previous next


Sheridan's orders and conduct.

But whilst no one will dispute the fact that Sherman has a clear title to the distinction we have accorded him in this report, yet, unfortunately for the people of the South, he has other willing and efficient aids in his work of devastation, destruction and vandalism; and we must now take up, for a time, the work of his ‘close second,’ General Philip H. Sheridan. This officer is reputed to have said that the true principles for conducting war are—

First. Deal as hard blows to the enemy's soldiers as possible, and then cause so much suffering to the inhabitants of the country that they will long for peace and press their government to make it.

Nothing ’ (he says) ‘should be left to the people but eyes to lament the war.’

He certainly acted on the last of these principles in his dealings with the people of the beautiful Valley of Virginia, which, by his vandalism, was converted from one of the most fertile and beautiful portions of our land into a veritable ‘valley of the shadow of death.’ He actually boasted that he had so desolated it, that ‘a crow flying over would have to carry his own rations.’

In Sheridan's letter to Grant, dated Woodstock, October 7, 1864, he says of his work:

In moving back to this point the whole country, from the Blue Ridge to the North Mountain, has been made untenable for the rebel army.

I have destroyed over 2,000 barns filled with wheat and hay and farming implements; over 70 mills filled with flour and wheat; have driven in front of the army over 4,000 head of stock, and have killed and issued to the troops not less than 3,000 sheep. This destruction embraces the Luray Valley and Little Fort Valley, as well as the main valley.

A large number of horses have been obtained, a proper estimate of which I cannot now make.

Lieutenant John R. Meigs, my engineer officer, was murdered beyond Harrisonburg, near Dayton. For this atrocious act all the houses within an area of five miles were burned.

It is not generally known, we believe, that this policy of devastation on the part of Sheridan was directly inspired and ordered by General Grant, who, in his Memoirs, writes with great satisfaction

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Venice (Ohio, United States) (2)
Little Fort Valley (Virginia, United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Philip H. Sheridan (6)
U. S. Grant (4)
William T. Sherman (2)
John R. Meigs (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
October 7th, 1864 AD (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: