William Tecumseh Sherman was born on February 8, 1820 in Lancaster, Ohio, his father died when he was young. His mother, widowed and unable to care for the entire family, sent William’s brother Thomas to be raised by an aunt and William became a foster child to Thomas Ewing, his father's friend. William was also called “Cump” by Thomas Ewing’s family. He married Mr. Ewing's daughter, Ellen. He was educated at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and he graduated in 1840. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities between the North and the South, William Tecumseh Sherman was Superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary and Military Academy at Alexandria, Louisiana.
In October 1861, Sherman relieved Robert Anderson. Anderson was in command of Ft Sumter and requested that Sherman be transferred to his command. It was extremely difficult filling quotas for Kentucky volunteers. The state of Kentucky was split on their beliefs and where their allegiance should be. Later that month, Sherman told Secretary of War Cameron that if he had 60,000 men, he would drive the enemy out of Kentucky and if he had 200,000 men, he would finish the war. When Cameron returned to Washington, he reported that Sherman required 200,000 men. The report was given to newspapers and the public was not happy. A writer of one of these newspapers even went as far as saying that Sherman must be "crazy" in demanding such a large force. The public accepted that he must be crazy and writers have always declared him to be. Due to the pressure of the press and politicians, Sherman was relieved of his command and then was assigned to the Department of the West, in St. Louis, Missouri. After moving to Missouri, newspapers and gossip continued to harass him with reports that he was insane and that he was not fit to command.
William Sherman is one of the most hated and despised man in the history of Georgia. On September 1, 1864, Sherman's troops captured the city of Atlanta. Sherman declared Atlanta to be a military encampment and ordered the civilians to leave the city. He made arrangements with John B. Hood for safe passage of these civilians, that because of where they lived, no matter if they had Confederate or Union sympathies, they could not remain in their homes if they were within the city of Atlanta. From September to November, Sherman's forces were on the defensive guarding the city. Hood tried several unsuccessful attacks but his efforts were futile. Hood then began marching northward, hoping to destroy Sherman's supply line.
On September 12, 1864, Sherman wrote a letter, in response to a letter he received, to the mayor of Atlanta James M. Calhoun and S.C. Wells who represented the City Council of Atlanta. In his letter, Sherman says he will not revoke his orders. He says to secure peace the war must be stopped. To stop war they must defeat the rebel armies that go against the laws and the Constitution. Sherman plans on using Atlanta for warlike purposes which is uncharacteristic of Atlanta which is home to families. He says there will be no manufacturing commerce or agriculture in…