While on his meteoric rise in the Union army, Philip H. Sheridan earned the enmity of many Virginians for laying waste to the Shenandoah Valley. His date and place of birth is uncertain, but he himself claimed to have been born in New York in 1831. Although he was destined to come out of the Civil War with the third greatest reputation among the victors, his military career did not begin auspiciously. It took him five years to graduate from West Point (1853) because of an altercation with fellow cadet and future Union General, William R. Terrill.
After serving in a staff position during the early part of the war he was recommended for the command of a cavalry regiment by Gordon Granger. Within days of taking command he was in charge of the brigade with which he earned his first star at Booneville in northern Mississippi. He fought well at Perryville and Murfreesboro and was given a second star in the volunteers.
When Grant went to the East, he placed Sheridan in command of the Army of the Potomacs mounted arm. Following Earlys threat to Washington, Grant tapped Sheridan to command a new military division, comprised of three departments, and charged him with clearing out the Shenandoah Valley. For this campaign he was named brigadier and major general in the regular army and received the Thanks of Congress.
The next March he destroyed Earlys remaining forces at Waynesboro and then went on a raid, threatening Lynchburg. Rejoining Grant, he smashed through the Confederate lines at Five Forks, necessitating the evacuation of both Petersburg and Richmond. It was his cavalry command, backed by infantry, which finally blocked Lees escape at Appomattox.
This is a digital reprint of the two Volume C.L. Webster Shoulder Board editions As Published in 1888. This is Volume 1 (ISBN 1582181853) of 2 (ISBN 1582181861).