Philip Sheridan

Philip Sheridan

Overview
Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 officer and a Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 general in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 and his close association with Lt. Gen.
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, who transferred Sheridan from command of an infantry division in the Western Theater
Western Theater of the American Civil War
This article presents an overview of major military and naval operations in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.-Theater of operations:...

 to lead the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 in the East. In 1864, he defeated Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 forces in the Shenandoah Valley
Valley Campaigns of 1864
The Valley Campaigns of 1864 were American Civil War operations and battles that took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from May to October 1864. Military historians divide this period into three separate campaigns, but it is useful to consider the three together and how they...

 and his destruction of the economic infrastructure of the Valley, called "The Burning" by residents, was one of the first uses of scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 tactics in the war.
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Philip Henry Sheridan was a career United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 officer and a Union
Union Army
The Union Army was the land force that fought for the Union during the American Civil War. It was also known as the Federal Army, the U.S. Army, the Northern Army and the National Army...

 general in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

. His career was noted for his rapid rise to major general
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 and his close association with Lt. Gen.
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, who transferred Sheridan from command of an infantry division in the Western Theater
Western Theater of the American Civil War
This article presents an overview of major military and naval operations in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.-Theater of operations:...

 to lead the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

 in the East. In 1864, he defeated Confederate
Confederate States Army
The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the...

 forces in the Shenandoah Valley
Valley Campaigns of 1864
The Valley Campaigns of 1864 were American Civil War operations and battles that took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from May to October 1864. Military historians divide this period into three separate campaigns, but it is useful to consider the three together and how they...

 and his destruction of the economic infrastructure of the Valley, called "The Burning" by residents, was one of the first uses of scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 tactics in the war. In 1865, his cavalry pursued Gen. Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 and was instrumental in forcing his surrender at Appomattox
Appomattox Court House
The Appomattox Courthouse is the current courthouse in Appomattox, Virginia built in 1892. It is located in the middle of the state about three miles northwest of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, once known as Clover Hill - home of the original Old Appomattox Court House...

.

Sheridan prosecuted the later years of the Indian Wars
Indian Wars
American Indian Wars is the name used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between American settlers or the federal government and the native peoples of North America before and after the American Revolutionary War. The wars resulted from the arrival of European colonizers who...

 of the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

. Both as a soldier and private citizen, he was instrumental in the development and protection of Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

. In 1883 Sheridan was appointed general-in-chief of the U.S. Army, and in 1888 he was promoted to the rank of General of the Army
General (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, general is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an...

 during the term of President Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

.

Early life


Sheridan claimed he was born in Albany, New York
Albany, New York
Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

, the third child of six by John and Mary Meenagh Sheridan, immigrants from the parish of Killinkere
Killinkere
Killinkere is a civil and ecclesiastical parish of County Cavan in the Republic of Ireland. It is located between the towns of Virginia and Bailieborough.-Civil parish:...

, County Cavan
County Cavan
County Cavan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Cavan. Cavan County Council is the local authority for the county...

, Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. He grew up in Somerset, Ohio
Somerset, Ohio
Somerset is a village in Perry County, Ohio, United States. The population was 1,549 at the 2000 census.Saint Joseph Church, the oldest Catholic church in Ohio, is located just outside of Somerset on State Route 383.-Geography:...

. Fully grown, he reached only 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall, a stature that led to the nickname, "Little Phil." Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 described his appearance in a famous anecdote: "A brown, chunky little chap, with a long body, short legs, not enough neck to hang him, and such long arms that if his ankles itch he can scratch them without stooping."

Sheridan worked as a boy in town general stores, and eventually as head clerk and bookkeeper for a dry goods store. In 1848, he obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...

 from one of his customers, Congressman Thomas Ritchey
Thomas Ritchey
Thomas Ritchey was a U.S. Representative from Ohio.Born in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, Ritchey moved to Somerset, Ohio.He attended the common schools.He engaged in agricultural pursuits....

; Ritchey's first candidate for the appointment was disqualified by failing an examination of mathematics skill and a "poor attitude." In his third year at West Point, Sheridan was suspended for a year for fighting with a classmate, William R. Terrill
William R. Terrill
William Rufus Terrill was a United States Army soldier and general who was killed in action at the Battle of Perryville during the American Civil War...

. The previous day, Sheridan had threatened to run him through with a bayonet in reaction to a perceived insult on the parade ground. He graduated in 1853, 34th in his class of 52 cadets.
Sheridan was commissioned as a brevet
Brevet (military)
In many of the world's military establishments, brevet referred to a warrant authorizing a commissioned officer to hold a higher rank temporarily, but usually without receiving the pay of that higher rank except when actually serving in that role. An officer so promoted may be referred to as being...

 second lieutenant and was assigned to the 1st U.S. Infantry
U.S. 1st Infantry Regiment
The 1st Infantry Regiment draws its lineage from a distinguished line of post Revolutionary War Infantry Regiments and is credited with thirty-nine campaign streamers....

 regiment at Fort Duncan
Fort Duncan
Fort Duncan was a U.S. Army post, set up to protect the first U.S. settlement on the Rio Grande near the current town of Eagle Pass, Texas.Fort Duncan was established on March 27, 1849, when Captain Sidney Burbank occupied the site with companies A, B, and F of the First United States Infantry...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, then to the 4th U.S. Infantry
U.S. 4th Infantry Regiment
The U.S. 4th Infantry Regiment is an infantry regiment in the United States Army. It has served the United States for approximately two hundred years.-Origins:...

 at Fort Reading, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. Most of his service with the 4th U.S. was in the Pacific Northwest
Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest is a region in northwestern North America, bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and, loosely, by the Rocky Mountains on the east. Definitions of the region vary and there is no commonly agreed upon boundary, even among Pacific Northwesterners. A common concept of the...

, starting with a topographical survey mission to the Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley is the most populated region in the state of Oregon of the United States. Located in the state's northwest, the region is surrounded by tall mountain ranges to the east, west and south and the valley's floor is broad, flat and fertile because of Ice Age conditions...

 in 1855, during which he became involved with the Yakima War
Yakima War
The Yakima War was a conflict between the United States and the Yakama, a Sahaptian-speaking people on the Northwest Plateau, then Washington Territory and now the southern interior of Eastern Washington, from 1855 to 1858.- Naming :...

 and Rogue River Wars
Rogue River Wars
The Rogue River Wars was an armed conflict between the US Army, local militias and volunteers, and the Native American tribes commonly grouped under the designation of Rogue River Indians, in the Rogue River Valley area of what today is southern Oregon in 1855–56...

, gaining experience in leading small combat teams, being wounded (a bullet grazed his nose on March 28, 1857, at Middle Cascade, Oregon Territory
Oregon Territory
The Territory of Oregon was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from August 14, 1848, until February 14, 1859, when the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Oregon. Originally claimed by several countries , the region was...

), and some of the diplomatic skills needed for negotiating with Indian tribes. He lived with a mistress during part of his tour of duty, an Indian
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 woman named Sidnayoh (called Frances by her white friends), daughter of the chief of the Klickitat Tribe
Klickitat Tribe
The Klickitat are a Native American tribe of the Pacific Northwest. A Shahaptian tribe, their eastern neighbors were the Yakama, who speak a closely related language. Their western neighbors were various Salishan and Chinookan tribes...

. Sheridan neglected to mention this relationship in his memoirs. He was promoted to first lieutenant in March 1861, just before the Civil War, and to captain in May, immediately after Fort Sumter
Battle of Fort Sumter
The Battle of Fort Sumter was the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U.S. Army abandon its facilities in Charleston Harbor. On...

.

Western Theater


In the fall of 1861, Sheridan was ordered to travel to Jefferson Barracks
Jefferson Barracks Military Post
The Jefferson Barracks Military Post, located on the Mississippi River at Lemay, Missouri, which is just south of St. Louis, Missouri,was, at first owned land by the DeGamache's then borrowed by military leaders, but after war, the land was not returned. It was an important and highly active U.S....

, Missouri, for assignment to the 13th U.S. Infantry
13th Infantry Regiment (United States)
The 13th Infantry Regiment is a United States Army infantry regiment whose battalions are currently tasked as basic training battalions.- History :...

. He departed from his command of Fort Yamhill
Fort Yamhill
Fort Yamhill was an American military fortification in what became the state of Oregon. Built in 1856 in the Oregon Territory, it remained an active post until 1866. The Army outpost was used to provide a presence next to the Grand Ronde Agency Coastal Reservation...

, Oregon, by way of San Francisco
San Francisco, California
San Francisco , officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the financial, cultural, and transportation center of the San Francisco Bay Area, a region of 7.15 million people which includes San Jose and Oakland...

, across the Isthmus of Panama
Isthmus of Panama
The Isthmus of Panama, also historically known as the Isthmus of Darien, is the narrow strip of land that lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, linking North and South America. It contains the country of Panama and the Panama Canal...

