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Collection Philip Henry Sheridan Papers

About this Collection

The papers of army officer Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) span the years 1853-1896, with the bulk of the material originating between 1862 and 1887. They consist of approximately 18,000 items digitally reproduced from 104 microfilm reels. Relating chiefly to the Civil War, Reconstruction, Mexican border disputes, Indian wars, and military administration, the collection includes correspondence, reports, orders, memorabilia, scrapbooks, commissions, financial records, and speeches.  There is very little material concerning Sheridan's family and personal life.

Dominated by correspondence and reports, the papers document Sheridan's service as an army commander in the Civil War and his postwar commands up to and including that of commanding general of the United States Army. The papers also include material relating to George A. Forsyth's Europe-Asia observation tour; the Piegan expedition of 1869-1870; Gouverneur K. Warren's 1881 court of inquiry; Rebecca Wright, a Federal spy at Winchester, Virginia; reconnaissance of Bighorn Mountain and the valleys of the Bighorn and Yellowstone Rivers; and Henry Page's letterbooks as quartermaster for the Army of the Potomac. Correspondents include George A. Forsyth (aide and secretary), James W. Forsyth, Ulysses S. Grant, Michael V. Sheridan (his brother), and William T. Sherman. Included also is a draft of Sheridan's published memoirs.

Following the destruction of some of Sheridan's papers in the Chicago fire of 1871, a large number of transcripts were made by his secretaries from the records of the War Department. These transcripts have been interfiled with the surviving original papers.

The collection is arranged in ten series:

General Correspondence, 1853-1888

This series contains letters, telegrams, and memoranda sent and received by Sheridan. It is organized chronologically, with undated items located at the end of most years and at the end of the series. Two letters from Abraham Lincoln to Sheridan, written on September 20 and October 22, 1864, can be found in this series.

Autograph Letters, 1865-1887

The Autograph Letters series include letters received from William T. Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant as well as miscellaneous letters sent by Sheridan. The material is arranged alphabetically by the name of person and chronologically therein.

Letterbooks, 1871-1888

The Letterbooks series is comprised of copies of letters sent and received by Sheridan. They are grouped into general correspondence and correspondence signed by aides and clerks, and arranged chronologically thereafter. Most of the volumes are indexed.

Field Dispatches and Telegrams, 1862-1883

This series includes field dispatches and telegrams sent and received. The material is grouped by items sent and items received, and arranged chronologically. Some volumes are indexed.

Military Papers, 1853-1887

The Military Papers series consists of endorsements, official correspondence of the Department of the Gulf, operations reports, orders, and reports. These records are arranged alphabetically by the type of material and then filed chronologically or by topic.

Subject File, 1863-1891

Correspondence, telegram books, reports, newspaper clippings, and printed matter comprise this series. Included in the Subject File are George A. Forsyth’s Europe-Asia observation tour, Indian affairs, Army of the Potomac quartermaster Henry Page’s telegram books, the Piegan expedition, Gouverneur K. Warren’s court of inquiry, Union spy Rebecca Wright, and reconnaissance of the Bighorn Mountains and the valleys of the Bighorn and Yellowstone Rivers. The material is arranged alphabetically by subject and thereunder chronologically.

Book and Speech File, 1878-circa 1883

Drafts of Sheridan’s memoirs comprise the bulk of the Book and Speech File series, which also includes one folder of speeches. The memoirs are arranged by volume and chapter and the speeches chronologically.

Miscellany, 1853-1896

The Miscellany series includes biographical material, citations, charges and specifications against Sheridan, commissions, contingent fund records, memorabilia, newspaper clippings, personal financial records, printed matter, and expressions of sympathy during Sheridan’s final illness in 1888. Items in this series are arranged alphabetically by type of material.

Scrapbooks, 1861-1881

The Scrapbook series is composed entirely of newspaper clippings mounted in albums. The material is arranged chronologically.

Oversize, 1853-1869

The Oversize series is comprised of Sheridan’s military commissions. These materials are stored in oversize containers in the physical collection but are included as part of the Miscellany series in this online edition.