Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27, 1863: Sherman is on the march


An incident that occurred on this day 150 years ago illustrates a key quality possessed by William Tecumseh Sherman. Ordered to take much of his Corps to reinforce Rosecrans at Chattanooga, Sherman wasted no time. Sherman had been waiting for two months for the Ordnance Department to send him the paint and other supplies needed to maintain the cannon assigned to his Corps. When the Ordnance supplies arrived as Sherman was getting under way, he didn't stop to paint his guns, as Rosecrans might have done under the same circumstances--Sherman marched and paused only long enough to send two notes of complaint to a hapless ordnance lieutenant. Sherman's cannoneers would march with dirty guns, but they would march now.
SHERMAN'S HEADQUARTERS, September 27, 1863.

Lieutenant CHAFFEE,

Chief Ord. Officer, Dept.of the Tennessee, Vicksburg:

Thank you for the message. We have waited two months to paint up and put our batteries in order, and now that we are marching for immediate and distant service, the department is ready to issue. I do think the Ordnance Department needs reconstruction. I will hand your dispatch to the division that remains behind, but so far as my corps is concerned, it comes too late to be of any use.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, Commanding. 

SHERMAN'S HEADQUARTERS, September 27, 1863.

Lieutenant CHAFFEE,

Vicksburg:

I wish you to refer my dispatch to your chief in Washington. I say it does concern your office, but not you personally. We have been here two months begging for material to repair our batteries, and are now tendered them when under orders for a distant theater of action and when they are too late for any use. There has been manifest neglect somewhere, and I distinctly charge it on the Ordnance Department, and so repeat it.

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General.

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