The Gen. Ulysses S. Grant Memorial

The Gen. Ulysses S. Grant Memorial photo
Joel Richardson - The Washington Post

Editorial Review

From the Collection: Washington's Prize Possessions

By Paul Richard
Special to the Washington Post
Sunday, August 19, 2001

Great monuments, three sorts of them, consecrate the Mall. They are tombs, temples and talls. The Wall is tomblike, the Lincoln a temple, the Washington a tall.

These recall war but they do not show war.

The Gen. Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, Henry Merwin Shrady's masterpiece at the east end of the Mall -- has mud, exhaustion, horrible suspense, screaming plunging horses, broken reins, swollen veins, all of this in bronze.

The general, mounted, patient, deadly, is swathed against the cold. He looks out from under the brim of his tattered hat toward an eventuality you really don't want to see. He'll wait, he'll kill.

The sculptor (a former president of the Continental Match Co.) was mostly unknown and only 31 when he won the Grant commission. The monument absorbed his every effort for 20 years and drained him. It was dedicated on April 27, 1922. He'd died three weeks before.