General Tecumseh Sherman

Born in 1820, General William Tecumseh Sherman was educated at West Point. An orphan at an early age, he was raised by Thomas Ewing, who served as the U.S. senator from Ohio (twice), the Secretary of the Treasury, and the first Secretary of the Interior. Sherman married Ewing’s daughter, Ellen, in a ceremony at Blair House in 1850; Ewing was renting Blair House at the time.

Sherman served as a captain in the artillery in the Mexican War but resigned his commission in 1853. He tried his hand at banking and law, but was largely unsuccessful. He served for a time as the superintendent of a military school in Louisiana (now Louisiana State University). When Louisiana seceded from the Union, Sherman left, moving first to St. Louis and then volunteering for the Union Army. He gained considerable notoriety for a series of campaigns known colloquially as “Sherman’s March to the Sea.” In the course of this campaign, he took and largely destroyed Atlanta, then proceeded to Savannah. The transit of his troops was particularly destructive, and the renown he enjoyed in the North was matched by the enmity felt by many in the South.

Sherman retired from the army in 1884 and died in New York City in 1891.