Memoirs of General W.T. Sherman


Text to Speech

was ordered to return to Fort Pierce, turn over the public property

for which I was accountable to Lieutenant H. S. Burton, and then to

join my new company at St. Augustine.

I reached St. Augustine before Christmas, and was assigned to

command a detachment of twenty men stationed at Picolata, on the

St. John's River, eighteen miles distant. At St. Augustine were

still the headquarters of the regiment, Colonel William Gates, with

Company E, Lieutenant Bragg, and Company G, Lieutenant H. B. Judd.

The only buildings at Picolata were the one occupied by my

detachment, which had been built for a hospital, and the dwelling

of a family named Williams, with whom I boarded. On the other

hand, St. Augustine had many pleasant families, among whom was

prominent that of United States Judge Bronson. I was half my time

in St. Augustine or on the road, and remember the old place with

pleasure. In February we received orders transferring the whole

regiment to the Gulf posts, and our company, G, was ordered to

escort Colonel Gates and his family across to the Suwanee River, en

route for Pensacola. The company, with the colonel and his family,

reached Picolata (where my detachment joined), and we embarked in a

steamboat for Pilatka. Here Lieutenant Judd discovered that he had

forgotten something and had to return to St. Augustine, so that I

commanded the company on the march, having with me Second-

Lieutenant George B. Ayres. Our first march was to Fort Russell,

then Micanopy, Wacahoota, and Wacasassee, all which posts were

garrisoned by the Second or Seventh Infantry. At Wacasassee we met

General Worth and his staff, en route for Pilatka. Lieutenant Judd

overtook us about the Suwanee, where we embarked on a small boat

for Cedar Keys, and there took a larger one for Pensacola, where

the colonel and his family landed, and our company proceeded on in

the same vessel to our post--Fort Morgan, Mobile Point.

This fort had not been occupied by troops for many years, was very

dirty, and we found little or no stores there. Major Ogden, of the

engineers, occupied a house outside the fort. I was quartermaster

and commissary, and, taking advantage of one of the engineer

schooners engaged in bringing materials for the fort, I went up to

Mobile city, and, through the agency of Messrs. Deshon, Taylor,

and Myers, merchants, procured all essentials for the troops, and

returned to the post. In the course of a week or ten days arrived

another company, H, commanded by Lieutenant James Ketchum, with

Lieutenants Rankin and Sewall L. Fish, and an assistant surgeon

(Wells.) Ketchum became the commanding officer, and Lieutenant

Rankin quartermaster. We proceeded to put the post in as good

order as possible; had regular guard-mounting and parades, but

little drill. We found magnificent fishing with the seine on the

outer beach, and sometimes in a single haul we would take ten or

fifteen barrels of the best kind of fish, embracing pompinos,

red-fish, snappers, etc.

We remained there till June, when the regiment was ordered to

exchange from the Gulf posts to those on the Atlantic, extending

from Savannah to North Carolina. The brig Wetumpka was chartered,

and our company (G) embarked and sailed to Pensacola, where we took

on board another company (D) (Burke's), commanded by Lieutenant H.

S. Burton, with Colonel Gates, the regimental headquarters, and

some families. From Pensacola we sailed for Charleston, South

Carolina. The weather was hot, the winds light, and we made a long

passage but at last reached Charleston Harbor, disembarked, and

took post in Fort Moultrie.

Soon after two other companies arrived, Bragg's (B) and Keyes's

(K). The two former companies were already quartered inside of

Fort Moultrie, and these latter were placed in gun-sheds, outside,

which were altered into barracks. We remained at Fort Moultrie

nearly five years, until the Mexican War scattered us forever. Our

life there was of strict garrison duty, with plenty of leisure for

hunting and social entertainments. We soon formed many and most

pleasant acquaintances in the city of Charleston; and it so

happened that many of the families resided at Sullivan's Island in

the summer season, where we could reciprocate the hospitalities

extended to us in the winter.

During the summer of 1843, having been continuously on duty for

three years, I applied for and received a leave of absence for

three months, which I spent mostly in Ohio. In November I started

to return to my post at Charleston by way of New Orleans; took the

stage to Chillicothe, Ohio, November 16th, having Henry Stanberry,

Esq., and wife, as travelling companions, We continued by stage.

next day to Portsmouth, Ohio.

At Portsmouth Mr. Stanberry took a boat up the river, and I one

down to Cincinnati. There I found my brothers Lampson and Hoyt

employed in the "Gazette" printing-office, and spent much time with

them and Charles Anderson, Esq., visiting his brother Larz, Mr.

