Copyright George Whitworth  .  901-486-6436  .  Email

General William Sherman . Fransioli & Williamson . William Jack

General William Sherman was assigned to Memphis during the occupation, and he ordered collection of this note with a handwritten memo on the back of the Promissory Note and Notice of Protest . 

"Jack made the note to Fransioli-Williamson and he sold it to Meline, Ltd."

"Jack signed the note to Fransioli-Williamson who endorsed the back to Meline. Jack didn't endorse it. He signed it to Williamson. Without Williamson's endorsement on the back, James F. Meline Ltd wouldn't own it. Obviously, Jack got something from Fransioli-Williamson and Fransioli-Williamson got something too. They went after Jack, but they could have gone after Williamson, too. When Jack, the maker of the note paid it off, the cancelled note was returned to him and he scratched through his name for the record".


- Collection George Whitworth

Sherman in Memphis
...Memphis Photographers Bishop and Needles

- Collection George Whitworth

- Collection George Whitworth

William Sherman's handwritten order and signature




Sherman in Memphis:.  Standard History of Memphis, Tennessee

                                            -  Edited by Judge J. P. Young .  Published by H. W. Crew Co, 1912


In July General Grant took command. He issued an order that expelled from the city all persons in any way connected with the Confederate civil or military government.  He also expelled from office "all persons holding state, county or civic offices who claim allegiance to the said so-called Con-federate Government, and who have abandoned their families and gone South."


Grant was succeeded by General Alvin P. Hovey and he added to Grant's order the requirement that "every man between the ages of eighteen and forty-five take the oath of allegiance, or leave the city."

These measures forced many into the Confederate Army and created feelings of hatred toward the new Union rule

The Irving Block, which had been used as a Confederate hospital, was now converted into a prison, where Confederate soldiers or other persons caught aiding the Confederate Army were confined.

When General Sherman came to control the city July 21, he was so unreasonably displeased because Southerners did not take the Federal soldiers to their hearts and homes that he made harsh and strict laws, adhering to them even when it took cruelty to do so. The history of this officer's mode of  warfare shows that he never stopped at cruelty. Writing of the feeling of the people here at that time he said: "It is idle to talk about Union men here : many want peace and fear war and its results; but all prefer a Southern, independent government, and are fighting or working for it."

With all the patriotism he felt for his own cause he seemed utterly uncomprehensive of this feeling of Southerners, and resented it most vindictively. Again he wrote, after his arrival in Memphis: "When we first entered Memphis, July 21, 1862, I found the place dead; no business doing, the stores closed, churches, schools and everything shut up.  I caused all the stores to be opened, churches, schools, theatres and places of amusement, to be reestablished.  I also restored the mayor (whose name was Parks) and the city government to the performance of their public functions and required them to maintain a good civic police."


But General Sherman, and not the mayor, governed the city. On August 11, he wrote: "There is not a garrison in Tennessee where a man can go beyond the sight of a flagstaff without being shot or captured."

Upon receiving numerous complaints from citizens and farmers of useless destruction of their property by his soldiers he replied in the Bulletin, September 21: "All officers and soldiers are to behave themselves orderly in quarters and on the march ; and whoever shall commit any waste of spoil, either in walks of trees, parks, warrens, fish-ponds, houses and gardens, cornfields, inclosures or meadows, or shall mali-ciously destroy any property whatever belonging to the inhabitants of the United States unless by order of the commander-in-chief of the armies of said United States, shall (besides such penalties as they are liable to by law) be punished according to the nature and degree of the offense, by the judgment of a general or regimental court-martial. * * * * When people forget their obligations to a government that made them respected among the nations of the earth and speak contemptuously of the flag which is the silent emblem of that country, I will not go out of my way to protect them or their property. I will punish the soldiers for trespass or waste, if adjudged by a court-martial, because they disobey orders ; but soldiers are men and citizens as well as soldiers, and should promptly resent any insult to their country, come from what quarter it may. * * * * Insult to a soldier does not justify pillage, but it takes from the officer the disposition he would otherwise feel to follow up the inquiry and punish the wrong-doers.

"Again, armies in motion or stationary must commit some waste. Flankers must let down fences and cross flelds; and when an attack is contemplated or apprehended, a command will naturally clear the ground of houses, fences and trees. This is waste, but it is the natural consequence of war, chargeable to those who caused the war. So in fortifying a place, dwelling houses must be taken, materials used, even wasted, and great damage done, which in the end may prove useless. This, too, is an expense not chargeable to us, but to those who made the war; and generally war is destruction and nothing else."

