William Tecumseh Sherman Inducts His Own Chief of Staff Into the Society of the Legendary Army of the Tennessee

A rare document connecting Sherman with the Army he led and the man who helped him on the March to the Sea

The Army of the Tennessee was present at most of the great battles and was crucial to the victories in the western theater of the Civil War. These included Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, the Atlanta campaign, and march to the sea. In 1867, its commander, William T. Sherman, apparently speaking of the Atlanta...

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William Tecumseh Sherman Inducts His Own Chief of Staff Into the Society of the Legendary Army of the Tennessee

A rare document connecting Sherman with the Army he led and the man who helped him on the March to the Sea

The Army of the Tennessee was present at most of the great battles and was crucial to the victories in the western theater of the Civil War. These included Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, the Atlanta campaign, and march to the sea. In 1867, its commander, William T. Sherman, apparently speaking of the Atlanta campaign and its triumphant aftermath, said that the Army of the Tennessee was “never checked—always victorious; so rapid in motion—so eager to strike; it deserved its name of the ‘Whiplash’, swung from one flank to the other, as danger called, night or day, sunshine or storm.” The Army is among the nation’s most celebrated and is closely associated with both Generals Ulysses S. Grant and Sherman.

Joseph Audenried had the distinction of serving under the two most illustrious generals in the Union army, and was recognized three times for gallant and meritorious service with brevet promotions to captain, major (Atlanta campaign) and lieutenant colonel (service in the war). In 1863 he served in the western theater under Gen. Grant, and took part in the fall of Vicksburg and pursuit through Tennessee. In October 1863, Audenried was transferred to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s staff, rising to Chief of Staff, and never again leaving his staff for the remainder of the war. With Sherman, Audenried took part in the Chattanooga and Knoxville Campaigns, the Atlanta Campaign, and the famous March to the Sea and March through the Carolinas.

The Society of the Army of the Tennessee first met in the senate chamber at the state capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina, on April 14, 1865. Membership in the Society was restricted to officers who had served with the Army of the Tennessee.

Document signed, W. T. Sherman, December 15, 1868, affirming that “Colonel JC Audenried, USA, Aide de Camp to the General of the Army, is a member of the Society of the Army of the Tennessee….”

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