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1. Fragment of Autograph Letter Signed
2. Little Phil: The Story of General
3. Sheridan in the Shenandoah (Stackpole)
4. With Sheridan in the Final Campaign
5. Travel Accounts of General William
6. Banners at Shenandoah: A Story
7. Crisis Of Command In The Army
8. Indian Fighting in the Fifties
9. Philip Sheridan: Union General
10. Sheridan: The Life and Wars of
11. Personal Memoirs Of P. H. Sheridan
12. Sheridan's Ride
13. Phil Sheridan and His Army
14. Sheridan's Lieutenants: Phil Sheridan,
15. The Burning : Sheridan's Devastation
16. Glory Enough for All: Sheridan's
17. Little Phil: A Reassessment of
18. Banners at Shenandoah
19. Battle Cry
20. Battle of Cedar Creek: Showdown

1. Fragment of Autograph Letter Signed
by Philip Henry (1831-1888) Sheridan
 Unbound: Pages (1875-01-01)

Asin: B000I766WG
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2. Little Phil: The Story of General Philip Henry Sheridan
by William F. Drake
Paperback: 658 Pages (2005-01-26)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1929882378
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This is the story of a professional military officer.

In "Little Phil" the author shows not only the history, but also the little things in the life of General Philip Henry Sheridan that have been ignored by other writings.How exciting it is to run across rare little tidbits, such as reading an old newspaper only to find out that the General was so appreciated that a great university awarded him an honorary degree – or that he was Grand Marshall of the parade following the dedication of the Washington Monument.

Those expecting to read an exhaustive study of the movements of armies as they battled each other during the Civil War in this country will have to read elsewhere.The author makes no pretense of presenting a scholarly recitation of the historic military maneuvers and tactics that surrounded the man's career.His purpose is to present the story of the man, using his own words and the words of his contemporaries so that we might see what he saw, hear what he heard, and feel what he felt. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sheridan/author
Little Phil: The Story of General Philip Henry Sheridan

Superior book, well written, interest and vital resource of knowledge.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unique viewpoint & well written!
This book is a "must read" for anyone interested in biographies and/or the Civil War. The author's unique viewpoint and comforatable writing style make this a pleasure to read! His fresh perspective on a well-covered topic has the reader enthralled. Here you begin to see and understand Sheridan not only as a Civil War General but also as a father, husband, and brother. Because of the author's close association with the family, he relates personal details never before told. A fascinating story and a must read book!! ... Read more

3. Sheridan in the Shenandoah (Stackpole)
by Edward J. Stackpole
Paperback: 448 Pages (1992-02)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$3.98
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Asin: 0811730611
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Analyzes the events of the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 and Sheridan's crucial role. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Solid work--but dated
This is a solid piece of work, and--in its time--was one of the better resources on the Shenandoah campaign of 1864, pitting Jubal Early and Phil Sheridan against one another, at the head of their respective forces. However, its age shows at some point.

The book begins by noting the strategic problems facing Robert E. Lee in the summer of 1864.Ulysses Grant was moving his large Army of the Potomac by a series of moves further south, closer to Richmond. His troops were taking large losses--but the Army of Northern Virginia was getting bled down as well.

For a variety of reasons, Lee sent his Second Corps under Early (Lee's "bad old man") to the Shenandoah Valley. Among his tasks--demonstrate Washington DC, help the breadbasket of the Confederacy (the Valley) to produce food, and so on.

The book chronicles nicely the early and very successful stage of Early's efforts. With the arrival of Phil Sheridan, lots of Sheridan's cavalry, and abundant ground troops, the tide began to turn.The books describes the battles and the final expulsion of Early from the Valley.

All in all, a solid book. But as an epilogue by Scott Hartwig points out, Stackpole probably took some commentators too seriously; he did not have access to more recent information.In short, this would get more points for its role as an early, detailed work on the campaign; however, it has become dated over time.Hence, 3 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great book
Thgis is a great war book.Its an easy read.Well worth your money.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A fine account of a most interesting and crucial series of Civil War battles. Stackpole treats everyone very fairly. Broad in its scope, audacious in its execution this book analyzes the Confederacy's third and final invasion of the North. A very excellent work that is well worth the time. ... Read more

4. With Sheridan in the Final Campaign Against Lee
by Frederick C. Newhall, Eric J. Wittenberg
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2002-07)
list price: US$38.95 -- used & new: US$29.60
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Asin: 0807127566
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After enlisting in the elite Sixth Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment of the Army of the Potomac, Frederick Newhall (1840-1898) quickly rose to company commander and eventually to provost marshal and assistant adjutant general at Cavalry Corps headquarters.There, riding alongside Major General Philip H. Sheridan- the dynamic, inspirational bantam who led the Union cavalry to glory in 1864 and 1865-Newhall witnessed the inner workings of Union cavalry operations and many of the important events that spurred the end of the Civil War.A highly intelligent observer, he published the details of his experiences in 1866, before time could dull his memory.This new edition of Newhall's memoir, carefully edited by Eric J. Wittenberg, makes his revealing eyewitness account widely available once again.

Newhall had both Sheridan's ear and confidence during the campaign from Petersburg to Appomattox in April 1865.He was sent by the general to convey information directly to Ulysses S. Grant and George Meade, and he was present with Sheridan during Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House.Loyal to the last, Newhall vigorously defended Sheridan's controversial relief of Major General G.K. Warren from command of the Fifth Corps after the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865.

Wittenberg has carefully transcribed and annotated Newhall's original text, adding maps, photographs, a preface, a biographical sketch of Newhall, an order of battle, and a selected bibliography.He also includes the text of a pamphlet that Warren printed defending himself and criticizing Sheridan, and Newhall's response to it.

An enlightening insider's view of Union leadership during the Civil War's denouement, Wittenberg's excellent edition of Newhall's lively and descriptive commentary rescues an important and informative perspective from the vault of history. ... Read more

5. Travel Accounts of General William T. Sherman to Spokan Falls, Washington Territory, in the Summers of 1877 and 1883
by William T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan
 Hardcover: 230 Pages (1984-06)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$68.97
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Asin: 0877703299
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6. Banners at Shenandoah: A Story of Sheridan's Fighting Cavalry
by Bruce Catton
 Hardcover: 254 Pages (1976-06-15)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$26.95
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Asin: 0892440198
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Enlisting in the Union Army, a seventeen-year-old from Michigan ends up in the cavalry under "Fighting Phil" Sheridan headed for Virginia. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Teens
I first read this book as a teenager and went on to reread it throughout my teen/college years until my paperback copy disintegrated.It combines great history with horses, good writing and a nice coming of age story.I am buying it this Christmas for my son.

3-0 out of 5 stars Banners at Shenandoah
I was disappointed in this. I would have thought the great narrative historian could have produced more vivid and engaging historical fiction.

Banners at Shenandoah is very much young adult or even for younger audiences; it's the story of a young man who becomes Sheridan's guidon bearer. One thing I did like is that the account is not romanticized. Northern depredations in the Shenandoah, scouting in Southern uniform, etc. are described--though strangely separated from the idol-worshipping view of Sheridan himself.

But I found the account vague, bloodless both literally and metaphorically, lacking in description and tension. The Rebels, in particular, are faceless--you'd hardly know they wore gray.

Not something I'd recommend seeking out. There is better Civil War young adult fiction out there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical fiction for teen readers.
I read "Banners at Shenandoah" when I was 14, and have been hooked on the U.S. Civil War ever since.Considered one of the foremost Civil War historians, Bruce Catton has produced an excellent work offiction that combines hundreds of small, authentic details into the highlypersonal story of a young soldier who serves under the legendary Uniongeneral, Phil Sheridan.While a work of fiction, Catton obviously wrotethis book with a historian's eye for accuracy and truth. Highlyrecommended. ... Read more

7. Crisis Of Command In The Army Of The Potomac: Sheridan's Search for an Effective General
by Jay W. Simson
Paperback: 245 Pages (2008-08-14)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$39.95
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Asin: 0786436530
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
With the ascendancy of Ulysses S. Grant in late 1863, the command tone of the United States Army underwent a dramatic change. While Grant's predecessor George McClellan had been overly cautious about committing troops and resources to fight the South, Grant held the philosophy that a war fought for total ends required total means.

