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[711] state a few points on which there is misapprehension in the minds of strangers.

I am not a politician, never voted but once in my life, and never read a political platform. If spared, I never will read a political platform, or hold any civil office whatsoever. I venerate the Constitution of the United States, think it as near perfection as possible, and recent events have demonstrated that it vests the general government with all the power necessary for self-vindication, and for the protection to life and property of the inhabitants. To accuse me of giving aid and comfort to copperheads is an insult. I do not believe in the sincerity of any able-bodied man who has not fought in this war, much less in the copperheads who opposed the war itself, or threw obstacles in the way of its successful prosecution.

My opinions on all matters are very strong; but if I am possessed properly of the views and orders of my superiors, I make them my study, and conform my conduct to them as if they were my own. The President has only to tell me what he wants done, and I will do it.

I was hurt, outraged, and insulted at Mr. Stanton's public arraignment of my motives and actions, at his endorsing General Halleck's insulting and offensive dispatch, and his studied silence, when the press accused me of all sorts of base motives, even of selling myself to Jeff. Davis for gold, of sheltering criminals, and entertaining ambitious views at the expense of my country. I respect his office, but cannot him personally, till he undoes the injustice of the past. I think I have soldierly instincts and feelings; but if this action of mine at all incommodes the President or endangers public harmony, all you have to do is to say so, and leave me time to seek civil employment, and I will make room for some one else. I will serve the President of the United States not only with fidelity but with zeal. The government of the United States and its constituted authorities must be sustained and perpetuated, not for our good alone, but for that of coming generations.

I would like Mr. Johnson to read this letter, and to believe me that the newspaper gossip of my having presidential aspirations is absurd and offensive to me, and I would check it if I knew how.

As ever, your ardent friend and servant,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General.

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