News of Ulysses Grant's Death
[From page 1 of The New York Times, July 24, 1885]
A HERO FINDS REST
GEN. GRANT'S PEACEFUL, PAINLESS DEATH.
THE END COMING IN THE EARLY MORNING.
THE LAST BREATH AT SIX MINUTES AFTER EIGHT O'CLOCK.
THE SORROWING GROUP AROUND THE DEATHBED.
HIS LAST WORDS FULL OF REGARD FOR OTHERS.
THE LONG STRUGGLE AGAINST DISEASE ONLY ENDED WHEN VITALITY WAS THOROUGHLY
EXHAUSTED -- CONSCIOUSNESS PRESERVED NEARLY TO THE LAST WHEN ALL OTHER
FACULTIES WERE DEAD.
HIS BURIAL PLACE.
New-York. -- Because the people of that city befriended me in my need.
Mount McGregor, July 23. -- Surrounded by all of his family and with no
sign of pain, Gen. Grant passed from life at six minutes after eight
o'clock this morning. The end came with so little immediate notice as to
be in the nature of a surprise. All night had the family been on watch,
part of the time in the parlor, where he lay, rarely venturing further away
from him than the porch on which the parlor opens. There seemed no hope
that death could be held off through the night. It was expected at 9
o'clock, again at about midnight, and again neat 4 o'clock. There was
serious failure at 9 o'clock and at midnight, but not at 4 o'clock, and as
day came, bringing but slight change, the hope was that he might last until
The General did not speak even in a whisper after 3 o'clock this morning.
Before that it had been little more than an aspiration at any time of the
night, and then only answers to inquiries. But when the respiration grew
rapid and weak all his powers that depended upon it failed him. His normal
respiration is under 20. It was quick during the evening, 44 at midnight,
50 at 3 o'clock, and 60 at 5 o'clock. Then it became quite faint.
He coughed somewhat after midnight, and was able with the doctor's aid to
dislodge the mucus and throw it off, but from about 3 o'clock he could
neither dislodge it or expectorate, and it began to clog his throat and
settle back into his lungs.
It was about 4 o'clock when the rattle in the throat began. For an hour or
longer, Dr. Shrady, in the hope of easing, rather than of sustaining the
General, as he was past that, have been giving hypodermics of brandy with
great frequency, and applying hot cloths and mustard to various parts of
the body, especially the hands and feet, which were growing very cold.
It was soon evident that the General was too far gone to be aided by
Then came the waiting for death. The family had all been near the General
through the night. It was not kept from them that he was beyond saving.
They moved quietly about the sick room and out on the porch.
The General lay on the bed, his face leaden, yet with some warmth left in
its hue. His eyes were closed. Power to open them had been restored to
him, and it was occasionally invoked when some member of the family, or the
doctor, or one of the attendants spoke to him. Then he would open his
eyes. He could make no other recognition, but that of the eyes was clear.
His lungs and pulse were failing, but there was yet no cloud on the
At about 4 o'clock Dr. Douglas, who had been resting a little at the
cottage, joined Dr. Shrady at the sick bed. Dr. Sands, considering himself
of no use in the case, had gone quietly to bed at the hotel early in the
evening, and was not disturbed.
Dr. Douglas walked to the hill top after he had looked at the General. "He
is conscious," the Doctor said; "that is, he has not lost his power of
recognition. He Breathed; his heart lives; his lungs live; his brain
lives; and that is about all."
At 5 o'clock, when Dr. Newman left the cottage for a few moments, came word
of rapid sinking, of the death rattle, of cold extremities, and of the
discoloration of the finger nails. All was failing except the brain, which
would be the last to die, the Pastor said.
"For an hour past," he went on, "Mrs. Grant has been sitting with the
General. When she speaks to him he opens his eyes. She says little and
bears up wonderfully. As he is going, there is a change apparent in
everything except his head. The broad forehead is as fine and commanding
as ever. The head has not been seen to advantage in his sick chair, but
now that he is recumbent it stands boldly out in the wreck of body. It has
reminded me over and over again to-night of the death mask of Peter the
While Mrs. Grant sat by the General the other members of the family kept
either in the other parts of the room or on the porch, almost within
whispering call. They did not care to risk annoyance to him by grouping
about him before it became necessary.
The rays of the morning sun fell across the cottage porch upon a family
waiting only for death.
The members of the family had gone to their rooms about 7 o'clock on the
advice of Dr. Shrady that they seek rest. The General lay perfectly still.
He was yet conscious but not alert. There had been frequent visits. When
attendants touched his hands, stroked his forehead, or moistened his lips
he did not heed them. At times he would open his eyes; the vision was
clear, but there was no sign that he more than barely recognized the
surroundings. Such had been his condition since 3 o'clock. The family
took the doctor's advice and withdrew. The doctor said he would inform
them instantly of any change. Dr. Douglas and Dr. Shrady remained at the
bedside. They saw that the General was sinking, that he could not last
long, yet the limit of his endurance could not be fixed at 7:30 o'clock.
They went out on the porch and Dr. Sands, who had spent the night at the
hotel, joined them. The Rev. Dr. Newman was there. Dr. Sands stepped to
the bedside. The General's breath came in quick gasps. He had no color.
The hands lay white, limp, and cold on the sheet that covered him. His
wasted, feeble body could not bear heavier covering. The throat was
exposed. It fluttered with every effort to breathe. There was no more
motion of the chest. Dr. Sands returned to the porch, shaking his head.
He agreed with his associates that the end could not be far off. None of
them would say how soon it might come. Dr. Newman inquired if he ought to
go to breakfast; he had staid through the weary watch of two nights. Dr.
Shrady advised him to wait. The Pastor asked the nurse, Henry, who thought
a decline unlikely within an hour. It was then 7:40. Mrs. Sartoris
entered the sick room, and as she stood at the bedside the General opened
his eyes. She bent over him, and, slipping her hand under his, asked if he
recognized her. She thought she felt a slight pressure from the cold
fingers. That decided Dr. Newman and Mr. Dawson, the stenographer, to go
They had not been gone more than five minutes when the nurse, Henry,
stepped to the parlor door and beckoned to the doctors. A change had come.
Dr. Shrady sent for the family. The bed stood in the middle of the room.