Longworth, some of his artist friends, and especially Miss Sallie

Carneal, then quite a belle, and noted for her fine voice,

On the 20th I took passage on the steamboat Manhattan for St.

Louis; reached Louisville, where Dr. Conrad, of the army, joined

me, and in the Manhattan we continued on to St. Louis, with a mixed

crowd. We reached the Mississippi at Cairo the 23d, and St. Louis,

Friday, November 24, 1843. At St. Louis we called on Colonel S. W.

Kearney and Major Cooper, his adjutant-general, and found my

classmate, Lieutenant McNutt, of the ordnance, stationed at the

arsenal; also Mr. Deas, an artist, and Pacificus Ord, who was

studying law. I spent a week at St. Louis, visiting the arsenal,

Jefferson Barracks, and most places of interest, and then became

impressed with its great future. It then contained about forty

thousand people, and my notes describe thirty-six good steamboats

receiving and discharging cargo at the levee.

I took passage December 4th in the steamer John Aull for New

Orleans. As we passed Cairo the snow was falling, and the country

was wintery and devoid of verdure. Gradually, however, as we

proceeded south, the green color came; grass and trees showed the

change of latitude, and when in the course of a week we had reached

New Orleans, the roses were in full bloom, the sugar-cane just

ripe, and a tropical air prevalent. We reached New Orleans

December 11, 1843, where I spent about a week visiting the

barracks, then occupied by the Seventh Infantry; the theatres,

hotels, and all the usual places of interest of that day.

On the 16th of December I continued on to Mobile in the steamer

Fashion by way of Lake Pontchartrain; saw there most of my personal

friends, Mr. and Mrs. Bull, Judge Bragg and his brother Dunbar,

Deshon, Taylor, and Myers, etc., and on the 19th of December took

passage in the steamboat Bourbon for Montgomery, Alabama, by way of

the Alabama River. We reached Montgomery at noon, December 23d,

and took cars at 1 p. m. for Franklin, forty miles, which we reached

at 7 p. m., thence stages for Griffin, Georgia, via La Grange and

Greenville. This took the whole night of the 23d and the day of

the 24th. At Griffin we took cars for Macon, and thence to

Savannah, which we reached Christmas-night, finding Lieutenants

Ridgley and Ketchum at tea, where we were soon joined by Rankin and

Beckwith.

On the 26th I took the boat for Charleston, reaching my post, and

reported for duty Wednesday morning, December 27, 1843.

I had hardly got back to my post when, on the 21st of January,

1844, I received from Lieutenant R. P. Hammond, at Marietta,

Georgia, an intimation that Colonel Churchill, Inspector-General of

the Army, had applied for me to assist him in taking depositions in

upper Georgia and Alabama; concerning certain losses by volunteers

in Florida of horses and equipments by reason of the failure of the

United States to provide sufficient forage, and for which Congress

had made an appropriation. On the 4th of February the order came

from the Adjutant-General in Washington for me to proceed to

Marietta, Georgia, and report to Inspector-General Churchill. I

was delayed till the 14th of February by reason of being on a

court-martial, when I was duly relieved and started by rail to

Augusta, Georgia, and as far as Madison, where I took the

mail-coach, reaching Marietta on the 17th. There I reported for

duty to Colonel Churchill, who was already engaged on his work,

assisted by Lieutenant R. P. Hammond, Third Artillery, and a

citizen named Stockton. The colonel had his family with him,

consisting of Mrs. Churchill, Mary, now Mrs. Professor Baird, and

Charles Churchill, then a boy of about fifteen years of age.

We all lived in a tavern, and had an office convenient. The duty

consisted in taking individual depositions of the officers and men

who had composed two regiments and a battalion of mounted

volunteers that had served in Florida. An oath was administered to

each man by Colonel Churchill, who then turned the claimant over to

one of us to take down and record his deposition according to

certain forms, which enabled them to be consolidated and tabulated.

We remained in Marietta about six weeks, during which time I

repeatedly rode to Kenesaw Mountain, and over the very ground where

afterward, in 1864, we had some hard battles.

After closing our business at Marietta the colonel ordered us to

transfer our operations to Bellefonte, Alabama. As he proposed to

take his family and party by the stage, Hammond lent me his

riding-horse, which I rode to Allatoona and the Etowah River.

