Frederick Dent Grant

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Frederick Dent Grant
Frederick Dent Grant.jpg
Grant in 1908
Military Governor of Pampanga
In office
1899–1900
Preceded byJosé Alejandrino
Succeeded byArthur MacArthur Jr.
U.S. Minister to Austria-Hungary
In office
1889–1893
MonarchFranz Joseph I of Austria
PresidentBenjamin Harrison
Grover Cleveland
Preceded byAlexander R. Lawton
Succeeded byBartlett Tripp
Personal details
Born(1850-05-30)May 30, 1850
St. Louis, Missouri
DiedApril 12, 1912(1912-04-12) (aged 61)
Governors Island, New York
Resting placeWest Point Cemetery
Relations
ChildrenJulia Dent Grant
Ulysses S. Grant III
ParentsUlysses S. Grant
Julia Grant
EducationUnited States Military Academy
OccupationCivil engineer, businessman, police commissioner
Military service
AllegianceUnited States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army
Years of service1871–1881, 1898–1912
RankMajor General
Unit4th Cavalry Regiment
Commands14th New York Volunteers
Department of the East
Battles/warsIndian Wars Spanish–American War
Philippine–American War

Frederick Dent Grant (May 30, 1850 – April 12, 1912) was a soldier and United States minister to Austria-Hungary. Grant was the first son of General and President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Grant. He was also named after his uncle, Frederick Tracy Dent.

Early life[edit]

His father was in the United States Army when Frederick was born in St. Louis, Missouri. The family moved as the senior Grant was assigned to posts in Michigan and New York. Frederick spent his early childhood at his paternal grandparent's house while his father was stationed on the West Coast. After his father's resignation from the army, the family lived in St. Louis and in Galena, Illinois.

Grant attended public school in Galena until the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861. Grant's father organized a volunteer regiment and was made colonel. Frederick accompanied his father when the regiment was sent to northern Missouri, but he was sent home when it arrived. He then rejoined his father off and on during several campaigns during the war. Eager to be a part of the action, Frederickl put himself in harms way many times while with his father. This happened for the last time during the decisive battle that ended the Siege of Vicksburg. During the battle, Frederick rode off onto the field and was supsequently shot in the leg by a confederate sniper. Normally, his wound would have called for amputation, however, possibly due to his military asperations or his father’s rank, this did not occur. Despite a painful infection, doctors were able to save his leg. Though in his weakened state, Frederick fell victim to Typhoid Fever, which was common in Union camps during the war. Fortunately, Frederick made a full recovery.[1]

West Point controversy[edit]

On June 1, 1870, the first black cadet, James Webster Smith, from South Carolina, was admitted into the United States Military Academy. Smith was sponsored by Senator Adelbert Ames of Mississippi and nominated by Representative Solomon L. Hoge of South Carolina. Smith was hand picked for his outstanding character and scholarly ability by David Clark, a northern philanthropist. While at West Point, Smith was forced to endure immense racism, violence, and shunning by other West Point attendees. Frederick Dent Grant has been accused of being one of Smith's harassers.[2]

While Frederick Dent Grant was named as one of the chief persecutors by William McFeely in his biography of Ulysses S. Grant, quoted as saying to his father, then President, that “no damned nigger will ever graduate from West Point,”[2] recent scholarship has raised questions about McFeely’s sources. The evidence McFeely employs to assert Fred’s racism comes from an entirely separate hazing incident in 1870 involving a number of white cadets that Smith was never involved with. In a January 1871 investigation of the hazing Fred testified to the Committee on Military Affairs that he was aware of the prank, that he supported it, and that he did nothing to stop it. McFeely conflates Fred’s testimony from this case with the separate court martial cases against Smith to make it look like he was aware of and supported Smith’s harassment. In actuality, Fred never testified in Smith’s cases nor admitted any role in his harassment.[3] In addition, the inflammatory racism cited by McFeely was described by a witness who was not actually present at the meeting.[3]

Smith was later discharged after failing an unconventional private examination by Professor Peter S. Mitchie. While Frederick Grant denied being a leader of the cadets who hazed Smith for being an African American, there is evidence to suggest he actively participated.[2] (Smith died of tuberculosis in 1876; he was granted a posthumous commission in the United States Army in 1997.)[4]

Early military career[edit]

Grant was appointed to West Point in 1866 and graduated in 1871.[5] He was assigned to the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. He took a leave of absence to work with the Union Pacific Railroad as a civil engineer. Late in 1871, he was aide-de-camp to General William Tecumseh Sherman in Europe. He rejoined the 4th Cavalry in Texas in 1872.

In 1873, he was assigned to the staff of General Philip Sheridan and promoted to lieutenant colonel. He was on the Yellowstone Expedition and was with George Armstrong Custer during the Black Hills expedition.

His daughter Julia was born on June 6, 1876. Grant received leave to travel to Washington, D.C. for her birth.

In 1877, he took a leave of absence to accompany his father on a trip around the world.

In 1878, Grant was in the Bannock War and was in the fight against Victorio in New Mexico.

Civilian career[edit]

Fredrick Grant resigned from the U.S. Army in 1881,[5] and assisted his father in preparing the latter's memoirs. During this time, he was in business in New York City.

