HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Camp near Vicksburg, April 8, 1863.
DEAR SIR: I received last night the copy of your answer to Mr. Knox's application to return and reside near your headquarters. I thank you for the manner and substance of that reply. Many regard Knox as unworthy the notice he has received. This is true; but I send you his letter to me and my answer. Observe in his letter to me, sent long before I could have heard the result of his application to you, he makes the assertion that you had no objection, but rather wanted him back, and only as a matter of form required my assent. He regretted a difference between a portion of the army and the press. The insolence of these fellows is insupportable. I know they are encouraged, but I know human nature well enough, and that they will be the first to turn against their patrons. Mr. Lincoln, of course fears to incur the enmity of the Herald, but he must rule the Herald or the Herald will rule him; he can take his choice.
I have been foolish and unskillful in drawing on me the shafts of the press. By opposing mob law in California, I once before drew down the press; but after the smoke cleared off and the people saw where they were drifting to, they admitted I was right. If the press be allowed to run riot, and write up and write down at their pleasure, there is an end to a constitutional government in America, and anarchy must result. Even now the real people of our country begin to fear and tremble at it, and look to our armies as the anchor of safety, of order, submission to authority, bound together by a real Government, and not by the clamor of a demoralized press and crowd of demagogues.
As ever, your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN.
-The war of the rebellion: a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate armies.; Series 1- Volume 17 (Part II)
For a deeper look at the San Francisco Committee of Vigilance.