The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #55326 Message #866317
Posted By: GUEST
13-Jan-03 - 08:22 PM
Thread Name: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
Subject: RE: Review: Unique Civil War Biography
Jed et al
I read,some years back,the two volume set of memoirs,which had a Public Library acceptance date stamp of 1890 or so,and which included a facsimile of the Grant/Lee surrender document.
Grant's memoirs,1952 edition,are online
In chapter 18 Grant describes a valuable lesson he learnt very early in the CW when moving against Colonel Thomas Harris and his force; if not exactly a revelation then a point of view he had not realised before.
Your post about Grant's Tomb made me reach for my books and in an autobiographical work by General Grenville M. Dodge found a chapter about the dedication ceremony of the tomb - Dodge was the Grand Marshal of the dedication parade.
Julia Dent Grant revealed that when General Grant and herself were in Europe they paid a visit to the tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella, both lying side by side in the tomb. The thought of the royal couple sleeping side by side for centuries appealed to Grant and turning to her, he said, "Julia, this is the way we should be in death."
The Grant monument was dedicated on April 27th, 1897. The parade of three divisions marched from Madison Square to the tomb, about four miles, and was then the largest parade ever seen in New York. It took five hours, closed in solid column, passing the review stand. The day was a cold, windy, uncomfortable day, but the police estimated that over 'three million of people' lined the sidewalks.
President McKinley gave an address and then General Horace Porter delivered the following oration [I post it as it was described by Dodge as 'a remarkable one, one of the finest probably ever delivered in this country.']:
"Most of the conspicuous characters in history have risen to prominence by gradual steps, but the senior of the Triumvirate, whose features are recalled to us today, came before the people with a sudden bound. Almost the first sight caught of him was in the blaze of his camp-fires and the flashes of his guns those wintry days and nights in front of Donelson. From that time unitl the closing triumph at Appomattox the great central figure of the war was Ulysses S. Grant. As light and shade produce the most attractive effects in a picture, the singular contrasts, the strange vicissitudes of his eventful life surround him with an interest which attaches to few characters in history. His rise from a obscure Lieutenant to the command of the veteran armies of the great Republic; his transition from a frontier post of the untrodden West to the Executive Mansion of the nation; his sitting at one time in a little store in Galena, not even known to the Congressman from his district; at another time striding through the palaces of the old world with the descendants of a line of kings rising and standing with uncovered heads in his presence. These are some of the features of his marvellous career which appeal to the imagination, excite men's wonder and fascinate all who make a study of his life.
He was created for great emergencies. It was the very magnitude of the task which called forth the powers which mastered it. In ordinary matters he was an ordinary man; in momentous affairs he towered as a giant. When performing the routine duties of a company post there was no act to make him conspicuous above his fellow officers, but when he wielded Corps and Armies the great qualities of the Commander flashed forth, and his master strokes of genius stamped him as the foremost soldier of his age. When he hauled wood from his little farm and sold it in St. Louis his financiering was hardly equal to that of the small farmers about him but when a message was to be sent by a President to Congress that would puncture the fallacies of the inflationists and throttle, by a veto, the attempt of unwise legislators to cripple the finances of the Nation, a State paper was produced which has ever since commanded the wonder and admiration of every believer in sound currency. He was made for great things, not for little things. He could collect fifteen millions from Great britain in settlement of the Alabama claims; he could not protect his own personal savings from the miscreants who robbed him in wall street.
If there is one word which describes better than any other the predominating characteristic of his nature, that word is loyalty. He was loyal to his friends, loyal to his family, loyal to his country, and loyal to his God. This trait naturally produced a reciprocal effect upon those who were brought into relations with him and was one of the chief reasons why men became so loyally attached to him. Many a public man has had troops of adherents who clung to him only for the patronage dispensed at his hands, or being dazzled by his power, became blind partisans to a cause he represented, but perhaps no other man than General Grant ever had so many friends who loved him for his own sake, whose affection only strengthened with time, whose attachment never varied in its devotion, whether he was General or President or simply a private citizen.
Even the valour of his martial deeds was surpassed by the superb heroism he displayed when fell disease attacked him; when the hand which had seized the surrendered swords of countless thousands was no longer able to return the pressure of a comrade's grasp, when he met in death the first enemy to whom he ever surrendered. But with him death brought eternal rest, and he was permitted to enjoy what he had pleaded for in behalf of others - for the Lord had let him have peace."
Is Grant's Tomb still a popular tourist attraction?
After the war Dodge was associated with Grant in various enterprises,such as the railway from the City of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean, and he writes:"...of that peculiar make-up which let small matters go without attention, but in any crisis would rise to command it. He was so modest and so simple that his greatness was absolutely forced upon one from his very acts."
What I can make out from all of this is that Grant was an extraordinary man by being a great soldier and an ordinary man.