, and through New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 to home in Somerset for a brief leave. On the way to his new post, he made a courtesy call to Maj. Gen.
Major general (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, major general is a two-star general-officer rank, with the pay grade of O-8. Major general ranks above brigadier general and below lieutenant general...

 Henry W. Halleck in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, who commandeered his services to audit the financial records of his immediate predecessor, Maj. Gen. John C. Frémont
John C. Frémont
John Charles Frémont , was an American military officer, explorer, and the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, that era's penny press accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder...

, whose administration of the Department of the Missouri
Department of the Missouri
Department of the Missouri was a division of the United States Army that functioned through the American Civil War and the Indian Wars afterwards.-Civil War:...

 was tainted by charges of wasteful expenditures and fraud that left the status of $12 million in doubt. Sheridan sorted out the mess, impressing Halleck in the process. Much to Sheridan's dismay, Halleck's vision for Sheridan consisted of a continuing role as a staff officer. Nevertheless, Sheridan performed the task assigned to him and entrenched himself as an excellent staff officer in Halleck's view.

In December, Sheridan was appointed chief commissary officer of the Army of Southwest Missouri, but convinced the department commander, Halleck, to give him the position of quartermaster general
Quartermaster general
A Quartermaster general is the staff officer in charge of supplies for a whole army.- The United Kingdom :In the United Kingdom, the Quartermaster-General to the Forces is one of the most senior generals in the British Army...

 as well. In January 1862, he reported for duty to Maj. Gen. Samuel Curtis
Samuel Curtis
Samuel Ryan Curtis was an American military officer, and one of the first Republicans elected to Congress. He was most famous for his role as a Union Army general the Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War.-Biography:Born near Champlain, New York, Curtis graduated from the United...

 and served under him at the Battle of Pea Ridge
Battle of Pea Ridge
The Battle of Pea Ridge was a land battle of the American Civil War, fought on March 6–8, 1862, at Pea Ridge in northwest Arkansas, near Garfield. In the battle, Union forces led by Brig. Gen. Samuel R. Curtis defeated Confederate troops under Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn. The outcome of the...

. Sheridan soon discovered that officers were engaged in profiteering. They stole horses from civilians and demanded payment from Sheridan. He refused to pay for the stolen property and confiscated the horses for the use of Curtis's army. When Curtis ordered him to pay the officers, Sheridan brusquely retorted, "No authority can compel me to jayhawk or steal." Curtis had Sheridan arrested for insubordination but Halleck's influence appears to have ended any formal proceedings. Sheridan performed aptly in his role under Curtis and, now returned to Halleck's headquarters, he accompanied the army on the Siege of Corinth and served as an assistant to the department's topographical engineer, but also made the acquaintance of Brig. Gen.
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

 William T. Sherman, who offered him the colonel
Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, colonel is a senior field grade military officer rank just above the rank of lieutenant colonel and just below the rank of brigadier general...

cy of an Ohio infantry regiment. This appointment fell through, but Sheridan was subsequently aided by friends (including future Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 Russell A. Alger
Russell A. Alger
Russell Alexander Alger was the 20th Governor and U.S. Senator from the state of Michigan and also U.S. Secretary of War during the Presidential administration of William McKinley...

), who petitioned Michigan Governor Austin Blair
Austin Blair
Austin Blair , also known as the Civil War Governor, was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan...

 on his behalf. Sheridan was appointed colonel of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry on May 27, 1862, despite having no experience in the mounted arm.

A month later, Sheridan commanded his first forces in combat, leading a small brigade that included his regiment. At the Battle of Booneville
Battle of Booneville
The Battle of Booneville was fought on July 1, 1862, in Booneville, Mississippi, during the American Civil War. It occurred in the aftermath of the Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh and within the context of Confederate General Braxton Bragg's efforts to recapture the rail junction at Corinth,...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, July 1, 1862, he held back several regiments of Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers's Confederate cavalry, deflected a large flanking attack with a noisy diversion, and reported critical intelligence about enemy dispositions. His actions so impressed the division commanders, including Brig. Gen. William S. Rosecrans, that they recommended Sheridan's promotion to brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

. They wrote to Halleck, "Brigadiers scarce; good ones scarce. ... The undersigned respectfully beg that you will obtain the promotion of Sheridan. He is worth his weight in gold." The promotion was approved in September, but dated effective July 1 as a reward for his actions at Booneville. It was just after Booneville that one of his fellow officers gave him the horse that he named Rienzi (after the skirmish of Rienzi, Mississippi
Rienzi, Mississippi
Rienzi is a town in Alcorn County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 330 at the 2000 census.-History:Rienzi was named for Cola di Rienzo, a medieval Italian politician...

), which he would ride throughout the war.

Sheridan was assigned to command the 11th Division, III Corps, in Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell was a career United States Army officer who fought in the Seminole War, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War. Buell led Union armies in two great Civil War battles—Shiloh and Perryville. The nation was angry at his failure to defeat the outnumbered...

's Army of the Ohio
Army of the Ohio
The Army of the Ohio was the name of two Union armies in the American Civil War. The first army became the Army of the Cumberland and the second army was created in 1863.-History:...

. On October 8, 1862, Sheridan led his division in the Battle of Perryville
Battle of Perryville
The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky, as the culmination of the Confederate Heartland Offensive during the American Civil War. Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Mississippi won a...

. Under orders from Buell and his corps commander, Maj. Gen. Charles Gilbert
Charles Champion Gilbert
Charles Champion Gilbert was a United States Army officer during the Mexican-American War and the American Civil War.-Early life:...

, Sheridan sent Col. Daniel McCook
Daniel McCook
Daniel McCook was an attorney and an officer in the Union army during the American Civil War. He was one of two Ohio brothers who, along with 13 of their sons, became widely known as the “Fighting McCooks” for their contributions to the war effort.-Biography:McCook was born in Canonsburg,...

's brigade to secure a water supply for the army. McCook drove off the Confederates and secured water for the parched Union troops at Doctor's Creek. Gilbert ordered McCook not to advance any further and then rode to consult with Buell. Along the way, Gilbert ordered his cavalry to attack the Confederates in Dan McCook's front. Sheridan heard the gunfire and came to the front with another brigade. Although the cavalry failed to secure the heights in front of McCook, Sheridan's reinforcements drove off the Southerners. Gilbert returned and ordered Sheridan to return to McCook's original position. Sheridan's aggressiveness convinced the opposing Confederates under Maj. Gen. Leonidas Polk
Leonidas Polk
Leonidas Polk was a Confederate general in the American Civil War who was once a planter in Maury County, Tennessee, and a second cousin of President James K. Polk...

, that he should remain on the defensive. His troops repulsed Confederate attacks later that day, but did not participate in the heaviest fighting of the day, which occurred on the Union left.

On December 31, 1862, the first day of the Battle of Stones River
Battle of Stones River
The Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro , was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War...

, Sheridan anticipated a Confederate assault and positioned his division in preparation for it. His division held back the Confederate onslaught on his front until their ammunition ran out and they were forced to withdraw. This action was instrumental in giving the Union army time to rally at a strong defensive position. For his actions, he was promoted to major general on April 10, 1863 (with date of rank December 31, 1862). In six months, he had risen from captain to major general.

The Army of the Cumberland recovered from the shock of Stones River and prepared for its summer offensive against Confederate General Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg
Braxton Bragg was a career United States Army officer, and then a general in the Confederate States Army—a principal commander in the Western Theater of the American Civil War and later the military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.Bragg, a native of North Carolina, was...

. Sheridan's division participated in the advance against Bragg in Rosecrans's brilliant Tullahoma Campaign
Tullahoma Campaign
The Tullahoma Campaign or Middle Tennessee Campaign was fought between June 24 and July 3, 1863, during the American Civil War. The Union Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. Gen. William S...

, and was the lead division to enter the town of Tullahoma
Tullahoma, Tennessee
-Demographics:As of the census of 2010, there were 18,655 people, 7,717 households, and 5,161 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 88.1% White, 7.0% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 1.1% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races...

. On the second day of the Battle of Chickamauga
Battle of Chickamauga
The Battle of Chickamauga, fought September 19–20, 1863, marked the end of a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia called the Chickamauga Campaign...

, September 20, 1863, Rosecrans was shifting Sheridan's division behind the Union battle line when Bragg launched an attack into a gap in the Union line. Sheridan's division made a gallant stand on Lytle Hill against an attack by the Confederate corps of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet
James Longstreet
James Longstreet was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his "Old War Horse." He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the...

, but was swamped by retreating Union soldiers. The Confederates drove Sheridan's division from the field in confusion. He gathered as many men as he could and withdrew toward Chattanooga, rallying troops along the way. Learning of Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas's XIV Corps stand on Snodgrass Hill, Sheridan ordered his division back to the fighting, but they took a circuitous route and did not participate in the fighting as some histories claim. His return to the battlefield ensured that he did not suffer the fate of Rosecrans who rode off to Chattanooga leaving the army to its fate, and was soon relieved of command.

