Total War: March to September 1864

The Man of the Hour

When did Grant arrive in Washington, D.C.?

On March 7, 1864, Ulysses Grant and his son Frederick arrived in Washington by train. They went straight to the Willard Hotel, the best-known and most popular lodging place in the city. Because of the linen that overhung his shoulders, Grant’s general’s stars were not visible, and the desk clerk assigned the pair a room in the attic. When the short, mild-mannered fellow signed the register as “Ulysses S. Grant and son,” the clerk hastily reassigned them to the best suite in the hotel.

In our day of celebrity worship, one might think such a humble approach was designed to court popularity, but it was, in fact, vintage Grant. He had never cared very much about popularity, or image, and to him it was obvious that one did not call attention to oneself. Later that day, Grant was practically besieged by presidential aides, who asked him to come to the White House for a reception. The chances are that he did not expect the large crowd that turned out to greet him.


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