As a native New Yorker who had pledged to serve the U.S. Army, there was no doubt that Sheridan would fight for the Union in the Civil War. During the first months of the war, he served as a staff officer for higher-ranking officers in the army, helping with strategy sessions and administrative duties. In May 1862, though, Sheridan was promoted to colonel and given command of the Second Michigan Cavalry.
During the remainder of 1862, Sheridan distinguished himself in several different battles in the Civil War's western theater (the region of the South between the Mississippi River and the Appalachian Mountains). First, he led a successful raid on Booneville, Mississippi, in July. Then, Sheridan and his troops helped the North take hard-fought victories at the Battle of Perryville in Kentucky and the Battle of Stones River in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In recognition of his impressive military performance, Sheridan was promoted to the rank of major-general at the beginning of 1863. During the next sixteen months, he remained in the West as an infantry commander in the Union's Army of the Cumberland.
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