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Erik Visits an American Grave, Part 111

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This is the grave of Phil Sheridan.

Born in 1831 in Albany, New York, Sheridan’s family moved to Ohio when he was young. He was a very lucky young man. He worked as a bookkeeper as a teenager but got to know his local congressman, who set him up with an appointment at West Point, only after the congressman’s first choice was rejected by the Military Academy. He was pretty mediocre at West Point and was nearly kicked out for threatening to bayonet a classmate. During the 1850s, he was mostly assigned in the Pacific Northwest, dealing with genocide against Native Americans there, especially the wars against native peoples in Washington in the mid-1850s. He would learn valuable lessons there and later would become one of the people most responsible for the post-Civil War genocidal campaigns.

Sheridan was a first lieutenant when the Civil War began but he rose very fast. He served as a staff officer for Henry Halleck where he proved very capable in cleaning up the mess left by John C. Frémont’s disastrous term in Missouri. He longed for combat however. Luckily, he got to know William Tecumseh Sherman and impressed by the young officer, Sherman got him appointed as colonel in the 2nd Michigan Cavalry in 1862. He performed so well in his first battle, the Battle of Booneville in Mississippi, that General William Rosecrans had him promoted to brigadier general. Also impressing at the Battle of Perryville and the Battle of Stones River, Sheridan was promoted to major general in April 1863, six months after his initial promotion to captain. Such was the Civil War. He sent his troops farther forward and more effectively at the Battle of Chattanooga than any other general and this very much impressed Ulysses S. Grant. When Grant was called to Virginia, he brought Sheridan with him. He was originally hamstrung by George Meade’s general incompetency, but Grant spoke up for him and Sheridan played a key role through much of the Overland Campaign. Grant gave Sheridan command of the Army of the Shenandoah in 1864 over the objections of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. There, he stopped the armies of Jubal Early at Cedar Creek. In doing so, he engaged in the total war tactics Sherman was making famous in Georgia. Finally, Sheridan’s troops captured 20 percent of the traitor Lee’s remaining army on the road of Appomattox, helping to seal the fate of the treasonous South.

After the war, Sheridan was appointed military governor of Texas and Louisiana, where he vigorously pursued Reconstruction policies. But his real postwar significance was his role in the genocide against Native Americans on the Plains. Sheridan and Sherman, believing in the efficacy of their total warfare developed in the Civil War, used the same tactics to defeat the last resisting tribes. That made sense from a military perspective. The difference between the tribes and the South is that the tribes were seen as subhuman by many Americans, especially on the frontier and that included Sheridan. Also, whereas the Civil War had developed into a war for the freedom of African-Americans, these were wars to pacify and exterminate people of color. Sheridan helped pioneer the military strategy of exterminating the bison; in fact, when Texas considered ending that policy and conserving some bison, Sherman personally testified against it. In 1868 and 1869, he led attacks on the winter quarters of the Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Comanche, killing anyone who resisted, as well as their livestock and horses, effectively destroying their ability to resist and even survive. Following the 1870 Marias Massacre, when Sheridan sent troops to punish group of Blackfeet that ended up attacking a completely different group of Blackfeet and massacring over 200 people, there was serious outrage against the inhumanity of the wars Sheridan was pursuing. When Grant instituted his Peace Policy as a response, it was Sheridan and Sherman’s turn to be infuriated. Neither could understand why the tactics that made them so popular in 1864 and 1865 were seen as outrageous in 1870. But at least some Americans, mostly in northeastern cities, felt that the nation should not exterminate indigenous peoples. Cucks.

Sheridan also took it upon himself to fight for the protection of Yellowstone National Park from development, testifying against an 1882 plan to give a railroad the chance to develop a bunch of the park for tourism. When poachers (both white for the market and indigenous for food) kept killing the last big game in the park, Sheridan ordered the 1st U.S. Cavalry to patrol the park, where it remained until the creation of the National Park Service in 1916.

A short and tubby man, Sheridan was 5’5 and weighed 200 pounds. This was not good. He suffered a series of heart attacks in 1888 and died that summer.

Phil Sheridan is buried on the confiscated lands of the traitor Lee, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. Even better, his is the grave right in front of the traitor’s mansion, a tomb that emphatically states Sheridan’s role in the conquest of the South.

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