Philip H. Sheridan

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Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) - born 6 Mar 1831 in Albany, New York (or Boston, Massachusetts), to John and Mary Sheridan, immigrants from County Cavan, Ireland. He grew up in Somerset, Ohio. He died 1 Jun 1888, in Nonquitt, Massachusetts. Sheridan was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Philip Sheridan

Sheridan obtained an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1848 from Congressman Thomas Ritchie. In his third year at the Point, he was suspended for a year for fighting with a fellow cadet, William Terrill. Sheridan graduated 34th of 52 in the Class of 1853. His first assignment as a 2nd Lt. was to the 1st U.S. Infantry at Fort Duncan (1), Texas. He was transferred to the 4th U.S. Infantry in the Pacific Northwest in 1855. He was promoted to 1st Lt. and assigned to Fort Yamhill at the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation in Yamhill County, Oregon in Apr 1856.

The U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

Sheridan was promoted to Captain soon after the U.S. Civil War began and was sent to St. Louis for duty with the Union Armies of the West in September of 1861. Sheridan was initially assigned to supply under Gen. Henry W. Halleck but was reassigned to Gen. Curtis who was preparing to drive the Confederates out of southern Missouri. Gen. Gordon Granger requested Sheridan be given command of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry vacated by Granger's promotion. Sheridan went from Capt. to Colonel on 25 May 1862.

Two months later at Booneville, Mississippi Sheridan was able to rout a much larger force and as a result he was commissioned Brig. General at 31 years old. Sheridan was ordered to the town of Rienzi, Mississippi, a friend, gave Sheridan a horse which he named Rienzi, and which later carried him to fame at the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia.

Under Gen. Rosecrans at Murfreesboro on Stones River south of Nashville Tennessee he played an important part in holding back the Confederates under Gen. Bragg and for that action he was promoted to Major General in April, 1863. He served with Generals Grant and Sherman during the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Lookout Mountain. Sheridan's division swept to the top of Missionary Ridge and pursued the enemy capturing much equipment and many prisoners.

In 1864 Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was appointed General-in-Chief of the Union Armies and Sheridan was appointed Chief of Cavalry, Army of the Potomac. Sheridan laid waste to the Shenandoah Valley to deny the south food and other sustenance, Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was killed and the Confederates were driven out of the valley. At the end of the war Sheridan forced Gen. Lee out of Petersburg, Virginia. and cut off his retreat from Appomattox Court House. Lee surrendered at Appomattox on 9 Apr 1865 and Sheridan was there to witness the surrender.

Post War (1865-1888)

At the end of the war Sheridan was sent to Texas to maintain peace with Mexico. Napoleon III had installed Maximilian and Carlota to the throne of Mexico. Sheridan was able to install peace and force France to withdraw their claims. After serving sometime in New Orleans, La. as head of Reconstruction he was relieved after much controversy and was ordered to take command of the Department of the Missouri in Sept. 1867. Here he was ordered to subdue the Indians and place them on reservations. Several treaties were drawn up, few of which were kept due to the white man's encroachment on the Indian reservations.

In 1869, after Grant became president and General Sherman became General of the Army, Sheridan was appointed lieutenant general with headquarters in Chicago. In this capacity he traveled throughout the west and from this knowledge was later instrumental in having Yellowstone declared a national park. He presided over the Great Chicago Fire of October 7-8, 1871. He brought troops into the city to stop looters and directed fire fighting and reconstruction.

