William Tecumseh Sherman

American General

The following is from a speech given to the Lotos Club in New York City on January 11, 1908, by Robert Stuart MacArthur:

"You will recall the fact that a few years ago Charles Dickens the younger came to this city and gave readings from his father's books. Those readings were to be given in Chickering Hall. I went early; I had a seat on the platform. General Sherman, who then had his home in New York, came in and took a seat beside me. I had with me my little daughter, and I was very anxious that she should know General Sherman, so I took the liberty of presenting her to the great general. He said, 'I am so glad to have an opportunity to hear Charles Dickens, Junior. I owe -- and I think this remark has never been put into print; some day I propose to write it out -- I owe a debt of gratitude to his father, Charles Dickens, which I shall never be able to pay. During my march to the sea, after many of my greatest battles, I went into my tent, I took up David Copperfield, Martin Chuzzlewit, A Tale of Two Cities,and others of Dickens's books, and I forgot all the horrors of the battles of the day; I forgot all the terrible anticipations of the day to come. Dickens lifted me out of myself; lifted me out of my environment, lifted me into another world, and in that world there was peace and brightness and joy; and I thank Charles Dickens from the bottom of my soul for the influence of his books and his characters on my military life."