Sherman was a professional soldier.
A member of the West Point class of 1840, he served in California, but left the army to take up banking, and later became Superintendent of Louisiana State Seminary. He left when Louisiana seceded from the Union, joining the US Army as Colonel. He served notably at the battle of First Bull Run, and under Grant at Shiloh, Vicksburg and Chattanooga. He then held an independent command, taking Atlanta and leading his men through Georgia and South Carolina, rising to Major General in 1864. He became Commander in Chief from 1869 to 1883. His memoirs are one of the great literary works coming from the Civil War.
Sherman, William Tecumseh, Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. By himself , New York, 1875; Cullum Memorial Edition, Register of Graduates and former cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point, 1980.