During the Battle of Chattanooga, at Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863, Sheridan's division and others in George Thomas's army broke through the Confederate lines in a wild charge that exceeded the orders and expectations of Thomas and Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

. Just before his men stepped off, Sheridan told them, "Remember Chickamauga," and many shouted its name as they advanced as ordered to a line of rifle pits in their front. Faced with enemy fire from above, however, they continued up the ridge. Sheridan spotted a group of Confederate officers outlined against the crest of the ridge and shouted, "Here's at you!" An exploding shell sprayed him with dirt and he responded, "That's damn ungenerous! I shall take those guns for that!" The Union charge broke through the Confederate lines on the ridge and Bragg's army fell into retreat. Sheridan impulsively ordered his men to pursue Bragg to the Confederate supply depot at Chickamauga Station, but called them back when he realized that his was the only command so far forward. General Grant reported after the battle, "To Sheridan's prompt movement, the Army of the Cumberland and the nation are indebted for the bulk of the capture of prisoners, artillery, and small arms that day. Except for his prompt pursuit, so much in this way would not have been accomplished."

Overland Campaign


Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, newly promoted to be general-in-chief of all the Union armies, summoned Sheridan to the Eastern Theater
Eastern Theater of the American Civil War
The Eastern Theater of the American Civil War included the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the coastal fortifications and seaports of North Carolina...

 to command the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac
Army of the Potomac
The Army of the Potomac was the major Union Army in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.-History:The Army of the Potomac was created in 1861, but was then only the size of a corps . Its nucleus was called the Army of Northeastern Virginia, under Brig. Gen...

. Unbeknownst to Sheridan, he was actually Grant's second choice, after Maj. Gen. William B. Franklin
William B. Franklin
William Buel Franklin was a career United States Army officer and a Union Army general in the American Civil War. He rose to the rank of a corps commander in the Army of the Potomac, fighting in several notable early battles in the Eastern Theater.-Early life:William B. Franklin was born in York,...

, but Grant agreed to a suggestion about Sheridan from Chief of Staff Henry W. Halleck. After the war, and in his memoirs, Grant claimed that Sheridan was the very man he wanted for the job. Sheridan arrived at the headquarters of the Army of the Potomac on April 5, 1864, less than a month before the start of Grant's massive Overland Campaign
Overland Campaign
The Overland Campaign, also known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the...

 against Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

.

In the early battles of the campaign, Sheridan's cavalry was relegated by army commander Maj. Gen. George G. Meade to its traditional role—screening, reconnaissance, and guarding trains and rear areas—much to Sheridan's frustration. In the Battle of the Wilderness
Battle of the Wilderness
The Battle of the Wilderness, fought May 5–7, 1864, was the first battle of Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy casualties, a harbinger of a bloody war of attrition by...

 (May 5–6, 1864), the dense forested terrain prevented any significant cavalry role. As the army swung around the Confederate right flank in the direction of Spotsylvania Court House
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, sometimes simply referred to as the Battle of Spotsylvania , was the second major battle in Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Following the bloody but inconclusive Battle of the Wilderness, Grant's army disengaged...

, Sheridan's troopers failed to clear the road from the Wilderness, losing engagements along the Plank Road on May 5 and Todd's Tavern on May 6 through May 8, allowing the Confederates to seize the critical crossroads before the Union infantry could arrive.
When Meade quarreled with Sheridan for not performing his duties of screening and reconnaissance as ordered, Sheridan told Meade that he could "whip Stuart" if Meade let him. Meade reported the conversation to Grant, who replied, "Well, he generally knows what he is talking about. Let him start right out and do it." Meade deferred to Grant's judgment and issued orders to Sheridan to "proceed against the enemy's cavalry" and from May 9 through May 24, sent him on a raid toward Richmond, directly challenging the Confederate cavalry. The raid was less successful than hoped; although his raid managed to mortally wound Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart
J.E.B. Stuart
James Ewell Brown "Jeb" Stuart was a U.S. Army officer from Virginia and a Confederate States Army general during the American Civil War. He was known to his friends as "Jeb", from the initials of his given names. Stuart was a cavalry commander known for his mastery of reconnaissance and the use...

 at Yellow Tavern
Battle of Yellow Tavern
The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought on May 11, 1864, as part of the Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan was detached from the Army of the Potomac to conduct a raid on Richmond, Virginia, and challenge legendary Confederate cavalry...

 on May 11 and beat Maj. Gen. Fitzhugh Lee
Fitzhugh Lee
Fitzhugh Lee , nephew of Robert E. Lee, was a Confederate cavalry general in the American Civil War, the 40th Governor of Virginia, diplomat, and United States Army general in the Spanish-American War.-Early life:...

 at Meadow Bridge
Battle of Meadow Bridge
The Battle of Meadow Bridge was an engagement on May 12, 1864, in Henrico County, Virginia, during Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Following their victory at the Battle of Yellow Tavern on May 11, Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Philip H...

 on May 12, the raid never seriously threatened Richmond and it left Grant without cavalry intelligence for Spotsylvania and North Anna
Battle of North Anna
The Battle of North Anna was fought May 23–26, 1864, as part of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. It consisted of a series of small actions near the North Anna River in central Virginia, rather than a...

. Historian Gordon C. Rhea wrote, "By taking his cavalry from Spotsylvania Court House, Sheridan severely handicapped Grant in his battles against Lee. The Union Army was deprived of his eyes and ears during a critical juncture in the campaign. And Sheridan's decision to advance boldly to the Richmond defenses smacked of unnecessary showboating that jeopardized his command."
Rejoining the Army of the Potomac, Sheridan's cavalry fought inconclusively at Haw's Shop
Battle of Haw's Shop
The Battle of Haw's Shop or Enon Church was fought on May 28, 1864, in Hanover County, Virginia, as part of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign against Confederate Gen. Robert E...

 (May 28), a battle with heavy casualties that allowed the Confederate cavalry to obtain valuable intelligence about Union dispositions. They seized the critical crossroads that triggered the Battle of Cold Harbor
Battle of Cold Harbor
The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought from May 31 to June 12, 1864 . It was one of the final battles of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign during the American Civil War, and is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles...

 (June 1 to June 12) and withstood a number of assaults until reinforced. Grant then ordered Sheridan on a raid to the northwest to break the Virginia Central Railroad
Virginia Central Railroad
Virginia Central Railroad was chartered as the Louisa Railroad in 1836 by the Virginia Board of Public Works and had its name changed to Virginia Central Railroad in 1850. It connected Richmond with the Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Gordonsville in 1854, and had expanded westward past the Blue...

 and to link up with the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

 army of Maj. Gen. David Hunter
David Hunter
David Hunter was a Union general in the American Civil War. He achieved fame by his unauthorized 1862 order emancipating slaves in three Southern states and as the president of the military commission trying the conspirators involved with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.-Early...

. He was intercepted by the Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton
Wade Hampton III
Wade Hampton III was a Confederate cavalry leader during the American Civil War and afterward a politician from South Carolina, serving as its 77th Governor and as a U.S...

 at the Battle of Trevilian Station
Battle of Trevilian Station
The Battle of Trevilian Station was fought on June 11–12, 1864, in Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan fought against Confederate cavalry under Maj. Gens...

 (June 11–12), where in the largest all-cavalry battle of the war, he achieved tactical success on the first day, but suffered heavy casualties during multiple assaults on the second. He withdrew without achieving his assigned objectives. On his return march, he once again encountered the Confederate cavalry at Samaria (St. Mary's) Church
Battle of Saint Mary's Church
The Battle of Saint Mary's Church was an American Civil War cavalry battle fought on June 24, 1864, as part of Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.As Maj. Gen...

 on June 24, where his men suffered significant casualties, but successfully protected the Union supply wagons they were escorting.

History draws decidedly mixed opinions on the success of Sheridan in the Overland Campaign, in no small part because the very clear Union victory at Yellow Tavern
Battle of Yellow Tavern
The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought on May 11, 1864, as part of the Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan was detached from the Army of the Potomac to conduct a raid on Richmond, Virginia, and challenge legendary Confederate cavalry...

, highlighted by the death of Jeb Stuart, tends to overshadow other actions and battles. In Sheridan's report of the Cavalry Corps' actions in the campaign, discussing the strategy of cavalry fighting cavalry, he wrote, "The result was constant success and the almost total annihilation of the rebel cavalry. We marched when and where we pleased; we were always the attacking party, and always successful." A contrary view has been published by historian Eric J. Wittenberg, who notes that of four major strategic raids (Richmond, Trevilian, Wilson-Kautz
Wilson-Kautz Raid
The Wilson-Kautz Raid was a cavalry operation in south central Virginia in late June 1864, during the American Civil War. Occurring early in the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, the raid was conducted by Union cavalry under Brigadier Generals James Wilson and August Kautz, who were ordered to cut...