In 1887, he ran on the Republican ticket for Secretary of State of New York, but was defeated by the Democratic incumbent Frederick Cook. In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed him the U.S. Minister to Austria-Hungary. After Grover Cleveland became president in March 1893, Grant continued in his post until his successor presented his credentials on June 8, 1893.[6]

Grant became a commissioner of police in New York City in 1894, an office he held until 1898. He served on the Police Commission along with future President Theodore Roosevelt.[5][7]

He was a hereditary companion of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States by right of his father's service in the Civil War. He joined the Military Order of Foreign Wars as a Hereditary Companion in 1896 (of which he also became a Veteran Companion after the Spanish–American War in 1898). He was also a member of the Aztec Club of 1847, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Society of Colonial Wars, the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America and the Military Order of the Carabao.[citation needed]

Spanish–American War and later military career[edit]

When the Spanish–American War started in 1898, Grant was commissioned as colonel of the 14th New York Volunteers on May 2, 1898 and was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers on the 27th of the same month.[5] He served in the campaign in Puerto Rico under General Nelson Miles. In 1899, Grant was sent to the Philippines for service in the Philippine–American War, where he remained until 1902. On February 18, 1901, he was commissioned a brigadier general in the Regular Army.

When he returned to the United States, he held various commands and was promoted to major general in 1906.[5] At the time of his death, he was the commander for the Eastern Division which included the Department of the East and the Department of the Gulf.

Personal life[edit]

Grant and his wife Ida in 1905

In 1874, Grant married Ida Marie Honoré (1854–1930), the daughter of Henry Hamilton Honoré, who made his fortune in Chicago real estate. Ida Marie's sister was Bertha Palmer, the wife of Chicago businessman Potter Palmer. They were married in Chicago and had two children:

He died of cancer, the same disease that had claimed his father, at Fort Jay on Governors Island in New York City on April 12, 1912. At the time of his death, Grant was the second most senior officer on active duty in the U.S. Army after Major General Leonard Wood. He and was buried in West Point Cemetery.[10]

Descendants[edit]

Through his daughter, he was the grandfather of Prince Michael Mikhailovich Cantacuzène, Princess Bertha Mikhailovna, and Princess Zenaida Mikhailovna, who married Sir John Coldbrook Hanbury-Williams, son of Major-General Sir John Hanbury-Williams.[11]

Through his son Ulysses, he was the grandfather of three girls, Edith Clara Grant (1908–1995), who married David Wood Griffiths, Clara Frances Grant (1912–2005), who married Paul Ernest Ruestow, and Julia Grant.[12]

Awards[edit]

Dates of rank[edit]

  • Cadet, USMA - 1 July 1866
  • 2nd Lieutenant, Regular Army - 12 June 1871
  • 1st Lieutenant, Regular Army - 28 June 1876
  • Lieutenant Colonel, Aide de Camp - 17 March 1873
  • Resigned - 1 October 1881
  • Colonel, Volunteers - 2 May 1898
  • Brigadier General, Volunteers - 27 May 1898
  • Brigadier General, Regular Army - 18 February 1901
  • Major General, Regular Army - 6 February 1906

References[edit]

  1. ^ Warren, Andrea. “Young Frederick Grant Goes to War”, ‘ ‘ Nonfiction Minute ‘ ‘ , Published 16 November 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  2. ^ a b c McFeely, William S. (2002). Grant: A Biography. pp. 375–376.
  3. ^ a b Sacco, Nick. [Pastexplore.wordpress.com "President Ulysses S. Grant and the West Point Controversy of 1870"] Check |url= value (help). Exploring the Past.
  4. ^ Williams, Albert E. (2003). Black Warriors: Unique Units and Individuals. Infinity Publishing. p. 23.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Gen. Grant Dies In Hotel Here. Stricken at the Buckingham, Whither He Was Taken from St. Luke's Hospital". New York Times. April 12, 1912. Retrieved 2009-01-26.
  6. ^ "FORMER U.S. AMBASSADORS TO AUSTRIA". U.S. Embassy in Vienna. Archived from the original on September 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-31. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ "Gen. Fred D. Grant Dies". Reading Eagle. April 12, 1912. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
  8. ^ "Princess Julia Cantacuzene, 99, Grant's Granddaughter, Dead" (PDF). The New York Times. October 7, 1975. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  9. ^ "U.S. GRANT 3D DIES; GENERAL WAS 87; Grandson of 18th President Held Posts in the Capital" (PDF). The New York Times. August 30, 1968. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  10. ^ The National Cyclopædia of American Biography. (1916) Vol. XV. New York: James T. White & Co., pp. 93–94.
  11. ^ Revolutionary Days by Princess Julia Cantacuzene, Countess Speransky, nee Grant (Chicago: R R Donnelley & Sons Company, December 1999), lvi
  12. ^ Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh (1981). Burke's Presidential Families of the United States of America. Burke's Peerage. p. 319. ISBN 9780850110333. Retrieved 6 February 2019.

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Alexander R. Lawton
U.S. Minister to Austria-Hungary
1889–1893
Succeeded by
Bartlett Tripp