Philip Sheridan set about reorganizing the army to reflect Grant's new style. During the last six months of the war, he relieved three generals of their commands because of their inability to follow his orders precisely. William Averell, Alfred Torbert and Gouverneur Warren found themselves and their careers casualties of Sheridan's intense determination to bring an end to the hostilities.

Only Ranald S. Mackenzie managed to survive Sheridan's search for effective leaders, proving himself the ideal subordinate. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Little Phil Was Hard to Work For
Jay W. Simson's "Crisis in Command" is built around the formidable 'Little Phil' Sheridan, Grant's commander of the Middle Division.Sheridan is a fascinating, and in the hands of Mr. Simson, an irritable figure -- "a true fighting man, who did not entrench."

In Grant's eyes this made him immensely successful.Sheridan is by no means an easy character:He is portrayed as possessing a ferocious temper, and Mr. Simson notes numerous instances of cruelty towards his subordinates.

Hardly an imposing figure, Abe Lincoln comically described the abrupt 5'-5" Sheridan as "a brown, chunky little chap, with a long body, short legs, not enough neck to hang him, and such long arms that if his ankles itch he can scratch them without them stooping."

When Mr. Simson makes the statement that "if an officer or a soldier failed to perform his duty, or even failed to display Sheridan's zeal for combat, the general's wrath was formidable" -- he has the evidence to back it up.

"Crisis of Command" is a thin book, yet it is certainly well researched.Its best passages are enlightening and provide important corrections to the rose-tinted views of the civil war.

Mr. Simson's passionate and eloquent "Crisis of Command" in the Army of the Potomac," begins by analyzing the political, military and psychological factors that influenced the Union high command.

"Crisis of Command" at its most basic level is an examination of the two very different and contrasting styles of command that were represented in the Union's Army of the Potomac during the American Civil War -- McClellan's and Grant's.

Then there is the rest of the subtitle: "Sheridan's Search for an Effective General."As commander, Sheridan was an impatient man for his time; he relieved three Union generals in the last six months of the war.

Mr. Simson wants to know why valuable men like Gouverneur Kemble Warren, the hero of Gettysburg, who served admirably until the Battle of Five Forks, was so ruthlessly sacked by Sheridan.

There is something bold and refreshing about "Crisis of Command," the author works the nooks and crannies of history in search of a new angle or revisionist take, Mr. Simson goes for the undeniably great, unknown story.

Clearly, he brings us a real sense of just who Sheridan's victims were.He reports on Custer too.Concerning Averell, offended by Sheridan's overt rejection, Mr. Simson allows that, "if he had not fallen afoul of Grant and Sheridan, Averell might have completed the war, and could have been noted as an average commander."Unquestionably, Mr. Simson is sympathetic to the core.

He gives us a rare close-up of the young Ranald Slidell Mackenzie -- first in his West Point Class -- who suffered the first of his six civil war wounds at the Second Battle of Bull Run.To his credit, General Ulysses S. Grant named him "most promising young officer in the army."

Finally, Simson gets to the nitty-gritty of Alfred Thomas Archmedes Torbert, who he admits, "with little or no supervision; he was prone to failure."We are amused by the astonishing report on his 'excruciatingly painful' tail bone abscess.

Those who don't know these stories will find "Crisis of Command" lively reading, loaded as it is with the necessary anecdotes of authoritarian excess.

Why were these functioning men discarded one by one?Mr. Simson sees them as civil war examples of the Peter Principle.Perhaps they had advanced beyond their level of effectiveness.

Many of their stories told by Mr. Simson are not familiar:William Woods Averell's surprising effective Union cavalry stand at Kelly's Ford -- Alfred Thomas Archimedes Torbert's abortive raid on Gordonville -- and Ranald Slidell Mackenzie's dramatic ride to General Meade, saving Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg.These chapters make Western Ohio Civil War Roundtable member Jay W. Simson's book an entertaining read.

Mr. Simson treats the failures of his subject officers as largely the product of personalities.

The author also produces fine pencil portraits of Sheridan himself: an 'economic Irish refugee' with a huge chip on his shoulders," Grant: "a common man without any social graces," Meade: "a typical Northern gentleman," who made enemies of the press; and McClellan: a overly cautious commander who was unable to take a moderate risk in battle.

Describing the clashes and rivalries among the generals, Mr. Simson captures some very human moments.When Warren was given the official order relieving him of his command, Warren approached Sheridan and asked him to reconsider the order.Sheridan's response was "Reconsider.Hell!I don't reconsider my decisions.Obey the order!"

As Mr. Simson argues in this excellent study, one hero emerges from "Crisis of Command in the Army of the Potomac" -- no surprise to the readers -- it is Phil Sheridan.Mr. Simson acknowledges Sheridan had two winning traits, "Sheridan's genius lay in his ability to pick up the pieces in the middle of the battle and improvise his way to victory.Second, he was ruthless enough to drive for total victory."

"Crisis of Command in the Army of the Potomac" contains six portraits and six maps from the Library of Congress. I couldn't give the full five star rating to this cheap-looking 239 page paperback -- for its exorbitant price of $39, its a second-rate manufacturing effort.
... Read more

8. Indian Fighting in the Fifties in Oregon and Washington Territories (Excerpts from Sheridan's Personal Memoirs)
by P. H. Sheridan
 Paperback: 92 Pages (1988-01)
list price: US$9.95
Isbn: 0877704384
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9. Philip Sheridan: Union General (Famous Figures of the Civil War Era)
by Dynise Balcavage
 Library Binding: 80 Pages (2001-12)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$0.59
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Asin: 0791064069
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10. Sheridan: The Life and Wars of General Phil Sheridan
by Roy Morris
Paperback: 480 Pages (1993-07-27)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$19.00
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Asin: 0679743987
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Whether recreating the bloody chaos of Stones River and Chickamauga, the Byzantine politics of Reconstruction Louisiana, or the massacre of Little Bighorn, this outstanding biography restores Sheridan to his place in American military history and makes the momentous age he lived in come alive. Photos. Maps. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Serviceable biography of Phil Sheridan
A serviceable biography of General Phil Sheridan, the short, profane, and very aggressive Union general. This book traces his career, from his youth to his checkered career at West Point to his service in the Army.

In the Civil War, his first command was as an infantry officer. He served well in that capacity, at Murfreesboro, for example. When Grant went east, he requested that Sheridan take command of the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac. And, here, Sheridan sparkled. When the Army of Northern Virginia dispatched Jubal Early to the Shenandoah to raise havoc, Sheridan was sent to commandUnion forces in the Valley. Here, of course, he gained fame with his famous ride to the battlefield at Cedar Creek. Later, back with the cavalry outside Petersburg, he sealed the fate of the Confederate army with his defeat of Pickett's forces at Five Forks.

After the war was over, Sheridan moved west, to lead the military against the Indian nations. The book covers his activities on this front, including his relationship with George Armstrong Custer.

In the final analysis, this is a nicely rendered biography of Phil Sheridan.

4-0 out of 5 stars Immediate!
Philip Sheridan's life was a whirlwind. He came to Sam Grant's attention in northern Mississippi, early in the Civil War, long before Grant took Vicksburg, and came back into Grant's life during the Union assault on Missionary Ridge during the Chattanooga campaign. After Sheridan's exemplary performance at Chattanooga, Grant became his mentor understanding that in Sheridan he had a battering ram whose temperament fitted his own as far as waging war was concerned. Along with Sherman, these men favored total, unrelenting war to subjugate the Confederacy.