, and First Deep Bottom
First Battle of Deep Bottom
The First Battle of Deep Bottom, also known as Darbytown, Strawberry Plains, New Market Road, or Gravel Hill, was fought July 27–29, 1864, at Deep Bottom in Henrico County, Virginia, as part of the Siege of Petersburg of the American Civil War. A Union force under Maj. Gens. Winfield S....

) and thirteen major cavalry engagements of the Overland and Richmond–Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

 campaigns, only Yellow Tavern can be considered a Union victory, with Haw's Shop, Trevilian Station, Meadow Bridge, Samaria Church, and Wilson-Kautz defeats in which some of Sheridan's forces barely avoided destruction.

Army of the Shenandoah



Throughout the war, the Confederacy sent armies out of Virginia through the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

 to invade Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 and Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 and threaten Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early
Jubal Anderson Early
Jubal Anderson Early was a lawyer and Confederate general in the American Civil War. He served under Stonewall Jackson and then Robert E. Lee for almost the entire war, rising from regimental command to lieutenant general and the command of an infantry corps in the Army of Northern Virginia...

, following the same pattern in the Valley Campaigns of 1864
Valley Campaigns of 1864
The Valley Campaigns of 1864 were American Civil War operations and battles that took place in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from May to October 1864. Military historians divide this period into three separate campaigns, but it is useful to consider the three together and how they...

, and hoping to distract Grant from the Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865, during the American Civil War...

, attacked Union forces near Washington and raided several towns in Pennsylvania. Grant, reacting to the political commotion caused by the invasion, organized the Middle Military Division
Middle Military Division
The Middle Military Division was an organization of the Union Army during the American Civil War, responsible for operations around the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and the Valley Campaigns of 1864....

, whose field troops were known as the Army of the Shenandoah. He considered various candidates for command, including George Meade, William B. Franklin, and David Hunter
David Hunter
David Hunter was a Union general in the American Civil War. He achieved fame by his unauthorized 1862 order emancipating slaves in three Southern states and as the president of the military commission trying the conspirators involved with the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.-Early...

, with the latter two intended for the military division while Sheridan would command the army. All of these choices were rejected by either Grant or the War Department and, over the objection of Secretary of War
United States Secretary of War
The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War," was appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation...

 Edwin M. Stanton
Edwin M. Stanton
Edwin McMasters Stanton was an American lawyer and politician who served as Secretary of War under the Lincoln Administration during the American Civil War from 1862–1865...

, who believed him to be too young for such a high post, Sheridan took command in both roles at Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Harpers Ferry is a historic town in Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States. In many books the town is called "Harper's Ferry" with an apostrophe....

 on August 7, 1864. His mission was not only to defeat Early's army and to close off the Northern invasion route, but to deny the Shenandoah Valley as a productive agricultural region to the Confederacy. Grant told Sheridan, "The people should be informed that so long as an army can subsist among them recurrences of these raids must be expected, and we are determined to stop them at all hazards. ... Give the enemy no rest ... Do all the damage to railroads and crops you can. Carry off stock of all descriptions, and negroes, so as to prevent further planting. If the war is to last another year, we want the Shenandoah Valley to remain a barren waste."


Sheridan got off to a slow start, needing time to organize and to react to reinforcements reaching Early; Grant ordered him not to launch an offensive "with the advantage against you." And yet Grant expressed frustration with Sheridan's lack of progress. The armies remained unengaged for over a month, causing political consternation in the North as the 1864 election
United States presidential election, 1864
In the United States Presidential election of 1864, Abraham Lincoln was re-elected as president. The election was held during the Civil War. Lincoln ran under the National Union ticket against Democratic candidate George B. McClellan, his former top general. McClellan ran as the "peace candidate",...

 drew near. The two generals conferred on September 16 at Charles Town
Charles Town, West Virginia
Charles Town is a city in and the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 2,907 at the 2000 census. Due to its similar name, travelers have sometimes confused this city with the state's capital, Charleston.-History:...

 and agreed that Sheridan would begin his attacks within four days.

On September 19, Sheridan beat Early's much smaller army at Third Winchester
Battle of Opequon
The Battle of Opequon, more commonly known as the Third Battle of Winchester, was fought in Winchester, Virginia, on September 19, 1864, during the Valley Campaigns of 1864 in the American Civil War....

 and followed up on September 22 with a victory at Fisher's Hill
Battle of Fisher's Hill
The Battle of Fisher's Hill was fought September 21–22, 1864, as part of the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. Fisher's Hill is located near Strasburg, Virginia....

. As Early attempted to regroup, Sheridan began the punitive operations of his mission, sending his cavalry as far south as Waynesboro
Waynesboro, Virginia
Waynesboro, deriving its name from General Anthony Wayne, is an independent city surrounded by Augusta County in the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 21,006 in 2010.....

 to seize or destroy livestock and provisions, and to burn barns, mills, factories, and railroads. Sheridan's men did their work relentlessly and thoroughly, rendering over 400 mi.² uninhabitable. The destruction presaged the scorched earth
Scorched earth
A scorched earth policy is a military strategy or operational method which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area...

 tactics of Sherman's March to the Sea
Sherman's March to the Sea
Sherman's March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign conducted around Georgia from November 15, 1864 to December 21, 1864 by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army in the American Civil War...

 through Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

—deny an army a base from which to operate and bring the effects of war home to the population supporting it. The residents referred to this widespread destruction as "The Burning." The Confederates were not idle during this period and Sheridan's men were plagued by guerrilla
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 raids by partisan ranger Col. John S. Mosby
John S. Mosby
John Singleton Mosby , nicknamed the "Gray Ghost", was a Confederate cavalry battalion commander in the American Civil War...

.

Although Sheridan assumed that Jubal Early was effectively out of action and he considered withdrawing his army to rejoin Grant at Petersburg, Early received reinforcements and, on October 19 at Cedar Creek
Battle of Cedar Creek
The Battle of Cedar Creek, or Battle of Belle Grove, October 19, 1864, was one of the final, and most decisive, battles in the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. The final Confederate invasion of the North, led by Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early, was effectively ended...

, launched a well-executed surprise attack while Sheridan was absent from his army, ten miles away at Winchester
Winchester, Virginia
Winchester is an independent city located in the northwestern portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the USA. The city's population was 26,203 according to the 2010 Census...

. Hearing the distant sounds of artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

, he rode aggressively to his command. He reached the battlefield about 10:30 a.m. and began to rally his men. Fortunately for Sheridan, Early's men were too occupied to take notice; they were hungry and exhausted and fell out to pillage the Union camps. Sheridan's actions are generally credited with saving the day (although Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, commanding Sheridan's VI Corps, had already rallied his men and stopped their retreat). Early had been dealt his most significant defeat, rendering his army almost incapable of future offensive action. Sheridan received a personal letter of thanks from Abraham Lincoln and a promotion to major general in the regular army as of November 8, 1864, making him the fourth ranking general in the Army, after Grant, Sherman, and Meade. A famous poem, Sheridan's Ride, was written by Thomas Buchanan Read
Thomas Buchanan Read
Thomas Buchanan Read , was an American poet and portrait painter.-Biography:Read was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania on March 12, 1822....

 to commemorate the general's return to the battle. Sheridan reveled in the fame that Read's poem brought him, renaming his horse Rienzi to "Winchester," based on the poem's refrain, "Winchester, twenty miles away." The poem was widely used in Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 campaign efforts and some have credited Abraham Lincoln's margin of victory to it.

Sheridan spent the next several months occupied with light skirmishing and fighting guerrillas. Although Grant continued his exhortations for Sheridan to move south and break the Virginia Central Railroad supplying Petersburg, Sheridan resisted. Wright's VI Corps returned to join Grant in November. Sheridan's remaining men, primarily cavalry and artillery, finally moved out of their winter quarters on February 27, 1865, and headed east. The orders from Gen. Grant were largely discretionary: they were to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad and the James River Canal
James River and Kanawha Canal
The James River and Kanawha Canal was a canal in Virginia, which was built to facilitate shipments of passengers and freight by water between the western counties of Virginia and the coast....

, capture Lynchburg
Lynchburg, Virginia
Lynchburg is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The population was 75,568 as of 2010. Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains along the banks of the James River, Lynchburg is known as the "City of Seven Hills" or "The Hill City." Lynchburg was the only major city in...

 if practicable, then either join William T. Sherman in North Carolina or return to Winchester.

Appomattox Campaign



Sheridan interpreted Grant's orders liberally and instead of heading to North Carolina in March 1865, he moved to rejoin the Army of the Potomac at Petersburg. He wrote in his memoirs, "Feeling that the war was nearing its end, I desired my cavalry to be in at the death." His finest service of the Civil War was demonstrated during his relentless pursuit of Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

's Army, effectively managing the most crucial aspects of the Appomattox Campaign
Appomattox Campaign
The Appomattox Campaign was a series of battles fought March 29 – April 9, 1865, in Virginia that culminated in the surrender of Confederate General Robert E...

 for Grant.

