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Collection William T. Sherman Papers


A chronology of key events in the life of William T. Sherman, 1820-1891.

  • 1820, Feb. 8

    Born, Lancaster, Ohio, to Charles R. Sherman (1788-1829) and Mary Hoyt Sherman (1787-1852); known as “Cump” to family and friends.

  • 1829

    Informally adopted by Thomas Ewing (1789-1871), after death of father Charles R. Sherman

  • 1840

    Graduated, United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.

  • 1840-1842

    Fought in the Seminole War in Florida

  • 1842

    Stationed at Fort Morgan on Mobile Bay, Ala.

  • 1842-1846

    Stationed at Fort Moultrie, Charleston harbor, Charleston, S.C.

  • 1846-1848

    Stationed in California during the Mexican War; served as an adjutant first to Philip Kearny, then to Richard B. Mason; remained in California until 1850.

  • 1850, May 1

    Married foster sister Eleanor “Ellen” Boyle Ewing (Oct. 4, 1824-Nov. 28, 1888)

  • 1851

    Daughter Maria Boyle Ewing (“Minnie”) Sherman (Jan. 28, 1851-Nov. 22, 1913) born.

    Promoted to captain in commissary service

  • 1851-1853

    Served in St. Louis, Mo., and New Orleans, La.

  • 1852

    Daughter Mary Elizabeth (“Lizzie”) Sherman (Nov. 17, 1852-Apr. 6, 1925) born

  • 1853

    Resigned military commission

  • 1853-1857

    Managed bank in San Francisco, California; daughter Minnie remained with her Ewing grandparents in Ohio

  • 1854

    Son William T. (“Willy”) Sherman, Jr. (June 8, 1854-Oct. 3, 1863) born

  • 1856

    Son Thomas Ewing Sherman (Oct. 12, 1856-Apr. 29, 1933) born

  • 1857

    Moved to New York to manage bank

  • 1858

    Moved to Kansas to engage in real estate law and management firm with his brothers-in-law

  • 1859-1861

    Superintendent, Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, Pineville, La. (later Louisiana State University)

  • 1859

    Daughter Eleanor Mary (“Elly”) Sherman (Sept. 5, 1859-July 18, 1915) born

  • 1861

    Moved to Missouri in March to become president of the St. Louis Railroad

    Rejoined army in May as colonel of Thirteenth Infantry

    Daughter Rachel Ewing Sherman (July 5, 1861-Oct. 26, 1919) born

    Fought at Battle of Bull Run in Virginia in July

    Promoted to brigadier general of volunteers in August

    Served in Kentucky as Robert Anderson’s subordinate in the Department of the Cumberland; Anderson’s resignation in October left Sherman in command; replaced by Don Carlos Buell in November

    Served briefly under Henry W. Halleck in Missouri.

    Poor performance in Kentucky and Missouri leads to rumors in the press of insanity

  • 1862

    Assigned to train troops in Benton Barracks, Mo.

    Given command of the Department of Cairo in Paducah, Ky.

    Served under Ulysses S. Grant at Battle of Shiloh (Tenn.), Apr. 6-7

    Served under Henry W. Halleck in Corinth campaign in Mississippi in May

    Promoted to major general of volunteers

    Assigned as military governor of Memphis, Tenn., in July

  • 1863

    Served in Vicksburg and Chattanooga campaigns

    Son William died on Oct. 3, while family was visiting Sherman in camp

    Commanded the Department and the Army of the Tennessee

  • 1864

    Led Meridian campaign in Mississippi in February-March

    Assumed command of Union armies in the West after Ulysses S. Grant named commander of all the Union armies in Mar.

    Son Charles Celestine Sherman (June 11, 1864-Dec. 4, 1864) born

    Captured Kennesaw Mountain defended by Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston in June; captured Atlanta, Ga., in September

    Promoted to major general of the Union army

    Led “March to the Sea,” Nov. 15-Dec. 21; captured Savannah, Ga., in Dec.

  • 1865

    Led troops in Carolinas campaign, February-March

    Accepted surrender of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston on Apr. 26

    Assumed command of the Military Division of the Mississippi

  • 1866

    Promoted to lieutenant general

  • 1866-1867

    On diplomatic mission to Benito Juarez in Mexico

  • 1867

    Son Philemon Tecumseh (“Cumpy”) Sherman (Jan. 9, 1867-Dec. 6, 1941) born

  • 1869-1883

    Commanding general of the United States Army

  • 1871-1872

    Took a year's leave for trip to Europe

  • 1874

    Moved military headquarters to St. Louis, Mo.

  • 1875

    Published Memoirs of General William T. Sherman.  New York: D. Appleton. 2 vols.

  • 1876

    Returned military headquarters to Washington, D.C.

  • 1879

    Toured Civil War campaign sites in the South

  • 1881

    Established school at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

  • 1883

    Passed command of the army to successor Philip H. Sheridan in November and moved to St. Louis; President Chester A. Arthur issued official order of Sherman’s retirement on Feb. 8, 1884.

  • 1884

    Declined to be a candidate for Republican Party nomination for president

  • 1886

    Moved to New York, N.Y.

    Published revised and corrected edition of Memoirs of General William T. Sherman.

  • 1888, Nov. 28

    Wife Ellen Ewing Sherman died

  • 1891, Feb. 14

    Died, New York, N.Y.

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