Dr. Douglas drew a chair to the head near the General. Mrs. Grant came in
and sat on the opposite side. She clasped gently one of the white hands in
her own. When the Colonel came in Dr. Douglas gave up his chair to him.
The Colonel began to stroke his father's forehead, as was his habit when
attending him. Only the Colonel and Mrs. Grant sat. Mrs. Sartoris stood
at her mother's shoulder, Dr. Shrady a little behind. Jesse Grant leaned
against the low headboard fanning the General. Ulysses junior stood at the
foot. Dr. Douglas was behind the Colonel. The wives of the three sons
were grouped near the foot. Harrison was in the doorway, and the nurse,
Henry, near a remote corner. Between them, at a window, stood Dr. Sands.
The General's little grandchildren, U.S. Grant, Jr., and Nellie, were
sleeping the sleep of childhood in the nursery room above stairs.
All eyes were intent on the General. His breathing had become soft, though
quick. A shade of pallor crept slowly but perceptibly over his features.
His bared throat quivered with the quickened breath. The outer air, gently
moving, swayed the curtains at an east window. Into the crevice crept a
white ray from the sun. It reached across the room like a rod and lighted
a picture of Lincoln over the deathbed. The sun did not touch the
companion picture, which was of the General. A group of watchers in a
shaded room, with only this quivering shaft of pure light, the gaze of all
turned on the pillowed occupant of the bed, all knowing that the end had
come, and thankful, knowing it, that no sign of pain attended it -- this
was the simple setting of the scene.
The General made no motion. Only the fluttering throat, white as his sick
robe, showed that life remained. The face was one of peace. There was no
trace of present suffering. The moments passed in silence. Mrs. Grant
still held the General's hand. The Colonel still stroked his brow.
The light on the portrait of Lincoln was slowly sinking. Presently the
General opened his eyes and glanced about him, looking into the faces of
all. The glance lingered as it met the tender gaze of his companion. A
startled, wavering motion at the throat, a few quiet gasps, a sigh, and the
appearance of dropping into a gentle sleep followed. The eyes of affection
were still upon him. He lay without a motion. At that instant the window
curtain swayed back in place, shutting out the sunbeam.
"At last," said Dr. Shrady, in a whisper.
"It is all over," sighed Dr. Douglas.
Mrs. Grant could not believe it until the Colonel, realizing the truth,
kneeled at the bedside clasping his father's hand. Then she buried her
face in her handkerchief. There was not a sound in the room, no sobbing,
no unrestrained show of grief. The example set by him who had gone so
quietly kept grief in check at that moment. The doctors withdrew. Dr.
Newman, who had entered in response to a summons just at the instant of the
passing away, looked into the calm face, now beyond suffering, and bowed
his head. There was a brief silence. Then Dr. Newman led Mrs. Grant to a
lounge, and the others of the family sought their rooms.
The General was not fully conscious for several hours before he died.
There never seemed an utter lack of consciousness, but the hold upon his
mind was slight indeed at times all through the night. He began to sink at
about 7 o'clock last night, when the doctors forecast the end as almost
certain to come during the night. He had been dying, however, for 36 hours
before that, when decline followed the fatigue of his ride to the Eastern
Lookout. Nothing came from the General before death which could be called
his dying words. He took no conscious leave of his family. There had been
prayers at midnight, when it was supposed he was going. Mrs. Grant then
pressed his hand and asked if he knew her. He replied with a look of
reassurance. He was near collapse at the time, and Col. Grant, thinking
him possible in distress, asked him if he suffered. He whispered a feeble
"no." That question was asked several times with the same result. Once,
about 3 o'clock, he seemed in need of something. The nurse bent over him
and heard him say "water." He did not speak after that.
At different times through the night up to that hour he made himself
understood by some sort of response to questions bearing on his comfort.
His last voluntary and irresponsive act of speech which embodied the idea
that governed him in all his sufferings, and which will on that account
stand probably as his last utterance, dates back to yesterday afternoon,
when, noticing the grief that the family could not restrain, he said,
whispering in little above a breath, yet quite distinctly:
"I don't want anybody to feel distressed on my account."
He was then past rallying to an effort to hide his weakness, but did not
forget his solicitude to spare others pain.
Dr. Shrady was in charge at the cottage all of last night. Dr. Douglas was
worn out and needed rest, which he took at the cottage, so as to be at call
at a critical moment. Dr. Sands, assuming that he could be of no use, went
early to bed at the hotel, and rose of his own accord in the morning, just
in time to see the General die.
It was a folding bed, that had been put into the cottage for use by the
attending doctor, to which the General was moved early last evening. He
wanted to change from the sitting posture, of which he was thoroughly
tired. A reclining position was thought dangerous for him of late months,
because it brought on a stuffy throat and choking. That was not to be
feared last night; the muscles of the throat had relaxed. No spasmodic
power was left; the pulse had not been less than 100 for 36 hours before
death, or the respiration less than 30. Both ran up steadily to the end,
the pulse touching 120, 140, 160 in quick succession, and then mounting so
fast that it could not be counted. It was flighty most of the night.
Respiration reached 44 at midnight. It was 60- by 4 o'clock, with a
quickening tendency to the end. It ceased to move the diaphragm about
midnight. It touched the lungs only slightly at daybreak. Air went little
below the throat toward the last. The arms and feet became cold early in
the evening. Hot appliances were made to them and to various parts of the
body, and were frequently renewed. This was not done in the expectation of
reviving him nor was brandy injected for that purpose. Both the injections
and the appliances were made for his comfort -- to ease him. They would
have served also as a help to a rally if one had temporarily set in. But
that was not anticipated. The treatment sought only to comfort him. It
was applied whenever pulse or heart of lungs threatened distress --
sometimes every few minutes and again at intervals of an hour or
The General, knowing his disease, foreseeing the result, and apprehending
death sooner than did the doctors, had only one wish in regard to it. He
wanted to die painlessly. The brandy, the hot appliances, and anodynes
made the end what he wanted it to be. Otherwise the feverish coursing of
the pulse, the panting, shallow breath, and the sense of dissolution which
he might have felt extending upward to the brain may have made the end
anything but a peaceful sinking into sleep. These symptoms and the
treatment for them make a basis for doubt if the General could have been at
any time during the night in clear mind. His posture in bed was most of
the time on the right side. The head was bolstered. Toward the end he was
turned on his back, dying in that position.
