Brevet Brig. General Charles Gratiot

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Brig. Gen. Charles Chouteau Gratiot, Jr.

Also Known As: "Gen. Charles Chouteau Gratiot"
Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: St. Louis City, St. Louis, Missouri
Death: Died in St. Louis City, St. Louis, Missour
Place of Burial: Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, in Section 13 of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Charles Gratiot, Sr. and Victoire Gratiot
Husband of Ann Gratiot
Father of Mary Victoria De Montholon and Julia Augusta Chouteau
Brother of Victoire Gratiot; Julia Cabanne; Marie Theresa de Maclot; Henry Gratiot; Louise Gratiot and 4 others

Managed by: Private User
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About Brevet Brig. General Charles Gratiot

Charles Gratiot, Jr. (August 29, 1786 – May 18, 1855) was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He was the son of Charles Gratiot, Sr., a fur trader in the Illinois country during the American Revolution, and Victoire Chouteau, who was from an important mercantile family. His father became a wealthy merchant during the early years of St. Louis. After 1796, Charles was raised in the large stone house purchased by his father in St. Louis, near the Mississippi River.

Military career

President Thomas Jefferson appointed him a United States Military Academy cadet in 1804. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, was the first school of engineering in the United States and graduated its first class in 1802. Gratiot was a member of the Class of 1806, the fourth graduating class, and was commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. He became a captain in 1808 and assisted Alexander Macomb in constructing fortifications in Charleston, South Carolina. He returned to his alma mater in 1810 to be commander of the Army garrison at West Point during 1810-1811.

As General William Henry Harrison's Chief Engineer in the War of 1812, he distinguished himself by planning and building Fort Meigs in 1813. He also rebuilt Fort St. Joseph, later renamed Fort Gratiot in his honor. In 1814 he took part in the attack of the Battle of Mackinac Island. He received the Thanks of Congress for his efforts during the war.

He served as Chief Engineer, 1817–1818, in Michigan Territory followed by assignment as the superintending engineer, 1819–1828, for the construction of defenses at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Chief of Engineers

On May 24, 1828, Gratiot was appointed colonel of engineers, brevet brigadier general, and Chief Engineer. For ten years he administered an expanding program of river, harbor, road, and fortification construction. He also engaged in a lengthy dispute with War Department officials over benefits, and in 1838 President Martin Van Buren dismissed him for failing to repay government funds that had been entrusted to him.

He assigned Robert E. Lee to do engineering in the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri.

Late life

Gratiot became a clerk in the General Land Office from 1840–1855 and died in St. Louis.

Gratiot became a party to lengthy litigation against the United States government, which was appealed twice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Death and Legacy, Tributes and memorials

His remains are interred at Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, in Section 13 of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
M-3, an important highway link between Detroit and Port Huron, is more commonly known as Gratiot Avenue and was named in his honor. Before the interstate highway system was built, Gratiot Avenue was the main link, other than the railway.
Fort Gratiot, Michigan, was named after Bvt. Brig. Gen. Charles Gratiot, who oversaw its re-construction in 1814 to guard the mouth of the St. Clair River at Lake Huron. It was formerly known as Fort St. Joseph. It sports Michigan's oldest lighthouse, Fort Gratiot Light, constructed in 1829 to replace an older one.
The towns of Gratiot, Michigan, and Gratiot, Ohio, were named in his honor. (Gratiot, Wisconsin, near the site of an early lead-mining settlement called Gratiot Corners for its founder, was named for Charles' brother Henry, also significant in regional history.)
Point Gratiot Park in Dunkirk, NY is also named for him.

nited States Army Officer. He was the grandson of Madame Chouteau (mother of August Chouteau, the founder of St. Louis.) As a boy he was present at the ceremony of three flags when the Louisiana Territory became part of the United States. He was one of five young men honored by President Thomas Jefferson with appointments as cadets to West Point. He served with honor in the War of 1812, received the vote of thanks for Congress & rose to the head of the Engineers Corps. It was Gratiot who sent a young engineer named Robert E. Lee to St. Louis in 1835 when a shift in the channel of the river was about to wipe out river traffic. Lt. Robert E. Lee, who later became General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy, built a series of jetties in the river, controlling the flow of the channel, performing a service for the North that made possible the building of the Eads Bridge in St. Louis.

Born 29 Aug 1786 in St. Louis, Missouri

Father: Charles C. Gratiot, Sr (1752-1817)

Mother: Victoire Chouteau (1760-1825)


   Ann Belin (1797-1886) born 8 Nov 1797, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; married 22 Apr 1819, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; died 26 Dec 1886, Carondelet, Missouri 


   Mary Victoria Gratiot (1820-1878) born 17 Feb 1820, Old Point Comfort, Virginia; married Charles François Frederic De Montholon 1 Nov 1837; died 25 Oct 1878 Rouen, France
   Julia Augusta Gratiot (1824-1895) born 14 Sep 1824, Old Point Comfort, Virginia; married Charles Pierre Chouteau 27 Nov 1845; died 3 Aug 1895, St. Louis, Missouri 


   (1804-1806) Cadet, United States Military Academy.
   (1806-1810) 2nd Lt. (30 Oct 1806), Capt. (23 Feb 1808), U.S. Corps of Engineers, asst Engineer, Defenses of Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
   (1810-1811) Capt. U.S. Corps of Engineers, United States Military Academy, in command of the Army garrison at West Point.
   (1812-1815) War of 1812
       Chief Engineer of the Northwestern Army (1813-1814)
       Defense of Fort Meigs (28 Apr 1813 - 9 May 1813)
       Bvt. Colonel (5 Oct 1813), Michigan Militia
       Attack on Fort Mackinac, 4 Aug 1814
       Major (9 Feb 1815), U.S. Corps of Engineers 
   (1816-1817) Major U.S. Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer of the fortifications in Delaware River and Bay.
   (1817-1818) Major U.S. Corps of Engineers, Engineer Michigan & N.W. Territory.
   (1819-1828) Lt. Colonel (31 Mar 1819), U.S. Corps of Engineers, Superintending Engineer, Hampton Roads Defenses, Fort Monroe & Fort Calhoun.
   (1828-1838) Colonel (24 May 1828), Bvt. Brig. General (24 May 1828), command of the U.S. Corps of Engineers, in charge of the Engineer Bureau at Washington, DC, and (ex‑officio) Inspector of the Military Academy, on Ordnance and Artillery Boards.
   (6 Dec 1838) Dismissed from the Army by the President of the United States for failure to " into the Treasury the balance of moneys placed into his hands...". 


   Cullum's Register - Graduate No. 16 - Charles Chouteau Gratiot
   Find a Grave - Charles Chouteau Gratiot
   Wikipedia - Charles C. Gratiot 
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Brevet Brig. General Charles Gratiot's Timeline

August 29, 1786
St. Louis City, St. Louis, Missouri
February 17, 1820
Age 33
Saint Louis, Missouri
September 14, 1824
Age 38
Hampton, Virginia, United States
May 18, 1855
Age 68
St. Louis City, St. Louis, Missour
May 18, 1855
Age 68
Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum, in Section 13 of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA