Calendar  |  Logan County Tourism Bureau

General Ulysses S. Grant returns to Springfield September 23
Appearance is a good lead-in for Route 66 Festival

Send a link to a friend  Share

[September 10, 2016]  SPRINGFIELD – One hundred and fifty-five years ago an up-and-coming captain was given a small office in Illinois' Statehouse to bring order to the process of mustering Union troops from Illinois to fight in the Civil War.

That officer was Ulysses S. Grant, and he will return along with Civil War re-enactors for special events on Friday, September 23 at the Old State Capitol State Historic Site and Edwards Place in Springfield. The Springfield activities are part of a four day Mattoon’s General Grant Days event.

Grant's appearance is a good lead-in for the International Route 66 Festival that starts at 6 p.m. that evening in downtown Springfield. Like many Route 66 fans Grant liked fast transportation – in his case, horses – and as President was once pulled over for speeding his carriage through Washington. In common with many motorists who exceed the limit today, President Grant paid his fine.


“Like another famous Illinoisan, Ulysses S. Grant began his march into the history books at the Old State Capitol,” said event coordinator Steve Thompson. “The September 23 events will highlight the lesser-known part of Grant's early career, when he was a recruiter, and a good one at that, for the Union Army.”

Nationally-renowned presenter Kenneth J. Serfass will portray Grant during the Springfield events. He will give a first-person presentation from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Old State Capitol's Hall of Representatives, then from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. he will interact with and review a contingent of Civil War soldier re-enactors on the Old State Capitol grounds. The Old State Capitol events are free and open to the public.

General Grant and the re-enactors will then attend an Illinois State Historical Society and Landmarks Illinois-sponsored private reception at Edwards Place in Springfield from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

[to top of second column]

The Old State Capitol State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, includes the Adjutant General's Office where Captain Ulysses S. Grant came to work in May 1861 to help with the Union recruitment effort. His success helped him secure a colonel’s commission in the 21st Illinois Infantry Regiment, and in the summer of 1861 Colonel Grant and the 21st Illinois Infantry deployed west to Missouri, and began their rise to fame during the Civil War.

The General Grant events are being held to encourage public support for and awareness of the Mattoon Civil War Memorial Ellipse and Camp Grant Municipal Park landscape architecture project in Mattoon, and coincide with activities September 22 – 25 in Coles County. Mattoon was the site of Camp Grant, a Union muster camp for Illinois infantry regiments from 1861-1865, which Grant visited in May of 1861 to enlist Illinois troops to fight in the Civil War.

[Steve Thompson]

< Tourism index

Back to top