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Philip Henry Sheridan, U.S.A.
General Philip Henry Sheridan, U.S.A.
General Philip Henry Sheridan was born in Albany, New York, in March,
1831. He graduated from the U. S. Military Academy in July, 1853. He was
appointed brevet second lieutenant of the Third Infantry. After serving in
Kentucky, Texas, and Oregon, he was made second lieutenant of the Fourth
Infantry November 22, 1854, first lieutenant March 1, 1861, and captain
Thirteenth Infantry May 14, 1861. In December of that year was chief
quartermaster and commissary of Army of Southwest Missouri; served in
Mississippi campaign from April to September, 1862; was appointed colonel
of the Second Michigan Cavalry May 20, 1862; on July 1 was sent to make a
raid on Booneville, Mississippi. He did excellent service in pursuit of
the enemy from Corinth to Baldwin, and in many skirmishes during July and
at battle of Booneville. Appointed brigadier-general of volunteers, and on
October 1 was placed in command of the Eleventh Division of the Army of
the Ohio. He was distinguished for his services at Perryville on October
8, having driven back the enemy.
He marched with army to relief of Nashville, October and November. Was
placed in command of Army of Cumberland, and took part in the two days'
battle of Stone River, December 31, 1862, and January 3, 1863. Division
after division was driven back by Bragg's army until Sheridan was reached,
and the fate of the day seemed to be in his hands. He resisted vigorously,
then advanced, and drove the enemy back; held the overwhelming force in
check, and retired only at the point of the bayonet. This brilliant work
enabled General Rosecrans to form new lines in harmony with his
overpowered right. He was a tinted major-general of volunteers, to date
from December 31, 1862. Was with army crossing Cumberland Mountains and
Tennessee River, August and September 6, and in battle of Chickamauga,
September 19 and 20. At this battle he rendered valuable assistance to
General Thomas, when a gap occurred in the centre of his line through the
misconception of an order. Took part in the battles of Lookout Mountain
and Missionary Ridge. In this latter action he first attracted the
attention of General Grant, who saw that he might be one of his most
useful lieutenants in the future.
||He was transferred to Virginia by
Grant, and on April 4, 1864, placed in command of Cavalry Corps of
Army of Potomac, all the cavalry being consolidated to form that
command. He took part in the bloody battle of the Wilderness, May 5
and 6, 1864, being constantly engaged in raids against the enemy's
flanks and rear. His fight at Todd's Tavern was an important aid to
the movements of the army, and his capture of Spottsylvania Court
House added to his reputation for dash and daring. Was in battle of
Cold Harbor on May 31 and June 3. After cutting the Virginia Central
and Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroads, capturing five hundred
prisoners, he joined the Army of the Potomac for a short period, and
took part in their battles till the end of July. In August, 1864, he
was placed in command of the Army of the Shenandoah. On the 19th of
September Sheridan drove Early's army through Winchester and
captured five thousand prisoners and five guns. Early, on October
19, attacked Sheridan's army.
They gave way, and soon the whole army was in retreat. Sheridan had
been in Washington, and at this juncture had just returned to Winchester,
twenty miles from the field. Hearing the sound of the battle, he rode
rapidly and arrived on the field at ten o'clock. As he rode up, he
shouted, " Face the other way, boys; we are going back." A succession of
attacks was made, and Early's army was driven back as far as Mount
Jackson. The Confederates lost in the campaign sixteen thousand nine
hundred and fifty-two killed or wounded and thirteen thousand prisoners.
Between Feb. 27 and March 24, 1865, he conducted, with ten thousand
cavalry, a colossal raid from Winchester to Petersburg. His battle of Five
Forks was one of the most brilliant and decisive of the engagements of the
war, and compelled Lee's evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, leaving in
Sheridan's hands six thousand prisoners.
After the war Sheridan had command of several of the departments. In 1867
he conducted a winter campaign against the Indians. In 1870 he visited
Europe to witness the Franco-Prussian war. On the retirement of Sherman in
1883, he was made lieutenant-general. In May, 1888, while he was ill,
signed a bill commissioning him a full general, and on August 5, 1888, he
died. Sheridan never was defeated, and often plucked victory out of the
jaws of defeat. He bore the nickname of "Little Phil;" he was below middle
height and powerfully built.
Source: Officers of the Volunteer Army and Navy who
served in the Civil War, published by L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1893, 419
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