Transferring east to the Army of the Potomac, Grant places Sheridan in charge of the Federal cavalry at a time when this arm of the Army was coming into its own. Sheridan moulds it into a most efficient weapon of war and with Grant's help is able to delink it from George Meade. Available at last as an integrated mounted unit, the Union cavalry under Sheridan finally functions as effectively as its Confederate counterpart. Better mounted, armed and supplied, Sheridan defeats Jeb Stuart in detail and kills him at Yellow Tavern. Covering Grant's crossing of the James, Sheridan performs so well, Lee completely loses track of Grant during this operation.

When Lee dispatches Jubal Early for his famed raid on Washington, Grant does the same with Sheridan with orders to hunt Early down and destroy him while at the same time, completely destroying the Shenandoah Valley, the bread basket of the Confederacy. Surprised at Cedar Creek, Sheridan rallies his troops and routes Early's army. He then completes the destruction of the valley, decimates the Virginia Central Railroad at Lynchburg and rejoins Grant at City Point. It is Sheridan who stretches Lee's lines to the breaking point by winning at Five Forks and it is Sheridan who decimates Lee again at Saylers Creek on his retreat to Appomattox. Getting ahead of Lee, it is again Sheridan who puts the cork in Lee's bottle, forcing the Confederate surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House. This man was beyond pugnacious. He was an unrelenting warrior.

After the War he is responsible for reconstruction in Louisiana and Texas and gun running into Mexico as the United States seeks the ejection of France from Mexico. He is a complete failure at the first and unsurprisingly, remarkably successful at the second. Transferring west he subjugates the Indians, first the Southern Plains, and 10 years later, the Northern Plains, but periodically is moved in and out of New Orleans as reconstruction conditions there warrant. With President Hayes election in 1876, Federal occupation of the South ends and Sheridan's life begins to wind down. He is present at the Chicago Fire and performs well, maintaining peace at the request of local officials. He succeeds Grant and Sherman as head of the Army but heart trouble ultimately claims him.

He was a most remarkable, hard charging, type A personality. A thorough hater of people who crossed him, he was an equally steadfast friend of those who supported and befriended him. At the time of his death, besides homes in Washington DC and Chicago, his estate consisted of little more than $20,000. When you stop and realize his personal friends included people like Marshall Field, George Pullman and George Armour, for a leading figure of the Gilded Age his estate was eloquent testimony to his integrity. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, 100 yards from the entrance to Robert E. Lee's ancestral home. His wife Irene, 20+ years his junior and still a young woman at the time of his death, never remarried.

Talk about a fast paced, rapid read! Combining the life lived with the times within which it was lived, this is one of the better biographies I have had the pleasure to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Little Phil" Isn't Quite So Little Anymore
This book details the life and exploits of a true American hero.It also puts many of the battles fought during the Civil War into a proper military perspective and lets the reader see the war from the military's point of view.As a minor note, it also touches upon the lives, adventures, and sometimes the deaths, of some well known historical figures including Confederate Col. George S. Patton; George Armstrong Custer, J.E.B. Stuart; Buffalo Bill Cody, and future presidents William McKinley and Rutherford B. Hayes.And, interestingly enough, it goes a long way toward explaining what it took to become a general during the Civil War, why there were so many (over 1,700), why some failed, and why generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Most of what I knew about the Civil War before reading this book came indirectly through reading various biographies of Abraham Lincoln, and those, of course, tended to look at the war from the top down and from a political perspective.About all I knew about General Sheridan was that he was a Union cavalry commander who was rather diminutive in stature and who, following the war, commanded the U.S. troops controlling the Indian Territory.

I didn't know that, as a young lieutenant Sheridan served in Texas and campaigned against the Yakimas in the Oregon Territory; that with the outbreak of the Civil War he managed to wangle a transfer to Missouri where he served as quartermaster and chief commissary officer for the Army of the Southwest; that he eventually got himself transferred to the infantry where he distinguished himself in battle, earning a promotion and transfer to command a cavalry corps; that he proved himself to be such a dynamic, tenacious, and courageous leader that he was once described by a member of General Grant's staff as "the very incarnation of battle"; that General Grant, himself, described Sheridan as "having no superior as a general, either living or dead, and perhaps not an equal"; that Sheridan was instrumental in trapping Robert E. Lee's Army of Virginia, leading to Lee's surrender at Appomattox; that, following the war and during the early days of reconstruction, Sheridan commanded the Fifth Military District which encompassed both Louisiana and Texas; that he was later charged with administering one-million-square-miles of Indian Territory stretching from Canada to the Rio Grande and from Chicago to New Mexico; or that, shortly before his death, Congress revived the rank of four-star general so that he could be elevated to that rank, a rank which Generals Grant and Sherman had held before him.

I had always envisioned Phil Sheridan as leading glorious cavalry charges, mostly in small, behind the scenes, skirmishes.After reading this book, I'm not sure he ever did any such a thing.But he was obviously a brilliant tactician and a courageous leader of men who never left the field of battle and was seldom out-smarted or out-flanked by his enemy.If, as it would seem, he stands in the shadows of Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, it is only because they cast such large shadows, for, at least in my mind, "Little Phil" isn't quite so little anymore.This is a great book.I give it five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Little Phil

One wonders if "Little Phil" Sheridan might be the perfect example of someone afflicted with the "little man complex." Only 5'5" tall, he was combative and aggressive almost to a fault. He was almost booted out of West Point for attacking a fellow cadet with a bayonet and then his fists, and his severe Reconstruction methods in Texas and Louisiana got him transferred - twice. But he was a competent commander and inspired loyalty in his troops. Roy Morris's biography is a good one, especially regarding Sheridan's Civil War career.

After leaving West Point, the 22-year-old Sheridan served in the infantry on the Texas frontier. Working in administrative posts during the early months of the war, it wasn't until May 1962 that he got his first command in the Michigan Cavalry. He distinguished himself at Booneville, MS, and then at Perryville, KY, three months later. He also played prominent roles at Stones River, TN, Chickamauga, and at Yellow Tavern, VA, where his men killed Lee's "eyes of the Confederate Army" Jeb Stuart. His most celebrated engagement in the war came during the so-called Shenandoah Valley Campaign (Aug, '64-March '65), with important victories at Winchester and Waynesboro. He was instrumental in halting Lee's retreat westward at Appomattox Court House.

After the war he commanded forces of the Fifth Military District in Texas and Louisiana, but his harsh Reconstruction enforcement policies led to his being transferred to Missouri. He led a campaign against the Indians in Kansas in 1868-69 (it was during this time that the infamous quote about dead Indians being the only good ones was attributed to Sheridan, though he always denied it and Morris can offer no proof that he actually said it). After this campaign Sheridan spent two years observing the Franco-Prussian War first-hand. Upon his return he was in Chicago during the famous fire that consumed the city in 1871 and directed further campaigns against the Indians. In 1883 he replaced Sherman as commanding general of the army. He died in 1888 soon after completing his Memoirs.

Morris's biography is vigorous and honest and measures the man fully. Sheridan was a forceful commander, but he could also be cruel. His Valley Campaign turned into a scorched-earth expedition, and his actions against the Indians were relentless. Morris captures Sheridan in his glory but also reveals his dark side. The book is fair and just, and Morris writes well. Recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars A great story--a passable history
As a story, this book is one of the better written biographies I've read in a while.Morris's style is compelling, and his writing flows in such a way that it is difficult to lose interest in the narrative.As a biography, however, this book is mediocre.The work is well-documented, but the chief problem I see is that the greater part of Morris's quotes and ideas come from secondary sources,making this book, in some respects, a tertiary source.In searching the notes for the source of several quotes made, I was frustrated to find that the only reference given was to another biography of Sheridan.Morris tells the story beautifully, but there seems not to be much which is groundbreaking or revolutionary.