On the way to Petersburg, at the Battle of Waynesboro
Battle of Waynesboro
The Battle of Waynesboro was fought on March 2, 1865, in Augusta County, Virginia, during the American Civil War. It was the final battle for Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal Early, whose force was destroyed.-Background:...

, March 2, he trapped the remainder of Early's army and 1,500 soldiers surrendered. On April 1, he cut off Gen. Lee's lines of support at Five Forks
Battle of Five Forks
The Battle of Five Forks was fought on April 1, 1865, southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, in Dinwiddie County, during the Appomattox Campaign of the American Civil War. The battle, sometimes referred to as the "Waterloo of the Confederacy," pitted Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan against...

, forcing Lee to evacuate Petersburg. During this battle he ruined the military career of Maj. Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren
Gouverneur K. Warren
Gouverneur Kemble Warren was a civil engineer and prominent general in the Union Army during the American Civil War...

 by removing him from command of the V Corps under circumstances that a court of inquiry later determined were unjustified.

Sheridan's aggressive and well-executed performance at the Battle of Sayler's Creek
Battle of Sayler's Creek
-External links:* * : Maps, histories, photos, and preservation news...

 on April 6 effectively sealed the fate of Lee's army, capturing over 20% of his remaining men. President Lincoln sent Grant a telegram on April 7: "Gen. Sheridan says 'If the thing is pressed I think that Lee will surrender.' Let the thing be pressed." At Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865, Sheridan blocked Lee's escape, forcing the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

 later that day. Grant summed up Little Phil's performance in these final days: "I believe General Sheridan has no superior as a general, either living or dead, and perhaps not an equal."

Reconstruction


After the surrender of Lee, and of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

 in North Carolina, the only significant Confederate field force remaining was in Texas under Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith
Edmund Kirby Smith
Edmund Kirby Smith was a career United States Army officer and educator. He served as a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War, notable for his command of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederacy after the fall of Vicksburg.After the conflict ended Smith...

. Sheridan was supposed to lead troops in the Grand Review of the Armies
Grand Review of the Armies
The Grand Review of the Armies was a military procession and celebration in Washington, D.C., on May 23 and May 24, 1865, following the close of the American Civil War...

 in Washington, D.C., but Grant had appointed him commander of the Military District of the Southwest on May 17, 1865, six days before the parade, with orders to defeat Smith without delay and restore Texas and Louisiana to Union control. However, Smith surrendered before Sheridan reached New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. Grant was also concerned about the situation in neighboring Mexico, where 40,000 French soldiers were propping up the puppet regime of Austrian Archduke Maximilian
Maximilian I of Mexico
Maximilian I was the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire.After a distinguished career in the Austrian Navy, he was proclaimed Emperor of Mexico on April 10, 1864, with the backing of Napoleon III of France and a group of Mexican monarchists who sought to revive the Mexican monarchy...

, and gave Sheridan permission for a large Texas occupation force. Sheridan assembled 50,000 men in three corps, quickly occupied Texas coastal cities, spread inland, and began to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border. The Army's presence, U.S. political pressure, and the growing resistance of Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

 induced the French to abandon their claims against Mexico and Napoleon III
Napoleon III of France
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte...

 withdrew his troops in 1866. Sheridan later admitted in his memoirs that he had supplied arms to Juárez's forces: "... supplied with arms and ammunition, which we left at convenient places on our side of the river to fall into their hands."

On July 30, 1866, while Sheridan was in Texas, a white mob broke up the state constitutional convention in New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. Thirty-four blacks were killed. Shortly after Sheridan returned, he wired Grant, "The more information I obtain of the affair of the 30th in this city the more revolting it becomes. It was no riot; it was an absolute massacre." In March 1867, with Reconstruction barely started, Sheridan was appointed military governor of the Fifth Military District
Fifth Military District
The 5th Military District was a temporary administrative unit of the United States set up during the Reconstruction period following the American Civil War. It included Texas, from Brazos Santiago Harbor, , at the Mexican border, north to Louisiana. General Philip Sheridan served as its first...

 (Texas and Louisiana). He severely limited voter registration for former Confederates and then required that only registered voters (including black men) be eligible to serve on juries.

An inquiry into the deadly riot of 1866 implicated numerous local officials and Sheridan dismissed the mayor of New Orleans, the Louisiana attorney general, and a district judge. He later removed Louisiana Governor James M. Wells, accusing him of being "a political trickster and a dishonest man." He also dismissed Texas Governor James W. Throckmorton
James W. Throckmorton
James Webb Throckmorton was an American politician who served as the 12th Governor of Texas from 1866 to 1867 during the early days of Reconstruction...

, a former Confederate, for being an "impediment to the reconstruction of the State," replacing him with the Republican who had lost to him in the previous election. Sheridan had been feuding with President Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

 for months over interpretations of the Military Reconstruction Acts and voting rights issues, and within a month of the second firing, the president removed Sheridan, stating to an outraged Gen. Grant that, "His rule has, in fact, been one of absolute tyranny, without references to the principles of our government or the nature of our free institutions."

If Sheridan was unpopular in Texas, neither did he have much appreciation for the Lone Star State. In 1866 newspapers quoted him as saying, "If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell", a statement which he repeated in later years in various forms.

During the Grant administration, while Sheridan was assigned to duty in the West, he was sent to Louisiana on two additional occasions to deal with problems that lingered in Reconstruction. In January 1875, federal troops intervened in the Louisiana Legislature following attempts by the Democrats to seize control of disputed seats in the state legislature by illegal means. Sheridan supported Republican Governor William P. Kellogg
William P. Kellogg
William Pitt Kellogg was an American politician and a governor of Louisiana from 1873-1877 during Reconstruction. He was one of the most important politicians in Louisiana during and immediately after Reconstruction...

, winner of the 1872 state election, and declared that the Democratic opponents of the Republican regime who used violence to overcome legitimate electoral results were "banditti" who should be subjected to military tribunals and loss of their habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

 rights. The Grant administration backed down after an enormous public outcry. A headline in the New York World
New York World
The New York World was a newspaper published in New York City from 1860 until 1931. The paper played a major role in the history of American newspapers...

newspaper was "Tyranny! A Sovereign State Murdered!" In 1876, Sheridan was sent to New Orleans to command troops keeping the peace in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election
United States presidential election, 1876
The United States presidential election of 1876 was one of the most disputed and controversial presidential elections in American history. Samuel J. Tilden of New York outpolled Ohio's Rutherford B. Hayes in the popular vote, and had 184 electoral votes to Hayes's 165, with 20 votes uncounted...

.

Indian Wars



The Indians
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 on the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

 had been generally peaceful during the Civil War. In 1864, Major
Major (United States)
In the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, major is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel...

 John Chivington
John Chivington
John Milton Chivington was a colonel in the United States Army who served in the American Indian Wars during the Colorado War and the New Mexico Campaigns of the American Civil War...

, a Colorado militia officer, attacked a peaceful village of Arapaho
Arapaho
The Arapaho are a tribe of Native Americans historically living on the eastern plains of Colorado and Wyoming. They were close allies of the Cheyenne tribe and loosely aligned with the Sioux. Arapaho is an Algonquian language closely related to Gros Ventre, whose people are seen as an early...

s and Southern Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

 at Sand Creek
Sand Creek Massacre
As conflict between Indians and white settlers and soldiers in Colorado continued, many of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, including bands under Cheyenne chiefs Black Kettle and White Antelope, were resigned to negotiate peace. The chiefs had sought to maintain peace in spite of pressures from whites...

 in Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, killing over 150 Indians. That attack ignited a general war with the Indians. The protection of the Great Plains fell under the Department of the Missouri
Department of the Missouri
Department of the Missouri was a division of the United States Army that functioned through the American Civil War and the Indian Wars afterwards.-Civil War:...

, an administrative area of over 1,000,000 mi.², encompassing all land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. Maj. Gen. Winfield S. Hancock was assigned to the department in 1866, but had mishandled his campaign, resulting in Sioux
Sioux
The Sioux are Native American and First Nations people in North America. The term can refer to any ethnic group within the Great Sioux Nation or any of the nation's many language dialects...

 and Cheyenne
Cheyenne
Cheyenne are a Native American people of the Great Plains, who are of the Algonquian language family. The Cheyenne Nation is composed of two united tribes, the Só'taeo'o and the Tsétsêhéstâhese .The Cheyenne are thought to have branched off other tribes of Algonquian stock inhabiting lands...

 raids of retaliation. The Indians continued to attack mail coaches
Stagecoach
A stagecoach is a type of covered wagon for passengers and goods, strongly sprung and drawn by four horses, usually four-in-hand. Widely used before the introduction of railway transport, it made regular trips between stages or stations, which were places of rest provided for stagecoach travelers...

, burn the stations, and kill the employees. They also raped, killed, and kidnapped a considerable number of settlers on the frontier. Under pressure from the various governors in the Great Plains, General Grant turned to Phil Sheridan. In September 1866, Sheridan arrived at the former Fort Martin Scott
Fort Martin Scott
Fort Martin Scott is a restored United States Army outpost near Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country, United States, that was active from 1848 until 1853...

 near Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg, Texas
Fredericksburg is the seat of Gillespie County, in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 Census estimate, the city had a population of 10, 530...

, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, where he spent three months subduing Indians in the Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is a vernacular term applied to a region of Central Texas featuring tall rugged hills consisting of thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite. It also includes the Llano Uplift and the second largest granite monadnock in the United States, Enchanted Rock, which is located...

.

In August 1867, Grant appointed Sheridan to head the Department of the Missouri and pacify the Plains. His troops, even supplemented with state militia, were spread too thin to have any real effect. He conceived a strategy similar to the one he used in the Shenandoah Valley. In the Winter Campaign of 1868–69 he attacked the Cheyenne, Kiowa
Kiowa
The Kiowa are a nation of American Indians and indigenous people of the Great Plains. They migrated from the northern plains to the southern plains in the late 17th century. In 1867, the Kiowa moved to a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma...

, and Comanche
Comanche
The Comanche are a Native American ethnic group whose historic range consisted of present-day eastern New Mexico, southern Colorado, northeastern Arizona, southern Kansas, all of Oklahoma, and most of northwest Texas. Historically, the Comanches were hunter-gatherers, with a typical Plains Indian...

 tribes in their winter quarters, taking their supplies and livestock and killing those who resisted, driving the rest back into their reservations
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

. By promoting in Congressional
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 testimony the hunting and slaughter of the vast herds of American Bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

 on the Great Plains and by other means, Sheridan helped deprive the Indians of their primary source of food. Professional hunters, trespassing on Indian land, killed over 4 million bison by 1874. Sheridan wrote, "Let them kill, skin and sell until the buffalo is exterminated". When the Texas legislature considered outlawing bison poaching on tribal lands, Sheridan personally testified against it in Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

. He suggested that the legislature should give each of the hunters a medal, engraved with a dead buffalo on one side and a discouraged-looking Indian on the other. This strategy continued until the Indians honored their treaties. Sheridan's department conducted the Red River War
Red River War
The Red River War was a military campaign launched by the United States Army in 1874, as part of the Comanche War, to remove the Comanche, Kiowa, Southern Cheyenne, and Arapaho Native American tribes from the Southern Plains and forcibly relocate them to reservations in Indian Territory...

, the Ute War
Ute War
The Ute Wars may refer to a number of conflicts between the Ute people and the United States which began in 1849 and ended in 1923.-Wars:*Jicarilla War 1849-1855*Provo War 1850*Walker War 1853-1854*Tintic War 1856*Black Hawk War 1865-1872...

, and the Great Sioux War of 1876-77
Great Sioux War of 1876-77
The Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, was a series of battles and negotiations which occurred between 1876 and 1877 involving the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, against the United States...

, which resulted in the death of a trusted subordinate, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the Indian Wars. Raised in Michigan and Ohio, Custer was admitted to West Point in 1858, where he graduated last in his class...

. The Indian raids subsided during the 1870s and were almost over by the early 1880s, as Sheridan became the commanding general of the U.S. Army.

There is an anecdote told concerning Sheridan during his campaign against the Indians. Comanche Chief Tosawi
Tosawi
Tosawi was a Penateka Comanche chief. He was deemed "cooperative" by William Babcock Hazen...

, or Silver Knife, reputedly told Sheridan in 1869, "Me Tosawi. Me good Indian," to which Sheridan is said to have replied, "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead." This was then misquoted as "The only good Indian is a dead Indian". Sheridan later denied he had made the statement to Tosawi. Earlier that year, on May 28, Rep. James M. Cavanaugh said in the House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

, "I have never seen in my life a good Indian ... except when I have seen a dead Indian." That remark may have been mistakenly attributed to Sheridan.

Other assignments


Sheridan was promoted to lieutenant general
Lieutenant General (United States)
In the United States Army, the United States Air Force and the United States Marine Corps, lieutenant general is a three-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-9. Lieutenant general ranks above major general and below general...

 on March 4, 1869. In 1870, President Grant, at Sheridan's request, sent him to observe and report on the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

. As a guest of the King of Prussia
William I, German Emperor
William I, also known as Wilhelm I , of the House of Hohenzollern was the King of Prussia and the first German Emperor .Under the leadership of William and his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the...

, he was present when Napoleon III surrendered to the Germans, which was gratifying to Sheridan following his experiences with the French in Mexico. He later toured most of Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and returned to the U.S. to report to Grant that although the Prussians were "very good brave fellows [who] had gone into each battle with the determination to win, ... there is nothing to be learned here professionally." He criticized their handling of cavalry and likened their practices to the manner in which Meade had attempted to supervise him.

In 1871, Sheridan was present in Chicago during the Great Chicago Fire
Great Chicago Fire
The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from Sunday, October 8, to early Tuesday, October 10, 1871, killing hundreds and destroying about in Chicago, Illinois. Though the fire was one of the largest U.S...

 and coordinated military relief efforts. The mayor, Roswell B. Mason
Roswell B. Mason
Roswell B. Mason served as mayor of Chicago, Illinois for the Citizens Party....

, to calm the panic, placed the city under martial law
Martial law
Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis— only temporary—when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively , when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law...

, and issued a proclamation putting Sheridan in charge. As there were no widespread disturbances, martial law was lifted within a few days. Although Sheridan's personal residence was spared, all of his professional and personal papers were destroyed. When Chicago's Washington Park Race Track
Washington Park Race Track
Washington Park Race Track was a popular horse racing venue in the Chicago metropolitan area from 1884 until 1977. It had two locations during its existence. It was first situated in what is the current location of the Washington Park Subdivision of the Woodlawn community area of Chicago in Cook...

 organized the American Derby
American Derby
The American Derby is a Thoroughbred horse race in the United States run annually at Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The inaugural American Derby was held at the city's old Washington Park race track and raced there until 1905 when the facility was closed and the track demolished....

 in 1883 he served as its first president.

Sheridan served as commander in chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States
The Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, also known by its acronym MOLLUS or simply as the Loyal Legion, is a United States patriotic order, organized April 15, 1865, by officers of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States who "had aided in maintaining the honor,...

 (MOLLUS) veterans' organization from 1886 to 1888.

On November 1, 1883, Sheridan succeeded William T. Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman
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 , for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched...

 as Commanding General, U.S. Army, and held that position until shortly before his death. He was promoted on June 1, 1888, shortly before his death, to the rank of general in the regular army (the rank was titled "General of the Army of the United States", by Act of Congress June 1, 1888, the same rank achieved earlier by Grant and Sherman, which is equivalent to a four-star general, O-10, in the modern U.S. Army).

Yellowstone


The protection of the Yellowstone area was Sheridan's personal crusade. He authorized Lieutenant Gustavus Doane to escort the Washburn Expedition
Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition
The Washburn Expedition of 1870, explored the region of northwestern Wyoming that a couple years later became Yellowstone National Park. Led by Henry Washburn, Nathaniel P. Langford and under U.S. Army escort led by Lt. Gustavus C...

 in 1870 and for Captain John W. Barlow
John W. Barlow
John Whitney Barlow was a career officer in the United States Army. During and after the American Civil War, he was noted for his engineering talents.-Biography:...

 to escort the Hayden Expedition in 1871. Barlow named Mount Sheridan
Mount Sheridan
Mount Sheridan el. is a prominent mountain peak overlooking Heart Lake in the Red Mountains of Yellowstone National Park. The peak is named in honor of General Philip H. Sheridan, U.S. Army, one of the early protectors of the park.-History:...

, a peak overlooking Heart Lake
Heart Lake (Wyoming)
Heart Lake el. is a large backcountry lake, nestled at the base of Mount Sheridan in Yellowstone National Park. Heart Lake is in the Snake River drainage and is drained by the Heart River.-History:...

 in Yellowstone, for the general in 1871. As early as 1875, Sheridan promoted military control of the area to prevent the destruction of natural formations and wildlife.

