Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C., honoring American Civil War general and U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant. It is located at the base of Capitol Hill (Union Square, the Mall, 1st Street, between Pennsylvania Avenue and Maryland Avenue), below the west front of the United States Capitol.

The monument's statue faces west toward the Lincoln Memorial honoring Grant's wartime president, Abraham Lincoln. Between the Grant and Lincoln memorials, which define the east and west boundaries of the National Mall, is the Washington Monument. The Grant Memorial includes the second largest equestrian statue in the United States and the fourth largest in the world, after the statue of conquistador Don Juan de Oñate, in El Paso, Texas, the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue and the monument to Italy's King Victor Emanuel in Rome. James M. Goode in his authoritative The Grant Memorial in Washington D.C. says it

The Society of the Army of the Tennessee began the effort in the 1890s which culminated in the memorial's dedication decades later.

The statue is a contributing monument to the Civil War Monuments in Washington, DC, of the National Register of Historic Places.

History

The Grant Memorial, begun in 1902 as the largest ever commissioned by Congress at the time, was created by sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady and architect William Pearce Casey. Sculptor Edmund Amateis assisted Shrady as the monument neared completion in 1921. Shrady spent 20 years of his life working on the memorial and died, stressed and overworked, two weeks before its dedication in 1922.

Construction on the site of the memorial began in 1909 when the marble superstructure and the four bronze lions were installed. The Artillery Group was installed in 1912, the Cavalry Group in 1916, and the bronze equestrian statue of Grant in 1920. The memorial was dedicated on the 100th anniversary of Grant's birth, April 27, 1922. Shrady having died, the infantry panels on the base of Grant's pedestal were completed by sculptor Sherry Fry based on Shrady's sketches and installed in 1924. The Grant Memorial composes the center of a three-part sculptural group including the James A. Garfield Monument to the south and the Peace Monument to the north.

Design

The platform for the monument, made of Vermont marble, is 252 feet (77 m) long and 71 feet (22 m) wide and is divided into three sections. The tall, middle section features a 10,700 pound, 17-foot-2-inch (5.23 m) high equestrian statue depicting Grant aboard his war horse Cincinnati on a 22½-foot high marble pedestal.

A striking feature of the central statue is Grant's calm (almost disaffected) attitude amidst the raging fighting going on around him. This is not surprising because Grant was known for his calmness and coolheadedness during battle. In sharp contrast to Grant are the sculpture groups on either side

Grant is flanked, on either side, by fighting Union Artillery and Cavalry groups. Surrounding the main pedestal are four shorter pedestals, each supporting a bronze lion in repose guarding both the United States flag and the flags of the Army. The memorial was the largest bronze sculpture cast in the United States at that time.

The Artillery Group to the south shows a caisson carrying three artillerymen and pulled by three horses. Astride the horse on the left is the guidon (flag) carrier who is signaling a sharp right wheel. Despite the impending course change the horse on the right is able to continue lunging forward due to a broken strap on the right bridle bit. To the north the Cavalry Group depicts a color squad consisting of seven cavalrymen charging into battle. The horse on the right has fallen and the rider, modeled after Shrady himself, is moments from being trampled by the onrushing horses.

Building Activity

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