William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War, achieving recognition for his command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the scorched earth policies that he implemented against the Confederate States. British military theorist and historian B. H. Liddell Hart declared that Sherman was "the first modern general".
Born in Ohio into a politically prominent family, Sherman graduated in 1840 from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He interrupted his military career in 1853 to pursue private business ventures, without much success. In 1859 he became superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy, a position from which he resigned when Louisiana seceded from the Union. Sherman commanded a brigade of volunteers at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861 before being transferred to the Western Theater. Stationed in Kentucky, his pessimism about the outlook of the war led to a nervous breakdown that required him to be briefly put on leave. He recovered by forging a close partnership with General Ulysses S. Grant.