Hearing of certain large Indian mounds near the way, I turned to

one side to visit them, stopping a couple of days with Colonel

Lewis Tumlin, on whose plantation these mounds were. We struck up

such an acquaintance that we corresponded for some years, and as I

passed his plantation during the war, in 1864, I inquired for him,

but he was not at home. From Tumlin's I rode to Rome, and by way

of Wills Valley over Sand Mountain and the Raccoon Range to the

Tennessee River at Bellefonte, Alabama. We all assembled there in

March, and continued our work for nearly two months, when, having

completed the business, Colonel Churchill, with his family, went

North by way of Nashville; Hammond, Stockton, and I returning South

on horseback, by Rome, Allatoona, Marietta, Atlanta, and Madison,

Georgia. Stockton stopped at Marietta, where he resided. Hammond

took the cars at Madison, and I rode alone to Augusta, Georgia,

where I left the horse and returned to Charleston and Fort Moultrie

by rail.

Thus by a mere accident I was enabled to traverse on horseback the

very ground where in after-years I had to conduct vast armies and

fight great battles. That the knowledge thus acquired was of

infinite use to me, and consequently to the Government, I have

always felt and stated.

During the autumn of 1844, a difficulty arose among the officers of

Company B, Third Artillery (John R. Yinton's), garrisoning Augusta

Arsenal, and I was sent up from Fort Moultrie as a sort of

peace-maker. After staying there some months, certain transfers of

officers were made, which reconciled the difficulty, and I returned

to my post, Fort Moultrie. During that winter, 1844-'45, I was

visiting at the plantation of Mr. Poyas, on the east branch of the

Cooper, about fifty miles from Fort Moultrie, hunting deer with his

son James, and Lieutenant John F. Reynolds, Third Artillery. We

had taken our stands, and a deer came out of the swamp near that of

Mr. James Poyas, who fired, broke the leg of the deer, which turned

back into the swamp and came out again above mine. I could follow

his course by the cry of the hounds, which were in close pursuit.

Hastily mounting my horse, I struck across the pine-woods to head

the deer off, and when at full career my horse leaped a fallen log

and his fore-foot caught one of those hard, unyielding pineknots

that brought him with violence to the ground. I got up as quick as

possible, and found my right arm out of place at the shoulder,

caused by the weight of the double-barrelled gun.

Seeing Reynolds at some distance, I called out lustily and brought

him to me. He soon mended the bridle and saddle, which had been

broken by the fall, helped me on my horse, and we followed the

coarse of the hounds. At first my arm did not pain me much, but it

soon began to ache so that it was almost unendurable. In about

three miles we came to a negro hut, where I got off and rested till

Reynolds could overtake Poyas and bring him back. They came at

last, but by that time the arm was so swollen and painful that I

could not ride. They rigged up an old gig belonging to the negro,

in which I was carried six miles to the plantation of Mr. Poyas,

Sr. A neighboring physician was sent for, who tried the usual

methods of setting the arm, but without success; each time making

the operation more painful. At last he sent off, got a set of

double pulleys and cords, with which he succeeded in extending the

muscles and in getting the bone into place. I then returned to

Fort Moultrie, but being disabled, applied for a short leave and

went North.

I started January 25,1845; went to Washington, Baltimore, and

Lancaster, Ohio, whence I went to Mansfield, and thence back by

Newark to Wheeling, Cumberland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New

York, whence I sailed back for Charleston on the ship Sullivan,

reaching Fort Moultrie March 9, 1845.

About that time (March 1, 1845) Congress had, by a joint

resolution, provided for the annexation of Texas, then an

independent Republic, subject to certain conditions requiring the

acceptance of the Republic of Texas to be final and conclusive. We

all expected war as a matter of course. At that time General

Zachary Taylor had assembled a couple of regiments of infantry and

one of dragoons at Fort Jessup, Louisiana, and had orders to extend

military protection to Texas against the Indians, or a "foreign

enemy," the moment the terms of annexation were accepted. He

received notice of such acceptance July 7th, and forthwith

proceeded to remove his troops to Corpus Christi, Texas, where,

during the summer and fall of 1845, was assembled that force with

which, in the spring of 1846, was begun the Mexican War.

Some time during that summer came to Fort Moultrie orders for

sending Company E, Third Artillery, Lieutenant Bragg, to New

Orleans, there to receive a battery of field-guns, and thence to

the camp of General Taylor at Corpus Christi. This was the first

company of our regiment sent to the seat of war, and it embarked on

the brig Hayne. This was the only company that left Fort Moultrie

till after I was detached for recruiting service on the 1st of May,

1846.

Inasmuch as Charleston afterward became famous, as the spot where

began our civil war, a general description of it, as it was in

1846, will not be out of place.

The city lies on a long peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper

Rivers--a low, level peninsula, of sand. Meeting Street is its

Broadway, with King Street, next west and parallel, the street of

shops and small stores. These streets are crossed at right angles

by many others, of which Broad Street was the principal; and the

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