Irene Rucker Sheridan – Military Spouse

The wife of Lieutenant General Philip Sheridan and the daughter of Brigadier General Daniel H. Rucker (also buried at Arlington). She was born in 1856 at Fort Union, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) and married Sheridan in Chicago on June 3, 1875. She is buried in Section 2 with her husband.




Extracts from Washington, D. C. Newspapers, Kindness of Mr. W. J. Ghent


Mrs. Philip H. Sheridan, 83, widow of the Union Army's Cavalry leader, died yesterday afternoon at her home, 2211 Massachusetts Avenue N. W., Washington, D. C., after a long illness. The home is a short distance from Sheridan circle and the equestrian statue of her husband. Death came nearly half a century after the death of her famous husband.

Last of the widows of top-flight Union Army leaders, Mrs. Sheridan was a noted beauty and popular in Washington society. She is survived by her three daughters, Mary,Irene and Louise Sheridan, and two grandchildren, Carolina Sheridan and Philip H. Sheridan 3d, the children of her son, Philip H. Sheridan moved here in 1917, shortly after the United States entered the World War.

All her life, Mrs. Sheridan had lived in Army circles. She was the daughter of General D. H. Rucker, who was Quartermaster General of the Army. About 24 years younger than General Sheridan, who was born in 1831, Mrs. Sheridan spent most of her girlhood in Washington and at Army posts. She was born at Fort Union, New Mexico.

While a bridesmaid at a wedding in Chicago, in 1874, Irene Rucker met General Sheridan, who made his headquarters there. For the next few months he courted her steadily, and contemporaries still recall the hero of the Civil War and “pretty Miss Rucker' riding down Wabash avenue in an open carriage. They were married the following year.

The “Washington Star' of June 4, 1875, gives this description of the wedding of Irene Rucker and General Philip H. Sheridan: “The wedding was very quietly and plainly conducted. The following were invited, and all were present with the exception of President Grant and Mrs. Grant, the President having reluctantly asked to be excused on account of a pressure of public business: President and Mrs. Grand: General Belknap: General Sherman and Mrs. Sherman; General Sherman's staff officers with their wives; General Van Vleit; General Pope and Mrs. Pope; General Augur; General Terry; General OrdGeneral Crook and Mrs. Crook; General R. McFeely and General Perry.

“The bridal dress was a white gros-grain silk softened by a tulle veil fastened with orange blossoms. The Bride's ornaments were gold necklace with solitaire pendant, diamond solitaire ear rings, and gold bracelets, the gifts of the bridegroom. There were no bridesmaids. General Sheridan and all the Army Officers appeared in full dress uniform.

The ceremony was performed by Right Reverend Bishop Foley, assisted by Rev. P. Riordan, according to the forms of the Catholic Church of which both parties are members.”

Shortly after their marriage, General and Mrs. Sheridan moved to Washington and lived in a large house at Rhode Island Avenue and Seventeenth street N. bought for them by Chicago citizens who were grateful to General Sheridan for his work following the great Chicago fire in 1871.

The young girl who had been called the “pretty Miss Rucker” now was called the “lovely Mrs. Sheridan.” She quickly became one of the most popular members of Washington society, often entertaining as many as 300 callers a day.

Since General Sheridan's death in 1888 Mrs. Sheridan had divided her time between her home in Washington and a summer home in New England. She had not been active in Washington affairs since about the time of the World War. In fact no one connected the wrinkled little old lady who used to gaze at Phil Sheridan's statue near her house with the great beauty of the seventies. She had often been known to remark that she “would rather be Phil Sheridan's widow than any living man's wife.”

The Funeral services were held in St. Matthew's Church, the same church in which Cardinal Gibbons performed the last rites for the General. Burial will be in Arlington Cemetery.

EDITORS NOTE:  The Ladies of The Old Army of the Plains! God Bless Them. They accomplished their full share in winning the West by the side of their illustrious soldier husbands.

Not one of those great Commanders who came over to the Indian wars out of the Civil War was more highly or more deservedly honored than General Philip H. Sheridan. The announcement of the death of his widow therefore came to those who knew him in soldier life as a decided shock.

Few if any of those aged and scattered survivors of Indian Wars remembered that the wife of “Little Phil,” as he was lovingly dubbed by those he knew best, survived him.

We are sure the publication of these life incidents of the General and his wife will arouse many a pleasant remembrance of the days when he was such a familiar and welcome figure both in the Civil and Indian Wars.

All honor to the Ladies of the Army. All honor to the memory of Mrs. Sheridan, the daughter and wife of a soldier.


General Philip H. Sheridan, the gallant cavalry officer, who has passed through so many perilous adventures, not only on the field of battle, but in the drawing rooms of polite society, has been captured at last. He has withstood the shot of the enemy, the onslaught of a portion of the press, and the manoeuvres of match-making mammas. To fall a willing victim of the witchery of youth and beauty.

He had so long resisted efforts made to draw him into a matrimonial engagement, that many began to think he was so wedded to his profession that his country was to be his only bride. To the disappointment of many an anticipating maiden, ant the despair of many a hopeful matron, he has at last selected his bride and his mother-in-law.

The lady upon whom his choice has fallen is Miss Irene Rucker, second daughter of General D. H. Rucker, Assistant Quartermaster United States Army, and at present attached to General Sheridan's staff. She is a lady of many accomplishments and considerable personal attractions. She is not half the age of the General, who is now in his forty-fourth year.

The marriage took place at the residence of the bride's parents, on Wabash Avenue, Chicago, on Thursday evening, June 3d. the ceremony was performed by Right Rev. Thomas Foley, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago. Unlike many alliances wherein the parties interested occupy such prominent positions, this was one in which both of the parties have, unquestionably, been prompted by a genuine feeling of affection.

The wedding was devoid of all ostentatious display. Only a few relatives and very intimate friends were invited to witness the ceremony, but among those present were many of the eminent soldiers who have shared with General Sheridan the dangers of the battle-field.

The trousseau provided for Mrs. General Sheridan was very elaborate in design, although subdued in color, the opera-dress being probably the richest in the United States. The gifts were numerous and valuable and came from friends in all sections of the country. Many of the most valuable presents were from army officers.

The General has purchased a home on Michigan Avenue, Chicago, and it is to be hoped that happiness and peace will cluster around the home of the sturdy hero of the Shenandoah.

From “Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper”, of June 19, 1875.

DATE OF DEATH: 02/24/1938

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