Ulysses S. Grant Memorial
Backstory and Context
The three part marble and bronze memorial to our 18th President and general in the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant, sits on the National Mall, directly between the United States Capitol and the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington, D.C. The Grant Memorial is part of a larger sculptural group, being the center sculpture in a group of three, with the Peace Monument to the north, and to the south, the James A. Garfield Monument. Grant's memorial faces west, toward the Lincoln Memorial, in order to honor President Abraham Lincoln, who was President of the United States when Grant was a commanding general of the Union Army during the Civil War.
The artist, Henry Merwin Shrady, spent 20 years of his life sculpting the Ulysses S. Grant memorial. The platform for the sculpture is made out of Vermont marble and measures 252 feet long and 71 feet wide. There are three parts to the memorial, with the center featuring a statue of Ulysses S. Grant, riding horseback on his horse Cincinnati, resting on the large marble platform. He wears a calm expression on his face, as he often did in battle, being known for his levelheadedness. On the base of the pedestal are bronze reliefs featuring infantrymen, and four bronze lion sculptures surround the marble pedestal.The other two parts to the memorial feature bronze sculptures; an artillery group to the south, and a cavalry group to the north.
The idea for the Grant memorial first occurred in 1890, however work did not begin until 1902. In 1909, construction began on site, with the installment of the marble base and the bronze lions. Three years later, in 1912, the artillery sculpture to the south of Grant was installed, and later in 1916, the cavalry sculpture was added. It wasn't until 1920 that the statue of Ulysses S. Grant on horseback was added to the three part monument. The memorial was set to be dedicated on the 100th anniversary of Grant's birth, April 27, 1922, however the sculptor, Shrady, died two weeks before it took place. At this time, the bronze reliefs on the base of the pedestal had not yet been added. Artist Sherry Fry was able to sculpt them using Shrady's sketches, and they were finally installed in 1924.