Brevet Brig. General Charles Gratiot

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Brevet Brig. General Charles Gratiot's Geni Profile

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Charles Chouteau Gratiot, Jr.

Also Known As: "Gen. Charles Chouteau Gratiot"
Birthdate: (68)
Birthplace: St. Louis, Pocahontas, Bond County, Illinois, United States
Death: Died in Pocahontas, Bond County, Illinois, United States
Place of Burial: Richland, Benton County, Washington, United States
Immediate Family:

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

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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.

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Brevet Brig. General Charles Gratiot's Timeline

August 29, 1786
Pocahontas, Bond County, Illinois, United States
February 17, 1820
Age 33
Saint Louis, Missouri
Age 37
May 18, 1855
Age 68
Pocahontas, Bond County, Illinois, United States
May 18, 1855
Age 68
Richland, Benton County, Washington, United States