Gen. Philip Henry Sheridan

Mathew Brady Studio
Albumen silver print, 1862
National Portrait Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, DC

At the beginning of the war, Philip Sheridan served in Missouri as a quartermaster, a post he disliked. But with his appointment as colonel of the Second Michigan Cavalry in May 1862, Sheridan began a series of important victories that proved his daring in battle, leading Lincoln to observe, "This Sheridan is a little Irishman, but he is a big fighter." In the summer of 1864, Sheridan oversaw the ruthless destruction of the Shenandoah Valley, eliminating the Confederate army's major source of food and supplies. That fall, General Sheridan rode more than twenty miles to rally his troops to victory after a surprise enemy attack, a courageous feat that became the subject of many patriotic prints and paintings. Brady photographed Sheridan in 1864, around the time he assumed command of the cavalry for the Army of the Potomac.

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