Both volumes of General William T. Sherman's superb memoirs are contained in this presentable and unified edition.
The Memoirs of William T. Sherman is a landmark autobiography featuring Sherman's recollections of the years prior to, during, and following the U.S. Civil War. We hear detailed accounts of Sherman's coming-of-age, his military training, his rise through the ranks, and the battles he participated in. Pages are filled with meticulous details of troop movements and battle tactics, with Sherman's prowess as a general in full evidence upon every page, together with his encounters and correspondences with other prominent figures of the time.
The first volume begins with General Sherman's early life. His formative childhood and upbringing, his experience with combat in the Mexican-American War plus his years as an officer in California are recounted. We hear of his friends and superiors, and the attitude with which he confronted what was to be a lengthy military career spanning decades.
In terms of excitement and pace, the book comes into its own with the beginning of the American Civil War. A military man and officer by heart, it is when describing the successive skirmishes such as the bloody, gore-stained Battle of Vicksburg that William Sherman is in his element. The vivid descriptions of the battlefield and the troop movements to this day count among the finer sources of Civil War history.
In Volume Two, Sherman describes the American Civil War from the Georgia campaign onward. The means by which he co-ordinated with the armies of the Union to capture the crucial city of Atlanta are detailed across several chapters. The evacuation of the newly-captured city, and the thought Sherman put into this order, are detailed.
The later portions of the following cover the closing stages of the U.S. Civil War; the march across Georgia to the sea to liberate Savannah are told. Finally, the turning of the army northwards through the Carolinas in order to defeat the remaining Confederate forces there is detailed.
Sherman devotes relatively little writing to the period of his life following the American Civil War. However, this final chapter does contain vital correspondences between he and Ulysses S. Grant - who would in 1869 become the President of the United States - as Sherman engaged in skirmishes versus the Native American tribes in the west of the-then expanding USA.
In the decades after the American Civil War, Sherman acquired a reputation for ruthlessness, particularly for his military actions against the Native Americans following the Civil War. However his military spirit and capabilities, and the confidence he inspired in his men, has led even the most derogatory scholars to concede that he was a true soldier with a passionate commitment to the United States of America.
Although a rousing speaker with a keen interest in reading, Sherman was averse to politics and would remain in a military position for his entire working life. It is no exaggeration to say that General Sherman's character shaped the U.S. military as it grew and evolved through the nineteenth century: in reading his memoirs, the reader may grasp the strength and enormity of his character.