20. General Philip H. Sheridan (Bronze)
Looking at the equestrian statue of one of his Civil War comrades, the bronze statue of an overweight general sitting astride a too-small horse, Sheridan said to his wife “Whatever you do after I am gone, don’t put me on a horse like that”. So the story goes. And Mrs. Sheridan made sure that the monument honoring her cavalry-hero husband would be every bit as animated and agitated as her husband had been while serving as Cavalry Chief of the Army of the Potomac.
The sculpture, located on a small island on Massachusetts Avenue, was created to look as if Sheridan had just come galloping into camp, dirt flying, skidding his horse, Rienzi, to a screeching halt. In fact, Gutzon Borglum tried to capture Sheridan at the moment he rallied his men on the Winchester Road to snatch victory from defeat at Cedar Creek. The statue is much closer to the ground than other equestrian statues and Sheridan appears to look you right in the eye as he doffs his hat.
Borglum, criticized for creating a statue that was unconventional, snapped that Washingtonians had gotten used to “ridiculous clothespin men on wooden horses.” Mrs. Sheridan, her daughters and son felt quite differently. They loved this statue of General Sheridan, as did the Society of the Army of the Cumberland – and almost everybody else at the dedication ceremony on November 25, 1908.