General William Tecumseh Sherman field orders collection
New Search | Return to Search Results

General William Tecumseh Sherman field orders collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. 404.814.4040.
Creator: Sherman, William T., (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891
Title: General William Tecumseh Sherman field orders collection
Dates: 1864
Quantity: 0.417 linear ft. (one document case)
Identification: ahc.MSS1027

Biographical/Historical Note

William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) was born and raised in Lancaster, Ohio. The son of Mary Hoyt and lawyer Charles R. Sherman, he was named after the Shawnee chief and ally of the British during the War of 1812. After his father died in 1829, he was raised by Thomas R. Ewing, another lawyer in Lancaster. It was Ewing's wife who insisted that a "Christian appendage," William, be added to Tecumseh Sherman's name. The well-connected Ewing (later serving as Secretary of the Interior under presidents Taylor and Fillmore) got "Cump" Sherman into the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1836. Immediately after graduating in 1840, Sherman served in the 3rd Artillery during the 2nd Seminole War and also served in the Mexican War of 1846-1848. In 1850, he married Eleanor Boyle "Ellen" Ewing (1824-1888) with whom he had eight children: Maria Ewing (1851-1913); Mary Elizabeth (1852-1925); William Tecumseh, Jr. (1854-1863); Thomas Ewing (1856-1933); Eleanor Mary (1861-1919); Rachel Ewing (1861-1919); Charles Celestine (1864); and Philemon Tecumseh (1867-1941). His non-military career began in 1853 when he took a position managing a San Francisco bank - Lucas, Turner, and Company. After struggling with a career in banking he returned to army service in 1861. Sherman served as a colonel in the First Battle of Bull Run (July 21, 1861) and was then promoted to brigadier general. Later he succeeded Ulysses S. Grant as the commander of all Union forces in the Western theater. In April 1865, he accepted the surrender of Joseph E. Johnston in Durham, North Carolina. President Grant appointed him commanding general of the United States Army in 1869. In 1884, he retired from the Army and moved to New York City. where he died in 1890.

The Atlanta Campaign was part of General Ulysses S. Grant's strategy to press the Confederate military into conflicts in multiple places and prevent them from concentrating forces in any one area. The campaign began in May 1864 as Sherman's Division of the Mississippi invaded northern Georgia. The Battle of Atlanta occurred on July 22; however, Sherman was unable to declare the city "ours [the Union's] and fairly won" until September 2, 1864. For two months, Sherman engaged with Hood's forces before deciding to focus on the unprotected Georgia interior. In November 1864, Sherman began his "March to the Sea," leaving a wide swath of destruction and devastation through Georgia before reaching Savannah on December 21, 1864.

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains fifty-two special field orders (SFOs) handwritten by General Sherman from the 1864 Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War. The bulk of these orders pertain to troop movements of the Military Division of the Mississippi (Union) as it moved through northern Georgia en route to Atlanta. Also contained herein are special instructions for railroad destruction (Sherman's "neckties"), proper placement of military hospitals, treatment of "stragglers and skulkers," the occupation and evacuation of the city of Atlanta, and provisioning of the armies for the March to the Sea. Chronologically, the collection begins with SFO 3 written in Resaca, Georgia, on May 21, 1864. It concludes with SFO 114 from November 4, 1864, which was written in Kingston, Georgia. Other places from which Sherman issued field orders include Dalton, Allatoona Pass, Acworth, Dallas, Big Shanty, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Chattahoochee River, Cross Keys, Decatur, Atlanta, Lovejoy, Jonesboro, Rome, Ships Gap, Chattooga Creek, Summerville, Georgia, and Gaylesville, Alabama.

Index Terms

Atlanta Campaign, 1864
Sherman, William T., (William Tecumseh), 1820-1891
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Campaigns
United States. Army.

General Notes

America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Administrative Information

Existence and Location of Copies

A transcription for each order is located in folder 53.

Preferred Citation

General William Tecumseh Sherman field orders collection, MSS 1027, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase 2005 with subsequent additions.

Description Control

This collection is arranged chronologically by order date.


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Container List




11Sherman field order [3], 1864 May 12 View online.
2Sherman field order [no number], 1864 May 15 View online.
3Sherman field order [6], 1864 May 15 View online.
4Sherman field order [7], 1864 May 15 View online.
5Sherman field order [8], 1864 May 16 View online.
6Sherman field order [9], 1864 May 20 View online.
7Sherman field order [11], 1864 May 22 View online.
8Sherman field order [12], 1864 May 26 View online.
9Sherman field order [13], 1864 May 28 View online.
10Sherman field order [17], 1864 June 4 View online.
11Sherman field order [18], 1864 June 4 View online.
12Sherman field order [20], 1864 June 6 View online.
13Sherman field order [21], 1864 June 9 View online.
14Sherman field order [22], 1864 June 10 View online.
15Sherman field order [23], 1864 June 11 View online.
16Sherman field order [25], 1864 June 15 View online.
17Sherman field order [28], 1864 June 24 View online.
18Sherman field order [31], 1864 July 1 View online.
19Sherman field order [35], 1864 July 14 View online.
20Sherman field order [36], 1864 July 17 View online.
21Sherman field order [37], 1864 July 18 View online.
22Sherman field order [39], 1864 July 19 View online.
23Sherman field order [40], 1864 July 21 View online.
24Sherman field order [41], 1864 July 22 View online.
25Sherman field order [42], 1864 July 25 View online.
26Sherman field order [48], 1864 August 1 View online.
27Sherman field order [51], 1864 August 4 View online.
28Sherman field order [57], 1864 August 16 View online.
29Sherman field order [64], 1864 September 4 View online.
30Sherman field order [67], 1864 September 8 View online.
31Sherman field order [70], 1864 September 9 View online.
32Sherman field order [74], 1864 September 17 View online.
33Sherman field order [85], [1864 October 8] View online.
34Sherman field order [87], 1864 October 8 View online.
35Sherman field order [89], 1864 October 11 View online.
36Sherman field order [90], 1864 October 13 View online.
37Sherman field order [91], 1864 October 14 View online.
38Sherman field order [92], 1864 October 15 View online.
39Sherman field order [93], 1864 October 17 View online.
40Sherman field order [94], 1864 October 17 View online.
41Sherman field order [96], 1864 October 18 View online.
42Sherman field order [97], 1864 October 19 View online.
43Sherman field order [98], 1864 October 19 View online.
44Sherman field order [99], 1864 October 20 View online.
45Sherman field order [103], 1864 October 24 View online.
46Sherman field order [104], 1864 October 26 View online.
47Sherman field order [105], 1864 October 26 View online.
48Sherman field order [107], 1864 October 27 View online.
49Sherman field order [108], 1864 October 28 View online.
50Sherman field order [110], 1864 October 30 View online.
51Sherman field order [111], 1864 October 30 View online.
52Sherman field order [114], 1864 November 4 View online.
53Transcripts, 1864 View online.