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    General Sherman prepares his final movements of the Civil War

    William Sherman Autograph Letter Signed "W. T. Sherman" with envelope and two letters. Three pages, 7.75" x 10", "12 m[iles] out on the Raleigh Road [North Carolina]," March 15, 1865, on letterhead reading "Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi" to "Captain Kusir [sic, Edward S. Keyser] / U.S. Steamer Eolus / Fayetteville [North Carolina]" The letter is written in pencil on lined paper; toned with minor soiling. As Sherman marched through the Carolinas, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston offered only light resistance. Sherman, however, was on the offensive and prepared for their next engagement. Sherman, near Raleigh, was preparing to march to Goldsboro (51 miles to the southeast of Raleigh). He sent this letter to Captain Keyser, 62 miles south of Raleigh on the Cape Fear River at Fayetteville. In part:

    "I will now repeat that I am moving toward Raleigh, but will swing over to Goldsboro. Tonight I will be at Kyler Landing. Tomorrow near the Bridge across North River and the . . . [illegible] near Bentonville. It may be that the Enemy may attempt to oppose me in which case it might become of some importance that I should send orders to . . . [illegible]. I therefore ask that the Eolus remain as near Fayetteville as possible according to the state of water, and I think it would be well to have a tug messenger Boat. If Capt. Young has none to spare, I wish you would write to General [Grenville M.] Dodge . . . saying that I want the Army Tug to keep moving up & down till it is known that I am at Goldsboro or in communication with [Brigadier General John] Schofield.

    "I have no doubt also that a good many of our sick & . . . [illegible] men will hang about the Landing and must not be allowed to suffer, though their officers should have attended to them. If you find any such clustering about the Landing have them camp near your Boat on this Bank and send word to Genl. Dodge Chief Quartermaster to send a Boat for them. . . . I send two . . . [illegible] with this. Please take care of them and send them back to me in the morning with any news, Letters, or papers you may have."

    Included is the envelope for Sherman's letter bearing the printed return information of "Headquarters, / Military Division of the Mississippi / Official Business." It is addressed in pencil to "Captain Kuser [sic] U.S. Gunboat Eolus . . . [illegible]." The envelope is wrinkled, toned, and soiled.

    Also included are two fair copies of letters written in ink from Edward S. Keyser, Acting Master, commanding the U.S.S. Eolus "off Fayetteville [North Carolina]," both in response to Sherman's directions. The first is dated March 15, 1865, at 8 p.m. notifying Lieutenant Commander George W. Young, commander of the U.S.S. Maratanga, about General Sherman's wish that Keyser "remain near this place until he [Sherman] opens communication with Schofield." Other important information from Sherman's letter is also conveyed.

    The second fair copy is also two pages and dated March 15, at 5 a.m., though it was likely written on March 16. Keyser informs General Sherman that he had received Sherman's "communication of the 15th" and that he had written Captain Young "making known your wishes." Among other details, Keyser informs Sherman that he will "remain as near Fayetteville as possible until ordered down or until I hear from you." Both fair copies have folds and are docketed "Copy."

    As Sherman marched his troops to Goldsboro, they met Johnston's Confederates for one final battle at Bentonville (March 19-21). Johnston was defeated and surrendered to Sherman one month later.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    13th-14th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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