Another flaw in the book, which occupies a disproportionately large amount of space, is the excessive attention it pays to General Rosencrans in the Tennessee era of Sheridan's Civil War career.During this time, Sheridan seems to be left in the background, and the resultant feeling almost left me with the impression that I was reading a biography of Rosencrans rather than of Sheridan.It seems that Morris has an ax to grind, and that ax is to glorify Rosencrans to the fullest extent.He claims that there were three major achievements around the 4th of July 1863: Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Rosencrans's driving of the Rebels out of Tennessee. While it is true that he did indeed command the force opposing the Rebels, the sad truth is that Lincoln and Co. wanted this to happen nearly six months before it did.I have no problem with Morris's high opinion of Rosencrans (though I do not share it myself), but I don't think a biography of Sheridan is the place to extol the virtues of that man.

Overall, this is a good study of a great man.It is thoroughly well-written, and a joy to read.At times, it is even funny, and Morris's dry wit (such as recounting how General AS Johnston "carelessly" bled to death at Shiloh) keeps things entertaining while not straying into the inappropriate.Also a plus is the detail given to the many aspects of Sheridan's campaigns.Morris has a talent for painting the whole picture and not just the scant part Sheridan played in it.Again, this becomes excessive (to me, at least) only when praising Rosencrans. This book is certainly worth the time it takes to read it. ... Read more

11. Personal Memoirs Of P. H. Sheridan
by P. H. Sheridan
Paperback: 536 Pages (1992-08-22)
list price: US$21.00 -- used & new: US$5.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0306804875
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
General Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) was the most important Union cavalry commander of the Civil War, and ranks as one of America's greatest horse soldiers. From Corinth through Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge, he made himself a reputation for courage and efficiency; after his defeat of J.E.B. Stuart's rebel cavalry, Grant named him commander of the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley. There he laid waste to the entire region, and his victory over Jubal Early's troups in the Battle of Cedar Creek brought him worldwide renown and a promotion to major general in the regular army. It was Sheridan who cut off Lee's retreat at Appomattox, thus securing the surrender of the Confederate Army. Subsequent to the Civil War, Sheridan was active in the 1868 war with the Comanches and Cheyennes, where he won infamy with his statement that "the only good Indians I ever saw were dead". In 1888 he published his "Personal Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan", one of the best first-hand accounts of the Civil War and the Indian wars which followed. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Read For Civil War Buffs
This is an excellent account of Sheridan's part in the Civil War. It is well written and totally thorough,naming regiments, officers, accounts of each battle, etc. Top Drawer!!

4-0 out of 5 stars The life of a great Union general, in his own words
The two-volume memoirs of General Philip Sheridan have been condensed in this edition to one paperback volume, thus making more accessible.Let me state up front that I'm giving this product four stars because of the edition.There is an introduction by Jeffry Wert, and that appears to be the extent of the work done in preparation for this volume's release.There are numerous spelling and mechanical errors (I'm not sure if these were Sheridan's or just the result of careless editing), and they are frequent enough to get really annoying really fast.''m not talking about pre-standardized type spelling errors, or awkward, run-on nineteenth century sentences.No, these are just careless mistakes.

That having been said, this is a great volume of memoirs from one of the Civil War's most accomplished generals.I do not say great general, because whether or not he was great is still a topic of much controversy.There is no denying that Sheridan got things done, and that he won several important victories, but there is room for debate in the matter in which he accomplished things, and his treatment of subordinates in doing so.

Predictably, Sheridan paints a pretty rosy picture of himself in his memoirs.Still, to be fair to the man, he DID do an awful lot for the Union cause, and I don't think that his vainglory can be entirely chalked up to shameless self promotion.The fact is that he was a very key factor in several victories, and to take his part away from the narrative would be to distort the entire picture of what happened."Little Phil" was almost always present and often in the fray during his decisive engagements.On the other hand, I noticed him dressing-down his role in some conflicts, whereas contemporary accounts praise his part to no end.

The great thing about memoirs is that we hear things straight from the mouths of those who took part in them, and are able to judge for ourselves to what extent their testimony is reliable.For me, at least, I will always feel that Sheridan's memoirs hold a certain bias, but I will nevertheless continue to hold this volume of personal narrative as valuable.(Note: this volume covers only to the point of Sheridan returning from Europe.There's nothing on the little Bighorn or later military activities here).

5-0 out of 5 stars If You Can't Afford the Original 1888 2 Volume Set...
These are his own words set in one paperback novel. Gives you a perspective on the war from a leadership position.However, it doesn't have the maps and pictures that the original volumes sported.

Greatpersonal recollections of a man who lead the troops fearlessly in the war. ... Read more

12. Sheridan's Ride
by Thomas Buchanan Read
 Library Binding: 31 Pages (1993-05)
list price: US$13.93 -- used & new: US$4.99
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Asin: 0688108741
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A classic poem recounts the legend of General Philip Sheridan, a Union officer whose timely arrival at the battlefield at Cedar Creek in 1864 saved the day for the Union Army. ... Read more

13. Phil Sheridan and His Army
by Paul Andrew Hutton
Paperback: 479 Pages (1999-09)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$16.19
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Asin: 0806131888
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Philip H. Sheridan's reputation in the Civil War often overshadows his longer and more significant roles as the nation's chief Indian fighter and commander of the army. Phil Sheridan and His Army is the first comprehensive biography and study of that later career.
Formed by his experience in the Civil War and Reconstruction era, Sheridan came to see himself as the instrument of the United States' social and political destiny to open the West for white settlement and development. Paul Hutton analyzes Sheridan's relations with his subordinates, the institutional nature of his army, his campaigns, the logistics of them, and the special circumstances of defeating, pacifying, relocating, and negotiating with the Indians. At the same time, Gilded Age politics and laissez-faire capitalism shaped the grim future of the Indian—and of Sheridan's beleagured quasi-peacetime army.
This definitive, abundantly illustrated history also fills out other sides of General Sheridan, who commanded Chicago after its great fire, quelled its labor riots, launched Buffalo Bill Cody on his career, served as an observed in the Franco-Prussian War, played a key role in the 1876 election crisis, and championed a national park system free from commercial exploitation.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars Hmmmm
Phil Sheridan was a sociopath who wanted to murder the battered remnants of Lee's army just before the surrender. His bloodlust was later satisfied when he was turned loose on the American Indian. Pure genocide. I'm not sure we have ever produced uglier little man in our 400 years in this hemisphere.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great bio of "Little Phil"
No. 3 in the postwar Union Army pantheon after Grant and Sherman, Sheridan gets an in-depth review here.

The man who said, "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead ones" would become Commander in Chief of the Army during the height of the western Indian wars. Read this book for further insight about his attitude toward Indians, as well as earlier post-Civil War service as a Reconstruction department commander in New Orleans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Indian Wars Book
This book is detailed and well researched. It covers Sheridan's entire career and and is not boring or over detailed. If you like to read about Indian Wars on the Great Plains, this book will please your quest for good reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Well told story - beware of the March 10 review
I read this book several years ago and have nothing but fond memories.I recall it being informative and well-told, altogether an easy read.

As for the claim in another review that has Hutton making an erroneous statement that Sheridan never visited Custer Battlefield, just take a look at pages 328-329 and then eat your words.Also, the New Orleans riot was 1866 (July 30th based on the information I found on the Internet), so your inference here was also incorrect.

Anyway, I can unhesitatingly recommend this book.


I have been reading about the Civil War and Indian Fighting Generals for over half a century. There is absolutely nothing new here. Any bright High School kid could have written this book in a good library.

In addituion to this criticism, I find a combined error and omission that is typical of academic authors who try to write about everything and everybody. This author states that General Sheridan never got to the scene of the 1876 Indian War. On the contrary read Willert as to exactly where and when he did. Furthermore, related to this is the fact that Sheridan arrived belately because of the riots in New Orleans that took him there. Hutton missed this and its significance, which could have lent the added ingredient to his work that would have made it significant. Sheridan in the earlier Indian War on the Southern Plains cooped up the reservation Indians so they couldn't join the hostiles in the field. He would undoubtedly have done the same (in time - he did it belatedly at War Bonnet Creek) and prevented one of the key elements of Custer's disaster (i.e. too damned many Indians).

Big reputations are made on this sort of actually superficial copying, partly because of an old boy netword, one suspects. The victims are fundamentally ignorant readers. There is little that can be done about this before the fact, which is what reviews are for. ... Read more

14. Sheridan's Lieutenants: Phil Sheridan, His Generals, and the Final Year of the Civil War. (American Crisis Series)
by David Coffey
Hardcover: 168 Pages (2005-03-16)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.09
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Asin: 0742543064
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In 1864, General U.S. Grant summoned 33 year-old Major General Philip Sheridan to lead Meade’s cavalry in the resilient yet seemingly lethargic Army of the Potomac.Sheridan’s fiery determination and uncompromising demand for performance quickly gained him the upper hand against Confederate cavalry forces in Virginia. Surrounding himself with other young and aggressive officers, including George Custer, George Crook and Wesley Merritt, Sheridan’s forces turned the tide of war in 1864.In this exciting new work, David Coffey explores Sheridan’s relationships with his subordinates and their substantial role in shaping the final year of the Civil War and future U.S. military history.Entertaining and informative, Sheridan’s Lieutenants is a must-read for everyone interested in the Civil War and military history. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars A short discussion of some remarkable soldiers
This short summary of Sheridan's role in the last year of the Civil War is an interesting introduction to the lives of a remarkable group of largely-forgotten soldiers. Merritt, Mackenzie, Crook, Upton, and Wilson were young, gifted, and tough officers who contributed to Union victory. Custer is remembered today because he blundered at the Little Bighorn. The others are seldom discussed because they died in bed after distinguished military careers both during and after the Civil War. The author does a nice job of educating us about their backgrounds and contributions. Pleasantly written, one finishes the book wanting to know more about this Band of Brothers that Sheridan drew around him in the Shenandoah and at Appomattox. ... Read more

15. The Burning : Sheridan's Devastation of the Shenandoah Valley
by John L. Heatwole
Hardcover: 266 Pages (1998-10-01)
list price: US$29.95
Isbn: 1883522188
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Gen. U.S. Grant's order to cripple the ability of the Shenandoah Valley to supply the CSA with food and fodder affected the civilian population as did no other act of war, including Sherman's march through Georgia. Packed with the firsthand accounts of victims and perpetrators alike, this book brings history alive. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Cut him some slack...
The author and I come from the same Mennonite decendant, buried just outside Harrisonburg, Va.I don't know if he is still a practicing Mennonite or not; I am not.But one should take into account the pacifist back ground of the Annabaptists may explain the underlying tone of the narrative.
I grew up with a lot of anecdotes too.Like my great great grand mother protesting over the taking of her hogs by Union troopers to a grizzled veteran of Sheridan's army who replied, "You should be glad we aren't taking you too..."The implication being obvious.The Edinburg Mill my father's home town, still bears scorch marks from the attempt to burn it.I agree that there was a lot more death and violence in the event, than one would be led to believe, but back then secrets were kept and certain things were kept buried.

5-0 out of 5 stars Valley residents' perspective of Sheridan's devastation
Note:Unfortunately, the author passed away the day before Thanksgiving, 2006 at the age of 58.

This is an unusual perspective and subject for a civil war study.Author John Heatwole extensively recounts the folk stories and family accounts (including his own) of Sheridan's burning of the Shenandoah resources.The author largely leaves it to the reader to determine what to accept and reject in the resulting mix of historical fact and tales.Overall, I think he did a reasonable job avoiding bias or partisanship and endeavored to put the burning in context.However, there are a number of places where his word choice gives an incorrect connotation.

For instance, removing consumables and goods of military value is several times referred to as looting.This is odd because the goods taken are listed afterwards and clearly are not loot.While taking silverware, women's/children's clothes, etc. would definitely constitute looting and did happen--particularly to the more ostentatious plantations/farms which suffered direct wrath--looting like this was not the norm as Heatwole's recounting shows.It is also interesting that Heatwole mentions extortion, but inappropriately in several instances.In fact, in reading the accounts presented, few show soldiers demanding payment to spare property.Instead, the most common thread is of property owners offering bribes.(Curiously, some rather sizeable bribes were refused.)Still, a reader should not let minor bias be of much concern, because the narrative is primarily from the residents' point of view, and a fascinating picture emerges.

In "The Burning" there are examples of deceit and treachery by both sides.There are also numerous examples of compassion and sympathy to be found.Many amusing tales emerge of people's ingenuity at preserving their property.One of the things I did not appreciate before is how systematic and organized the Burning was, and that orders were intended to regulate it rather than the unabashed plunder it is too often characterized as.This was not a matter of petty vengeance (for the most part) or inhumanity, but instead an organized effort to strip the Valley of military significance and the ability to support armies or guerrillas in the future.It was successful in that aim.

How was this accomplished?Homes were to be spared, as was the property of widows.These rules were not always obeyed or strictly observed.The biggest exception was the ordered retaliatory burning of homes in the vicinity where the popular Meigs was killed--yet even this turned out to be quite limited.Interestingly, for the whole campaign the county's own tallies, the number of homes burned was only about 1/15th that of the number of barns, and while some were intentional acts of arson, a number were the result of fire unintentionally spreading from nearby structures (as noted in the stories themselves.)Public and private property of value to the CSA war effort was systematically targeted and destroyed in total.This included food, cattle, grain, and forage of all kinds, plus the barns and warehouses in which they were stored.Industry was targeted wholesale, from flour mills, saw mills, cloth makers, coopers, blacksmiths, iron furnaces, to flat boat makers, and carriage makers.This of course created awful hardships and suffering for the Valley residents, but in theory it spared their homes and lives while accomplishing the strategic objective.The CSA lost this important source of sustenance and material.

The author also notes the activities as well as depredations of various Confederate guerrillas and Partisans as well.Al Lincoln, McNeil, Woodson, etc. are mentioned.

The author recounts many stories from those who rarely receive much attention: the many Unionists and conscientious objectors such as Dunkards and Mennonites who sought to avoid CSA service.In fact, Sheridan gave them transport out of the Valley as well as other refugees who could not subsist after the Burning.In some cases there property was spared, but for strategic considerations many Unionist and pacifist barns and mills also fell under the torch.

Excellent and simple maps illustrate the Valley counties and towns, as well as the progress of the destruction and movement of the forces responsible for it.A number of sketches and photographs of citizens, soldiers, and landscape are included.The forces involved in carrying out the order are detailed in an appendix at the end.

I recommend this work as a way to appreciate the importance of the Shenandoah, and to understand the horror that the residents felt at this destruction, as well as understanding the reasons for it.A quote at the end of the work by Confederate cavalryman and Valley resident Capt. John Opie summarizes the situation best with a question, "Which is the worst in war, to burn a barn, or kill a fellow-man?"

5-0 out of 5 stars A People's History Extraordinaire
About 15 years ago I traveled to Shenandoah County to learn about my ancestors and what had happened to them during the Civil War. No lover of history or ancestor hunter could have had better fortune than I: I found friendly and helpful relatives and I found structures - including a pre-Civil War mill formerly owned by my ancestors - that helped me gain an understanding about who I am.

Ten years after my first sojourn, author John Heatwole published The Burning and I purchased a signed copy at an antique shop in Mt. Jackson. This book is a chronicle of the two weeks in the Fall of 1864 that thousands of Union soldiers carried out their orders to devastate the Shenandoah Valley, to rid it of its freshly harvested bounty, burning crops and killing or driving away livestock. It was a sad task that left people without food and often without shelter from the coming winter, but it was a strategy to win the war by finally breaking the spirit of the Confederacy. Thousands of barns were burned and, occasionally, fine homes. Some enterprising folks managed to hide their most prized livestock in the hills.

