About the Memorial
Philip Henry Sheridan, 1892-1906, 1914-16
John Quincy Adams Ward and Daniel Chester French
Bronze, 13'6" Pedestal, Stony Creek (CT) granite, designed by Henry Bacon
This bronze equestrian sculpture was designed by noted American sculptor, John Quincy Adams Ward (1830-1910), but was completed by Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), who is perhaps best known for the Lincoln Memorial. French was a former student and close friend of Ward’s and their work on this sculpture was a unique artistic collaboration. Ward was initially hired by a Congressional commission to create a monument to Sheridan for Washington, D.C. in 1889. Known as the dean of American sculptors, Ward had made many major public monuments and portraits of important citizens, including the statue of George Washington on Wall Street in New York. However, plagued by ill health and other problems, he was unable to complete the Sheridan sculpture, and died in 1910.
General Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) was one of the most celebrated heroes of the Civil War. He was commander of the Union Army of the Shenandoah Valley, and is best remembered for a historic twenty-mile gallop on his famous horse Rienze to rally his retreating troops to victory at Cedar Creek, Virginia. Backed by infantry, his cavalry command also blocked Lee’s escape at Appomattox. After the Civil War, Sheridan remained in the regular army, and served as commander-in-chief for the last five years of his life. While growing up, he lived with his family in Albany for about two years; in 1914 a state commission was formed in the capital city to organize the construction of a monument to Sheridan’s memory.
Four years later, when the Albany commission was about to begin the search for a sculptor, Daniel Chester French proposed that Ward’s 1906 working plaster model of General Sheridan become the basis for the memorial. He offered to complete it himself, and oversaw every detail of the project for no remuneration. French brought to life Ward’s vision of General Sheridan: in the full-dress uniform of the General of the Army passing in review, riding a horse full of both action and dignity. The sculpture was dedicated in 1916.