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The search seeks the exact word or phrase that you type, so if you donât find your choice, try searching for a keyword in your topic or recheck the spelling of a word or name. Sheridan, Philip Henry Sheridan, Philip Henry (1831-1888), American army commander, who distinguished himself in the American Civil War. Sheridan was born on March 6, 1831, in Albany, New York, and was educated at the United States Military Academy. He entered the Civil War in 1861 as a captain in the Union army and a year later was a major general of volunteers. His able leadership of campaigns in Tennessee caused General Ulysses S. Grant, commander in chief of the Union forces, to appoint (1864) Sheridan commander of cavalry in the Army of the Potomac. During May 1864, Sheridan's cavalry cut rail communications about the Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia. From August to October, as commander of the Army of the Shenandoah, Sheridan drove the Confederate forces in Virginia out of the Shenandoah Valley; he then devastated the region to prevent it from being used to supply food for the Confederates. During the Shenandoah campaign he defeated forces under General Jubal Anderson Early at Winchester, Fisher's Mill, and Cedar Creek. Sheridan became a major general in the regular army in 1864 and took part in the advance of Grant's army on Richmond in 1865. His victory at the Battle of Five Forks forced the Confederate commander, General Robert E. Lee, to evacuate the capital and withdraw to Appomattox. Sheridan cut off the Confederate line of retreat, and on April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.