The end was characteristic, the doctors say, of the disease as diagnosed by
them. It was a case of clear exhaustion, the emaciation having left him,
it is said, weighing less than 100 pounds. This morning, when the first
shock was over, the doctors recalled to the family the question raised in
regard to the diagnosis, and asked the privilege of an autopsy. The family
would not hear of it. They were satisfied, they said, with the diagnosis.
The matter was dropped at once.
Dr. Douglas said there was nothing peculiar about the death except the
resisting force of remarkable vitality. It was nine months yesterday since
Dr. Douglas took charge of the General. The General had not been dead two
minutes when the wires were sending it over the country. It was known in
New-York before some of the guests heard of it at the hotel, where it
spread very quickly. Undertaker Holmes was on his way from Saratoga almost
as soon as the family had withdrawn to their rooms from the bedside. A
special train which had waited for him all night was at once dispatched for
him. A message was sent to Stephen Merritt, at New-York, to come on at
once to take charge of the funeral services.
Sculptor Gohardt was informed that he might take the death mask. The
General's body still lay on the bed clad in the white flannel gown and the
light apparel that he had last worn. The face seemed to have filled out
somewhat, looking more as in familiar portraits of him.
It was yet early in the morning when dispatches of condolence and offers of
help began to come in on the family. One was from the Managers of the
Soldiers' Home at Washington, offering for the place of interment a site in
the grounds at the Home, carefully selected and on an eminence overlooking
the city. That dispatch suggested the urgency of fixing upon plans for the
coming few days and for interment.
Col. Grant said that recently the General had written a note embodying his
wishes in regard to the subject of removal from here. He was then
anticipating death during this month. It would be too bad, he wrote, to
send the family back to the city in the hot weather on account of his
death. He proposed, therefore, that his body be embalmed and kept on this
hill until the weather should become cool enough to let them go back to the
city in comfort, and allow an official burial if one should be desired.
The General's supposition in writing this note was that he would be buried
in New-York. He had designated, one week after his arrival here, three
places from which choice of burial place might be made. His note is given
elsewhere regarding this matter. Washington was not one of the places
named. He did not know that the family had been in correspondence with
Gen. Sheridan, in April, about a burial place in Washington, or that Gen.
Sheridan had selected a site on the grounds of the Soldiers' Home. The
arrangement was then considered settled. Family preference naturally
leaned that way when arrangements had gone so far. Only the Colonel and
one or two others knew, until to-day, that the General had given expression
to a preference. It was urged this morning the General might have
preferred Washington above any other place, but that he had omitted to
mention it because of modesty. The disposition of the family, however,
when it was explained to-day what he had done, was to follow his
Plans in this direction were facilitated this afternoon, when a telegram
came from Mayor Grace making an official tender of a burial site in any
park in New-York City. Col. Grant, in reply, asked that a messenger be
sent here to confer on the subject. A messenger will also come from the
President to urge Washington. Several telegrams arrived later, one from
Thomas L. James, expressive of the universal opinion that the interment
should be in New-York. John A. Logan advises Washington. Such is the
drift the matter is taking to-night.
There has been talk also on the less important but more urgent subject of
what should be done immediately. Joseph W. Drexel came up this morning
from Saratoga and begged the family to consider themselves at liberty to
use the cottage as they hose and for as long a time as might suit them.
W.J. Arkell placed his cottage at the disposal of the family. It is the
only cottage here except Mr. Drexel's. These offers helped a decision
rapidly. It was thought that arrangements for burial could be definitely
made in 10 days; that the body might be taken to the Arkell cottage and
left there under guard for that time; that then it might be removed to the
place selected for burial, after which the family might return to the
Drexel cottage to stay into the Fall. This discussion, in which Col. Grant
represented the family, was, of course, merely tentative. A suggestion by
Paymaster Gilbert A. Robertson, of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion
of the United States, fitted well into these plans. It proposed to Gen.
Hancock, through Gen. Charles A. Carleton, Recorder of the Loyal Legion,
that a Lieutenant and 13 men be sent here to guard the body until its
removal. A Brooklyn Grant Army Post, which Gen. Grant last visited and
which is to bear his name, sent a request to be allowed to act as guard of
honor from this place to the place of burial.
The family are bearing the trial well. Few persons have been allowed to
visit the cottage. It has been the intention to keep away those whose
business was not of the first importance. There have been no willful
intruders. The ladies have kept up stairs. They were excessively wearied
by the long strain. As the end could not be averted, and as the General
could be kept alive only in suffering, the family sorrow seeks comfort in
the reflection that death has brought him the only possible relief. It is
hard to find consolation with grief yet fresh, but the thought that it has
happened for the best has so far averted such violent scenes as had been
dreaded. Mrs. Grant is especially brave in her affliction. All have been
deeply touched by the many expressions of sympathy from every quarter.
Col. Grant has undertaken general direction of affairs. He has had all he
could do to-day, and is likely to be employed to his full capacity for work
until every arrangement can be completed. The conferences with Mayor
Grace's secretary and the President's messenger to-morrow will no doubt go
far toward settling the question to which all others are subservient. Dr.
Sands went home to-day. Dr. Shrady wanted to try again to persuade the
family to consent to an autopsy. They positively declined again, repeating
that they were perfectly satisfied with the treatment and diagnosis. The
undertakers have been embalming the body to-day. It will be finished
WHILE AWAITING THE END.
DISCUSSING DEATH CALMLY AND PREPARING HIS FAMILY FOR THE
New-York. -- Because the people of that city befriended me in my need.
From Tennyson's "Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington."
Bury the Great Duke
With an Empire's lamentation,
Let us bury the Great
To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation,
Mourning when their leaders fall,
Warriors carry the warrior's
And sorrow darkens hamlet and hall.
Where shall we lay the man whom we
Here, in streaming London's central roar.
Let the sound of
those he wrought for,
And the feet of those he fought for,
round his bones forevermore.
