Diary of Orrin Brown—Jan 23, 1865

Lucas, Turner & Co Bank, San Francisco, CA
Diary of Orrin Brown, Savannah, Georgia

Monday–Jan. 23rd

It rained all night but the weather has been a little fairer today. The company was detailed this AM to clean up the street and we have orders to be ready for Dress Parade at 4.30 PM. I have written a letter home today. There was 25 men detailed out of our regt. this PM as Patrole guards to go outside of the picket line to pick up some men that were out there shooting which is contrary to orders and we arrested 5 or 6 of them. I did not get back to camp in time for dress parade. Read 2 Chapt. in the Testament today.

In March 1853, Sherman resigned his Army commission and left New Orleans to manage the San Francisco branch of the St. Louis-based Lucas Turner & Co. banking house.  Sherman returned just as California’s gold boom began to bust.   His old rival Henry Halleck had done well in his absence, but Sherman refused to mend fences.  In the spring of 1856, Sherman found himself in short-lived command of the local militia, in the Governor’s failed bid to combat vigilantes.  The episode seemed to confirm for Sherman his West Point distrust of volunteers in the military, an attitude that took actual experience in the later war to quiet, if never quite counter.  The following year, Sherman was forced to close the bank office in San Francisco, only to open (and close) a branch of the bank at New York City in the Panic of 1857.  Sherman had also invested over $100,000 for West Point friends such as Braxton Bragg, Don Carlos Buell, William Hardee, and George Thomas, which had been lost in the ensuing panic;  Sherman made good what he could out of personal obligation. He returned briefly to California in 1858 to collect debts, before joining two of his Ewing brothers at Leavenworth, Kansas, where he also found work with West Point roommate Stewart VanVliet at Ft. Riley, with the Army on the Kansas plains.

From the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean and to the heart of the Great American Desert, Sherman had made full circle from the bosom of an Army career to financial boom and bust and back again to a remote Army post.  Approaching his 40th birthday, Sherman was finding his niche.



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