As a New York City student in pre-World War II days, I walked past the Ulysses S. Grant memorial each day on Riverside Drive.
Built in 1897 to honor the hero of the Union Army in the Civil War and our 18th president, it stands imposing overlooking the Hudson River as heavy traffic divides around it.
Fast backward to the living room of the McLean Home at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, where Grant accepted the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.
The contrast epitomizes the difference between the aristocrat and the commoner — two worlds apart.
Grant wore a common soldier’s uniform with mud-splattered boots. Lee was impeccable in the full-dress uniform of a Confederate general. At this time, Grant was a four-star general, the first since George Washington.
In the U.S. Army, Lee had given up his commission as a colonel. Many of the southern graduates of West Point had surrendered their commissions to join the Confederate Army. Lee actually had been the commandant of West Point in 1852 and had distinguished himself in the Mexican-American War.
The nation this year is marking he 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.
You can follow the ‘via’ link above for more good Grant…
- 10 Surprising Civil War Facts (history.com)
- Civil War Week on HISTORY (history.com)
- 10 Things You May Not Know About the Civil War (pt. 3) (real-southern.com)