William T. Sherman writes that his "mind is firmly made up to keep out of all societies of whatever kind, social or political"William T. Sherman Autograph Letter Signedz "W. T. Sherman / General." Three pages of a bifolium, 5" x 8", Washington, D.C., March 23, 1871, on letterhead reading, "Headquarters Army of the United States." In this letter, the Union general firmly declines an invitation from Colonel William C. Church to become the Loyal League's Grand Commander. General Sherman writes in part, "I again thank you for your kind wishes about associating me with the Loyal League, but my mind is firmly made up to keep out of all societies of whatever kind, social or political. Sooner or later, I will be forced to choose a home, and as a matter of course, I must turn to the West whence I came and whence I really belong. This may occur at any time and most assuredly in a very few years. There are many members of your order fully as well qualified as I am. And no one occurs to me more appropriate than General Meade whose fortunes belong to the East. I am glad that your Constitution forbids you from choosing as Grand Commander any one except a full member and that a previous application for membership is indispensable." This letter bears smoothed folds and some toning.
Colonel William Church had resigned his position as a Washington correspondent for the New York Times prior to the Civil War to become a captain in the U.S. Volunteers in 1862. After the war, he co-founded the National Rifle Association (1871) and was one of the original members of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. Near the end of the nineteenth century, the Legion boasted 8,000 members.
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