On 3 Jun 1875, Sheridan married Miss Irene Rucker, the youngest daughter of Gen. Daniel H. Rucker. She was 22 years younger than Phil. The couple had four children --- Mary, Irene and Louise (twins), and Philip Henry Jr. None of the girls married. Philip Jr. married and had a son, Philip II. In 1883 Gen. Sherman reached retirement age. Lieutenant General Sheridan assumed the nation's highest military office at the comparative youthful age of fifty-two. In 1887 he had built a summer cottage in Nonquitt, Mass. overlooking Martha's Vineyard. The next year he suffered a series of heart attacks. Congress revived the grade of full General and he was given his fourth star by President Grover Cleveland. He was the fourth man in U.S. history to be so honored. (Washington, Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan) At 10:30 p.m., Sunday, 5 Aug 1888, Philip Henry Sheridan passed away at Nonquitt, Mass. He lay in state at St. Matthew's Church in Washington, D. C., and was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery August 11th.

Father: John Sheridan (1800-1875) born 1800 Killinkere, Caven, Ireland. Died 1875, Somerset, OH

Mother: Mary Minah (1800-) born 1800 Killinkere, Caven, Ireland. Died Somerset, OH


  • Harriet Lindsay (1839-1933) (Common law 1856-1861)
  • Irene Rucker (1853-1939) Born 1853, NM. Died 1939, Washington, D.C. Married 3 Jun 1875


  • Mary Sheridan (1876-1959) born 1876, Chicago, IL
  • Irene Sheridan (1877-1964) born 7 May 1877, Chicago, IL
  • Louise Sheridan (1877-1969) born 7 May 1877, Chicago, IL. Died Nov 1969, Washington, D.C.
  • Philip Henry Jr. (1880-1918) born 28 Jul 1880, Chicago, IL. Died 17 Feb 1918, Washington, D.C.


  • 1848-1853 Cadet, United States Military Academy (West Point) Suspended 1 year for fighting. Graduated 34th of 52.
  • 1853-1854 Bvt. 2nd Lt. (1 Jul 1853), 1st U.S. Infantry, Temporary duty, Newport Barracks (Sep 1853-Mar 1854)
  • 1854-1855 2nd Lt. (Nov 1854), 1st U.S. Infantry, Fort Duncan (Mar 1854-Apr 1855), Texas
  • 1855-1855 2nd Lt., 4th U.S. Infantry, Bedloe's Island (May 1855-Jul 1855), New York
  • 1855-1856 2nd Lt., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Fort Reading (Jul 1855-Oct 1855), California
  • 1856-1856 2nd Lt., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Fort Vancouver (Oct 1855-Apr 1856), Washington
  • 1856-1856 2nd Lt., 1st U.S. Dragoons, Fort Yamhill (15 Apr 1856-Jul 1856), Oregon
  • 1856-1857 2nd Lt., 4th U.S. Infantry, Fort Hoskins (Jul 1856-Apr 1857), Oregon
  • 1857-1861 2nd Lt., 4th U.S. Infantry, Fort Yamhill (Apr 1857-1 Sep 1861), Oregon
  • 1861-1862 Capt. (14 May 1861), 13th U.S. Infantry, chief quartermaster and chief commissary of Subsistence, Army of Southwest Missouri, Department of the Missouri (25 Dec 1861-May 1862)
  • 1862-1862 Col. (25 May 1862), 2nd Michigan Cavalry Promoted from Capt. to Col. overnight
  • 1862-1863 Brig. Gen. (1 Jul 1862)
  • 1863-1864 Maj. Gen. (31 Dec 1862)
  • 1864-1865 Maj. Gen., Chief of Cavalry
  • 1865-1866 Maj. Gen., Texas observe the war between Mexico and France
  • 1866-1867 Maj. Gen., 5th Military District (Louisiana and Texas), New Orleans, Louisiana, Reconstruction.
  • 1867-1869 Maj. Gen., Military Department of Missouri sent to end the Indian wars.
  • 1869-1869 Maj. Gen., established Fort Sill, Oklahoma
  • 1869-1883 Lt. Gen., Headquartered in Chicago
  • 1883-1888 Commander-in-Chief of the Army
  • 1888-1888 General of the Army

Personal Description:

  • Height: 5' 5"
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  • The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Union and Confederate Armies, Government Printing Office.
  • Sheridan, Philip Henry, Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan


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