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WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN. Autograph Letter Signed, to Mrs. Julia Turner. New York, NY, September 29, 1886. 3 pp., octavo.

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Complete Transcript

               New York, Sept 29, 1886

Dear Mrs Turner,

            I got back to New-York last night and found your kind invitation to attend Delphines wedding Oct. 6th.

            I congratulate you & her as I believe Col Heyl to be an honorable man, and good soldier just such a man as Henry Turner loved. I wish them both a long life of unalloyed happiness.

I cannot possibly come out at that date, but have promised some friends to be at St. Louis Oct 30th and will try to come out to the Shelter to see you all. My <2> last visit to St Louis was only en route. I saw Charles & Lucas and sent by messages to you, but neither told me that Delphine was to be married so soon.

Mrs. Sherman, Lizzie & I are at the 5th Avenue Hotel where Rachel will join us Friday. We four will spend the winter at that most comfortable hotel and thereafter be governed by circumstances. I doubt if we ever again will reside in Saint Louis, but if my present health & strength continue it is likely I may make frequent trips during which I shall endeavor always to see you and yours. We have shared together so many days & events that I hope we shall continue the best of friends to the end. <3> Surely will I always cherish the memory of the many happy days I have spent under your roof.

Give to Delphine the assurance of my affection, and to Col Heyl my congratulations that he is about to ally his fortunes to a family as nearly perfect as any on this Earth, and that I shall watch with jealous interest his progress upward in his most honorable profession.

                                                With profound respect

                                                Your Friend,

                                                W. T. Sherman

Henry S. Turner (1811-1881), was a St. Louis banker and confidante of William Sherman for more than four decades. Turner graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1834. After studying cavalry tactics in France for two years, he returned and married Julia M. Hunt in St. Louis. Appointed captain in the 1st U.S. Dragoons in 1846, Turner was promoted to major for meritorious conduct at the battle of San Pasqual in the Mexican War. Turner resigned his commission in 1848, and turned to business pursuits in St. Louis. When Sherman left the army in 1853, Turner offered him a job as a banker to represent the St. Louis firm of Lucas, Turner & Company in San Francisco, California. In 1880, Sherman referred to Turner as his “old and most dear friend.” Turner’s home was called “the Shelter.”

Edward M. Heyl (1844-1895), was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and joined the army in 1861 as a private in a Pennsylvania cavalry regiment. He rose through the ranks to Captain. In November 1863, he was captured by Confederates and held as a prisoner for six months. He was honorably mustered out in 1864, and returned to the army in 1866, rising to the rank of colonel in 1889. He was engaged in several battles with Native Americans in Texas during the 1870s, though his career was not without controversy, and he seems not to have merited Sherman’s praise. Deeply racist, he resented leading African American “buffalo soldiers” in battles against Native Americans. In March 1867, a drunken Heyl opened fire on his own African American troops encamped near San Antonio, Texas. His actions ignited a mutiny that left two of his command dead and several others court-martialed and imprisoned; Heyl escaped with a reprimand. He married Delphine Turner in 1886 in St. Louis, Missouri. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

William T. Sherman (1820-1891), a West Point graduate and Mexican War veteran, served as a corps commander under General Grant in successful campaigns down the Mississippi and in Tennessee. He then took command of the western armies when Grant was reassigned to the Virginia theatre. He was both recognized and criticized for his tactics of “scorched earth” and “total war,” evidenced by his capture of Atlanta and “March to the Sea” through Georgia. He followed this feat by a swift campaign north through the Carolinas to force the surrender of the last major Confederate army. Sherman served as Commanding General of the U.S. Army from 1869-1883, during a period of Westward expansion and Indian Wars.