U.S. Grant Symposium Continues with Lectures and Tours
The U. S. Grant Symposium also features an address by Douglas D. Scott, PhD, sponsored by the Missouri History Museum. Dr. Scott’s talk, “Ulysses S. Grant: The Archeological Record,” is at 1:00 p.m. on May 3 in Lee Auditorium at the History Museum in Forest Park. Dr. Scott, known as the “Battlefield Detective,” explored the Grant sites in St. Louis and the site of Grant’s first battle in the Mexican War, near Brownsville, Texas, during his 30-plus year career with the National Park Service. He now heads the American Institute of Battlefield Archaeology.
The U. S. Grant Symposium concludes on Sunday, May 4. Bellefontaine Cemetery is conducting tours of the cemetery in the morning. In the afternoon, beginning at 1:00 p.m. at the Campbell House Museum (Fifteenth and Locust Streets, downtown), an escorted bus tour visits the Campbell House, the Eugene Field House and the DeMenil Mansion, and tracks “The Footsteps of Ulysses S. Grant” from downtown, through Soulard to the DeMenil area. The tour is organized by Renegade Tours of St. Louis.
All Symposium events are free to the public, except the bus and home tour. More information is available at symposium.mocivilwar.org.
As the Mayor’s Proclamation notes, this weekend also marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of Grant’s Overland Campaign in Virginia. In March, 1864, Abraham Lincoln appointed Grant Lieutenant General of the Armies of the United States. On May 4, 1864, Grant at the head of the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River to commence his first campaign against Robert E. Lee. The Campaign, pitting these legendary Union and Confederate commanders against each other, proved to be the last Union offensive against Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.
Ulysses Grant rose to national prominence after his Civil War career began inauspiciously in St. Louis on May 10, 1861. Then, when Union troops marched off to confront Missouri Militia troops at Camp Jackson in Midtown St. Louis, Grant was an obscure Illinois recruiting officer who watched the troops depart from the U. S. Arsenal. Grant and his family lived within blocks of the Arsenal, in the Soulard neighborhood, in 1859-1860, a particularly unsuccessful and bitter time for him.
Grant resided in St. Louis County from 1854 to 1859 at the estate of his wife’s family, now the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in Affton. He purchased the home during the Civil War, and occupied it during and after his Presidency.
“There is no comparable case in the history of U. S. politics and military affairs,” said Greg Wolk, Executive Director of Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation. “The three years that began with Camp Jackson in St. Louis and ended at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864 saw the most meteoric and improbable rise of fortune of any American President,” Wolk noted.
Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation will use the occasion of the Symposium to launch a new tourist map of the U. S. Grant Trail™. St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Arcadia Valley, and other communities in southeast Missouri, are collaborating to bring attention to Grant’s Missouri movements and battles in 1861. The new trail joins the northeast segment of the U. S. Grant Trail that was introduced in 2012. Travelers will have the opportunity to navigate all of Grant’s wartime campaigns in Missouri, and the important Grant sites in and around St. Louis, on a route that stretches from Quincy, Illinois to New Madrid, Missouri.
Sunday, April 27, 2014, was the famous General’s Birthday, his 192nd.