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In the spirit of recent commemorations of the start of the American Civil War, Special Collections is pleased to highlight this remarkable memoir by one of the Union Army's most able and effective military leaders.
A true "celebrity general" in his day, Sheridan is recalled now mainly by the numerous towns, streets, and even mountain peaks named for him. These memoirs chronicle the incredibly diverse career of a dedicated soldier who attained command early and whose career encompassed service in the Far West (including Oregon) and Southwest in addition to victorious leadership of major campaigns of the Civil War.
His reputation today is tarnished only by his key role in the brutal Indian Wars on the Great Plains, where terrible atrocities were committed under his command (Sheridan is often cited as the originator of the phrase "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," although he himself denied it). Against this, he was among the leaders of early efforts to preserve the area that became Yellowstone National Park.
No less a literary luminary than Mark Twain urged Sheridan to write his memoirs, believing they would equal General Grant’s in historical importance and interest. He completed the work just a few months before his death on August 5, 1888, and it was published very soon thereafter, in two volumes bound in forest green cloth, the covers decorated with a splendid gilt depiction of the general himself, leading the charge.
~ Marian Alexander
Head of Special Collections Emeritus
Wikipedia article about Sheridan:
Interview with Mark Twain about Sheridan's memoirs:
Also in the library: