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    William T. Sherman Autograph Letter Signed "W. T. Sherman", four pages, 5" x 8", on his "912 Garrison Avenue" letterhead, St. Louis, Mo., 2 January 1883 [sic, 1884], to Mrs. [Joseph] Audenreid, the widow of one of his wartime aides. Sherman, wounded at Shiloh, is known for the Atlanta and Carolinas campaigns and his "March to the Sea" and is widely considered the best federal commander of the Civil War. He pens, "I have your letter of Sunday & see that you had one of your blue-black days, occasioned by thinking of Mackenzie and the Rathbone tragedy. Instead of being cast down you should feel grateful that your own afflictions are small in comparison. Mackenzie was coldly & selfishly ambitious, worried and fretted to the annoyance of his friends and finally to his own ruin. As to Rathbone the whole thing is a perfect mystery - unless it be one of nature's laws that every man must have some employment. To wander about Europe on the theory of educating children who would have been better turned loose in a crowd at some common school, and day after day with nothing to do, was calculated to make a man mad. A woman lives in her family, but a man should have some station or employment in contact with other men." He concludes that "the world goes right along - we will all die in good time and can afford to wait." Union General Ranald Mackenzie, a West Pointer with six brevets including ones for Gettysburg and Petersburg, had begun to show "signs of instability" after taking a Texas command in 1883 and was sent to a New York asylum. The "Rathbone" Sherman mentions was Maj. Henry Rathbone, the guest and attempted defender of Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre on the night of the assassination. Ten days before this letter was written, as the culmination of increasing derangement, Rathbone murdered his wife Clara - who was also his stepsister, and who had likewise been a guest in the presidential box on the fatal night. An intriguing letter, not only for its analyses but because Sherman himself had been accused of insanity during the first year of the Civil War. His mental distress dissipated when he came to serve under Ulysses S. Grant, whom in turn he kept from leaving the army when angered by ill-treatment at the hands of superiors. Evenly toned with folds; fine.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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