LT. GENERAL PHILLIP H. SHERIDAN
Item #: CWB12136
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Sheridan, Philip H., major-general, was born at Albany, N. Y., March 6, 1831, but while he was yet in his infancy his parents removed to Somerset, Ohio, and some of his earlier biographers have made the error of naming the latter as the place of his birth. His father was a contractor for the building of roads, and was away from home a great deal, so that Sheridan was reared by his mother and at the village school learned the rudimentary English branches. The ambition to be a soldier had already evinced itself, but as soon as he could do so he entered a country store at a salary of $24 per year; thence he went to another store, where his pay was $60 per annum, and finally secured a situation where he earned $12O for twelve months' labor as book-keeper and general manager, It is said that up to the time he was sixteen years old he had never been ten miles away from Somerset after his parents located there. At this period he applied to the member of Congress from his district for an appointment as cadet at the United States military academy. The answer was the enclosure of his warrant as such cadet, and the direction that he report at the academy on June 1, 1848. Passing the preliminary examinations without trouble, he was aided by Cadet H. W. Slocum of New York, who was his roommate, in studies of which he knew nothing upon his entry into the institution. In 1852, his graduating year, Sheridan was suspended from the academy for his action in some trouble with another cadet, but he afterward joined the class of 1853 and was graduated with it, rating the thirty-fourth in a class of fifty-two. He was assigned to the 1st U. S. infantry, but was soon afterward transferred to the 4th. In 1856 he was stationed in Washington territory, defending the cascades of the Columbia river against Indians. In May, 1861, he became a captain, and in December was appointed chief quartermaster and commissary in southwest Missouri, on the staff of Maj.-Gen. Curtis. He was quartermaster at Gen. Halleck's headquarters in April, 1862, but in response to an application from the governor of Michigan, who wanted an educated soldier to command the 2nd Mich. cavalry, Sheridan was made its colonel, and so received his first command. In the advance on Corinth he participated in several engagements, and on June 2, 1862, he was placed in command of the 2nd cavalry brigade of the Army of the Mississippi. At the battle of Booneville on July 1, where he was attacked by a force of Confederates at least 4,500 strong, he converted his defense into an offensive movement by detaching a part of his force to take his foe in the rear and flank, and the surprised enemy, utterly routed, fled from the field. For this he received his star and commission as brigadier-general of volunteers, dating July 1; on Oct. 1 he found himself in command of the 11th division of the army, and on the 8th of that month he took part in the sanguinary battle of Perryville, holding the key-point of the position and defending it successfully against several attacks of the enemy. In the battle of Stone's river Sheridan sustained four separate attacks, and four times repulsed the enemy. On recommendation of Gen. W. S. Rosecrans, the U. S. commander in that engagement, he was now made major-general of volunteers, dating from the first day of the battle of Stone's river. He remained with the Army of the Cumberland in its march toward the Chickamauga creek, and in the battle of that name, Sept. 19-2O, 1863, he did his best to beat back the furious storm which so nearly destroyed the Federal army, and he never displayed more stubborn courage or military skill in a subordinate sphere than on that eventful day. The battle of Missionary ridge was fought two months later, and it was Sheridan who, with his division, carried the ridge under a hot enfilading fire from thirty pieces of Confederate artillery, and a tempest of musketry from well-filled rifle pits on its summit; worked his way up to the front till he reached the highest crest, and then went thundering down the ridge until within 500 yards of the headquarters of the Confederate commanding general, Bragg. Competent authority declares that in this battle he really did as much as in any other to earn what finally came to him, the generalship of the U. S. army. He took command of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac on April 4, 1864, and at once set about making it a fighting force, rather than a defensive picket-line for the infantry and artillery. In June he was sent to cut the Virginia Central railroad and unite with Gen. Hunter, who was then marching up the valley of Virginia, and it was expected that this movement would draw off the Confederate cavalry and leave the James river free to the unimpeded passage of Gen. Grant's army. It did so, Sheridan having on his route, however, to fight a smart battle at Trevilian Station, as he also did at Darbytown, Va., in the month of July. Soon thereafter Sheridan came to the leadership of the Army of the Shenandoah, by direct appointment of Gen. Grant, after personally visiting Sheridan, and without consulting the government at Washington. Sheridan attacked Early on Sept. 19, and after a severe struggle scattered the enemy in all directions, sending them "whirling through Winchester," Va., and on Sept. 22, after pursuing Early, struck him again in flank and rear at Fisher's hill where the Virginia valley is but three miles wide. While he was in Winchester on Oct. 19, his wily foe, Early, surprised the Federal forces in their camp at Cedar creek, and drove back large portions of them for six or seven miles in great disorder. This occasioned the famous ride celebrated in song and story, and what appeared like disastrous defeat was turned into a decided victory. Sheridan was at once made a major-general in the U. S. regular army, in President Lincoln's words, "For the personal gallantry, military skill, and just confidence in the courage and gallantry of your troops, displayed by you on Oct. 19, at Cedar run, whereby, under the blessing of Providence, your routed army was reorganized, a great national disaster averted, and a brilliant victory achieved over the rebels for the third time in pitched battle within thirty days." Gen. Sheridan's career from this time until the surrender of Lee is a part of the history of the final days of the war, and after the surrender he had charge of the Department of the Gulf, and later he was commander of the Department of Missouri. He was made U.S. lieutenant-general in 1869, when Gen. Grant was elected president, the western and southwestern military divisions of the United States were under his command in 1878, and when Gen. Sherman was retired in 1883, Sheridan became general-in-chief of the regular army, being the nineteenth officer who had attained that rank. Gen. Sheridan died at Nonquitt, Mass. Aug. 5, 1888.
Shipping Weight: 0.45 lb