Thursday, March 04, 2021

Chicago monuments under assault, Part Seven, Phil Sheridan

General Phil Sheridan was a Union Civil War hero. His victories in the Shenandoah Campaign in 1864 against the Confederacy secured the breadbasket of the Southern armies for the North. His victory in the Battle of Five Forks  the following year gave General Ulysses S. Grant the opportunity to end of the Petersburg Siege the next day. The day after that the rebels' capital, Richmond, fell. 

Two of my ancestors served with Grant's Army in the Petersburg Siege.

On Sheridan Road--named for him of course--at Belmont on the North Side stands the Phil Sheridan statue. Click here to view it. The bronze statue was designed by Gutzon Borglum, who was in charge of the carving of Mount Rushmore.

Sheridan was in Chicago the night of the Chicago Fire. The city was placed under martial law--with the hero of the Shenandoah Campaign in charge. 

The general fought on the Plains during the Indian Wars, which is likely why the Sheridan statue is one of the monuments that "warrant attention" according to the secretive Chicago Monments Project, which has 40 other statues, plaques, and reliefs "under review." 

Sheridan applauded the near extermination of the buffalo on on the Plains in the 1870s.

Allegedy Sheridan once said, "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead."

Sheridan sits on an upright stallion in the statue. Yes, it's a male horse, anatomically correct, and for years in a bizarre initiation tradition in Major League Baseball, rookies painted the genitals of the generals' horse on their first road trip to Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs. 

Last fall radicals vandalized the Sheridan monument, tying the general to colonization, racism, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and the Chicago Police. 

Sheridan is one of the few men to have served as a General of the Army, which in the 19th-century was a four-star generals' rank. Now it's a five-star rank, although no American has been a General of the Army since Omar Bradley's death in 1981.

To comment on the monuments "under review" please visit the Chicago Monuments Project "Feedback page." Please be courteous but firm in your comments. 

Please Tweet this post. When you do so use the #ChicagoMonuments hashtag.

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