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General Philip H. Sheridan Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: March 06, 1831
Died: August 05, 1888
Biography | show moreshow less
PHILIP H. SHERIDAN (1831-1888), West Point Class of 1853, gained combat experience fighting on the Western frontier. General Henry Halleck, impressed with Sheridan's staff work, sought to retain him at army headquarters during the Civil War, but Sheridan wanted a field command. He served with General George Thomas at the battle where Thomas earned his nickname, "the Rock of Chickamauga", a Union defeat in which Thomas's bold stand prevented a worse calamity; and under Thomas at Chattanooga (November 1863), where Sheridan's bold actions played a key role in the first "brilliant victory" to which Sheridan refers here. Thomas' victory at Nashville, one day before Sheridan ordered this salute, decimated Confederate General John Bell Hood's army and cleared the way for General Sherman's march through Georgia. Brought to the Eastern Theater by General U. S. Grant, Sheridan served as a cavalry commander at the Wilderness and Cold Harbor, and at Yellow Tavern, where his troops killed Confederate cavalry commander "JEB" Stewart. Assigned to lead the newly named Middle Military District in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia's bread basket, Sheridan earned lasting fame at the Battle of Cedar Creek (October 18, 1864). Sheridan was 10 miles away, at Winchester, when that battle began, and at first it appeared a victory for Confederate General Jubal Early. Riding to the sound of the guns, Sheridan rallied retreating troops along the way, surprised the enemy with a counterattack, and routed Early's army. Thomas Buchanan Read celebrated "Sheridan's Ride" in an inspiring poem and equally famous, heroic painting. The poem was used in Lincoln's re-election campaign. Sheridan was rewarded for his victory at Cedar Creek with promotion to major general, his rank in this letter. These Autumn victories of Sheridan, Thomas and Sherman, following very bloody but inconclusive battles between Lee and Grant during the Spring and Summer, probably secured President Lincoln's re-election. Rejoining Grant's army, Sheridan deployed cavalry across the Confederate line of retreat from Appomattox, compelling Lee's surrender. After the war he commanded the Gulf Military Region and department (1866-1867). Placing the combative Sheridan on the Mexican border signalled France that - with the Union restored - the US would no longer tolerate encroachment on the Monroe Doctrine. French troops were withdrawn, paving the way for the overthrow of Emperor Maximilian by the forces of Benito Juarez. In August 1867, Sheridan was transferred to the Department of the Missouri, charged with pacification of the Plains Indians. He waged this campaign ferociously and - for the most part - successfully - re-employing his Shenandoah Valley strategy of depriving the enemy of food stores. However, Sheridan strongly denied ever making the statement, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." In November 1883, Sheridan was named Commander in Chief of the Army and, in June 1888, he was commissioned a (4-star) General by Congress.

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