Diary of Orrin Brown—Jan 31, 1865

William T Sherman, 1860Diary of Orrin Brown, Sister’s Landing, Georgia

Tuesday–Jan. 31st

We had another cool night but it came of warm and nice through the day. We had company drill this AM and about 11 AM I was detailed with 17 others of the company to go down to the river and unload a steamer, it was loaded with Oats. I did not have to work only an hour, we returned to camp about 5 PM. I bought a can of Peaches for $2.00. I wrote another letter home today. I read 7 Chapts. in the Testament.

Looking back at 1861, I can sympathize with William T. Sherman on his entry to leadership in this Civil War.  It was in January 1861, when Louisiana voted to secede, forcing Sherman to leave his successful position at the Military academy and return north. As Robert L. O’Connell observes in his book, Fierce Patriot:

Sherman left Louisiana a bitter and angry man.  He was not unmindful of the kindness and hospitality of his hosts, but it’s hard to imagine him not feeling used…

Sherman’s career to date had not been wildly successful, but he had also run into an extraordinary amount of bad luck.  Throughout, he had effectively handled increasing levels of responsibility and consistently impressed important people… He feared neither battle nor death, only failure in his first and only true calling.

At just over 40 years age, Sherman had a 20-year track record of should-of, and could-of.  When left to his own devices, he got the job done, but had muddled along from one middling position to another.  In hindsight it is clear his experience was preparing for the right time at the right place, all leading up to the Campaign of the Carolinas closing out the war in 1865.  The strongest steel comes out of the hottest fire.


On 31 January 1865, the US House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment, which ha been introduced into Congress in 1863, and passed by the US Senate in April 1864.  Civil War Daily Gazette offers a fine summary of the debate.



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