Sheridan Circle Monument is located in Embassy Row and is dedicated to General Philip Henry Sheridan. Sheridan was a Union Army General during the Civil War. General Sheridan Served as Cavalry Officer and is depicted mounted atop his celebrated horse, Rienzi. He is best known for his success in the Civil War and his Defeat of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, Virginia.
A career United States Army officer and a Union general in the Civil War, Sheridan led a colorful life as well as being a brilliant cavalry leader. He is especially known for his quick rise to major general as well as his close association with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. Grant transferred Sheridan from command of an infantry division in the Western Theater of combat to a leadership role within the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The Army of the Potomac was the main force of the Union Army, which confronted and fought the Main Confederate Army in several large battles of the Civil War in the Eastern Theater of Combat. In 1864, Sheridan defeated Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley. The destruction of the economic infrastructure of the Shenandoah Valley came to be called The Burning by residents. The use of this economically destructive strategy was one of the first uses of scorched earth tactics in the Civil War.
In 1865, General Sheridan and the U.S. Cavalry pursued Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Gen Sheridan and the U.S. Cavalry were instrumental in forcing the surrender of Gen Lee at Appomattox, VA. Sheridan while serving in the Western Theater as an Infantry commander earned valuable experience in combat command and control at the battle of Stones River. Sheridan later used this hard won experience while absorbing the brunt of Braxton Braggs attack on December 31st, 1862. Sheridan led the Cavalry assault on Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga. He then came east with the U.S. Cavalry and in so doing was able to free the Shenandoah Valley from Confederate control. Once Lee and the Confederate Army had retreated from Petersburg, Virginia, Sheridan was able to intercept General Lee’s supply train as well as intercept Lee’s orders to the Confederate Quartermaster. Sheridan met and took control of General Lee’s supply train at Appomattox station and effectively ended General Lee’s campaign at Appomattox.
General Sheridan’s actions at Shenandoah effectively ended General Lee and the Confederate Army’s ability to push northward and helped force the surrender at Appomattox, which forced an early conclusion to the Civil War. Following the Civil War, Sheridan commanded the Military Division of the Gulf of Mexico from 1865 to 1867. In March 1867, he became commander of the Fifth Military District of the South. The United States Congress, against the wishes of President Andrew Johnson, had divided the South into military districts. The Congress wanted to maintain a military presence, primarily to maintain law and order and to defend African Americans from southern whites in the states that had seceded from the Union in 1860 and 1861. Sheridan commanded troops in the Fifth Military District for seven months in 1867. Following this assignment, Sheridan took part in the wars against the Native Americans then underway in much of the Western United States. Upon General William T. Sherman's retirement in 1883, Sheridan became the commander of the entire United States Army. He died five years later, on August 5, 1888, after becoming ill while traveling in the West.