lived from 1820-1891

William Tecumseh Sherman engaged in some battles with Seminole Indians in his pre-Civil War days, however his exploits during the Civil War are what he is remembered primarily for today.

After a stint in the army from 1840 to 1853 in which he primarily fought Seminole Indians and hung around as an administrative officer, Sherman resigned from the army and attempted to succeed in the world of business. He didn't do to well at that, so some friends of his (of all people, the famed Southern Generals Braxton Bragg and P. G. T. Beauregard) got him employment at a military academy in Louisiana. When Louisiana left the Union and the Civil War broke out in 1861, he resigned and headed North, since he was very much devoted to the Union.

He convinced his brother, a senator, to get him an appointment to the Army as a colonel, and wound up under the command of General Irvin McDowell. McDowell, who was a fairly bad general, commanded the Union army at the first Battle of Bull Run. Well, the Union was very soundly trounced at this battle (some people think that they were defeated so badly, if the South had pushed on, they might have been able to take Washington). Sherman was promoted to General in spite of the horrible disaster at Bull Run, however the failure really freaked him out, and he was convinced that he had no business commanding anyone. He begged and begged President Abraham Lincoln to not give him an independent command, but the President did anyway.

Sherman was really nervous, frightened, and terribly concerned that he would fail, and he requested so many men from his superiors to combat an opponent whose number he had drastically inflated in his head, his superiors thought he was crazy. He lost that command right quick.

He served under General Ulysses S. Grant at the Battle of Shiloh and then at the Siege of Vicksburg, and did quite well. He was promoted again, and given command of the Army of the Tennessee, and this time he didn't screw up. He did very well, and, when Ulysses S. Grant was promoted to the boss of the entire Union army, Sherman was made commander of the military division of the Mississippi.

Now this is where it gets interesting: at this point he began his invasion of Georgia; he took his men to march to the sea. He and his men marched deep into Confederate territory with the intent of riving the Confederacy in twain. Obviously, he didn't have access to the Union's supply lines, so he and his men raided, stole, and lived off of the land. This is one of the best examples of Total War: they brought the Civil War to the doorsteps of the citizens of the Confederacy. They demolished factories, railroad lines, and entire cities, wreaking havoc where ever they tread. Sherman and his army effectively destroyed the South's warmaking capabilities and attempted to terrorize its populace to the point where they could no longer bear to continue the war.

After the war ended, Sherman was promoted again. When Ulysses S. Grant became president later on, Sherman was made commanding general of the entire army. Later on, though he was a war hero and perhaps could have won easily, he declined all invitation to run for office, and he said that if he were nominated for president, he would refuse. Nowadays, "taking a Sherman" or "pulling a Sherman" is tantamount to refusing nomination.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.