Description: On January 23, 1888, Sherman wrote from his temporary home at the 5th Avenue Hotel in New York City to his friend, Margaret Middleton - with whom he often attended theatre and cultural events. "I fear I must disappoint you in the matter of "Dickens Reading" next Thursday at 3:30 pm. Colonel Moulton is barely alive and the lamp may go out any minute. His wife, my sister Fanny, depends much on me. I have been there twice this am and may be summoned any minute. The funeral will be at Glendale Ohio and I may be compelled to go out, unless his own brother can who is expected. at all events you will recognise that I will not be able to command my time on Thursday - same as to Lizzie [Sherman's daughter, who occasionally accompanied the pair to such events]. I enclose you the three tickets and beg you to make up your own party. There is no possible reason why you should lose an opportunity to enjoy what I may not." Sherman closed the letter, "With respect and affection," before signing off with his usual "W.T. Sherman."
This autograph letter signed is written on the first two pages of a sheet of ruled writing paper, measuring approximately 9.25" x 11" when unfolded. Item #A01117
Sherman's brother-in-law, Colonel Charles William Moulton (1830-1888), was working as a lawyer and living in New York City with his wife, Frances - Sherman's youngest sister, when he suffered a stroke. Moulton did indeed pass away at 3:00 am, the day following this communication. And, as Sherman predicted here, the funeral was held in Glendale, Ohio, at the home the Moultons maintained there, on Thursday, January 26.
William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891) served in the US military for a number of years before resigning to spend more than a decade as a banker, businessman, and superintendent of a military academy. He rejoined the military for the US Civil War, becoming one of its most famous generals for leading Union troops across the south in "scorched earth" campaigns. After the War, he continued his military career and was promoted to General of the Army, his troops primarily fighting Native Americans along the wagon trails and railroads. In retirement, he was a constant presence at New York's theatres, lectures, and galleries, and also occasionally thrilled audiences at speaking engagements.
Margaret Lee Middleton (1848-1921) was a Manhattan socialite, who was a skilled and respected genealogist and librarian for many years. She also dedicated a portion of her time to work with charitable organizations. Like Sherman, she was an aficionado of theatre and the arts. Although she was nearly three decades younger than Sherman, the two struck up a close relationship in the 1880s based on their common interests, and often attended events together. It seems they may have been introduced by mutual friend, Mary Thompson Hunt, whose 1884 death brought them closer.
Condition: Fold lines, otherwise in very good condition, and a candid glimpse at an unfortunate moment of family crisis.