5 Interesting Facts You Didn’t Know About General Sheridan
Any Cowboy State resident may know Sheridan, Wyoming is named after General Philip Sheridan. There is so much to know about this historic figure, but to keep it simple, here are 5 facts about him you may not know.
1. He threatened to stab a classmate with a bayonet.
Philip Henry Sheridan didn't have a good start when he began West Point Academy. Despite failing a math exam, and an overall "poor attitude,” he squeaked in. Young Philip later got a one-year suspension for threatening a classmate. Sheridan told him he would "run him through with a bayonet," according to Wikipedia. Sheridan eventually graduated in 1853.
2. He had a Native American mistress.
Most of Sheridan's early service was in the Pacific Northwest. In the mid-1850s, he served in the Yakima War and Rogue River Wars, where he had his first experience with “Indians." He got to know one Native American very well, a mistress named Sidnayoh, the daughter of a tribal chief. Sheridan rose to the rank of captain by the time the Civil War was just underway.
3. Sheridan played a large role in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Sheridan was barely age 30 and on the western front of the War Between the States. Soon he became a major general, serving close to Ulysses S. Grant, who would be General of all Union Armies. Grant moved Sheridan further east to command the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Sheridan's 1864 “Scorched Earth” strategy in the Shenandoah Valley was known to residents as, “The Burning.” His destruction of infrastructure is legendary, just before General Sherman's similar March to the Sea. In 1865, he helped chase Robert E. Lee's Army of rebels into their surrender.
4. Sheridan led many wars against Native Americans.
In the Western Plains “Indian Wars” Sheridan was the first to regain control of Native Americans. He carried out orders by then President Grant. After relocating Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Comanche, Sheridan prosecuted the Red River War, the Ute War, and the Great Sioux War of 1876-77. Sheridan once predicted that when bison would be totally wiped out, the Indian problems would be gone. The general was right. He denied, however, that he ever made the statement, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”
5. Sheridan helped create a Yellowstone, just one place he is memorialized.
Many Wyomingites know Sheridan was instrumental in designating a whole region of our state as Yellowstone National Park. It still has a peak named Mount Sheridan.
Whatever history judges of Philip Henry Sheridan, memorials, statues, and streets all across America are named after General Sheridan, including a whole town in our great state - Sheridan, Wyoming.