Heatwole conducted dozens of interviews to gather the oral history of Valley families to supplement the stories he found in published and unpublished sources and private collections. He has produced a well-organized chronicle that captures the drama and atmosphere of this period. This is a "people's history" extraordinaire that tells the story of the Union army's orders, the leaders involved, and the farming and milling families and townspeople who were terrified and devastated by the fires that filled the Valley with thick black smoke for days.

By the way, the mill my ancestors owned was saved in October 1864 when the owner, learning that the Union burners were on their way, climbed to the top of the mill and hung the United States flag from the roof.

3-0 out of 5 stars Survey of destruction...
Healtwole presents a county-by-county account of Sheridan's movements in the Valley. The "witness" to the destruction is the use of "facts", legends, interviews, family letters, etc. A flaw is the generalized sameness of each chapter - "these" troops, led by "this" guy did "that" to "those" peoples barn, house, etc. While there is certainly many interesting anecdotes and sidebars without, the format becomes repetitive. Indeed, if you read three or four chapters, you get the full gist. The abundance of maps helps.

2-0 out of 5 stars Folk History
Heatwole is described as compiler of Shenandoah Valley folk tales and he uses them to try to describe the destruction of the supplies in the Valley by Sheridan's troops in September and October 1864.He is not interested in primary sources other than what he has learned in the Valley and what has been printed during the past 140 years. He makes no attempt to tell the full history of the Vallry's destruction, but rather to see it through remembered folk tales.He does not evaluate these tales, but includes them as he heard them.Among my favorites is the killing of a Union trooper by a woman who smashes a crock of apple butter on his head (surely a likely happening in the Shenandoah Valley apple-rich region) and then who manages to hide the sticky body in tall grass without the rest of the Union troops noticing, and, best of all, the farmer who shoots a Union lieutenant and dumps his body in the burning barn that the officer just lit.It seems the farmer had to get off his porch, go upstairs, grab his rifle, open the window and shoot the lieutenant, while the officer stood by the flaming barn allowing this to happen. Again, no Union troops were nearby to intervene and presumably the fire was so hot that the lieutenant's body was completely reduced to ashes and nobody in his regiment missed him enough to go looking for him.

The two week Burning was actually a lot more violent and deadly to both sides than even Heatwole makes out. Both sides murdered prisoners, but the Burning generally was confined to barns, mills and cribs, not houses. That the people of the Shenandoah Valley suffered is undeniable. So is Lee's surrender six months later. The grandsons of the victims also seem not to have many qualms about dropping fire on Germans and Japanese.

The Burning needs a better book than this, one that includes more sources that those from Virginia. Heatwole could have done much better, but, frankly, he has produced a book of only limited usefulness. ... Read more

16. Glory Enough for All: Sheridan's Second Raid and the Battle of Trevilian Station
by Eric J. Wittenberg
Paperback: 448 Pages (2007-07-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$12.34
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Asin: 0803259670
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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After the ferocious fighting at Cold Harbor, Virginia, in June 1864, Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ordered his cavalry, commanded by Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, to distract the Confederate forces opposing the Army of the Potomac. Glory Enough for All chronicles the battle that resulted when Confederate cavalry pursued and caught their Federal foes at Trevilian Station, Virginia, perhaps the only truly decisive cavalry battle of the American Civil War.
Eric J. Wittenberg tells the stories of the men who fought there, including eight Medal of Honor winners and one Confederate whose death at Trevilian Station made him the third of three brothers to die in the service of Company A of the Fourth Virginia Cavalry. He also addresses the little-known but critical cavalry battle at Samaria (Saint Mary's) Church on June 24, 1864, where Union Brig. Gen. David N. Gregg's division was nearly destroyed.
The only modern strategic analysis of the battle, Glory Enough for All challenges prevailing interpretations of General Sheridan and of the Union cavalry. Wittenberg shows that the outcome of Trevilian Station ultimately prolonged Grant's efforts to end the Civil War.
(20080304) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Battle and Campaign Study
An excellent study of a little known but very important 1864 cavalry battle in central Virginia. In addition to providing a very entertaining and detailed look at each side's maneuvering during the battle, the author also puts the battle in the context of Grant's overall attempt to finish off the war in Virginia during 1864, and Robert E. Lee's attempt to thwart those designs.As a result, it becomes obvious why stopping Sheridan at Trevilian's Station was such an important strategic victory for the Confederates. The book also provides good analysis of the leadership, good and bad, on both sides.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hampton Gets It Done
After the disastrous battle at Cold Harbor, Grant realized the area around Richmond left little room for maneuver. Now aware that the Confederate works at Cold Harbor were far too strong to be taken, and refusing to surrender the initiative, Grant proceeded to revise his entire strategy. His new plan was to cross the James River and capture Petersburg, 25 miles below Richmond. If he could garner Petersburg and Hunter could capture Lynchburg, Federal troops would control the railroads and could starve Lee into surrender. But to cross the James he needed a diversion, a big one.

Similar to ordering Grierson's raid through the State of Mississippi, which enabled Grant to cross the Mississippi River totally unopposed and subsequently invest Vicksburg, Grant employs the same strategy to cross the James and invest Petersburg. Sheridan was ordered to take Torbert's and Gregg's cavalry divisions north to Charlottesville, destroy the railroad and join Hunter in his attack on Lynchburg and ultimately join Grant south of Petersburg. In so doing Grant anticipated the withdrawal of all Confederate cavalry under Hampton north, away from Grant's intended James River crossing points.

This is the story of that movement. So successful was this strategy that Grant literally stole a march on Lee, who had absolutely no idea where Grant's army had disappeared to. Grant's entire 75,000 man army crosses the James undetected. But in one of the most amazing battles of the war, Wade Hampton engages Phil Sheridan at Trevilian Station and stops him cold. With Hunter subsequently defeated in the Shenandoah, while Grant's strategy of crossing the James undetected is a resounding success, his pincer movement against Petersburg is defeated in detail.

Eric Wittenberg tells the amazing story of the Trevilian engagement. It was a hard fought contest producing 8 Medal of Honor winners for the Union. No one will ever know how many similar awards could have been granted to Confederate participants but the Confederate cemetery still bears mute testimony to the numbers who fell there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another great book
Great civil war book.Made me change my mind about Sheridan. Worth your money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Campaign Study
Mr. Wittenberg makes a convincing case for the decisiveness of this cavalry battle and campaign, and his evaluations of Sheridan, Hampton, Fitz Lee, and others are fair and incisive.He did not need to prove his stature as an authority on the cavalry of the Army of the Potomac, but clearly has done so with this volume and with his subsequent works.

I had the chance to visit the Trevilian battlefield recently, and used this book as a guide.In spite of the paucity of markers (maybe that's a good thing!), it was easy to follow the action using the author's excellent endnotes, maps, and descriptions of terrain.

A local preservation group recently purchased a large portion of the June 11 battlefield, which is a very good sign.Anyone interested in the Civil War's eastern theater should not miss this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Excellent!
Mr. Wittenberg is the author of several books on cavalry operations in the Eastern Theater, all well documented, informative and very readable.This book is my personal favorite.He hits the "sweet spot", balancing a solid battlefield history with personal experiences of the participants.The history set up an experience, which amplifies and explains the history bridging the story to the next incident.The result is an informative history of Sheridan's cavalry raid in June 1864 with an in the saddle feel rarely found in nonfiction books.

The heart of the book is the battles of Trevilian Station on June 11 & 12, 1864 and Samaria Church on June 24, 1862.Trevilian Station is Sheridan's attempt to cut the vital Virginia Central Railroad and Samaria Church is Hampton's attempt to capture Sheridan's wagon train.The two battles do not stand-alone but exist in Sheridan's cavalry raid, with the raid firmly placed in Grant's Overland Campaign.This means that the reader never forgets the total operation and the war.Very often, battle histories do not include or spend very little time on the larger issues causing us to miss this vital information.

