority in the event of the General Government's attempting to
coerce the Southern Confederacy. General William S. Harvey was in
command of the Department of Missouri, and resided in his own
house, on Fourth Street, below Market; and there were five or six
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