Thursday, August 15, 2013

Grant's Final Victory by Charles Bracelen Flood

Ulysses S. Grant’s Heroic Last Year After completing his eight years as President, General Grant placed his assets in a jointly managed investment company. Two of the associates stole funds which when discovered wiped out the funds Grant needed to support his wife, children and grandchildren. Friends came to help by providing loans. He had been solicited to write his memoirs about his war time experiences in the Civil War. This presented the best solution towards earning enough funds to pay off his debts and provide for his family. As he started the project he suffered severe throat pains. A cancer was discovered at the base of his tongue. It was painful to swallow liquids or eat. Nonetheless he continued on day by day the arduous task of putting his thoughts to paper. Along the way Mark Twain entered the picture and convinced Grant to let Twain’s Company to publish. Twain provided valuable assistance to aid Grant. The story describes his year long struggle to accomplish the goal despite the continuing deterioration of his body. A growth grew on the left side of his neck to huge dimensions. He communicated by whispering and writing notes. It was completed three days before he succumbed to death. The result was a two volume book entitled “Personal Memoirs” which contained 1,215 pages of text and 291,000 words. He died at 8:08 A.M. July 13, 1885. His son Colonel Frederick Grant walked over to the clock and stopped the clock. It remains that way to this day. His wife Julia lived an additional 17 years, a widow who had become wealthy from the sales of her husband’s book. She would lie beside him in the massive tomb the next generation would know. The place selected was a temporary tomb on the cliffs above the Hudson River in N.Y. City. It was the largest parade in the history of America. It was estimated at one and one half million people along the parade route. It was led by General Hancock. Everyone wore black. The buildings had black streamers hanging down. The hearse was drawn by twenty four black horses. There were twenty generals, some former Rebel Generals. Julia insisted that several of them should be allowed to be pallbearers. President Grover Cleveland and former Presidents Rutherford Hays and Chester Arthur followed in their carriages. There were many bands and thousands of soldiers including rebel soldiers paying tribute. I must now order books to learn why he was so beloved. Jack B. Walters August 15, 2013

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