This raid contains a who's who of Eastern cavalry personalities: Philip Sheridan, Wade Hampton, Fitzhugh Lee and George Custer are well known, Thomas Rosser, Matthew Butler, Alfred Torbert, Wesley Merritt and David Gregg much less so.Each man has an interesting word portrait with a detailed account of his role.Mr. Wittenberg draws some interesting conclusions about the battle and the men.As always, his conclusions are well supported and thought provoking, making for a book that is both an introduction with something for the more knowledgeable too.
... Read more

17. Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Leadership of Gen. Philip H. Sheridan
by Eric J. Wittenberg
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2002-01-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$3.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1574883852
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Unlike generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman, whose controversial Civil War-era reputations persist today, Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan has been largely untouched by controversy. In LITTLE PHIL, historian Eric J. Wittenberg reassesses the war record of a man long considered one of the Union Army’s greatest generals.

From his earliest days at West Point, Phil Sheridan refused to play by the rules. He was fortunate to receive merely a suspension, rather than expulsion, when as a cadet he charged a superior officer with a bayonet. Although he achieved fame as a cavalryman late in the Civil War, Sheridan actually began the conflict as an infantry commander and initially knew little of the mounted service. In his first effort as a cavalry commander with the Army of the Potomac in the spring of 1864, he gave a performance that Wittenberg argues has long been overrated. Later that year in the Shenandoah Valley, where Sheridan secured his legendary reputation, he benefited greatly from the tactical ability of his subordinates and from his huge manpower advantage against the beleaguered Confederate troops of Lt. Gen. Jubal Early.

Sheridan was ultimately rewarded for numerous acts of insubordination against his superiors throughout the war, while he punished similar traits in his own officers. Further, in his combat reports and postwar writings, he often manipulated facts to show himself in the best possible light, ensuring an exalted place in history. Thus, Sheridan successfully foisted his own version of history on the American public. This controversial new study challenges the existing literature on Phil Sheridan and adds valuable insight to our understanding of this famous, but altogether fallible, warrior. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

1-0 out of 5 stars One sided, inconsistent, incomplete, and lacking depth
As others have stated, this book is clearly one sided and leaves out important detail to the accomplishments that Sheridan did make along with his subordinates. The book reads like Sheridan is on trial, strategically leaving out the other side of the argument and the opinions of those subordinates who felt neutral or highly of him. Quoting southern commanders and soldiers who have a poor opinion towards Sheridan doesn't have much of an effect. Many of the North's commanders and successes had negative and misinformed reviews by the media and commanders in the confederacy throughout the war. Georgia's and Richmond's news papers claimed that Sherman's troops were on the run and were fragile all the way through his march to the sea, but we know how that ended up. They treated Sheridan no different

3-0 out of 5 stars How an attorney runs a railroad
The focus of this book is laid out in its dedication: "This book is ... respectfully dedicated to the memories of Generals William Woods Averell and Gouveneur K. Warren,both of whom suffered terrible injustices at Sheridan's hands."Wiitenberg sets out to right these `wrongs' by destroying `Little Phil'.

By the time of the Civil War, technology had made obsolete the tactics taught at West Point. The rifle and its extended range made a disaster of the shoulder to shoulder charge against entrenched defenders. Successful attacks depended on deception,surprise and quick reaction.The thoroughly prepared ponderous charges of the Mexican War were fading away.

Improved signals transmission enabled quicker response to changing battlefield conditions.Signals transmitted more quickly required commands to be obeyed promptly.The day of the semi-autonomous unit commander was being replaced with centralized control.Throughout the war officers of the old school were being replaced.

Let's look at Averell.Stackpole, a World War I infantry officer, in `Sheridan in the Shenandoah' wrote, "A review of Averell's military record during the Civil War is cause for wonder that he lasted as long as he did ... more times than not his division failed to reach the scene of action until after the need for its presence had passed... ."Starr, in the `Union Cavalry in the Civil War' wrote, "There is no question but that Averell had proven himself a difficult subordinate, willful, intractable, and unpredictable.Moreover, at critical times, ... his actions, or more correctly, his inertia, indicated either a failure of nerve, an overactive imagination, or at least a lack of determination to carry through to the end an operation that had been assigned him."

Now look at Warren.At one point, Grant wanted to remove him; on another occasion Meade had decided to remove him.Fuller, another World War I officer, in `Generalship of U.S. Grant' says," Warren, a brave and able soldier, was over given to detailed preparations."Taafe in `Commanding the Army of the Potomac' writes, "Warren's generalship had been at best uneven and at worst a good deal short of that.His tendency to micromanage and question his superiors was bad ...."Sears, in `Controversies and Commanders' reports Grant saying, " I had discovered a defect which was beyond his(Warren's) control, that was very prejudicial to his usefulness. ....He could see every danger at a glance before he countered it. "Further Grant says, "I wanted orders promptly obeyed ...; where officers undertook to think for themselves ..., it tended to failure and delay." Quick communications required prompt obedience.Warren would have been like an anchor in the climatic pursuit of the ANV.

Sheridan was not the only leader to remove subordinates.Grant removed McClernand, Granger, Wallace and Burnside.Sherman got rid of Hooker. Even Lincoln removed officers down to the level of major.

Finally, Wittenberg says, "Had he (Sheridan) not had protective patrons such as Rosecrans, Sherman, and Grant, he would never have earned the high rank he achieve."Halleck was instrumental in Sheridan's promotion to colonel. Rosecrans, Granger, Elliott, Asboth, J.C. Sullivan, and Horatio Wright jointly recommended his promotion to brigadier. For only four months were Grant, Sherman and Sheridan in the same army together.Hard to see Rosecrans as a patron since Grant detested Rosecrans.We are not told what motivated the top commanderto assign Sheridan greater and greater responsibility.

Perhaps this book was to be shocking and thereby gain notoriety. It clearly is not an objective scholarly presentation.

5-0 out of 5 stars But there's more!
I found Mr. Wittenberg's approach, as though conducting a grand jury inquest, original and fascinating. I only regret his neglect of Sheridan's activities in the Western Theater which also require reexamination.

At Perrysville, Sheridan had orders only to secure water without bringing on a general engagement, but he pushed on further, thus precipitating the battle which Buell had planned for the following day (Buell was caught offstride). After stout early resistance, Sheridan quit at Murfreesboro, ignoring Rosecrans' order to get ammunition and return to the battle, while Palmer, who at one point was also desperately short of ammunition, whose division suffered higher losses than did Sheridan's (25.4% vs. 20.72% ), fought on. At Chickamauga he left the field with a division and didn't return, although ordered to help Thomas, fighting for his life at Horseshoe Ridge only a couple of miles away. Instead he feinted at a return, and then spent the rest of his life arguing that, yes, he had returned, sort of (Halleck thought he did great). At Chattanooga Sheridan got a late start in the charge up the ridge and was beaten to the top by at least 15 minutes. In order to polish his profile, he then ordered a wasteful pursuit in the woods in the the dark, ran into a trap, and got some men killed unnecessarily (Grant praised his initiative). We don't learn much about the trap in his report, but we do learn he thought he was one of the first to reach the crest. After the war it would turn out that he had his own way of winning the hearts and minds of Southerners in New Orleans (kind of surprising even Grant), and of dealing with Indian overpopulation in the West (Schofield and Sherman stood squarely behind him).

If you want to read a detailed analysis of Sheridan's performance at Chickamauga, google "Sheridan's Ride at Chickamauga."

4-0 out of 5 stars A Crltical Reappraisal of a Civil War Icon
Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and Philip H. Sheridan make up the trinity of the top Union generals of the Civil War. The military reputations of Grant and Sherman have been subjected to many revisions and counter-revisions by historians and others in the last century.Sheridan's standing, however, has gone almost unchallenged.True, Sheridan has not been the subject of many critical biographies. Harvard's Widener Library lists some 45 entries under Sheridan most of which predate 1900 and contain adulatory words in their titles.

