Philip Sheridan

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Philip Sheridan
Philip Sheridan
Philip Sheridan
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Biography at Wikipedia

Philip Henry Sheridan (March 6, 1831August 5, 1888) was a career United States Army officer and a Union general in the American Civil War.


  • "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead."[1]
    • In response to Comanche Chief Tosawi stating "Me, Tosawi; me good Injun". Although Sheridan disputed having replied this, but biographer Roy Morris Jr. claims that popular history simply assumed that he did state it.
  • "If I owned Texas and Hell, I would rent Texas and live in Hell..."[2]
    • Many newspapers stated that he had said this, and later on in his life he repeated it in variations.

Quotes about Sheridan[edit]

  • Probably no living soldier was ever more terrible in battle than Sheridan. With the first smell of gunpowder he became a blazing meteor, a pillar of fire to guide his own hosts. The rather small short, heavily built man rose to surpassing stature in his stirrups, to the sublimity of heroism in action; and infused a like spirit in his troops. I think it no exaggeration to say that America never produced his equal, for inspiring an army with courage and leading them into battle. Absolutely fearless imself, with unwavering faith in his cause and his plans, he always raised the courage and faith of others, to the level of his own; passed from rank to rank in action, flaming, fiery, omnipresent, and well-nigh omnipotent.
    • Sylvanus Cadwallader, as quoted by William E. Thompson in Bad Friday (2011), p. 162
  • General Phil Sheridan... had urged the destruction of the bison herds, correctly predicting that when they disappeared the Indians would disappear along with them; by 1885 the bison were virtually extinct, and the Indians were starving to death on the plains.
  • General Grant tended to pick men in his own mold to lead his armies in the field. Phil Sheridan fit his style, as did William Tecumseh Sherman, whose Army of the Cumberland cut a swath into Georgia that resulted in the capture of Atlanta on September 2. This news hit Washington just three weeks after Admiral Farragut had captured Mobile Bay in Alabama and, coupled with Sheridan's victory in Virginia, virtually assured Lincoln's reelection. The next six months would see an endless string of Union victories that all but destroyed the Confederacy. The fall of such Southern strongholds as Nashville, Savannah, Wilmington, Columbia, Petersburg, and Richmond insured a final Union victory that was to come at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia on April 9, 1865.
    • Donald T. Philips, Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times (1978), revised 2009 edition, p. 134-135
  • One other exciting- and totally unpredictable- face and force had been added to Grant's arsenal on March 25 when General Philip Sheridan arrived on the Petersburg front with his Army of the Shenandoah, which was primarily a cavalry command. Sheridan was definitely a mercurial personality and often an insubordinate officer, yet it is no accident that Lee's surrender occurred just fourteen days after Sheridan joined Grant at Clay Point, Virginia, absolutely determined to be "in on the kill."
    • William E. Thompson, Bad Friday, April 7, 1865: The Day the Yankees Came to Prince Edward Court House and Hampden-Sydney, Virginia (2011), revised 2014 printing, p. 17-18
  • In fact during this retreat week- and unbeknownst to the gullible inhabitants of Southside Virginia- some of these advance "Confederate-appearing" cavalrymen were definitely not who they seemed to be. Acting on his own without official authorization from his superiors, Major General Phil Sheridan had recruited several specialized groups of spying cavalrymen (whom he designated as "Jesse scouts") who were the proverbial "wolves in sheep's clothing," clad as Confederate horsemen who would question gullible Southern soldiers and civilians concerning "the best routes to take" and exactly where some food supplies might be available for the army. This was a dangerous scheme that Sheridan was employing because under the so-called "rules of war" which both sides had endorsed, presenting oneself in the uniform of the enemy and posing as a member of "the other side" was punishable by an immediate execution, without the slightest pretending of a military court martial or public hearing.
    • William E. Thompson, Bad Friday (2011), p. 33-34
  • Certainly the most (inf)famous person who came along this way was Major General Philip Henry Sheridan, a squat-little thirty-four-year old, foul-mouthed Ohioan. He was supposed to have graduated from West Point in 1852, but he had been suspended for gross misconduct during his senior year and therefore did not graduate until 1853, when he ranked in the bottom third of his class, Sheridan began his Civil War service in the western army, where his rise had been meteoric. It has been suggested that war seemed to have been a tonic for Philip Sheridan. Simply put, with regards to military results Sheridan just got better and better the longer the war continued. His earliest achievement of note had occurred as a dramatic divisional leader of infantry at Chattanooga in November of 1863.
    • William E. Thompson, Bad Friday (2011), p. 160
  • During the century and a half since the Civil War, however, many historians have offered more measured opinions about General Sheridan, both as a human being and as a military leader. A far more critical appraisal of him as emerged in recent literature. Be that as it may, there can be little doubt that at the end of the American Civil War, three men- Sheridan and Sherman and Grant- stood together in the universal praise of the Northern press, the army veterans, and a grateful civilian population.
    • William E. Thompson, Bad Friday (2011), p. 161

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