While in Memphis General Sherman was vigilant in keeping supplies of all kinds from passing out of the city to supply the Confederates, but sometimes the guard was eluded and articles necessary for the comfort of Confederate soldiers were taken through the lines. When these performances were detected the offenders were severely punished or, if the offender could not be found, military laws were made more rigid and often innocent people made to suffer. At one time Sherman ordered forty persons to leave Memphis because they had husbands or sons in the Confederate Army, or because they were "Rebel" sympathizers. Citizens who would not take the oath of allegiance to the United States were forced to pay rent for their own dwellings and stores. He also issued an order to the effect that heads of families nearest whose residences the dead body of a Federal soldier or a Unionist might be found, were to be held responsible and punished accordingly.

When the relish of war had penetrated this stern soldier's nature it glutted him and he knew no quarter, no mercy, no pity for one in distress, if that one, man, woman or child, was an enemy. Such was the spirit of warfare with Indian and other savage natures long ago. One writer said of Sherman: "I challenge the world to produce a person who will say that Sherman was ever touched by the pleadings of any woman, even though she asked for what belonged to her. Like the cobra, he plunged his deadly fangs into everything that moved within his reach." He expressed his own insatiableness in a letter to Brigadier-General J. A. Rawlings:t "I know that at Washington I am incomprehensible, because at the outset of the war I would not go it blind and rush headlong into a war unprepared and with an utter ignorance of its extent and purpose. I was then considered unsound; and now that I insist on war pure and simple with no admixture of civil compromise, I am supposed vindictive. You remember that Polonius said to his son Laertes: 'Beware of entrance to a quarrel; but, being in, bear it that the opposed may beware of thee.' What is true of a single man is equally true of a nation. I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptoms of tiring till the South begs for mercy.'

General Sherman used the slaves during his rule in Memphis for public work. He ordered that all negroes who apply for work shall be employed as laborers on the fortifications, and draw rations, clothing, and one pound of tobacco per month, but no wages will be allowed until the courts determine whether the negro is slave or free. Officers are forbidden to employ them as servants. The negroes employed as laborers will be allowed to return to their masters at the close of any week, but owners are not allowed to enter the lines in search of slaves. The post quartermaster is also authorized to employ negroes on the same conditions and, when necessary, to take them by force. Division quartermasters may employ negroes to drive teams and attend horses. Commanders of regiments may cause negroes to be employed as cooks and teamsters, not exceeding sixty-five for each regiment. In no case will any negro employed under the above conditions be permitted to wear arms or wear uniforms."

The mud in Memphis at this period was terrible, the streets being almost impassible. An English press correspondent named William H. Russell, then touring the South, wrote of our unattractive city : "I wonder why they gave it such a name of old renown, This dreary, dismal, muddy, melancholy town?"

A letter from a woman in January, 1863, written to a friend away from Memphis, describes the city as desolate in appearance and in reality. She wrote: "All residences between Tennessee and Shelby Streets from Vance out toward Fort Pickering, have been destroyed, and their former site is now filled with fortifications and tents of the enemy." The trees and shrubbery were also destroyed in this district."

The illness and fatality of Federal soldiers in Memphis was great in 1863 in the hospitals, 112 deaths being reported for the week ending March 14th. Many residences were demanded for hospitals and other uses of the soldiers, and the above mentioned lady writing to a friend, describes the situation thus: "An officer walks in and says: 'Your house is wanted for General 's headquarters. He gives you three days to move out and orders that no provisions or stores, or furniture be moved.' All slaves, carriages and horses are taken possession of, and sentinels placed round the house to enforce obedience to orders. When the premises are no longer needed, the silver plate, queensware and best articles of furniture are packed up to grace the mansions of the plunderers in the North. In this way many have been stripped of everything. Books, pianos, music and many other things which these generals and colonels have no use for, are destroyed. Books are used for waste paper and pianos are beaten to pieces with axes.  Negro men are taken to work on fortifications and their families are crowded into uncomfortable and unwholesome quarters to suffer and die of neglect and despondency.  Few people have the possession and use of their own property.  Nearly all the stores and warehouses are either used or rented by the Federal government, which makes no repairs and pays no taxes.  Union meetings are frequently held, and sometimes processions, but nearly everybody engaged in them are newcomers and strangers"

Sherman's reign did not last always and when Major-General Hurlbut was sent to relieve him in December, 1862, Memphis people felt thankful. This change of officers did not mean that harsh rule was at an end but conditions were somewhat relieved and, as Colonel Keating says, "the people breathed more freely."