Sunday, August 4, 2013

Wartime Coat of General Ulysses S. Grant on Display

The only intact wartime coat of General Ulysses S.Grant is now on public display at the Texas Civil War Museum.  For decades, the coat belonged to the Hillyer Family until its 1994 sale to a private collector.  Brigadier General William Hillyer was Grant's Aide-de-Camp and a close family friend.  This blue field or sack coat is made of fine wool with a black velvet collar.  The shoulder bars denote the rank of Major General.  Only the buttons are not authentic; the original buttons were probably removed by Grant's wife Julia for souvenirs.  Grant's disdain for pomp and formality is certainly reflected in the coat's austere appearance.  
Because Julia Grant cut up all the other wartime coats to sell as souvenirs and spared this one suggests a certain significance.  It maybe the coat Grant wore during Lee's surrender at Appomattox.  Eyewitness accounts state Grant's coat was that of a private.  However, the coat's utter simplicity could have led to a mistaken description.    
As opposed to being stored out of sight in a vault, Grant's wartime coat on public display is a real treat for Civil War aficionados.  With the acquisition of this priceless artifact and a new artillery exhibit on the way, the Texas Civil Museum is becoming one of the best if not the best Civil War museum in the country.  You might want to add this place to your "bucket list" of Civil War sites.

Stop by and come on in.  The door's open !