When Gen. Grant became convinced of the fatal character of his illness he
set about to prepare his worldly affairs in anticipation of the end. He
felt, when the arrangements for taking him to Mount McGregor were in
progress that he would not return alive to New-York. Shortly before his
departure he prepared explicit directions in regard to his effects. This
was done quietly, only one or two of the family knowing of it. His object
in not acquainting the others with the occurrence was based on the motive
that governed him throughout his sickness -- a desire to save them pain.
He knew to what tension their nerves had been strained by what they saw,
and it seemed to be his chief concern to spare them distress beyond that.
Yet in the arrangement of his plans a deeper motive than this often
appeared. Having reconciled himself to death, he sought to bring those
dear to him to a realization of the stern event that was approaching, and
to do it in a way that would blunt the shock whenever it might come. It
was clear from many things he said and wrote that he would like to discuss
with his family the subject of his departure -- to discuss it as a journey
on which he was to precede them. The prospect was gloomy to him only so
far as it was to carry with it distress to his family. Death in itself had
no terrors. So far as his feelings were concerned, he looked forward to it
rather as a relief. He knew perfectly well that his disease was incurable,
and that at best he could only linger and suffer, tortured by constant
pain, feeling his strength ebb and his flesh waste. He could control in a
measure signs of his suffering, but its physical results were apparent.
And knowing and feeling all this, to which others could not be wholly
blind, he considered it his duty to prepare them for the end, and to get
them to enter into his spirit of submission, as though it were an event to
be deplored, perhaps, but not shunned, and, as it was inevitable, to be
His wishes in this respect were not met. Whenever he broached that subject
it was the occasion either of painful outbursts of grief or of efforts on
the part of his family to divert his mind from the subject, to hold out
encouragement, to strive to rebuild hope within him. Such repulses,
although well meant, had a depressing effect upon him. Instead of allaying
his wish to make his plans complete and to bring his family to the state of
composure that he had attained, it stimulated his longing for sympathetic
interest in this matter. He did not see, since death was certain, why it
should not be talked of, whenever occasion might prompt, as freely as
anything else that might involve arrangements. The family abhorrence of
suggestions of that nature curbed, but did not subdue, the inclination of
his mind. This restraining influence accounts for the secret preparation
of his memoranda before he left New-York, and had he not believed himself
to be dying on the day after his arrival it is doubtful if the family would
have heard of such memoranda. That painful family scene on June 17,
consequent upon the memoranda he wrote after the unfortunate walk to the
top of the hill, was precipitated because when he went to his room that
night it was with the expectation of not leaving it. The next day, having
recovered somewhat from the hopeless feeling that had oppressed him the
night before, he could not resist the pleadings of tearful faces, and, to
prevent further distress, he confessed to regret that he had touched the
Yet the desire to bring it up and to make it something for calm
contemplation was not quenched. On June 24, just one week after the
"Memoranda for My Family" episode and when he seemed to be getting along
fairly, he stepped into the office room early in the evening and handed to
Col. Grant a slip of paper on which was written substantially this:
"There are three places from which I wish a choice of burial place to be
"West Point. -- I would prefer this above others but for the fact
that my wife could not be placed beside me there.
"Galena, or some other place in Illinois. -- Because from that
State I received my first General's commission.
"New-York. -- Because the people of that city befriended me in my
When he had delivered this slip to the Colonel he walked back into the sick
room. In a few minutes he reappeared, walking round in front of the
"I don't like this, father," the son said, holding out the slip.
"What is there about it you don't like?" asked the General, in his husky
"I don't like any of it. There is no need of talking of such things."
The General took the slip, folded it, tore it lengthwise, across, and again
until the pieces were so small that hardly a word could have been made out
from any of them, and throwing them in the waste basket went back to his
room without speaking.
This was the first time the General indicated any wish in regard to his
burial. The family, however, had done something toward it in April, when
he was supposed to be dying. At that time, while some of them had not
abandoned hope, the matter was discussed as a possibility. It was agreed
that if he should die there would be little time, in the confusion sure to
prevail, to decide on that matter. Correspondence was then accordingly
opened with Gen. Sheridan, who thought, as did many others, that at the
Soldiers' Home in Washington would be the best place for burial, because
the General saved that city; and arrangements were made to take his body
there. In view of his expressed wish, however, that arrangement will
probably not hold. It is more than likely that he will be buried in
New-York. The spot selected, whether it be Central Park, as was talked of
in the Spring, or elsewhere, will certainly be accepted by the family only
on condition that Mrs. Grant may be laid beside him.
During the few days following the preparation of the burial memoranda by
the General alarming features in his malady were manifested. There was not
unusual pain or sleeplessness. On the contrary, the comparative absence of
pain was a cause for anxiety. By such absence was meant that the twinges
of agony that for months had daily darted through his neck, like needles
which not only pricked but gashed, subsided leaving simply an aching,
gnawing sensation at the base of the disease. It was thought when the
sharp pains stopped without checking the disease that perhaps
susceptibility of pain in extreme form had been lost. But it was not on
physical signs alone that alarm was raised. Rather it was because the
General seemed then about to resign himself to death. To such a degree did
apprehension grow among the gentlemen of the household, including the
doctor, that whenever a fit of coughing attacked the General there was a
thrill of dread that it might be his last; and from the way the General
acted, it was then thought that he felt as they did.
From the beginning of his visit, indeed, he showed a full appreciation of
his condition in all its phases. The alarm with which July was ushered in
led to a very slight rally, which was directly traceable to the assertion
of his will power. Reports of his condition had been so distressing to the
family that he sought this way of changing them, assuming an activity to
which his strength was hardly equal, but to which, happily, for a day or
two his physical powers rose responsive to his will. This effort
accomplished what it had set out to do, but there were those to whom the
General made no secret of what it had cost him. It left him feebler than
before, but determined to betray no further anxiety for the sake of his
family. The ladies, from his brave manner and his cheery notes, were quite
ready to dissuade persuade themselves against hope. If they did not
believe he could recover -- that was almost beyond the belief of any one --
they gathered assurance that his life would be prolonged for weeks, and
possibly for months. The doctor and the sons were not misled by brave
appearances, nor did the General try to mislead them. He knew that he
could not discuss with them the subject of death, and so avoided it, but it
did not escape him that they saw his growing diffidence, his weariness, his
disposition to be left alone, to keep his room, caring less and less for
outdoors, for his book, for the things that formerly excited his interest.