In 1882, the Department of the Interior granted rights to the Yellowstone Park Improvement Company to develop 4,000 acres (16 km²) in the park. Their plan was to build a railroad into the park and sell the land to developers. Sheridan personally organized opposition to the plan and lobbied Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 for protection of the park; including expansion, military control, reducing the development to 10 acres (40,000 m²), and prohibiting leases near park attractions. In addition, he arranged an expedition to the park for President Chester A. Arthur
Chester A. Arthur
Chester Alan Arthur was the 21st President of the United States . Becoming President after the assassination of President James A. Garfield, Arthur struggled to overcome suspicions of his beginnings as a politician from the New York City Republican machine, succeeding at that task by embracing...

 and other influential men. His lobbying soon paid off. A rider was added to the Sundry Civil Bill of 1883, giving Sheridan and his supporters almost everything for which they had asked. In 1886, after a string of ineffectual and sometimes criminal superintendents, Sheridan ordered the 1st U.S. Cavalry into the park. The military operated the park until the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

 took it over in 1916.

Sheridan is mentioned favorably in The National Parks: America's Best Idea
The National Parks: America's Best Idea
The National Parks: America's Best Idea is a 2009 documentary film for television, DVD and companion book by director/producer Ken Burns and producer/writer Dayton Duncan which features the United States National Park system and traces the system's history...

, Episode I, for his work saving Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

:

Personal life


On June 3, 1875, Sheridan married Irene Rucker, a daughter of Army Quartermaster General Daniel H. Rucker. She was 22, and he was 44. They had four children: Mary, born in 1876; twin daughters, Irene and Louise, in 1877; and Philip, Jr., in 1880. After the wedding, Sheridan and his wife moved to Washington, D.C. They lived in a house given to them by Chicago citizens in appreciation for Sheridan's protection of the city after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871.

Sheridan served as the ninth president of the National Rifle Association
National Rifle Association
The National Rifle Association of America is an American non-profit 501 civil rights organization which advocates for the protection of the Second Amendment of the United States Bill of Rights and the promotion of firearm ownership rights as well as marksmanship, firearm safety, and the protection...

.

Philip Sheridan suffered a series of massive heart attacks two months after sending his memoirs to the publisher. At 57 years of age, hard living and hard campaigning and a lifelong love of good food and drink had taken their toll. Thin in his youth, he had reached over 200 pounds. After his first heart attack, the U.S. Congress quickly passed legislation to promote him to general and he received the news from a congressional delegation with joy, despite his pain. His family moved him from the heat of Washington and he died in his vacation cottage at Nonquitt
Bristol County, Massachusetts
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 534,678 people, 205,411 households, and 140,706 families residing in the county. The population density was 962 people per square mile . There were 216,918 housing units at an average density of 390 per square mile...

, Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

. His body was returned to Washington and he was buried on a hillside facing the capital city near Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

 in Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

. The sculpture on the marker was executed by English sculptor Samuel James Kitson
Samuel James Kitson
Samuel James Kitson was a fine arts sculptor active in the United States from about 1876 to 1906. He maintained studios in New York City and Boston, Massachusetts. Most of his statuary were executed in marble. Many were religious in nature. His work consisted of full body statues, head and...

. The burial helped elevate Arlington to national prominence. His wife Irene never remarried, saying, "I would rather be the widow of Phil Sheridan than the wife of any man living."

Philip Sheridan, Jr., followed in his father's footsteps and graduated near the bottom of the West Point class of 1902. He served as a cavalry officer, a military aide to President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, and in Washington with the general staff. He was also felled by a heart attack, at age 37, in February 1918.


In memoriam


Fort Sheridan
Fort Sheridan, Illinois
Fort Sheridan is a residential neighborhood spread among Lake Forest, Highwood, and Highland Park in Lake County, Illinois, United States. It was originally established as a United States Army Post named after Civil War Cavalry General Philip Sheridan, to honor his services to Chicago...

 in Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 was named to honor General Sheridan's many services to Chicago.

The M551 Sheridan
M551 Sheridan
The M551 Sheridan was a light tank developed by the United States and named after Civil War General Philip Sheridan. It was designed to be landed by parachute and to swim across rivers. It was armed with the technically advanced but troublesome M81/M81E1 152mm gun/launcher which fired conventional...

 tank is named after General Sheridan.

Mount Sheridan
Mount Sheridan
Mount Sheridan el. is a prominent mountain peak overlooking Heart Lake in the Red Mountains of Yellowstone National Park. The peak is named in honor of General Philip H. Sheridan, U.S. Army, one of the early protectors of the park.-History:...

 in Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

 was named for Sheridan by Captain John W. Barlow in 1871.

Sheridan appeared on $10 U.S. Treasury Notes issued in 1890 and 1891. His bust then reappeared on the $5 Silver Certificate
Educational Series
The Educational Series series of notes is the informal nickname given by numismatists to a series of United States Silver Certificates produced by the United States Treasury in 1896, after Bureau of Printing and Engraving chief Claude M. Johnson ordered a new currency design...

 in 1896. These rare notes are in great demand by collectors today.

In 1937 the US Post Office issued a series of commemorative stamp issues honoring various Army and Navy heroes. Among them was an issue commemorating Generals Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America...

, William T. Sherman and Philip H. Sheridan.
Sheridan County, North Dakota
Sheridan County, North Dakota
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 1,710 people, 731 households, and 515 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile . There were 924 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile...

, Sheridan County, Nebraska
Sheridan County, Nebraska
-History:Sheridan County was formed in 1885. It was named after General Philip H. Sheridan.-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 6,198 people, 2,549 households, and 1,728 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile . There were 3,013 housing...

, Sheridan County, Montana
Sheridan County, Montana
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 4,105 people, 1,741 households, and 1,140 families residing in the county. The population density was 2.4 people per square mile . There were 2,167 housing units at an average density of 1.3 per square mile...

, Sheridan County, Wyoming, and Sheridan County, Kansas
Sheridan County, Kansas
Sheridan County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kansas. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 2,556. Its county seat is Hoxie. The county was named in honor of Phillip H...

, are named for him, as are the cities of Sheridan, Colorado
Sheridan, Colorado
Sheridan is a Home Rule Municipality in Arapahoe County, Colorado, United States. The population was 5,600 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Sheridan is located at ....

, Sheridan, Montana
Sheridan, Montana
Sheridan is a town in Madison County, Montana, United States named after the Civil War general Philip Sheridan. The population was 659 at the 2000 census. Sheridan is known as the "heart of the Ruby Valley." Seven majestic mountain ranges surround this beautiful community...

 (in Madison County) Sheridan, Wyoming
Sheridan, Wyoming
Sheridan is a city in Sheridan County, Wyoming, United States. The 2010 census put the population at 17,444 and a Micropolitan Statistical Area of 29,116...

, Sheridan, Arkansas
Sheridan, Arkansas
Sheridan is the largest city and county seat in Grant County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 3,872 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area. .-History:Robert W...

, Sheridan, Oregon
Sheridan, Oregon
Sheridan is a city in Yamhill County, Oregon, United States. Platted in the 1860s when it received a post office, the city was incorporated in 1880. A major fire burned much of the city in 1913, and a flood covered much of the city in 1964...

, Sheridan, Indiana
Sheridan, Indiana
Sheridan is a town in Adams Township, Hamilton County, Indiana, United States. The population was 2,665 at the 2010 census. The center of population of Indiana is located just northwest of Sheridan.- Geography :...

, and Sheridan, Illinois
Sheridan, Illinois
Sheridan is a village in LaSalle County, Illinois, in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the village population was 2,411. It is part of the Ottawa–Streator Micropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:...

 (LaSalle County).

Sheridan Square in the West Village of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 is named for the general and his statue is displayed nearby in Christopher Street Park. Sheridan Circle
Sheridan Circle
Sheridan Circle is a traffic circle in the Washington, D.C. neighborhood of Embassy Row. It is named for General Philip Sheridan, Union general of the American Civil War and later general of the United States Army...

, Sheridan Street, and the neighborhood of Sheridan-Kalorama in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, are also named after him.

The only equestrian Civil War statue in Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 honors Sheridan. It is in the center traffic circle
Traffic circle
A traffic circle or rotary is a type of circular intersection in which traffic must travel in one direction around a central island. In some countries, traffic entering the circle has the right-of-way and drivers in the circle must yield. In many other countries, traffic entering the circle must...

 on US Route 22 in Somerset, Ohio
Somerset, Ohio
Somerset is a village in Perry County, Ohio, United States. The population was 1,549 at the 2000 census.Saint Joseph Church, the oldest Catholic church in Ohio, is located just outside of Somerset on State Route 383.-Geography:...

, not far from the house where Sheridan grew up.

Sheridan High School
Sheridan High School (Thornville, Ohio)
Sheridan High School is a public high school in Thornville, Ohio. The school is located in Northern Perry County. Sheridan High School's teams are known as the Generals, and the school colors are red and gray....

 is located 5 miles north of General Sheridan's home town of Somerset. The athletic team is nicknamed "The Generals".

Sheridan Glacier, located 15 miles outside of Cordova, Alaska
Cordova, Alaska
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,454 people, 958 households, and 597 families residing in the city. The population density was 40.0 per square mile . There are 1,099 housing units at an average density of 17.9 per square mile...

 was named in his honor.

