Terrible Swift Sword: The Life of General Phillip H. Sheridan
Alongside Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan is the least known of the triumvirate of generals most responsible for winning the Civil War. Yet, before Sherman’s famous march through Georgia, it was General Sheridan who introduced scorched-earth warfare to the South, and it was his Cavalry Corps that compelled Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. Sheridan’s innovative cavalry tactics and “total war” strategy became staples of twentieth-century warfare.
After the war, Sheridan ruthlessly suppressed the raiding Plains Indians much as he had the Confederates, by killing warriors and burning villages, but he also defended reservation Indians from corrupt agents and contractors. Sheridan, an enthusiastic hunter and conservationist, later ordered the US cavalry to occupy and operate Yellowstone National Park to safeguard it from commercial exploitation.
astonished,” wrote Wright, the commander of VI Corps. The valorous display ended when the gallant marines and cannoneers were smashed to pieces by Yankee musket and artillery fire.25 Custer’s and Devin’s cavalry divisions squeezed Anderson’s beleaguered corps front and rear, while Crook battered its midsection. Some of the most intensive fighting of the war took place here. “The enemy fought with desperation to escape capture, and we, bent on his destruction, were no less eager and determined,”
Sheridan, 21–22. 43 Wittenberg, Glory Enough for All, 265–270; Sheridan, Personal Memoirs, 1:432–436. 44 Starr, The Union Cavalry, 2:179–207; Sheridan, Personal Memoirs, 1:439–442. 45 Sheridan, Personal Memoirs, 1:445, 454–455; Davies, General Sheridan, 130–132; Wittenberg, Glory Enough for All, 314; McFeely, Grant, 175; Foote, The Civil War, 3:310; Grant, Personal Memoirs, 411. 6. THE SHENANDOAH VALLEY 1 O.R., V. 37, Part II, 558. 2 Scott C. Patchan, Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley
Southern civilians filled Early with cold rage. “I now came to the conclusion that we had stood this mode of warfare long enough, and that it was time to open the eyes of the people of the North to its enormity, by an example in the way of retaliation,” he wrote. His chosen target was Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. On July 30, two Rebel cavalry brigades rode into Chambersburg and demanded $100,000 in gold and $500,000 in currency as compensation for the destruction of Southern homes. It was a
Vancouver dock, Second Lieutenant Phil Sheridan and his forty dragoons, with a small iron naval cannon in tow, were poised to board the steamer Belle and sail up the Columbia River to rescue white settlers barricaded in the Middle Cascades blockhouse. Hundreds of US Army regulars were urgently collecting food, weapons, and clothing, as steamers stood ready to take them upriver. It was reminiscent of Fort Vancouver’s heyday, back when it was an important Hudson’s Bay Company trading center for the
wrote. The “Gray Ghost” and his men were famously able to seemingly materialize and vanish at will, baffling pursuit and all attempts to entrap them. Nor had the scorched-earth raid caused the farmers and townspeople whose property was destroyed to repent their support of Mosby’s men and turn against them. Still, Merritt’s riders had so denuded Loudoun County of food and forage that Mosby was compelled to quit it. With Robert E. Lee’s permission, he divided his command, sending half of his men