He knew that they saw him wasting before their eyes, and that they
construed all the signs as intelligently as he did. His cheerful notes to
the doctor during this failing period raised the spirits of the ladies, and
they talked of some relaxation from the strain and confinement of cottage
life under such circumstances, but a warning from the doctor that they
might regret even a short absence put an end to such plans, and they
declined many invitations to visit friends at Saratoga. This was the only
indication by Mrs. Sartoris and the other young ladies of the family of a
distrust in their hope of a prolongation of the General's life. TO all
appearances they includes strongly to the steadfast belief of Mrs. Grant
that the end was yet far off. She went much further, indeed, clinging to
faith in his ultimate recovery. Yet, although her conviction was strong,
it took little to overpower her. It was the General's wish,created by the
April crisis, to prepare her for the inevitable. The subject was
exceedingly difficult of approach with her, because of her particularly
emotional temperament. Up to the April crisis she was purposely kept in
ignorance of the gravity of the case, partly because the General wished it.
She was overcome when the truth was disclosed to her, but, with Christian
faith and zeal, on the night when the doctors said he had but five minutes
to live, she roused herself, and, laying hands on the General, offered
prayers in his behalf. She always believed that he tided that crisis in
response to her prayer. Afterward, whenever danger threatened, she applied
the same means of relief, persistently crediting recovery from downward
turns to supernatural intervention as solicited by her. Her faith in this
was boundless. It pained and grieved her to have others suggest that his
condition was hopeless. Especially did she give way to her emotions when
the General tried to prepare her. This indulgence of grief was naturally
frequent. It was due, however, to the amiability of her nature and her
ready sympathy rather than to shaken faith, for despite the gloomy faces
that at times surrounded her she was quick to rise equal to her
An illustration of the tenderness of her feelings and of her quick recovery
of faith occurred in the early days of July. One evening, as the General
sat in the parlor with the family, the Colonel mentioned having that day
received a letter from Webster & Co., the publishers of the memoirs, saying
that subscriptions to the book already guaranteed $300,000 to the General.
Taking up his pad, the General wrote:
"That will be all for you, Julia," and handed the slip over to Mrs.
She began to cry, and could not be calmed for some time. That evening she
regained courage in prayer, and the next morning she talked as hopefully as
ever of the General's recovery.
"I have seen the General in trouble before," she often said. "Those about
me were despondent over him during the war. The newspapers and my friends
did not believe he would take Vicksburg. They were skeptical about what he
could do in Virginia. But no one knew him as I did. I was always
confident that he would succeed. I am equally sure he will come out of
this trouble, for the old faith sustains me."
The General found no one to whom he could open his mind on the subject of
death until Senator Chaffee came to spend the Fourth with him. Senator
Chaffee did not repulse him, or seek to divert him from what he saw was
uppermost in his mind. They were together a good deal and talked over it
freely. The General wrote that early in his disease he hoped for recovery,
but that now no spark of hope ever brightened his existence, and he wanted
the end to come; delay was only irksome to him.
"You feel as I would," Senator Chaffee responded. "You can do nothing and
you suffer always. If you hadn't this disease, but were now well, you
could hope to live only a few years longer. You and I are past 60. Our
race is about run. We can live on little more than memories at our age.
What difference can a few years make?"
In conversation such as this the two friends passed much of their time
together. It was the thing for which the General had been hungering.
There was nothing melancholy or dispiriting about it, but it forecase the
end soberly, calmly, and as something, by no means dreadful, that was to
occur in natural course. The General expressed to his friend a regret that
he could not bring his family to that philosophic view of it. Senator
Chaffee agreed with him that it was a matter of regret, but advised him not
to allude to it with the family, unless he thought it could be done without
On the night of July 5, while this advice was yet fresh in his mind, the
General wrote his physician a short note, which clearly anticipated the
end, under an appearance of shielding the physician from possible future
criticism. He said he believed nature, meaning his surroundings, had done
much for him; that medical skill had been applied in the highest degree,
and that now he was content to await patiently the natural result of the
disease. This was not the first time that the General had intimated to his
devoted attendant that he understood the hopelessness of his condition; but
it was the first time that the doctor, from the General's manner and
expression as much as from the note, saw that the General realized that any
day might be his last. No one was more mindful than the General of the
significance of his growing weakness and diffidence.
The completion of work on his book knocked away from the General a prop
that had sustained him through many reverses. His first feeling was of
relieve. He was glad that it was over. It was especially fortunate, he
thought, that this work was disposed of before the meeting with the Mexican
editors, on July 8, prostrated him. But when, by careful watching, he
rallied from that fatigue in the following week, he became very despondent
over his want of occupation. On the morning of July 16, when Dr. Douglas
visited him, the General wrote him a note which showed how he missed
occupation. The note said he felt that his life work was done, and there
was nothing more to keep him here. He did not want to seem unappreciative
of all that was done for him to make him comfortable, but his condition was
such that he could only be a burden to others and of no use to himself.
For these reasons he wished to go, and he hoped and felt that the end was
It was this note that led Drs. Douglas and Shrady to try to find mental
occupation for the General, and which resulted in laying out a plan of
reading and writing for him. The suggestions seemed to please him, but he
could not dispel the conviction that his life work was done and that he
could be of no more use. He kept up a brave front before his family, but
the well meant tasks set by the doctors appeared to the General as mere
diversion, for which his taste was gone. So complete was the failure of
the suggestions at first to appeal earnestly to him that on July 18, as Dr.
Shrady was about to go away, having relieved Dr. Douglas for several days,
the General wrote him a note saying that it was useless to think of
magazine or other article writing, for he was past caring for such things
and did not expect or want to live the month out. The doctor tried to
cheer him up, advising him to entertain himself by reading, and that
afternoon, at Mrs. Grant's request, an order was sent for "The Autocrat of
the Breakfast Table" for the General.
