Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    "It actually seems 'funny' that I should be forced to appeal to you 'a Rebel'"

    William T. Sherman Autograph Letter Twice Signed ("W. T. Sherman/ General" and "W. T. S.") to Senator Samuel B. Maxey of Texas concerning the retirement of General Edward Ord. Three and one-half pages, 8" x 10", December 17, 1880, Washington, D.C., on letterhead reading "Headquarters Army of the United States". Sherman begins the letter by thanking Senator Maxey for introducing a bill "to retire General Ord as a Major General." Showing his concern about how General Ord would be able to support his large family after retirement (he had thirteen children), Sherman, who had been appointed Commanding General of the United States Army in 1869, continues, "I thank you for this thoughtful interest in behalf of one of the truest, most unselfish, most meritorious men of the Army. . . . I hope you will be equally successful in obtaining a Bill to enable the President to retire Ord as a Major General. I don't like special Bills and am sure that if you can pass a Bill to enable the President to retire all or any of the old faithful officers according to their highest rank earned in war, that President Hayes or President Garfield will be only too happy to give Ord the benefit of this law. . . . I don't want to burden the Treasury, but a Great Country like ours should provide liberally for the declining days of old, faithful, brave officers like Ord. I have known him intimately for forty-four years, and don't think he ever lost a day of service from sickness or other cause and he has always been in the thickest of the fight and has been repeatedly wounded."

    Sherman adds the following postscript to Senator Maxey, a former Confederate general: "P.S. It actually seems 'funny' that I should be forced to appeal to you 'a Rebel' to protect my oldest and best friend against the action of the 'Union President': but such is the fact." Sherman then writes a Latin phrase which can be translated, "The times are changing and so are we"; the phrase is followed by Sherman's second signature.

    Edward Ord, a veteran of the Mexican War and Civil War, helped to suppress John Brown's raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859. Thanks certainly to Sherman's request of Maxey, Ord was able to retire in December 1880 as a major general. Samuel Maxey (1825-1895), an attorney from Paris, Texas, was chosen as a delegate to Texas' 1861 Secession Convention. During the Civil War, he was promoted to a Confederate brigadier general and served in Tennessee, Texas, and the Indian Territory. Following a post-war pardon, he was elected to two terms as senator. This letter, which has been passed down from the descendants of Senator Maxey, is offered here with a U.S. Senate Chamber envelope. The letter contains folds and is written on lined paper. Fine condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2009
    16th-17th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 831

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Oct 16, 2009 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 7 days left to consign to the 2021 October 5 Maui, Hawaii - Wailuku Oceanview Estate Signature Auction !

    Learn about consigning with us

    The resulting auction of my property overwhelmed me. I want to thank Tom Slater and the Heritage team for a very satisfactory experience and profitable result with my historical consignment.
    Henry L.,
    Lexington, KY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search