Nov 13



While the Lincoln Memorial was being completed on the west end of Washington, D.C.’s mall area in 1922, another Civil War statue was under construction on the east end of the mall. Located at the foot of Capitol Hill, this monument to Ulysses S. Grant is the second largest equestrian statue in the United States. It was also dedicated in 1922. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.

The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, in Washington, D.C. at the foot of Capitol Hill’s west front, is the second largest equestrian statue in the United States, and the third largest in the world. The largest equestrian statue is of Mexican conquistador Don Juan de Onate, in El Paso, Texas. The second largest equestrian statue is a monument to Italy’s King Victor Emanuel in Rome.

At the center of a raised plaza more than 250 feet wide stands a large bronze equestrian statue of General Grant flanked by four recumbent lions. Full-scale sculptural groups of cavalry and artillery soldiers in combat are placed at the north and south ends of the plaza.

See our post on the Lincoln Memorial on November 6, 2008.

See our post on the Washington Monument on November 12, 2008.



While the Lincoln Memorial is well-known, the Grant Memorial never achieved the prominence its patrons and designers had planned for it. Grant’s memorial is dwarfed by the Capitol behind it and the Mall that stretches before it to the west. In addition, a vast fan-shaped reflecting pool placed in front of the monument in 1970 has lessened its impact by limiting visitor access and views. This view was taken facing east at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



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 twenty years of his life working on the memorial and died, stressed and overworked, two weeks before its dedication in 1922. The construction for Barack Obama’s inauguration platform is occurring in the background on the west side of the Capitol. This view was taken facing east at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The platform for the monument, made of Vermont marble, is 252 feet long and 71 feet wide and is divided into three sections. The tall, middle section features Grant on his war horse Cincinnati. Grant is flanked, on either side, by Union Artillery and Cavalry groups in action. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The tall, middle section of the monument features a 10,700 pound, 17-foot-2-inch high equestrian statue depicting Grant and Cincinnati on a 22 1/2-foot high marble pedestal. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



A feature of the equestrian statue is Grant’s calm attitude amidst the raging fighting going on around him. Grant was known for his outward appearance of calmness during battles. The equestrian statue was completed in 1920. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The artillery group on the south end of the plaza shows a caisson carrying three artillerymen and pulled by three horses. Riding the horse closest to the camera position is the guidon (flag) carrier who is signaling a sharp right wheel. Despite the impending course change, the horse farthest from the camera is able to continue lunging forward due to a broken strap on the right bridle bit. The cavalry group was completed in 1912. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



On the north end of the plaza, the cavalry group depicts a color squad consisting of seven cavalrymen charging into battle. The cavalry group was completed in 1916. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The wayside exhibit for the Grant statue features a painting of Grant at the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 25, 1863. In the painting he is standing on Orchard Knob with the greatest American Civil War general, George H. Thomas, commanding the Army of the Cumberland. The Army of the Cumberland (previously the Army of Ohio) would again save Grant’s reputation, as it did at Shiloh on April 6-7, 1862. At Chattanooga, while Grant’s plan for Hooker’s and Sherman’s armies to take the flanks of Missionary Ridge was not working, The Army of the Cumberland broke the Confederate lines by taking the heights of Missionary Ridge at its center. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



The wayside is located at an interesting spot. It is on the southwest side of the reflecting pool and orienting visitors to face south, instead of looking east to the Grant Memorial. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 11:30 AM on Thursday, November 6, 2008.



Lieutenant-General Grant arrived at Gettysburg on June 20, 1867. He stayed at the home of David Wills, and toured the battlefield the morning of June 21, 1867. Grant was accompanied by Brigadier-General Horace Porter, Major-General Samuel W. Crawford, and Major-General John White Geary. During the tour, they were photographed here in front of what was then the National Soldiers’ Orphans’ Homestead on Baltimore Street. The orphans lined up to pose with the visitors. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Thursday, November 13, 2008.


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