The Civil War, Day by Day

Sheridan's Men

General Philip H. Sheridan Dies

Sheridan’s Irish immigrant parents moved to Ohio where he received a limited education. In 1848, he was admitted to West Point and graduated near the bottom of his class in 1853, after a troublesome five years.

After duty in the Northwest fighting Indians, he served without distinction until the war came. Promoted to captain and assigned to a staff position, he complained so much that he was finally named colonel of a cavalry brigade and achieved success at the Siege of Corinth in July of 1862. Sheridan was promoted to brigadier general and proved himself a stubborn fighter at Stones River and the Battle of Missionary Ridge. On April 4, 1864, Grant put him in charge of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac and on May 11th, he struck a major blow to the Confederacy at Yellow Tavern, when his troops killed Gen. Jeb Stuart.

He was then assigned to the Shenandoah Valley, where he set out to destroy the “bread basket” of the Confederacy. Burning crops, he climaxed the Shenandoah campaign at the Battle of Cedar Creek where he single-handedly turned the tide of battle into a Union victory. He was at Petersburg and Appomattox for the surrender of Lee’s army.

After the war, Sheridan became Military Governor of Louisiana and then Chief of Army Operations in the west. He became Lieutenant General in 1869 and was named General in Chief of the Army in 1884 when Gen. William T. Sherman died. “Little Phil” died while on leave in Massachusetts on August 5, 1888.

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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.