Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

 

Public Art : Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

Sculptor: © Henry Merwin Shrady (October 12th, 1871 – April 12th, 1922)

Description: The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial was erected in honour of American Civil War general and 18th  President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant (April 27th, 1822 – July 23rd, 1885). The Grant memorial consists of three distinct sculptures, The Artillary Group, the Cavalry group and the Equestrian .

The central being a 17.2 feet bronze equestrian statue standing on a marble pedestal. The stillness of this sculpture juxaposes those on either side.  Grant is depicted on his stead, calmly sitting while watching a battle somewhere in the distance. This sculpture was completed in 1920. Known for his cool demeanor in times of turmoil it isn't surprising that the central statue is flanked by those showing the stress and ravishes of war.  

The Artillary group consists of a caisson (a two-wheeled cart designed to carry artillery ammunition) with a cannon, pulled by three horses. Two war weary soldiers sit hunched over at the front of the caisson while another two soldiers sit astride their horses. One soldier is holding up a flag while the other has his cloak flying around his head as his horse rears upwards. The horrors of war are etched in various ways on both the men and the horse's faces. If you look closely from behind you can see the index finger of one of the hunched soldiers slipped into a strap of the cart's canopy in a desperate attempt to hold on. The sculptor used West Point cadets , Fairfax Ayres, James E Chaney and Henry Weeks as models for this piece. The sculpture was completed in 1912.

The Cavalry Group consists of seven soldiers  from a cavalry regiment riding into battle. One of the horses has fallen and a soldier clings on.  Henry Shrady spent a great deal of time attending military parades and studying Civil War history to create this. The sculptures was completed in 1916.

Date Unveiled: The Grant memorial was dedicated on April 27, 1922, on the centennial of Grant's birth and two weeks after Shrady's death (from overwork). It had taken 20 years to complete. Vice President Calvin Coolidge and John J Pershing General of Armies gave dedication speeches. A military parade from the White House to the Capitol was also part of the celebrations.

Location:

Trivia: Henry Shrady's father  was one of the physicians who attended Ulysses S. Grant during his struggle with throat cancer.

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