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“U.S. Grant: Strategy and Statesmanship Symposium”

October 15 @ 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

2022 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant, and we are honoring his legacy with a day-long symposium that explores several aspects of his consequential life. First, we will hear from Grant himself (portrayed by Kenneth Serfass) as he discusses his childhood and military career and how it shaped his life. Next, we will discuss two of his most famous campaigns of the Civil War - Vicksburg and the Overland campaigns - with Dr. Timothy B. Smith from the University of Tennessee and Dr. Chris Mackowski from St. Bonaventure University. Following lunch, we will dive into Grant’s presidency and the challenges of Reconstruction with Nick Sacco from the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, and then we’ll explore the friendship between Grant and Mark Twain as they worked together to publish Grant’s masterwork The Personal Memoirs of US Grant with Mallory Howard and Steve Courtney from The Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. We’ll wrap the day up with a display of some of our Grant related artifacts with our curator Brett Kelley. 

Join us for a full day of everything U.S. Grant! This year's symposium is available in person or live, via Zoom, on October 15, 2022 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. Registration in person includes a box lunch.

Purchase tickets online here:

NCWM Member -$40.00,   Non-Member - $50.00    Click Here to Purchase Tickets to Attend in Person

Zoom only option - $25.00    Click Here to Purchase Zoom Option

Please Print Flyer to pay by Check. Make Checks Payable to The National Civil War Museum

U.S. Grant: Strategy and Statesmanship Symposium
October 15, 2022 - 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Available in-person and online
Symposium Schedule

9:00 AM Welcome from Jeffrey Nichols, CEO, and Dane DiFebo, Director of Education & Programs

9:15 AM Life Lessons with General Ulysses S Grant as portrayed by Kenneth Serfass
When you sit down with US Grant, you will be encouraged to openly discuss the life lessons that formed the most successful general in our history, and a man who was admired in his own time even more than Abraham Lincoln. General Grant will tell you how his reactions and decisions as a boy and young officer shaped the man he is, and how those same experiences are all part of a greater destiny than any of us
could decide for ourselves to lead a “safe and good” life.

10:15 AM Dr. Timothy B. Smith, “The Design Was Always Mine”: US Grant and the Vicksburg Campaign
For nearly nine months, Ulysses S. Grant tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate river city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He maneuvered and adapted numerous times, reacting to events and enemy movements with great skill and finesse as the lengthy campaign played out on a huge chessboard, dwarfing operations in the east. This reexamination of the familiar story is organized around Grant’s eight key decisions during the campaign. Grant’s nontraditional choices went against the accepted theories of war, supply, and operations as well as against the chief thinkers of the day, such as Henry Halleck, Grant’s superior. Yet Grant pulled off the victory in compelling fashion. Smith shows how Grant’s decisions created and won the Civil War’s most brilliant, complex, decisive, and lengthy campaign.

11:15 AM Dr. Chris Mackowski, Grant’s Overland Campaign
Dr. Chris Mackowski, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Emerging Civil War blog and the Emerging Civil War award-winning book series, is presenting on Ulysses S. Grant’s strategy in the 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign. Dr. Mackowski is employed as a Professor of Communication and the Jandoli School Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs at St. Bonaventure University. Dr. Mackowski has authored or co-authored nearly two dozen books and edited a half-dozen essay collections on the Civil War. His articles have appeared in all the major Civil War magazines.

12:15 PM Lunch

1:15 PM Nick Sacco, “The Challenges of Reconstruction: President Grant and a Nation in Transition”
President Ulysses S. Grant faced incredible challenges upon taking office in 1869. He was tasked with encouraging sectional healing after the American Civil War, promoting the growth of national industry, resolving tensions between the military and various Indigenous Tribes in the West, and restoring the nation’s reputation abroad. In this presentation, Park Ranger Nick Sacco (Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site) will examine Grant’s responses to these various complicated problems. While Grant had mixed success in addressing these issues and was plagued by scandals within his administration (both real and perceived), this
presentation will stress how the nation’s eighteenth president oversaw a growing nation in transition towards becoming a world power.

2:15 PM Mallory Howard and Steve Courtney, Mark Twain, the General, and Mark Twain’s Best Friend: The Drama of Grant’s Last Years
Mark Twain helped restore Grant’s fortunes at the very end of his life, as the publisher of the general’s memoirs. “This is the simple soldier,” Twain later wrote, “who, all untaught of the silken phrase makers, linked words together with an art surpassing the art of the schools, and put into them a something which will still bring to American ears, as long as America shall last, the roll of his vanished drums and the tread of the marching hosts.” Grant finished the job in excruciating pain from throat cancer, and died shortly afterward, but sales of the memoirs saved his wife, Julia Grant, from poverty. And Twain’s best friend, Rev. Joseph Twichell, a minister from Hartford who had served under Grant, was always loyal to his old commander -- and that loyalty led to a dramatic protest against honoring Grant’s opponent Lee, interrupting an 1896 ceremony at Yale University, an action that foreshadows recent removals of Confederate monuments.

3:15 PM Brett Kelley, Displays and describes artifacts from The National Civil War Museum featuring or owned by U.S. Grant
National Civil War Museum Curator Brett Kelley will display and describe artifacts in the collections of the museum which were owned by Ulysses S. Grant or feature the general and 18th President.

4:00 PM Closing Q&A session

This project was funded (or funded in part) through a grant approved by the Americana Corner Grant Program. 

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October 15
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Event Category: