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The members of the Knoxville Civil War Roundtable will have to wait until Tuesday (July 12, 2016) to find out what historian John Marszalek has to say about William Tecumseh Sherman being “the South’s best friend.”

Before then, however, we can read a bit of what Marszalek has written about Sherman.

Here are some excerpts from Marszalek’s biography John F.. Sherman : A Soldier’s Passion for Order.

This from the Prologue:

William Tecumseh Sherman, photo by Matthew Brady

William Tecumseh Sherman, photo by Matthew Brady

The destructive methods Sherman employed in the march to the sea were controversial, but he was no villain; he was one of the great military leaders of the Civil War. He knew how to outmaneuver a major Confederate army and how to destroy the Confederate will. He was an appealing individual, whom soldiers, family, and friends idolized. As a major public figure, he was in demand for both the office of the presidency and small social gatherings and public speeches. He impressed his contemporaries, influenced his age, and left a name for posterity.

Marszalek, John F.. Sherman : A Soldier’s Passion for Order. Carbondale, US: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 7 July 2016.
Copyright © 2007. Southern Illinois University Press. All rights reserved.

Sherman’s life and career turned around at the battle of Shiloh. Sherman had suffered the humiliation of being the object of vicious press  and of being relieved of his command. He needed the experience of Shiloh — and the development of a friendship with Ulysses  S. Grant — to get him back on track.

This is what Marszalek writes about that:

Shiloh was to remain of crucial importance to Sherman all his life. It was especially tied into his lifelong admiration for Grant. Here he saw firsthand Grant’s steady determination and how it snatched victory out of defeat. Shiloh was an important event in his life because he saw that Union forces could, given the right leadership, stand up to the Confederates. The Federal army could overcome chaos and be successful.

Marszalek, John F.. Sherman : A Soldier’s Passion for Order. Carbondale, US: Southern Illinois University Press, 2007. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 7 July 2016.
Copyright © 2007. Southern Illinois University Press. All rights reserved.