The following are quotes by and about General Henry Warner Slocum.

"Stay and fight it out!"

- General Henry Warner Slocum, July 2, 1863, Mead's council of war

"We'll drive them out at daylight."

- General Henry Warner Slocum, July 2, 1863, Mead's council of war

"The fighting at Culp's Hill was the most impressive incident of the Battle of Gettysburg...a step all-important and essential to victory... Slocum... prevented Meade from losing the Battle of Gettysburg."

- General O. O. Howard

"Let the shout of welcome pierce the sky,/ for Onondaga's favorite son!/ His worthy name shall yet adorn,/ the true historian's brightest page/ and thronging millions yet unborn,/ shall chant his fame from age to age!"

- E. W. Jones, "Welcome Home the Brave," Journal, August 22, 1861

"It was a sad failure, a bitter disappointment to us all.  Our movements up to the arrival at Chancellorsville were very successful and were unflawed.  Everything after that went wrong, and fighting Joe sunk into a poor driveling cur.  The fact is whisky, boasting, and vilification have been his stock and trade.  Sickles and Butterfield are his boon companions, and everything is conducted as might be expected with such leaders."

- Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum, May 29, 1863, in report to Howland

"Unfortunately relations between Generals Hooker and Slocum are not such as to promise good... Therefore, let me beg-almost enjoin upon you-that on their reaching you, you will make a transposition by which General Slocum with his corps may pass from under the command of General Hooker... It is important for this to be done, though we could not arrange it here.  Please do it."

- President Abraham Lincoln, in letter to General William S. Rosecrans, September 28, 1863

"I believe I can go through the state capital with two divisions....  I can get a new outfit of horses and mules and damage the enemy seriously by destroying the railroad, etc...."

- Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum, October 18, 1864, in request to General Sherman to go on a marching campaign through Georgia

"Let me try it."

- Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum, October 18, 1864, in request to General Sherman to go on a marching campaign through Georgia

"I cannot repress a feeling of sadness at parting with you... No generation has ever done more for the establishment of a just and liberal form of government, more for the honor of their nation."

- Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum, June 6, 1865, in a farewell address to his troops

"All have felt the absence of one who should have been present to witness these scenes; one to whose great mind and pure heart; to whose perseverance and faith in the right, we are more indebted for our final triumph than to any other cause.  I propose a sentiment in which I know you will all unite:--To the memory of our great leader-Abraham Lincoln." 

- Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum, June 1865, in a farewell dinner

"[Southerners] are willing to give up slavery, and only ask to be permitted to live in peace with us.  I believe it will not be difficult now to establish a new and better Union-a Union of feeling and interest.  I would treat the South with kindness, and having extinguished the last hope in the minds of all, for the continuance of slavery, I would adopt such measures as would soonest restore good feeling throughout the land."

- Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum, June 1865, in a speech upon returning to his home in Syracuse

"I cannot curse a man one day and fawn on him the next.  I cannot declare slavery the natural and proper condition of the negro today and to-morrow advocate his right to make constitutions and laws.  Hence, I think I shall never make a politician."

- Henry W. Slocum, in an 1868 letter to W. T. Sherman

"The Battle of Bentonville was General Slocum's fight. While his name is most honorably associated with almost every great battle of this war from Bull Run to Gettysburg in the East, and since his advent in the Southwest, the bloody combat at Bentonville was peculiarly his own affair, out of which he has come with fresh laurels. The unexpected attack, the fierce assaults by far superior numbers, several times repeated, called for all the resources of a brave, cool, experienced soldier; but Slocum was more than equal to the necessities of the hour, for he was victorious, and his success justified General Sherman's selection of him as the commander of the Left Wing of the army. General Slocum enjoys the reputation of a thoroughly accomplished soldier. It is probably owing to his complete mastery of all the details of his profession, his keen sense of order and discipline, and his energetic and magnetic manner, that the XXth Corps, which he commanded for a long time, has gained its splendid reputation. He is a native of New York, and is as proud of his State as his State is proud of him. His personal appearance is prepossessing. Long, wavy brown hair, brushed back behind his ears, sparkling brown eyes, a heavy brown mustache, a height above the medium, and a manner which inspires faith and confidence, make up a most attractive figure. He seems to know precisely what he has to do, and to be perfectly sure that he can do it. It is very certain that he is one of those rare men who has made few if any mistakes."

- Brevet Major George Ward Nichols, quoted in Slocum, Charles E., The Life and Services of Major-General Henry Warner Slocum. Toledo, OH: The Slocum Publishing Company, 1913, pp. 291-292


"Like [General] Hood's at Atlanta the onset of [General Joseph E.] Johnston on Slocum at Bentonville was one of the most desperate of the war. In successive waves, one column followed another, determined to carry Slocum's position at any sacrifice. Mowed down by Slocum's terrible fire, the first column reeled backward and broke, when the second column came on in the same headlong desperation. The whole fury of the attack spent itself at this time in less than an hour, and yet in that time the enemy made six successive assaults. The last charge broke for a moment Slocum's line; but it recovered its position, and the rebel army, baffled and discouraged, fell back to its entrenchments. So close and murderous was the combat, that many of the enemy's dead lay within the Union lines, and even around the headquarters of the generals. For the time it lasted, it was one of the most sanguinary battles of the war, and the only serious one fought after leaving Atlanta. No better fighting was seen during the war then at Bentonville, on the 19th of March, for Johnston must have had double the number of Slocum, and a less able general would have been overborne... General Slocum is a man of fine personal appearance, being above the medium height and possessing a manner that at once attracts the beholder. His long brown wavy hair is pushed back behind his ears, which gives additional force to the frank, open expression of his countenance. His eyes are brown and sparkle with light, while his whole expression inspires confidence and trust, and gives him a sort of magnetic power over his troops. Probably there is no general in the service who is more thoroughly master of all the details of his profession than he. A lover of order and a strict disciplinarian, he brought the XXth Corps to a state of perfection that has given it a national reputation. It was of vital importance to Sherman in the novel campaigns he was entering upon, to have commanders over the two wings of his army that never made mistakes, and it was on this account he brought Slocum from Vicksburg to be his left hand in the long march he contemplated. Probably no commander ever leaned with such implicit confidence on three subordinates as Sherman did on Thomas, Howard and Slocum. Slocum's character cannot be better summed up than in the language of an eminent judge, who in a private letter never designed to be made public, says: ‘He was always equal to the task set before him, and never was known to fail in any enterprise which he undertook. He is certainly one of the most persevering and indefatigable men I ever knew, and was always esteemed lucky, while it was plain to me that his successes were the result of calculation and the most indomitable energy. While he is modest and unobtrusive, he possesses genius of the highest order, and a well balanced mind; always cool and ready to baffle difficulties, whether small or great; for he has inexhaustible mental resources in an emergency and can bring them to bear with wonderful power in the right direction and at the proper moment to insure success. I consider him qualified for the highest stations in the gift of the Government; but his proverbial modesty will probably keep him back from reaching any of them. And he seems to have no ambition in that direction.'"

- Prominent writer quoted in Slocum, Charles E., The Life and Services of Major-General Henry Warner Slocum. Toledo, OH: The Slocum Publishing Company, 1913, pp.  292-294.


Content last updated November 26, 2011