Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Frank L. Klement

Second Advisor

Ralph E. Weber

Third Advisor

Michael J. Zeps

Fourth Advisor

Karel D. Bicha

Fifth Advisor

John D. Krugler


The lineage of this dissertation can be traced back to the summer of 1970 when, while serving as a junior officer onboard a naval destroyer off the coast of Vietnam, I happened to read a review article of Civil War literature in which the author remarked that Philip H. Sheridan has never been the subject of a scholarly biography. Surprised by that bit of information, I made a mental note of it at the time and filed it in the back of my mind.

Several years later, having survived the rigors of graduate school course work, and in need of an appropriate topic for a dissertation, I resurrected that item from my mind. Initially, however, I was hesitant to embark on such a project. After all, Phil Sheridan was one of the premier figures of the Civil War. By rights, I thought, his biography should be written by an established member of the historical profession, not a neophyte. Such self-doubts vanished when I had a conversation with Dr. Thomas L. Connelly of the University of South Carolina at a meeting of the Milwaukee Civil War Roundtable. Noted for his revisionist views on the military abilities of General Robert E. Lee, Dr. Connelly advised me to be bold, declaring that all the major participants in our nation's great internal conflict were open to further examination.

Additional reflection served to -convince me that a complete life-study would be too broad a topic for a dissertation. I therefore decided to limit my project to an account of Sheridan's experiences prior to his rise to prominence as Ulysses s. Grant's right hand man during the last year of the war. Thus his exploits as the head of the Army of the Potomac's cavalry and in the Shenandoah Valley will have to wait for a later study. In the meantime, this paper cover Sheridan's life up until the spring of 1864 when he was ordered East to join Grant.



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