Dr. Shrady relieved Dr. Douglas for four days. He had not seen the General
for two weeks. The General in that time had noticeably lost flesh, until
he was a pitiable sight, and the doctor then foresaw that exhaustion would
be the cause of death, not a visible eruption of the cancer, as had before
been considered among the possibilities. Dr. Douglas was of the same
opinion. Although always prepared for a relapse or a low turn for the
General, he was not apprehensive that the General's vitality was
irreparably leaving him until several days after the General's note saying
that his life work was done. The indications to Dr. Douglas on July 19
were that death would be preceded by stupor.
HIS LAST RESTING PLACE.
THIS CITY FAVORED AS THE MOST FITTING TO DO HIM HONOR.
The tomb of a hero is a patriot's shrine. When Napoleon's countrymen were
enabled to carry out their cherished desire they brought the remains of
their most famous military captain and ruler back to the land he served and
gave him fitting interment, marking the spot with a monument whose beauty
alone is worth a pilgrimage to see. In the last hours of Gen. Grant's
illness, when death was imminent, many of his friends discussed the matter
of his interment as one in which the Nation he did so much to preserve had
an interest. It was felt to be delicate ground, and no public expression
of opinion was made for obvious reasons. No one would obtrude his
sentiments lest some knowledge of the fact might be brought to the
attention of the anxious watchers in the Mount McGregor cottage, and thus
add another pang to their sufferings. The long illness of the General and
the fact that its fatal nature was so early manifest prepared the public
mind in great measure to look forward to the end. When it became known,
too, that Gen. Grant had himself expressed an opinion as to the place of
his burial the announcement of it was awaited with a respectful interest.
Of the three places for which he expressed a preference, one -- West Point
-- was rendered out of the question because of the General's desire that
the remains of his beloved wife might some day repose beside his. The
other two places were Galena and New-York City. Public sentiment, as far
as it could be ascertained, was almost entirely in favor of this city.
Here, in the Nation's real capital, which he himself had selected as his
residence for his declining years, it was regarded as fitting that his tomb
should be. Some great public place like Central Park, daily visited by
thousands, was deemed to be the most appropriate spot. The opinions of
many well known citizens voicing this desire are given below:
Mayor Grace -- There is no man for whom, as an American, I have a
higher respect than for Gen. Grant. Above all places New-York is the spot
where he should have a final resting place. He has passed a great part of
his life here, and the people have looked upon him as one of themselves.
As a general statement, of course, I would say let the great General be
laid at rest wherever he has expressed a wish to be buried. The people of
New-York would unitedly favor his interment in any suitable place.
Controller Loew -- Gen. Grant's wishes should be carried out above
all things. New-York would be a most suitable place to bury him. As the
first city in the country its claims should be fully considered, and if the
people demand it it will be done.
Commissioner John D. Crimmins, Department of Parks -- I assure you
that no place would be more suitable to receive the remains of the Nation's
hero than the largest park in the leading city of his country. In saying
this I can safely speak for my colleagues. Not one of them would raise a
dissenting voice, but, on the contrary, they would further the movement in
every possible manner. Even if a good spot could not be selected in
Central Park, Riverside Park could be chosen. This park is growing in
popularity every year, and in a short time promises to take the place of
Central. We could easily give a large space of ground in the vicinity of
Clermont, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth-street, where there is a very
prominent plateau. If his remains were interred in that portion of the
park a monument could be seen from the decks of the Hudson River
steamboats. On the whole I am in favor of Riverside Park, and especially
at the portion named -- Clermont. At this point the surface of the plateau
is 113 feet above the level of the river. This would enable persons to see
a monument for miles around, and it could be seen up and down the river for
a long distance. Taking everything into consideration, I am inclined to
believe that Riverside is the proper place, and it would be more suitable
than Central. At any rate the American people ought to pay a grand tribute
to the memory of this soldier, and I see no better way of doing this than
by burying his remains in one of our leading parks and erecting a handsome
monument to mark the spot.
of Public Works -- Let the General be buried in New-York. Here we have
splendid parks and many places in which the great old hero may be laid at
rest. Unless he has expressed a contrary opinion, by all means let us
receive him here and lay him at rest among a people that fully appreciate
his services to the country.
Senator Evarts is heartily in favor of New-York as a burial place for Gen.
Grant, and has telegraphed to Col. Grant to that effect. Senator Warner
Miller is also understood to be warmly in favor of the project.
Register Reilly -- I think no place is more suitable than this
city as the final resting place of Gen. Grant. While he is beloved by the
whole people, I think the people of New-York have an especial feeling for
him on account of the matters that hat embittered the last year of his
life. We have many eligible places -- Central Park among the number.
Deputy Controller Storrs -- By all means let Gen. Grant be buried
in New-York. The people here look upon him as one of themselves, and the
fact that he voluntarily chose to reside in this city for such a great part
of his latter life is proof that he loved the city as the people honored
County Clerk Keenan -- I think this city is by far the most
suitable place to bury the General. He has been so much identified with
our city that the idea of his finding a final resting place here is most
President Sanger, of the Board of Aldermen, and all the other members of
the Common Council thought this city the most suitable place where the
General should be buried. They all spoke about in the one strain. Gen.
Grant had passed the last years of his life here, had formed many ties of
friendship, and had been looked upon as a citizen of New-York. He had gone
away from New-York to die, and it was eminently fitting that he should be
brought back here, to rest forever in the greatest city of the country he
loves so well. Alderman Haehne, the Vice-President of the board, and
others spoke strongly and feelingly on the subject. The feeling everywhere
prevailed among the members of the board that the city authorities should
not lose the opportunity to show that Gen. Grant possessed the fullest
confidence of the people among whom he dwelt so long and with whose
interests he was so much identified. An informal talk among the members of
the board yesterday showed that everything the Common Council could do
would be done to carry out the wishes of the General and his family. This
feeling was also shared in by Tax Commissioners Coleman, Donnelly, and
Feitner, Assessment Commissioner Marshall, and Assessors Gilon, Haverty,
Gen. Franz Sigel -- He should be buried either in New-York or
Washington. The chief city of the Nation is a fit resting place for the
Nation's chieftain. The choice should only lie between it and Washington,
the nominal capital of the country.
A.S. Hatch -- I think it would be a good idea to have Gen. Grant
buried in Central Park, and his resting place marked by a handsome
monument. The fact that Grant's body was interred within its borders
would not only distinguish Central Park for all time, but it would also be
an added mark of respect for the great soldier's fame, inasmuch as no other
person would probably ever be buried in the Park.
