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Sherman’s Sword Among Civil War Items Up for Auction

U.S.Sherman’s Sword Among Civil War Items Up for Auction

Weapons from the battlefield, books inscribed by hand, and a family Bible are among the items belonging to William T. Sherman, the Civil War general known for the phrase “war is hell,” that are up for auction in a sale of Civil War-era artifacts.

Before the sale was to open in person at Fleischer’s Auctions in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday, online bidding on Sherman’s belongings reflected interest in one of the war’s most infamous figures, known for inflicting a “hard war” doctrine against the South during his March to the Sea through Georgia in 1864.

Sherman’s belongings — some that bear his handwriting and others that he wielded in war before they were passed on to his descendants — were being offered by Fleischer’s as part of a wider sale of Civil War and African American artifacts.

By Tuesday morning, the high bid for a copy of Ulysses S. Grant’s memoirs, which the auction house said Sherman had “profusely annotated,” was $19,000. Sherman’s childhood algebra book from 1829, complete with scribbles, had been bid up to $1,500. A bundle of his military possessions, including a pistol and daggers, had been bid up to $3,500. Uniform insignia straps denoting his rank were fetching $18,000.

His wartime saber, its sheath and a military chest marked “books” were on the block for $71,500.

One of the Civil War’s most significant figures, Sherman left a legacy of competing narratives over his tactics, particularly the March to the Sea, when he pressed on against the Confederate Army in the South. In 1864, the forces under his command occupied Atlanta, an industrial center and the hub of the South’s rail network, a strategic victory widely credited with ensuring Abraham Lincoln’s re-election.


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