William Tecumseh Sherman was born on February 8th in the year 1820 in Lancaster Ohio. His father was Charles Sherman, a well-known lawyer and an Ohio Supreme Court Justice. Sherman was one out of eleven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Sherman. In 1829 his father died when Sherman was only 9. He went to live with a family friend. This family friend was Thomas Ewing, an Ohio Senator and a Whig member. With Sherman’s connections, mostly Thomas Ewing, got him an appointment into West Point Military Academy in Upstate New York. Sherman did excel academically, but had little regard for their rules. He never got into too much trouble, and managed to graduate in 1840, 6th in his class.
His military career was slow to start. Sherman first saw a little bit of action in Florida. He was a commander in the second Seminole war. He had various duty stations in Georgia, and South Carolina. While serving in those areas, he met some of the oldest, most respected families in the South. Sherman’s early military career was not all that exciting compared to most of his colleagues that served in the Mexican-American war, seeing lots of combat. Sherman on the other hand was stationed in California as an executive officer or as we say in the military, a xo.
In 1850, Sherman married Thomas Ewing’s daughter, Eleanor Boyle Ewing. In 1853 after 3 years of marriage, Sherman was questioning his role in the military. Feeling like he was going nowhere, due to his lack of combat experience, he decided that the United States Army was not for him. He resigned his commission. Sherman ended up staying in California as a banker during the time of the gold rush. His time as a banker ended with the panic of 1857. Sherman and his family moved to Kansas, there he practiced law. Sherman did not do very well as a lawyer and in 1859 left Kansas.
That same year Sherman took a head master position at a military academy in Louisiana. When the tensions between the North and the South started heating up, Sherman told a few friends that the war would be long and bloody. He also said to them that the North would eventually win. When Louisiana separated from the Union, Sherman decided to leave his position of being head master. He then moved his family to St. Louis to avoid the conflict. Despite the fact Sherman was a conservative about slavery, his deep support for the Union bled through. After hearing about the first shots at Ft Sumter, Sherman asked his brother Senator John Sherman to reinstate his commission.
In the spring of 1861 Sherman was appointed to the rank of colonel. He was assigned to be a brigade commander in the 13th Infantry under General William McDowell. Sherman served in the first battle of Bull Run, where the union suffered great losses. After being sent to Kentucky it is believed Sherman had a nervous breakdown. He complained to his superiors that they did not have enough supplies and exaggerated the enemies’ troop numbers. The press had picked up on his breakdown...