Washington E. Connor -- This is the metropolis of the country, and
it seems to me that it is the fittest place to inter the country's greatest
Joseph J. O'Donohue -- If Gen. Grant expressed a desire to be
buried in New-York, I think he should be buried here by all means. His
tomb should be one of the conspicuous features of this country.
O.P. Huntington -- I have not given the subject much thought.
New-York, having been Gen. Grant's home, would be a very proper place for
William H. Townley, lawyer -- This city is the proper spot for the
General's last resting place.
Police Justice O'Reilly -- As Gen. Grant made this city his home
it would be proper to have him buried here.
Ex-Judge A.J. Dittenhoefer -- The General should be buried in this
Hubert O. Thompson -- New-York is the place. We can give the
General as fine a place as can be found in the country.
Police Justice Henry Murray -- I should say without hesitation
that the city of New-York would be the most appropriate place in which to
bury the remains of the General. There are many sites that might be
chosen. Central Park furnishes many eligible spots.
Dock Commissioner Joseph Koch -- Most certainly New-York is the
place, not only because of the years that the General has lived here, but
because this is the greatest city in the country, which he did so much to
Police Justices M.J. Power and J. Henry Ford also commended the
idea. They all united in saying that in New-York the General would find
the most appropriate resting place.
Supervisor of the City Record Thomas Costigan -- By all means let
the General be brought here. I am sure the people would be only too glad
to have a chance to show their affection for the old hero.
John D. Coughlin -- Gen. Grant, in my opinion, could find no more
fitting resting place than New-York. He has become identified with the
city, and has been looked upon as one of us.
Excise Commissioners Mitchell and Haughton also thought New-York
the best place in which to bury the General, and Mr. Mitchell added that
the city authorities could undoubtedly arrange the matter satisfactorily if
prompt action were taken.
Senator Michael C. Murphy -- This is the place to lay the General
at rest. See how many of his old comrades in arms are here! And then the
people at large would be only too glad to have the General's body interred
anywhere in their midst. Probably no man of the century has crept closer
to the heart of the people than Gen. Grant. Let him then be buried here,
where within an hour over two millions of his people can come to do honor
to his name.
Senator James Daly -- New-York would be a most appropriate place,
for has he not spent his last years, if not his last hours, here?
Police Justice Gorman -- New-York, I think, would be the proper
place to bury the dead hero.
Senator Plunkitt -- Most decidedly let him be brought here and
buried here. Central Park is a most eligible spot, and there are others
within the limits of the city.
Assemblyman Edward F. Reilly -- This city is the place. Many
spots could be selected, notably in Central Park.
Ex-Alderman Hugh J. Grant -- I would like to see the General's
remains interred in or near this city, and if the city authorities can do
so I hope they will take the proper measures to insure that result.
Ex-Alderman Bernard Kenney -- New-York would be my choice most
certainly for the final resting place of the deceased General. I think the
city could in no better way show its respect for the General than by
extending an offer of a suitable site -- say in Central Park.
Commissioner of Jurors Charles Reilly -- This city would appear to
me to be the best place to bury the General.
Coroner M.J.B. Messemer -- I favor New-York, and I do not think
any city has greater claim to the honor.
Coroner Bernard F. Martin -- I think this city by all means should
have the honor of burying the General.
John Roach -- Gen. Grant should be buried in New-York.
Gustav Schwab, of Oelrichs & Co. -- I think New-York is the place
where the General should be buried.
S.F. Pierson, Assistant Commissioner Railway Pool -- I think
New-York should be chosen.
United States Commissioner Shields -- I think New-York would be
the most appropriate place in which to bury Gen. Grant.
Assistant District Attorney Foster -- I think precedents should be
followed as to the place of interment of a President, in burying him at or
near his place of abode. For this reason I believe New-York should be
Col. John Tracy -- I think New-York is the proper place.
Edward Selleck, Deputy County Clerk -- Gen. Grant identified
himself with New-York in the closing years of his life. It is the
metropolis of the Nation and the fittest place of burial for the Nation's
Jordan L. Mott, iron manufacturer and ex-President of the Board of
Aldermen -- Let the city set apart a spot in Central Park where Gen.
Grant shall be buried, and let the Constitution of the State be amended so
as to provide that no other man shall be buried there.
Henry A. Root, lawyer -- It will be a great thing for the city of
Capt. William M. Conner, proprietor of the James Hotel -- If I had
my way about it, I should say, bury Gen. Grant in the finest spot in
Central Park, and erect over him the grandest monument that was ever
erected over a soldier.
Judge F.G. Gedney -- I favor Gen. Grant being buried in this city,
visited as it is by so many more people than ant other city in the country,
and the erection of a fitting monument over his grave. He is to-day the
first in the hearts of his countrymen as much as Washington was, and this
reminds me of the clause inserted in his will by the great Napoleon to this
effect: "I desire that my body be placed on the banks of the Seine among
the French people whom I love so well." Gen. Grant's monument should be as
elaborate as the tomb of Napoleon, which may be seen from almost every part
of the city of Paris.
Judge William H. Robertson, ex-Collector -- I believe New-York
City, the greatest city and metropolis of the Union, to be the proper place
for the burial of Gen. Grant, the greatest citizen and soldier of the
Union. It is a place most accessible to the masses and where the greatest
and most fitting honors could be paid him. Put me down for New-York.
Rufus Hatch -- New-York City is the place, by all means, for the
Messrs. Nash & Crook, restaurateurs -- We both agree that this
city is the place
Assistant District Attorney Edward L. Parris -- Gen. Grant should
be buried in New-York.
Assistant District Attorney Ambrose H. Purdy -- New-York was Gen.
Grant's home; he should be buried here.
George C. Clarke, of Tefft, Weller & Co. -- I think that New-York
is the proper place for Gen. Grant's burial. It would certainly be very
proper for him to rest in the city where most of his friends live.
Levi M. Bates -- I certainly think that Gen. Grant should be
buried in this city, where a monument worthy of his fame would be visited
by more people than in any other city in the land.
Postmaster Pearson -- The resting place of the foremost soldier of
his day should unquestionably be in the foremost city of his country. Gen.
