SHERIDAN: The Life and Wars of General Phil Sheridan by

SHERIDAN: The Life and Wars of General Phil Sheridan

By
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A vigorous biography of the pugnacious Civil War general and Indian fighter, affectionately called ""Little Phil""--behind his back. The Union cavalry leader who rallied his seemingly routed Army of the Shenandoah with an electrifying ride back to the front at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Sheridan (as detailed by Morris, editor of the magazine America's Civil War) emerges as supremely competent if not always likable. Unlike his superiors Grant and Sherman, Sheridan served in uniform without interruption for his entire adult life, rising from lowly origins as the son of an indigent Irish-Catholic immigrant to become commander of America's army. Gruff, combative, at times ruthless, he was, Morris explains, uncomfortable in postwar roles as military supervisor of Texas and Louisiana and as the politically incorrect destroyer of Western tribes (though his oft-quoted ""the only good Indian is a dead Indian"" may be apocryphal). Nor was he perfect in battle, as evidenced in lapses at Perryville and Chickamauga and in dragging his heels in destroying Lee's army after the Shenandoah campaign. Yet, unlike his subordinate, the dashing but foolhardy George Armstrong Custer, Sheridan, Morris demonstrates, was as deliberate and careful as he was brave. A master of detail since his days as a teenaged stock clerk and young quartermaster, he ensured that he led a force that was well supplied, effectively outnumbering and concentrated against the enemy, and thoroughly briefed by scouts and spies. HIS self-confident battlefield magnetism appealed both to the common soldier and to mentors such as Grant and Lincoln's chief of staff Henry Halleck. A pungent, authoritative, and convincing portrait of the bantam cadet who became one of the Civil War's giants.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Crown