Letter that launched “Sherman’s March to the Sea” up for auction

DALLAS — The Civil War has been back in pop culture lately, with the debate over southern statues raging. Now here’s an even bigger piece of history for you: One of the most important letters in US history is going up for auction in Dallas. Sent from General Ulysses S. Grant to General William T. Sherman in October of 1864, it gave Sherman the official go ahead to launch his “march to the sea” campaign through the south.

“It kind of creates the tipping point of the Civil War, where the Confederate and Union troops were pretty much bogged down for two years,” Michael Sadler, head auctioneer at Heritage Auctions said. “Grant had to make a tough decision and pretty much it was General Sherman going through the South and dismantling the infrastructure that supported the Confederacy.”

The handwritten letter by Grant even contains the note at the top that it needed to be “ciphered” before being sent off to Sherman. Obviously it has collectors ready to bid.

“This is such an important piece and it crosses so many boundaries between Civil War collectors, autograph collectors, just historical collectors so there’s some overlap there,” said Sadler. “So yeah we anticipate some pretty intense competition for it.”

How intense? The winning bid is expected to go over $75,000! But again, it’s history is unmatched. After all it launched the march that helped end the country’s bloodiest conflict, and written just a few weeks before the 1864 election, may have helped push Lincoln to be reelected!

So yeah, this little piece of paper may rank up there with the Constitution and Declaration of Independence.