Eulogy of Ulysses S. GrantThe speech was delivered at the banquet of the Army of the Tennessee, upon the occasion of the inauguration of the Grant Equestrian statue, at Chicago, October 8, 1891. the address is the tribute of one who was for years Grant's trusted military aide and close personal associate. That he has not been unduly influenced by personal feeling may be seen from the judgment of the Confederate General, James Longstreet: ‘as the world continues to look at and study the grand combinations and strategy of General Grant, the higher will be his award as a great soldier.’ the text here followed was kindly furnished by General Porter, by whose permission it is reproduced.
Almost all the conspicuous characters in history have risen to prominence by gradual steps, but Ulysses S. Grant seemed to come before the people with a sudden bound. The first sight they caught of him was in the flashes of his guns, and the blaze of his Camp fires, those wintry days and nights in front of Donelson. From that hour until the closing triumph at Appomattox he was the leader whose name was the harbinger of victory. From the final sheathing of his sword until the tragedy on Mount McGregor he was the chief citizen of the Republic and the great central figure of the world. The story of his life savors more of romance than reality. It is more like a fabled tale of ancient days than the history of an American citizen of the nineteenth century. As light and shade produce the most attractive effects in a picture, so the singular contrasts, the strange vicissitudes in his marvelous career, surround him with an interest which attaches to few characters in history. His rise from an obscure lieutenancy to the command of the veteran armies of the Republic; his transition from a one-company post of the untrodden West to the executive mansion of the nation; at one time sitting in his little store in Galena, not even known to the Congressman of his district; at another time striding through the palaces of the Old World, with the descendants of a line of kings rising and standing uncovered in his presence—these are some of the features of his extraordinary career which appeal to the imagination, excite men's wonder, and fascinate all who read the story of his life.