Friday, April 27, 2007

April 27, 1822:

US Grant's Birthday

Soldier, successful military strategist, commander of the Union forces that subdued the Confederacy, and lackluster president, US Grant was also, to his credit, a world traveler. After his presidency was over, he and his wife went on a world tour that lasted more than two years. Starting with the British Isles, they visited many parts of Europe as far east as Russia, then Egypt and the Holy Land, and then various parts of Asia, including Burma, Siam, China and Japan. It was a highly unusual itinerary for the time, even among those who could afford such an extended trip.

Naturally, the Grants were no ordinary tourists, nor even the American equivalent of grand tour travelers. They met royalty and other heads of state, attended functions in their honor, and attracted crowds of people at parades and other events. Newspapers back home covered their movements in detail, and the public read with fascination.

Grant's love of travel ran deep and, according to his Personal Memoirs was in fact one of the reasons he went to West Point. "Besides the argument used by my father in favor of my going to West Point -- that 'he thought I would go'--there was another very strong inducement. I had always a great desire to travel. I was already the best-traveled boy in Georgetown [Ohio]..."

A short description of the Grant's world tour is here, at the American Experience web site.

1 comment:

benny said...

Here is an anecdote: Early in his military career,Grant complained about the inadequacy of an officer who shared his command in one campaign. Grant's senior general demurred. "You underrate this man,"snapped he," remember he has been through ten campaigns."
Ulysses Grant repled," So has that mule over there, General-but he' still a jackass,isn't he?"