History Alive presents Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman at OUS

Published 11:03 pm Saturday, September 19, 2009

IRONTON — History comes alive on the campus of Ohio University Southern on Friday, Sept. 25 when Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman makes a recruiting visit. The 19th century military leader will talk about why you need to enlist in the Union Army and why you should join him in taking it to those “darned secessionists.”

The event starts at 11 a.m. and is free to the public. Sherman, portrayed by Frank Bulloch, will speak in Bowman Auditorium, Collins Center on the Ironton campus.

He will also appear that evening at 6:30 p.m. at the OUS Nature Center located at Lake Vesuvius in the Wayne National Forest.

Email newsletter signup

William Tecumseh Sherman was the U.S. Civil War general who famously said, “War is hell” — and proved it with a destructive campaign through the south that burned the cities of Atlanta, Ga. and Columbia, S.C.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1840, Sherman served without distinction during the Mexican War and, as a young lieutenant, was sent by President James Polk to report on California’s gold rush in 1847.

Sherman left the military in 1853 and tried unsuccessfully to build a career in banking in California and law in Kansas before becoming superintendent of the Louisiana Military Seminary (the forerunner of Louisiana State University).

After the South seceded, Sherman returned to the Army in 1861 as a colonel and went on to participate in some of the Civil War’s biggest campaigns, including Bull Run, Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga.

In the spring of 1864, Sherman, who commanded the Union armies of the Cumberland, the Tennessee and the Ohio, began a spectacular drive against the armies of Gen. Joseph E. Johnson that ended with the Union occupation of Atlanta. Sherman ordered the city evacuated and razed which was part of his strategy to economically cripple and psychologically intimidate the rebels.

After the Atlanta campaign, Sherman began his “March to the Sea,” a property-destroying drive that began in November and ended with the occupation of Savannah on Dec. 21, 1864 (his “Christmas present” to President Abraham Lincoln).

Sherman then marched up through the Carolinas and received Johnson’s surrender in North Carolina on April 26, 1865, just after Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. Ulysses Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

For more information on the event, contact Steve Call at (740) 533-4559 or call@ohio.edu