DescriptionWilliam T. Sherman Autograph Letters (3) Signed. All are signed "W. T. Sherman" and were written between 1886 and 1888 to Absalom H. Markland concerning events during and since the Civil War (one letter is written to Markland's wife, Martha, following his death).
Nearing the end of his life, General Sherman pens the first letter (three pages) from St. Louis on January 4, 1886, to Colonel Markland in Washington, D.C. Reminiscing about their war experiences, the general writes, "Though twenty years have intervened the memories of the war come back with the vividness of yesterday. Especially such as you recall, when you were always connected with the branch of service which united us with our homes & friends. Probably never again in our Lives will we experience such a contrast as you recall between the New Years of 1863, and 1865, from the Swamps of the deadly [illegible] to the bright atmosphere of Savannah - from the Suppression[?] of 1863, to the Exaltation of 1865. But time in its remitless[?] flight is sweeping away these memories and soon none will be left to tell the tale." Toned with folds.
In the second letter (also three pages), Sherman writes from New York on December 27, 1886, that he is hopeful that Markland, will "continue many years to receive the assurance of the love of the many thousands to whom you carried comfort & solace in the days of the war. . . . Now that John Logan is gone we are all reminded that the Civil War will soon be as much in the past as the Revolutionary War." Toned with folds.
The final letter (two pages dated May 31, 1888) was sent to Mrs. Markland as a condolence for the recent death of her husband. Remembering Colonel Markland's war-time accomplishments, Sherman writes that "The colonel during our war was always a messenger of joy to us all for we knew that he was the Bearer of news from home. At Memphis, Vicksburg, Nashville, and especially at Savannah he seemed to anticipate our movements and arrived almost to a day with us bearing the precious mails carefully assorted and promptly distributed." Separations exist along some folds.
During the Civil War, Kentucky-native Absalom Markland served as a special agent of the Post Office Department assigned to General Grant's staff. He was also a personal friend to the general. The two had met in their early teens as classmates at Maysville Seminary in Kentucky. While Grant began a career in the U.S. military, Markland studied law and migrated to Washington, D.C., in 1849 and became a government official in the Office of Indian Affairs. During the presidential campaign of 1860, he supported Abraham Lincoln who, after his election, appointed Markland a special agent in the Post Office Department. Markland's initial assignment was to investigate the loyalty of postmasters to the Union, but General Grant soon assigned him charge of mail delivery for his Army of the Tennessee. Markland transformed the slow, inefficient mail delivery to Grant's troops into a prompt, efficient service that consequently helped improve morale. According to Allen Thorndike Rice's book, Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln by Distinguished Men of His Time (1886), Markland had the rare distinction of being "the only person besides President Abraham Lincoln and General U. S. Grant who ever had authority to pass at will through all the armies of the United States, thereby showing the confidential relations between the President, General Grant and himself" (North American Publishing Company, 629). Markland was given the honorary rank of colonel and served under Grant for most of the war, often carrying letters and messages between President Lincoln and generals.
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