General Sheridan

Encyclopedia Article


Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) was a cavalry general whose leadership was instrumental in defeating the Confederate army in the last phase of the American Civil War. After the war, he served as military commander of Louisiana and Texas and then was transferred to Missouri, where he employed his learned war tactics to crush Indian resistance in the Southern Plains. Using massive attacks on Indian encampments, Sheridan's campaigns were responsible for killing many native men, women, and children, forcing the remainders of the Plain Indian peoples into reservations. Sheridan's legacy was enhanced by his supposed declaration that "the only good Indians I ever saw were dead," and, although he denied this attribution, he is known to this day as the one responsible for coining the phrase "a good Indian is a dead Indian."

Photo Credit: 

"General Philip Sheridan, circa 1855-1865" by Mathew Brady or Levin C. Handy.

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