Grant ought certainly to be buried in Central Park.
Assistant United States District Attorney S.B. Clarke -- It
strikes me on the first presentation as a good idea. I think there ought
to be some special mark of the feeling on the subject.
Charles R. Flint, of W.R. Grace & Co. -- Central Park is the
finest public resort in the country. No one has been buried there, and it
would be a distinctive mark of respect to bury in that beautiful place,
within view of his latest home, the greatest soldier of the age.
Michael P. Grace -- Undoubtedly the proper place to bury Gen.
Grant is in New-York, and either the Central or Riverside Park. The
latter, I think, would be the better site.
C.L. Lawrence, of Lawrence, Gross & Co., brokers at No. 1,247
Broadway -- I think that New-York is the most appropriate place for
Gen. Grant's burial.
C.D. Shepard, No. 1,245 Broadway -- I sincerely hope that Gen.
Grant will be buried in or near this city.
H. Gilsey, manager of the Peter Gilsey estate -- I should like to
hear that Gen. Grant was going to be buried in New-York.
Henry Miller, hatter, No. 1,147 Broadway -- I shall be gratified
if Gen. Grant's family consider it best to bury him here.
William Neergaard, druggist, Broadway and Twenty-eighth-street --
If it is in accord with the wishes of the General's family I think New-York
is the best place.
Mr. Samuel Colville, theatrical manager -- My opinion is that Gen.
Grant should be buried in New-York in as conspicuous a spot as possible. I
don't see how any one could think otherwise.
Mason W. Tyler, lawyer -- Gen. Grant should be accorded the sole
honor of being buried in Central Park. It would be a place for pilgrims to
visit as they do Mount Vernon.
William C. Traphagen, lawyer -- I think Gen. Grant ought to be
interred in some such public space. I would favor it.
Guy R. Pelton, lawyer -- I believe that to put the body of Grant
in Central Park would meet the favor of the American people, and certainly
that act would be most proper.
Charles F. Bauerdorf, lawyer -- I think it very appropriate to
bury him in Central Park, as he has spent the latter part of his life
William W. Cook, lawyer -- It would be eminently proper to bury
Gen. Grant in the Park. He was an honored citizen and a civilian as well
as a soldier.
Thomas G. Ritch, lawyer -- I am in favor of what Mrs. Grant
favors, but hope she may allow New-York to do the General the great honor
of burying him in our beautiful Park.
John R. Dos Passos, lawyer -- I think Gen. Grant's monument ought
to be erected in the most conspicuous place. He stands with Washington and
Lincoln, and to put him in Central Park would be a splendid and correct
thing. We have been too neglectful about our heroes. The tomb of
Washington is in an inaccessible place, while we now have it in our power
to have Grant's tomb accessible to all. A mausoleum should be erected in
Central Park, outvying anything of ancient or modern times.
Algernon S. Sullivan, lawyer -- It is an excellent suggestion that
we, Gen. Grant's neighbors, should enshrine his ashes, and with fit
ceremonies commemorate his virtues, his lofty services, and his lasting
Luke F. Cozans, lawyer -- I am heartily in favor of having the
body of Gen. Grant rest under a magnificent monument in Central Park.
Henry Clews, the Broad-street banker -- I think New-York is the
only and proper place to erect a fitting memorial tribute to Gen. Grant.
It should be a tomb upon which future generations may look with reverence.
It should excel in grandeur anything of its kind in the world. When we
shall thus perpetuate the memory of his deeds we preserve one of the two
greatest epochs of our history. Washington made the Republic possible;
Grant preserved it. I have conferred with Col. Fred Grant about the
Generals burial. He said that his father was quite pronounced in the wish
that Mrs. Grant should be buried by his side, and recently suggested the
Soldiers' Home at Washington for their final resting place. I suggested
New-York, the imperial city of the Nation, as the most suitable locality,
in which the Colonel acquiesced, and said that if a burial place here was
tendered it would be accepted.
Col. Robert A. Crawford, of Atlanta, Ga. -- By all means bury Gen.
Grant here and erect a monument, where it will be most convenient for our
people from the North, from the South, and from the West, and for those who
come from foreign countries, to visit.
Ex-Postmaster-General Thomas L. James -- I am heartily in favor of
having the interment in this city. This is the greatest city in the
country, and Gen. Grant was the greatest man of his time. It would be
almost inappropriate to bury him elsewhere.
H.K. Thurber, wholesale grocer -- I think it would be a grand
testimonial of the affection of the citizens of New-York for them to erect
a monument over Gen. Grant in Central Park. I am enthusiastically in favor
of the proposition.
Dr. Robert W. Taylor, No. 40 West Twenty-first-street -- I am in
favor of New-York by all means.
Mr. Henry Darian, theatrical customer -- I favor New-York as Gen.
Grant's burial place.
Mr. Andrew Dam, of the Union-Square Hotel -- I believe the dead
hero should be buried in New-York, say in Woodlawn, and that a magnificent
memorial should be erected in Central Park.
Mr. Frank Curtis, theatrical manager -- I think the General should
be buried inn New-York.
Mr. Frank W. Sanger, theatrical manager -- I think the General
should be buried in Central Park, and that a monument should be erected
over his grave that shall be the pride of the Nation.
Ex-Mayor Edward Cooper -- I think it entirely desirable that
New-York should be the final resting place of the dead General.
Mr. Edwin L. Abbett, lawyer -- Gen. Grant should be buried in
Mr. John R. Lydecker, ex-Deputy Collector -- This city has been
Gen. Grant's home, and he should be buried here. I know how much he
thought of some of the friendships which he formed in New-York, and I am
sure he would want to be buried here.
Mr. John Mullaly, ex-Assessor -- New-York would by all means be
the best choice. Gen. Grant has had interests here and formed ties that
have made him practically a native of New-York. By all means let his
remains by buried here, and then for a great monument.
John Hoey, Long Branch -- I think very favorably of the project to
bury Gen. Grant in Central Park. Both the city and the State of New-York
ought to feel proud to give the Nation's foremost citizen a burial
D.M. Hildreth, proprietor of the West End Hotel, Long Branch -- I
cordially approve of the idea. The General deserves to be treated as a
national benefactor, and no honor that the city of New-York can do his
memory will be too great.