ALS signed “W. T. Sherman, General,” four pages on two adjoining sheets, 5 x 7.25, Headquarters Army of the United States letterhead, April 2, 1870. Letter to General C. S. Hamilton, US Marshal in Milwaukee. In part: “It is pleasant to realize that some people think of the old Army with some degree of affection and respect, though, it may avail little with those who hold our future in their hand. With them the truth is secondary—the temporary effort is all they care for. The Cry of Economy must be sustained whether there be real Economy or not. The good of the Army, or permanent good of the Country are as nothing on comparison with some specious promise to be used in some local election. I regret always to be drawn into Controversy, but it is sometimes forced on me, and I cannot without Cowardice avoid it. I suppose I do not manifest that deep sense of inferiority in the persons of members of Congress that claim as the Law makers—but my notion was & is that whilst the aggregate we are commanded to respect them. As individuals they are no better or worse than their individual arts demonstrate.” Matted and framed (so both sides may be viewed) with an engraved portrait of Sherman to an overall size of 24 x 15. In very good condition, with horizontal fold passing through signature, scattered toning to first and last page, and a few stray ink marks. Provenance: Christies Sale 2361, December 3, 2010.
In 1870, Sherman was serving as the General of the Army in Washington, D.C., where he was harassed by John Logan, a congressman from Illinois and fellow officer during the Civil War. Logan sought revenge against Sherman for denying him the command of the Army of Tennessee, and introduced a bill in early 1870 that would have lowered Sherman’s income by a third and reduced the number of officers in the army, among other draconian measures. In his fiery speeches, Logan attacked career officers and the military academy, and criticized the killing of Indian women by soldiers. “Had I not been here,” Sherman wrote from Washington, “I am sure Logan would have hit the Regular Army and West Point a fatal blow.” But Sherman failed to completely stave off congressional attacks on the military. As of January 1, 1871, Congress lowered the pay of the military’s top brass, cutting Sherman’s salary by $1,500. After the pay cut, Sherman desired to leave Washington for St. Louis, but Grant convinced him to stay. A remarkable letter in which Sherman unsparingly expresses his famous disdain for Washington politics. Pre-certified PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.