There is an equestrian statue of Sheridan in front of the New York State Capitol near Sheridan Avenue.

In World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, the United States liberty ship
Liberty ship
Liberty ships were cargo ships built in the United States during World War II. Though British in conception, they were adapted by the U.S. as they were cheap and quick to build, and came to symbolize U.S. wartime industrial output. Based on vessels ordered by Britain to replace ships torpedoed by...

, SS Philip H. Sheridan, was named in his honor.

Sheridan Road in Lawton
Lawton, Oklahoma
The city of Lawton is the county seat of Comanche County, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. Located in the southwestern region of Oklahoma approximately southwest of Oklahoma City, it is the principal city of the Lawton Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, leads to Fort Sill
Fort Sill
Fort Sill is a United States Army post near Lawton, Oklahoma, about 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City.Today, Fort Sill remains the only active Army installation of all the forts on the South Plains built during the Indian Wars...

, where Sheridan supposedly uttered the words "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead."

Sheridan Drive in Arlington National Cemetery partially encircles the area that contains the general's gravesite. The Sheridan Gate, constructed in 1879 and demolished in the 1960s, was once the Cemetery's main entrance.

A statue of Sheridan by Allen George Newman
Allen George Newman
Allen George Newman was an American sculptor. He was born in New York, where he studied with John Quincy Adams Ward and at the National Academy of Design...

 is sited in Scranton
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Scranton is a city in the northeastern part of Pennsylvania, United States. It is the county seat of Lackawanna County and the largest principal city in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area. Scranton had a population of 76,089 in 2010, according to the U.S...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

.

Sheridan Road
Sheridan Road
Sheridan Road is a major north-south thoroughfare that leads from Diversey Parkway in Chicago, Illinois, north to the Illinois-Wisconsin border and beyond to Racine. Throughout most of its run, it is the easternmost north-south through street, closest to Lake Michigan...

 in Chicago and the North Shore
North Shore (Chicago)
The North Shore is a term that refers to the generally affluent suburbs north of Chicago, Illinois bordering the shore of Lake Michigan.- History :Europeans settled the area sparsely after an 1833 treaty with local Native Americans...

 suburbs is named in honor of Philip Sheridan and leads to the Town of Fort Sheridan, the landmark former U.S. Army base now converted to an upscale residential community. Sheridan Road runs continuously for approximately 60 miles, mostly along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, from Chicago to Racine, Wisconsin.

An equestrian statue of Sheridan by Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon Borglum
Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum was an American artist and sculptor famous for creating the monumental presidents' heads at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, the famous carving on Stone Mountain near Atlanta, as well as other public works of art.- Background :The son of Mormon Danish immigrants, Gutzon...

 (sculptor of the figures on Mt. Rushmore) at Belmont Avenue
Belmont Avenue (Chicago)
Belmont Avenue is a major east-west street on the North Side of Chicago. Belmont is a central commercial street in Lakeview and, west of the North Branch of the Chicago River, Avondale...

 and Sheridan Road in Chicago depicts the general on his horse, Rienzi.

The Sheridan Drive
New York State Route 324
New York State Route 324 is an east–west state highway located in the western portion of New York in the United States...

 in the northern suburbs of Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo is the second most populous city in the state of New York, after New York City. Located in Western New York on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and at the head of the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario, Buffalo is the seat of Erie County and the principal city of the...

 is named for Sheridan Road in Chicago, and thus indirectly after Philip Sheridan. An equestrian statue of the general was planned to be built there in 1925, but was cancelled and built instead at the New York State Capitol, as aforementioned.

John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa
John Philip Sousa was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era, known particularly for American military and patriotic marches. Because of his mastery of march composition, he is known as "The March King" or the "American March King" due to his British counterpart Kenneth J....

 wrote a descriptive piece for band memorializing Sheridan. Describing "Sheridan's Ride", published in 1891, as a "Scenes Historical", Sousa musically characterized Sheridan's famous ride back to his army in the Battle of Cedar Creek
Battle of Cedar Creek
The Battle of Cedar Creek, or Battle of Belle Grove, October 19, 1864, was one of the final, and most decisive, battles in the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. The final Confederate invasion of the North, led by Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early, was effectively ended...

. The composition has six sections: Waiting for the Bugle, The Attack, The Death of Thoburn, The Coming of Sheridan, and The Apotheosis.

In popular media


Philip Sheridan has been portrayed in Hollywood movies and television over the years:
  • Wide Open Spaces (1924), portrayed by actor Billy Engle.
  • In Old Chicago
    In Old Chicago
    In Old Chicago is a 1937 American drama film directed by Henry King. The screenplay by Sonya Levien and Lamar Trotti was based on the Niven Busch story, "We the O'Learys." The film is a fictionalized account about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and stars Alice Brady as Mrs. O'Leary, the owner of...

    (1937), portrayed by Sidney Blackmer
    Sidney Blackmer
    Sidney Alderman Blackmer was an American actor.Blackmer was born and raised in Salisbury, North Carolina. He started off in an insurance and financial business but gave up on it. While working as a builder's laborer on a new building, he saw a Pearl White serial being filmed and immediately...

    .
  • Santa Fe Trail
    Santa Fe Trail (film)
    Santa Fe Trail is a 1940 western film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. The film was one of the top-grossing films of the year, being the seventh Flynn-de Havilland collaboration. The film also has nothing to do with its namesake, the famed Santa Fe Trail...

    (1940), portrayed by David Bruce
    David Bruce (actor)
    David Bruce was an American film actor, known for his chilling performance as Ted Allison in The Mad Ghoul....

    .
  • They Died with Their Boots On
    They Died with Their Boots On
    They Died with Their Boots On is a 1941 western film directed by Raoul Walsh and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. Despite being rife with historical inaccuracies, the film was one of the top-grossing films of the year, being the last of eight Flynn–de Havilland collaborations.Like...

    (1941), portrayed by John Litel
    John Litel
    John Litel was an American film actor. During World War I, Litel enlisted in the French Army and was twice decorated for bravery....

    . The movie inaccurately portrays Sheridan as a colonel and the commandant of the U.S. Military Academy before the start of the Civil War.
  • Rio Grande
    Rio Grande (film)
    Rio Grande is a 1950 Western film. It is the third installment of John Ford's "cavalry trilogy," following two RKO Pictures releases: Fort Apache and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon ....

    (1950), portrayed by J. Carrol Naish
    J. Carrol Naish
    Joseph Patrick Carrol Naish was an American character actor born in New York City. Naish was twice nominated for an Academy Award for film roles, and he later found fame in the title role of CBS Radio's Life With Luigi , which was also on CBS Television .Naish appeared on stage for several years...

    .
  • The Rifleman
    The Rifleman
    The Rifleman is an American Western television program that starred Chuck Connors as homesteader Lucas McCain and Johnny Crawford as his son, Mark McCain. It was set in the 1880s in the town of North Fork, New Mexico Territory. The show, filmed in black-and-white with a half hour running time, ran...

    (1958), featured in an episode where he helps a wounded Confederate veteran on Lucas McCain's ranch. It is revealed that McCain, played by Chuck Connors
    Chuck Connors
    Chuck Connors was an American actor, writer, and professional basketball and baseball player. His best known role from his forty-year film career was Lucas McCain in the 1960s ABC hit Western series The Rifleman....

    , served under Sheridan during the war.


In the book series The Brotherhood of War, the Parker family males are named after Philip Sheridan. The two most prominent were Philip Sheridan Parker III and Philip Sheridan Parker IV. The latter's great-great-grandfather supposedly fought with General Sheridan in the Indian Wars as a Master Sergeant in the 10th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, known as the Buffalo Soldier
Buffalo Soldier
Buffalo Soldiers originally were members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas....

s.

J. Michael Straczynski
J. Michael Straczynski
Joseph Michael Straczynski , known professionally as J. Michael Straczynski and informally as Joe Straczynski or JMS, is an American writer and television producer. He works in films, television series, novels, short stories, comic books, and radio dramas. He is a playwright, a former journalist,...

 has stated that the character of Captain John Sheridan
John Sheridan (Babylon 5)
John J. Sheridan is a lead character in the fictional universe of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5, played by Bruce Boxleitner. For most of the series, he is the commander of the Babylon 5 station; during the series' final season he is the President of the Interstellar...

 in the Babylon 5
Babylon 5
Babylon 5 is an American science fiction television series created, produced and largely written by J. Michael Straczynski. The show centers on a space station named Babylon 5: a focal point for politics, diplomacy, and conflict during the years 2257–2262...

television series was intended to be a direct descendant of General Sheridan.

See also


  • List of American Civil War generals


Further reading

  • Bissland, James. Blood, Tears, and Glory: How Ohioans Won the Civil War. Wilmington, OH: Orange Frazer Press, 2007. ISBN 1-933197-05-6.

External links



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