by Mike Movius
When the miniseries Grant aired, the Civil War Round Table Congress discussed the possibility of developing a living history series with Dr. E. C. “Curt” Fields to capitalize on the popularity of, and interest generated by, the miniseries. Curt is the preeminent Grant living historian, who tells the Grant story in Grant’s own words.
We thought this would give CWRT members the opportunity for further study despite the pandemic lockdown.
With that agreement, we began in earnest to develop a series of video presentations called “Fridays with Grant.” They air live each Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. You can register for free by visiting the Congress’s webpage. Tonight, Jan. 1, we’ll examine Grant’s tumultuous relationship with John McClernand, kicking off a month of discussion.
We have our past programs archived on the CWRT Congress’ YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/c/cwrtcongress. Here’s a full look at the programs we’ve developed so far:
#1 GRANT – THE DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC
Captain Grant describes his trip to Columbia Barracks (Fort Vancouver), his many attempts to earn enough money to bring his family to Washington Territory, his promotion to Captain (regular Army) and transfer to Fort Humboldt and his subsequent resignation from the U. S. Army.
#2 GRANT – TRAVEL FROM FORT HUMBOLDT TO WHITE HAVEN
The late Captain Grant describes his journey from Fort Humboldt through San Francisco, New York City and other points to his loving Julia and the boys at home at White Haven, Missouri.
#3 GRANT – MUSICAL HOMES IN MISSOURI
Musical Homes: The relationship with “Colonel Dent” was strained. So, Grant and family moved to Wish-ton-Wish, then to his log home called Hard Scrabble, but shortly thereafter returned to White Haven.
#4 GRANT – GRANT THE FARMER
Grant the Farmer: A farmer’s life was fraught with problems including debilitating family sickness, bad weather, and national financial crises. Despite these challenges, Grant soldiered on, even manumitting his slave when he gave up farming.
#5 GRANT – THE IRONIC MAN
The Ironic Man: Throughout his life, Grant experienced difficulties and situations that threatened his very life. Not only were these life-changing, but they could have altered the trajectory of America.
#6 GRANT – CAPTAIN GRANT WRITES LETTERS
Letters written in the first few days of the War by Captain Grant to his wife and slave-holding father-in-law, his sister, abolitionist father and Illinois Governor Richard Yates.
#7 GRANT – GRANT GETS AN APPOINTMENT
Colonel U. S. Grant of the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry regiment tells of the frustration in his efforts to secure an appointment.
#8 GRANT – PART I – FORT DONELSON TO SHILOH
General Grant describes the political climate in which he operated after the victory at Fort Donelson, his discussions with army high command, his restoration to command and subsequent movement to Pittsburg landing, the first day of the battle of Pittsburg Landing/Shiloh.
#9 GRANT – PART II – FORT DONELSON TO SHILOH
General Grant completes his two-part Donelson to Shiloh series.
#10 GRANT – THE SURRENDER AT APPOMATTOX
General of the Armies U. S. Grant reads a compelling account of the surrender at Appomattox as experienced and written by a Confederate soldier who surrendered there.
#11 GRANT – PART I – CONTRABANDS OF WAR
Major General U. S. Grant discusses the problems he encountered in Tennessee when former slaves arrived in great numbers.
#12 GRANT – PART II – CONTRABANDS OF WAR
Major General U. S. Grant describes his efforts to handle the increasing number of contrabands of war through the appointment of Chaplain John Eaton, Jr. to be in charge of their care.
#13 GRANT – PART III – CONTRABANDS OF WAR
Lt. General of the Army U. S. Grant talks about contrabands of war and their impact on reconstruction policy.
#14 GRANT – SOUTHEAST DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
General U. S. Grant recalls his promotion to Brigadier General, his assignment to Jefferson City and then to the SE District of Missouri. He then tells of several experiences within the district including the surprise some Illinois men printed the “Stars and Stripes” newspaper on November 9, 1861.
#15 GRANT – PART I – THE ROAD TO WAR
General Grant discusses how the seeds to the American Civil War began during the early days of the republic.
#16 GRANT – PART II – THE ROAD TO WAR
General Grant discusses his recollections about how the Civil War was incontrovertibly brought on the country. He tells of Stephen A. Douglas’ role in parsing the elements of the 1850 Omnibus Compromise Bill that failed, into five pieces that all passed individually, how Uncle Tom’s Cabin affected America and the impact of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.
#17 GRANT – PART III – THE ROAD TO WAR
General Grant recalls how the road to the Civil War was paved with the Dred Scott decision written by the slave-holding Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, Roger Taney.
#18 GRANT – PART IV – THE ROAD TO WAR
General U. S. Grant recalls how disparate events such as the John Brown raid on Harper’s Ferry led to the attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861.
#19 GRANT – VICKSBURG TO NEW ORLEANS TO CHATTANOOGA
Major General Ulysses S. Grant explains how he came about to travel from his successes at Vicksburg to New Orleans where he suffered a severe fall and then on to Chattanooga to rescue the Army of the Cumberland.
GRANT #20 – FIVE DAYS IN CHATTANOOGA
General U. S. Grant explains the situation and how he elected to open the “Cracker Line” into Chattanooga, TN
#21 GRANT – THE BATTLES OF CHATTANOOGA
Major General U. S. Grant recalls the battles of Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain and Orchard Knob and what went as planned and what did not.
#22 GRANT – APPOINTMENT TO LIEUTENANT GENERAL
General Grant tells the story about his appointment to the rank of Lieutenant General of the Army and how that came about.
As the CWRT Congress and Dr. E. C. Fields continues to develop and present living history videos, ECW readers might wish to participate in these presentations and the attendant Q&A sessions. Presentations are scheduled on Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Reservations are required and can be made at https://www.cwrtcongress.org/grant.html
January 1, 2021
#23 GRANT – JOHN McClernand – PART 1: General Grant discusses General McClernand and their relationship through Shiloh.
January 8, 2021
#24 GRANT – JOHN McClernand – PART 2: General Grant talks of McClernand’s actions between Shiloh and the movement down the Mississippi River; with Lincoln and Stanton involved in the intrigue and Halleck becomes an unexpected ally.
January 15, 2021
#25 GRANT – JOHN McClernand – PART 3: General Grant recalls General McClernand service in the Vicksburg campaign and subsequent relief from command.
January 22, 2021
#26 GRANT – FRED GRANT: General Grant recalls Fred’s wounding at Vicksburg and near death after returning home.
January 29, 2021
#27 GRANT – TEMPER DISPLAY: General Grant recalls showing some temper: the mule that wouldn’t stay put and the loudmouth at the barn dance; the soldier assaulting a woman and the teamster beating a mule.
February 5, 2021
#28 GRANT – GRANT’S FIRST MARCH: Colonel Grant recalls commanding his first march; Springfield, Illinois to Missouri in July 1861.