~Part Six~

A few matters I should like to attend: Firstly, what in this story of mine must a person do to truly earn the title "insane?" Sherman, a redoubtable Buckeye, once offered up the following chestnut to the press corps he so loathed: "Grant stood by me when I was crazy, I stood by him when he was drunk, and now we stand by each other."

[He throws up his hands with less control than his previous rhetorical gestures.]

Context, Dear Reader, context! A reader dear as you must understand! Think of all the characters you've met—and this one is certifiable! What set him so apart? What does one have to do to earn that ignominy in such official fashion? That is my first question.

Secondly, I have an admission: I—to my great displeasure—find Sherman's rise from utter failure to war hero—or even from raving maniac to second-in-command of the United States Army—damn near inspiring. American manhood is measured purely in dollar signs, except in times of war. My old acquaintance William Tecumseh Sherman figured that one out before I did. Oh, sure "War is hell, boys!" but, boy, did he make it work for him!

Perhaps this simply comes down to a matter of names: as any boy who grew up in Ohio when we did knew, "Tecumseh" is Shawnee for "shooting star."

I, of course, made haste.

I had gone West to discover the Other Side of the Frontier, but truly when I came East once more, for the first time I saw a new world. You may think the South backwards, Dear Reader, but I assure you that new world was born not in New York City or San Francisco, but a few miles west of Atlanta in a place with a name like Ezra Church. This was the birth of Sherman's world and it is the one in which we all live, whether or not we choose to be aware.

No more was the callow "war" of my youth; no more did we charge with Fremonts who incidentally rattled a saber and rode about on a gorgeous, trusted steed that tended not to startle! No more would we look up at mountains as our foes, but rather across state lines at a cousin who could only be vanquished if his home was burnt and his spirit was amply broken and he'd lost a limb or two.

Sherman inaugurated an Era of Displacement and I consider myself its latest—most precocious—disciple. I, too, am dispossessed! I, too, have joined a migration!