General Grant’s 1865 visit to Detroit

It was August 13, 1865. The Civil War had ended and the nation was healing. President Abraham Lincoln was dead. John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators were dead or imprisoned. Soldiers were returning home. lives that were forever changed were trying to start over again. In Detroit, Michigan, General U. S. Grant was visiting. He had lived in Detroit previously. He had arrived there, by the way, via Port Huron. His wife Julia and four children were with him. He received a grand welcome to the town! There were immense crowds of people there to see the man who had, with Lincoln, saved the Union. The crowds were so thick that traffic had great difficulty getting through.

That evening there was a reception for Grant at the Biddle House. Several addresses were given in his honor. Afterward, Grant paid his respects to Ex-Governor Lewis Cass. For the next few days, he and his family enjoyed Detroit. He attended services at St. Paul’s Church and went on a river trip aboard the United States steamer Michigan. Senator Zachariah Chandler (no stranger to Grant), gave a reception one evening dedicated to his great accomplishments in the war. The next day, Grant with his family, left Detroit.  Grant would visit Detroit again in the future-June 15, 1882-for a reunion of the Army of the Potomac.  But in those few days in August of 1865, Grant enjoyed being back in the place that held a special place in his heart-Detroit. Once when Grant was in consultation with President Lincoln and Edwin Stanton-in December 1864- a visitor to the meeting introduced himself as having been from Detroit. Grant remarked: “From Detroit?” “I used to live there once.” From that point the conversation was turned to Grant’s keen interest in how things were “back home.” It seems Grant was like all of us who have made Detroit “home.”  It didn’t matter where he was actually living or would be living in the future-Grant counted Detroit as “home.” He would be President of the United States in a few years ahead. I bet he daydreamed at times about his old home. It would be a time he could never go to back to…

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2 Responses to “General Grant’s 1865 visit to Detroit”

  1. B. Nash says:

    Thanks Phil. I try and post things that are not commonly known-and with a hometown twist when I can.

  2. Phil Carlisle says:

    An interesting fact I never knew about.

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