He never commanded in a major Union victory and his military career had repeated ups and downs, but William Tecumseh Sherman is the second best known of Northern commanders. His father died when he was nine years old, and Sherman was raised by Senator Thomas Ewing and eventually married into the family. Through the influence of his patron, he obtained an appointment to West Point. Only five cadets of the class of 1840 graduated ahead of him, and he was appointed to the artillery. Sherman was then appointed to the colonelcy of an infantry regiment. He led a brigade of volunteers which crossed Bull Run and was named a brigadier general the next month. He was then sent to Kentucky as deputy to Robert Anderson and soon succeeded the hero of Fort Sumter in command of the department. During the campaign against Forts Henry and Donelson he was charged with forwarding reinforcements to Grant. Forming a good working relationship with the future commander-in-chief, Sherman waiveed his seniority rights and took a command under him. Praised by Grant, he was soon made a major general of volunteers. He was instrumental in persuading Grant to remain in the army during his difficulties with Halleck during the advance on Corinth, Mississippi. Following the fall of the river city Sherman was named a brigadier general and led expeditions against Jackson and Meridian, succeeding Grant in overall command in the West. Facing Johnston's army, he forced it all the way back to Atlanta where the Confederate was replaced by Hood who launched three disastrous attacks against Union troops near the city. Eventually taking possession of Atlanta, Sherman ordered the population evacuated and the military value of the city destroyed. Sending George H. Thomas back to Tennessee to deal with Hood, he embarked on his March to the Sea.