~Part Six~

(Though, I must remember my manners and remark once more: he was so good as to mention me in his memoirs, published of late.)

Sherman's first chance had been a disaster.

After, indeed, seeing no action during the Mexican War, Sherman returned home and married a woman who had little desire to be a military wife. Eventually, Sherman and his wife had eight children and each one only added additional stress onto a marriage plagued by the husband's constantly dead-ending business career, one hindered in turns by bad luck and misplaced pride that met the bad luck more than halfway.

Sound familiar?

In any event, Sherman finally settled down to start a military academy in Louisiana—just as War broke out. He returned North devastated that his chance at domestic stability and professional success had fallen prey to yet another round of terrible timing. He offered his services to his country and was commissioned a colonel. His family, despite his father's untimely death that had rendered him an orphan, had enough political clout that he met Lincoln himself through his Senator brother and made but a single request: NOT to be put in charge.

[The fiddler plays "Loop #8, Strange Land"]

If you can, Dear Reader, find yourself a picture of Sherman in his prime, during the Civil War. The best ones are the ones in which he is posed among his staff, mild, pompous-looking men, some of whom are naturally missing limbs and the like. Look at his subordinates' eyes and you will see distracted thoughts of God know what—maybe nothing at all—thoughts of killing time during a long photographic exposure.

Then, look into Sherman's eyes and you will see—I do not know what you will see, but see it you shall. You will certainly not see the bachelor I met, the rangy West Point graduate aching for a fight—or more likely, just a fun night out.

Sherman's nose, that beaky raven-y thing cawing doom, that was already there, but the rest you must see in one of those photographs. You will look in his eyes and you will see what he must have seen because he obviously never stopped seeing it and anticipated it before it even came in his sights, which is perhaps why he went insane early on in the war.

After giving a series of delusional requests for reinforcements and suffering from extreme paranoia, Sherman was sent home. Some say he threatened suicide and that he suffered from a terrible family history of madness. Furthermore, Sherman was a known atheist, certain that he alone would be responsible for sending men under his command to meet death with, as he saw it, no hope for redemption.