Jump to content
Shiloh Discussion Group
Sign in to follow this  
Ozzy

Philip Sheridan at Pittsburg Landing

Recommended Posts

We're all familiar with General Philip Sheridan, one of the senior officers (along with Sherman, McPherson, Dodge and Ord) credited as being part of U.S. Grant's Inner Circle; and as part of that team contributed to bringing the Civil War to a close. However, you may not realize that then-Captain Sheridan was at Pittsburg Landing in April 1862.

Question:  What was the role of Philip Sheridan at Pittsburg Landing?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason for this question: I had assumed that Philip Sheridan was “someplace else” in April 1862, maybe in Missouri, and it came as a surprise to learn he arrived at Pittsburg Landing mere days after the Battle of Shiloh (and Sheridan later recorded that “my arrival at Pittsburg Landing was the turning point of my career.”) He next turns up in the historical record as Colonel of the Second Michigan Cavalry.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i believe he was acquiring horses at the time of the battle of Shiloh but came on and was quartermaster dept for gen Halleck on his approach to Corinth

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done, Mona! Captain Sheridan was indeed on the staff of Henry Halleck, and got himself “ordered to Pittsburg Landing” (but too late to take part in the Battle of Shiloh.) But, there is more to the story...

Philip Sheridan was one of those officers who found himself “out West” as the Secession Crisis unfolded; and he left San Francisco to return east at about the same time General Albert Sidney Johnston departed California (except Johnston took the overland route, while Sheridan took the steamship to the Isthmus, then from Aspinwall to New York City.) Assigned to the 13th U.S. Infantry, Captain Sheridan headed for Missouri, and while in St. Louis in early November, dropped in to “say Hello” to Major General Henry Halleck (who had just taken over command, and had his HQ there.) MGen Halleck decided he needed an audit of General Fremont's papers and expenditures and Captain Sheridan, with recent experience with quartermaster duties, was put onto the job. Halleck appears to have been satisfied with the quality of Sheridan's work; and Captain Sheridan was next assigned to General Curtis, in a similar QM capacity. And Philip Sheridan, who was reknowned for short temper, impatience and “being argumentative at inappropriate times,” had a falling out with General Curtis in March 1862. Captain Sheridan got himself reassigned to Halleck; and General Halleck sent him north to acquire horses. It was while in Chicago that Captain Sheridan learned of the Battle of Shiloh, and got himself orders to Pittsburg Landing (and upon arrival MGen Halleck put Philip Sheridan under control of Colonel George Thom. But instead of making maps, Captain Sheridan was assigned to improving and building roads.) And along the way, Philip Sheridan struck up a friendship with General William Tecumseh Sherman: by early May, it appeared that General Sherman had come through with a Colonelcy for Sheridan, in command of a new Ohio regiment. But that fell through. Shortly afterwards, the Governor of Michigan (who happened to be in Tennessee visiting Michigan regiments) took notice of the “available West Point graduate” Philip Sheridan, and offered him Colonelcy of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry... which Sheridan accepted. And Colonel Sheridan took part in the March on Corinth.

Reference: Personal Memoirs of Philip Sheridan, pages 120- 144.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Continuing in Chapter 8 of his Personal Memoirs, Sheridan records, “On the morning of 27 May 1862 Captain Alger (later to become Governor of Michigan), arrived at General Halleck's HQ and delivered me a telegram [appointing me Colonel of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry.] But, General Halleck was not ready to release me for service with the volunteers until official word returned from Washington. After a while, I grew impatient with waiting, and pressed my case for active service in the field.

“General Halleck finally consented; but as I was departing to take command of my cavalry regiment, General Halleck informed me that the 2nd Michigan Cavalry had been ordered out as part of a column in pursuit of the enemy fleeing south from Corinth...”

Why is this important?

It appears that Sheridan's 2nd Michigan, officially part of General John Pope's force, was detached for service under Rosecrans pursuing Beauregard's Army south, as that Army withdrew through Rienzi, Booneville, Baldwyn... [And the OR 10 page 671 and OR 11 pages 236- 278 make fascinating reading: regular reports coming from Rosecran's pursuit, to Pope's HQ, to Halleck (who forwards the most interesting details via telegraph from his HQ at Corinth to Secretary of War Stanton in Washington; and Stanton replies in real time.) Most intriguing is a report from Pope to Halleck on 9 June 1862 (the day pursuit of the Rebels is abandoned) in which Pope replies, “I have just heard from Colonel Sheridan. He is in Baldwyn with his regiment, having pushed his advance toward Guntown...” Did Philip Sheridan's green cavalry unit play a role in the faulty reporting, (“The Rebel Army is dissolving before our eyes”) that led to abandonment of the pursuit on June 9th? [OR 11 page 278.]

References:  OR 10 and OR 11 (pages cited)

SDG topic "Pope or Grant" post of 1 SEP 2018 "Pope in the West"

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/4362/4362-h/4362-h.htm  Personal Memoirs of General Philip Sheridan, chapters 7 - 9.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...