Kurt's Historic Sites

Grant Let Us Have Peace

Ulysses S. Grant

Interment Location Visited Sequence in Graves I Have Visited
New York, NY August 15, 2004 10th President visited

Photographed April 27, 2022.

Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb? Former First Lady Julia Grant and her husband Ulysses are interred within the monument, located near the eastern bank of the Hudson River in Manhattan’s Riverside Park. Though the 5’8″ Ulysses S. Grant was small in stature compared to some of his fellow U.S. presidents, he is a giant of American history for commanding the Union Army to victory in the Civil War. He and Mrs. Grant are fitting choices to rest in the most voluminous mausoleum on the North American continent.

Over one million people attended the parade and dedication ceremony for the tomb on April 27, 1897, the 75th anniversary of General Grant’s birth. The building was governed by the Grant Monument Association until that responsibility was transferred to the National Park Service in 1958. The early years of NPS management saw a dramatic decline in the tomb’s condition, but the shrine was revitalized thanks to dogged advocacy by a new incarnation of the Grant Monument Association in the mid-1990s. Today the NPS continues to control operations at the General Grant National Memorial, while the GMA spearheads its preservation efforts. To read a list of current and future projects the GMA is endeavoring to complete, click here.

Photographed August 15, 2004.
Ulysses S. Grant's Grave
Photographed May 15, 2011.

I like when American flags adorn the tomb and add color to its monochromatic exterior. Old Glory serves as a grand background for this stone eagle. This sculpture and its companion on the west side of the portico staircase were added to the mausoleum in the 1930s after they were salvaged by the Works Progress Administration from a demolished post office.

The Grants’ bodies are held within two red granite sarcophagi in the lower level crypt in the center of the tomb. Their names are etched into the lids, with the general’s sarcophagus on the left and Julia Grant’s on the right.

Photographed April 27, 2022.
Photographed August 15, 2004.

It is my goal someday to publish a memoir about my childhood presidential travels. In it, you would be able to read why my visit to Grant’s Tomb at nine years old was an unexpectedly sneaky venture.

For a thorough history of this iconic New York landmark, read Louis L. Picone’s 2021 book, Grant’s Tomb: The Epic Death of Ulysses S. Grant and the Making of an American Pantheon. I spent considerable time with Louis at the memorial in 2022 for General Grant’s bicentennial celebration, and he autographed my copy of his work. The book is shown here, pre-personalization, on the parapet above the sarcophagi.

Photographed April 27, 2022.

Fast Facts

Born: April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio

Spouse: Julia Dent Grant (m. 1848-1885)

Military Rank: General of the Armies (posthumous) — U.S. Army

Political Affiliation: Republican Party

Congressional Gold Medal: 1863

Presidential Tenure: 1869-1877

Vice Presidents: Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873); Henry Wilson (1873-1875)

Died: July 23, 1885 in Wilton, New York

Cause of Death: Throat Cancer

Age: 63

Last Words: “Water.”

Interment: General Grant National Monument, Manhattan, New York, New York

"The cause of the great War of the Rebellion against the United Status will have to be attributed to slavery. For some years before the war began it was a trite saying among some politicians that 'A state half slave and half free cannot exist.' All must become slave or all free, or the state will go down. I took no part myself in any such view of the case at the time, but since the war is over, reviewing the whole question, I have come to the conclusion that the saying is quite true."
- Ulysses S. Grant

in volume II of his personal memoirs, published posthumously in 1886
Photograph May 15, 2011.

In May 1868, Grant wrote a letter to the head of the Republican National Convention, Joseph B. Hawley, in which he accepted the GOP nomination for president. He ended the missive, “Let us have peace.” This went on to become Grant’s unofficial campaign slogan and is carved high above the entryway to his tomb, between the allegorical figures of Victory and Peace.

The cottage was razed in 1963.

Photographed October 10, 2023.

Sources Consulted and Further Reading

Gilio-Whitaker, Dina. “The Story We’ve Been Told About America’s National Parks Is Incomplete.” TIME. April 2, 2019. https://time.com/5562258/indigenous-environmental-justice/.

Grant, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant. Vol. 2. New York: Charles L. Webster and Company, 1886; Project Gutenberg, 2004. https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/1068/pg1068.html.

Grant, Ulysses S. Ulysses S. Grant to Joseph B. Hawley, May 29, 1868. Letter. From Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, Gilder Lehrman Collection. Accessed January 9, 2022. https://www.gilderlehrman.org/collection/glc08129.

Picone, Louis L. Grant’s Tomb: The Epic Death of Ulysses S. Grant and the Making of an American Pantheon. New York: Arcade, 2021.

Join a community of water activists
Join a community of water activists