June 19, 2013

War is Hell...The Famous Quote in Context

You Never know what happened in your own backyard! I live here and been to this school a number of times but I didn't know this until I read it in the Detroit Free Press this last weekend.
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman gave his famous “war is hell” speech at the Michigan Military Academy at Orchard Lake on June 19, 1879.
The Civil War hero was addressing the seven cadets who were graduating from the now-shuttered school in Oakland County, but was surprised to find that an estimated 10,000 people had shown up to hear the great military leader. Charles Oliver Brown, the pastor of Rochester Congregational Church, sat next to Sherman at the graduation. Brown had gained his own fame as a “boy bugler” in Sherman’s army, reportedly having gone off to war at age 13.
“I've been where you are now and I know just how you feel,” Sherman said. “It’s entirely natural that there should beat in the breast of every one of you a hope and desire that someday you can use the skill you have acquired here. Suppress it! You don't know the horrible aspects of war. I've been through two wars, and I know. I've seen cities and homes in ashes. I've seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is hell!”
Despite his fame (First Bull Run, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Atlanta, the March to the Sea, etc.), Sherman refused to ever run for president of the United States, coining another of his most famous quotes, “If nominated I will not run; if elected I will not serve.”
The Michigan Military Academy was the brainchild of a Detroit high school teacher named Capt. Joseph Rogers, who borrowed money from Gov. John Bagley and other wealthy Detroiters to open the school in 1877 in a mansion built by former Michigan Supreme Court Judge Joseph Tarr Copeland. But the school, dubbed the West Point of the West, closed in 1906 because of a shrinking student body. Its alumni included Detroit Mayor John C. Lodge and Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs.
The site is now part of Orchard Lake Schools, a Catholic education center that includes an all-boys college preparatory school and a seminary.

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