Sherman Praises Mindil’s New Jersey Troops for Saving His Life
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Recalling the New Jersey regiments under Mindil that protected him from capture while fighting Confederate cavalry forces in Mississippi. WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN.
Autograph Letter Signed to General George W. Mindil, Washington, D.C., May 15, 1874. On Headquarters Army of the United States stationary. 3 pp., 5 x 8⅛ in.
“I recall the New Jersey regiment that went with me to Meridian which stood by the wagon train at Decatur Miss. so well against an attack of Armstrong’s Division of Cavalry and in my opinion saved me personally, for I was actually surrounded by cavalry . . . I would have fallen ingloriously a prisoner in the Land of the Rivers . . .”
William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) served as a general in the United States Army during the Civil War, receiving both recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy and criticism for the “scorched earth” policies he implemented. From 1862 to 1863, Sherman served under Ulysses S. Grant in the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg and the routing of the rebel armies in the state of Tennessee. He succeeded Grant in 1864 as the Union commander in the western theater of the war, and subsequently captured Atlanta. His military success there contributed decisively to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Sherman’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy’s ability to wage war, and he accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865.
George W. Mindil (ca. 1830-1907) entered war service as a captain in the 61st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, eventually rising to the rank of colonel of the 33rd New Jersey Volunteer Infantry. In the war’s final year, he was brevetted as a major general. Apart from his heroics in saving Sherman, Mindil was awarded the Medal of Honor for a charge he led in 1862 against Confederate artillery positions. Mindil’s attack broke the enemy line, forcing the southern forces to retreat from the field.