Wittenberg, an authority on Union cavalry, has taken up the task of revisiting Sheridan's role as commander ofthe Army of the Potomac'scavalry corps (April 1864 - May 1865). The author concluded that Sheridan was no great shakes as a cavalry commander and that his high reputation was due more to Grant's uncritical faith in the feisty Irishman and Sheridan's own, often outrageous, self-promotion.

As evidence for this thesis, Wittenberg examines Sheridan's operations as an independent commander during the Overland Campaign and in the Shenandoah Valley (August - October 1864). In both of these operations, Sheridan was often outgeneraled.According to the author, Sheridan's major strategic raids into Confederate territory were counter-productive.About the only thing accomplished was the killing of Jeb Stuart at Yellow Tavern. And while the cavalry corps was doing its thing, the Army of the Potomac was virtually blind,without cavalry to screen and reconnoiter.The Shenandoah Valley campaign was equally lackluster.Although greatly outnumbering Early's force, Sheridan, who was expected to exercise his killer instinct,failed to destroy his opponent.But Sheridan won much personal glory by his dramatic ride to "rescue" his beleaguered troops at Winchester, and personal glory was what he was after.

Wittenberg does give Sheridan full credit for bringing Lee to bay in the final Appomattox Campaign. Sheridan commanded the troops at Five Forks, which, together with Saylor's Creek virtually ended the war.The campaign demonstrated that he did have the gifts to lead a combined arms force, and to motivate men in battle.

Three chapters are devoted to chroniclingSheridan's unattractive personal traits.He was insubordinate, often refusing to obey direct orders of his superiors, while having absolute no tolerance for disobedience by those serving under him.But where acts of insubordination are generally punished by courts-martial, Sheridan received promotions and commendations.During the opening phases of the Overland Campaign,Meade was alltoo well aware of Sheridan's disobedience; Grant overlooked it and rewarded Sheridan with an independent command.

Sheridan displayed little loyalty downwards.He took gratuitous advantage of his oldest friend, George Crook in order to advance his own career.He improperly and vindictively relieved from command and ruined the careers of Gouverneur K. Warren and William W. Averell.

Sheridan was a liar.For example, he baldly claimed that he had bested the Confederate cavalry in every engagement of the Overland Campaign when the facts showed otherwise. This prevarication was self-serving, in that he intent in improving his standing in the eyes of his superiors.
Without the patient protection of U.S. Grant, it is doubtful whether Sheridan would have ever left the Western theater where he did function effectively as an infantry commander. While overlooking the negative aspects of Sheridan's character, Grant recognized in him traits that Grant himself shared:an iron will, a belief in his own abilities, and a refusal to ever admit defeat. From an institutional view, Grant undoubtedly felt uneasy when he took over the Army of the Potomac, given its past problems with generals who, like Warren, tended to second-guess the decisions of their superiors, and lacked the drive Grant expected.By bringing Sheridan to the east, he promoted a kindred spirit.Later, Sheridan may have been his hatchet man.

Although an effective infantry commander and motivator of men, Sheridan was not particularly successful at handling large bodies of horsemen.Everyone remembers Sheridan's ride and the success against Early at Winchester, but forgets the many small (and some large, e.g. Trevilian Station) engagements botched by the Union cavalry under his supervision.This criticism is fair.Sheridan was a charismatic,personal leader.In the operational art and in tactics of cavalry battle, he did not match up to Buford, Stuart, or Wade Hampton.

Wittenberg has written a scathing revisionist biographical history.Many historians will disagree with his conclusions.It's possible that we will be seeing literary confrontations leading to another Caspian Sea of ink.

5-0 out of 5 stars Short Critical Assessment of Sheridan
Wittenburg writes a very compact critical book on the military skills and ethics of Phil Sheridan. The author writes in a concise fashion presenting factual detail centering on the most important moments of Sheridan's career. After a review of Sheridan's early career including the near bayoneting of a senior classman at West Point, the author spends virtually the remainder of the book on Sheridan Civil War career offering rather severe critiques of Sheridan's military ability as a cavalry leader and tactician, as an unfair supervisor of subordinates, his inability to follow orders, his inability to tell the truth abut early forays and his failure to recognize the contributions of subordinates.Although this does appear to be pretty harsh treatment of Sheridan, Wittenburg presents the information in a flowing economic narrative that sets up the final chapter's evaluation as a virtual summary of points categorically describing Sheridan's weaknesses. The author virtually starts with Sheridan's failure not to bring on an engagement at the battle of Perryville, to his inability to follows Meade's directions to open the road to Spotsylvania to his possible bypass of Grant's original orders for him to join Sherman. The author notes thst Sheridan's typical veteran post Civil war memoir glories in abundant hyperbole that speaks of frequent victories over southern horsemen. Sheridan's most interesting conflicts are personal with Crook, Averell and of course the cataclysmic collision with General Warren at Five Forks. However, in spite of the numerous criticisms, Wittenburg acknowledges that in the final theater during and after Five Forks, Sheridan was relentless in pursuit of Lee's retreating army earning accolades. And perhaps this last phase balances the book in that although Sheridan had his faults and ego, he had a certain ruthless drive that could truly make war hell for his his opposition in the valley or Indians and he could apply total war when the end was near. Grant's respect for Sheridan at the end seems to be at its zenith when he tells Sheridan that he may sack Warren with total authority and discretion. Of course Sheridan sacks Warren most likely without facts or reason but more so for perception and past negatives that Meade did not hold Warren accountable. Sheridan and Warren are perhaps the most interesting pair in conflict during the Civil War other than Jefferson C. Davis and William Nelson where the former assassinated the latter. Wittenburg's critiques may be controversial but they are well presented and many are well proven. But the debate is still on in the end because Grant has full confidence in Sheridan and with Sheridan brimming with confidence and his well-supported cavalry force, he literally pulls the plug on Lee's valiant and hopeless attempts at escape. A well-written book with controversy but the best part is that the book challenges your thought professionally leaving room for argument.
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18. Banners at Shenandoah
 Hardcover: Pages (1976-06)

Isbn: 0685661652
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books I've Ever Read--Really!
I have read this book AT LEAST three times, and I often wish that Catton had written more books like this. It gives a great history lesson, while keeping the reader enchanted by the beautiful prose and plot. This book is definately worth the wait!

5-0 out of 5 stars Banners at Shenandoah: the Greatest of Civil War Novels
Banners at Shenandoah is a classic example of Bruce Catton's award winning writing style.His vivid descriptions of scenes from the book are incredible.Its an action packed novel about a young man becoming anadult, and is forced do it through some of the most hottly contestedbattles of the Civil War.Everyone should read this book. ... Read more

19. Battle Cry
by Chet Cunningham
 Hardcover: 224 Pages (2001-08)
list price: US$23.95 -- used & new: US$23.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786233818
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20. Battle of Cedar Creek: Showdown in the Shenandoah, October 1-30th, 1864 (The Virginia Civil War Battles and Leaders Series)
by Theodore Mahr
 Hardcover: 480 Pages (1992-03)
list price: US$25.00
Isbn: 1561900257
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Author's Up-date
**The rating above is by the author.It was required by Amazon.com in order to submit this notice.The author gave a "4" simply because of the many excellent reviews the book received when it came out in print.

From the author:

"Just a quick note to tell all those interested that my book, "The Battle of Cedar Creek: Showdown in the Shenandoah,October 1-30, 1864," will be republished soon.

The new version is a completely revised and expanded edition, with much greater scope in coverage and primary source research.

The initial edition received the highest reviews, and, published in limited runs,the book has been a much-sought-after item according to those interested in the battle and the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

Keep checking back to Amazon.com for updates. In all modesty, I believe you will find the book much-improved and well worth the wait.

Thank you for your interest.

Theodore C. Mahr
Dayton, Ohio
December, 2004

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