Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Grant Comes to Galveston

Posted in Education by Andy Hall on June 7, 2013



In the spring of 1880, former President and Union General Ulysses S. Grant made a visit to Texas. Fanned by unprecedented press speculation and coverage, huge crowds and celebrities turned out to greet Grant everywhere he went. This was particularly true of the general’s visit to Galveston, at that time the largest and most prosperous city in Texas. Where did Grant go and what did he do? What did he say? And most importantly, what did he eat? Respected historian Ed Cotham answers these questions and more as he chronicles the extensive newspaper coverage of Grant’s historic visit to the island city in his newest presentation for the Menard Summer Lecture Series.


Sunday, June 9 at 2 p.m.
Menard Campus, 3302 Avenue O
Galveston, Texas


Admission is $10 for Galveston Historical Foundation members, $12 for non-members.


Image: Morgan Line steamship Harlan, that carried the Grants from Clinton, Texas to Galveston and on to New Orleans in 1880. Museum of Fines Arts Houston/Bayou Bend Collection.



4 Responses

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  1. TF Smith said, on June 18, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Sidewheelers in 1880…she was probably a wooden hull, as well.

    Did you attend? Where was the place to chow down in Galveston in 1880? I’m kind of curious, now.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm

      You bet I attended; I never miss one of Ed’s talks. I’ve never yet caught an error he’s made, but one of these days. . . . 😉

      The dinner here was held at, I believe, the Tremont Hotel, which was then and for years after the top hotel in the city. Ed actually handed out menus from both the grand dinner here, and one held in Houston, and talked about the (very formal) way toasts and responses were done. Grant was accompanied on this trip by his old friend Phil Sheridan, who made a very diplomatic explanation of his infamous comment that, if he owned both Hell and Texas, he’d live in Hell and rent out Texas. It was really a spectacular visit, apparently, and there was little rancor shown to Grant during his visit in Texas. (Although, IIRC, some person or persons unknown spiked the guns that had been set out to give him a 21-gun salute in San Antonio, forcing him to settle for a much brief salute with only three.)

      The ship here is the Morgan line steamer HARLAN, launched in 1865 and begun running between New Orleans, Galveston and Indianola (further down the Texas coast) int eh spring of 1866. She was iron-hulled, and in fact was of the same dimensions as the steamer ST. MARY’S, that was taken into Union service as U.S.S. HATTERAS. I’m working on a digital model of HARLAN now.

    • Andy Hall said, on June 18, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      Forgot to add — zoom-able image of the ship here:

    • Andy Hall said, on June 18, 2013 at 10:12 pm

      One other thing about the menu, about a third of the items on it are now endangered species. Yum!

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