Brigadier General Frederick Dent Grant

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Brigadier General Frederick Dent Grant

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Death: April 11, 1912 (61)
Governors Island, New York, New York County, New York, United States
Place of Burial: West Point, Orange County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States and Julia Boggs Dent Grant, 1st Lady of the United States
Husband of Ida Marie Grant
Father of Ulysses Simpson Grant, III; Julia Dent Grant; Maj. Gen. Ulysses Simpson Grant, III; Miriam Grant and Private
Brother of Ulysses "Buck" Grant, Jr.; Ellen (Nellie) Wrenshall Jones; Jesse Root Grant and Franklin Dent Grant

Occupation: Major General
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Brigadier General Frederick Dent Grant

He accompanied his father during portions of the Civil War and served on the Western frontier and in the Spainish-American War and the Philippine American War. He was also U.S. Minister to Austria-Hungary, 1889-1893

Frederick Dent Grant (May 30, 1850 – April 12, 1912) was a soldier and United States minister to Austria-Hungary. Grant was the first son of General of the Army and President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Dent Grant. He was named after his uncle, Frederick Tracy Dent.

Early life

His father was in the United States Army when Frederick was born in St. Louis, Missouri. The family moved as the senior Grant was assigned to posts in Michigan and New York. Frederick spent his early childhood at his paternal grandparent's house while his father was stationed on the West Coast. After his father's resignation from the army, the family lived in St. Louis and in Galena, Illinois. He attended public school in Galena until the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861. Grant's father organized a volunteer regiment and was made colonel. Frederick accompanied his father when the regiment was sent to northern Missouri, but he was sent home when it arrived. He then rejoined his father off and on at several campaigns during the war.

Early military career

Grant was appointed to West Point in 1866 and graduated in 1871. He was assigned to the 4th U.S. Cavalry Regiment. He took a leave of absence to work with the Union Pacific Railroad as a civil engineer. Late in 1871, he was aide-de-camp to General William Tecumseh Sherman in Europe. He rejoined the 4th Cavalry in Texas in 1872.

In 1873, he was assigned to the staff of General Philip Sheridan and promoted to lieutenant colonel. He was on the Yellowstone Expedition and was with George Armstrong Custer during the Black Hills expedition.

In 1874, Grant married Ida Marie Honoré (1854–1930), the daughter of Henry Hamilton Honoré, who made his fortune in Chicago real estate. They were married in Chicago and had two children: Julia Dent Grant (born 1876) and Ulysses III (born 1881). (Note: Ulysses IV was the son of Ulysses S. (Buck) Grant, Jr.)

The birth of his first child, Julia Dent Grant, in essence saved his life. Grant received leave to travel from Custer's unit in the Black Hills of South Dakota to Washington, D.C. for her birth. Had he remained with Custer's unit, he would have been in the Battle of the Little Bighorn (June 24–25, 1876) in which Custer and five companies of the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army were killed. This cannot be correct as Custer, accompanied by Grant (who was accused of drunkedness by some other members of the expedition), was in the Black Hills in 1874 (not 1876) The 7th Cavalry under the command of Custer left Ft. Abraham Lincoln in May 1876 as the Yellowstone part of the summer campaign of 1876. Neither it nor Custer was in the Black Hills at any time after the summer of 1874.

In 1877, he took a leave of absence to accompany his father on a trip around the world.

In 1878, Grant was in the Bannock War and was in the fight against Victorio in New Mexico.

West Point controversy

On June 1, 1870, the first African American cadet, James Webster Smith, from South Carolina, was admitted into the United States Military Academy. Smith was sponsored by Senator Adelbert Ames and nominated by Representative Solomon L. Hoge. Smith was hand picked for his outstanding character and scholarly ability by David Clark, a northern philanthropist. While at West Point, Smith was forced to endure immense racism, violence, and shunning by other West Point attendees. Among Smith's harassers included Frederick Dent Grant, a fellow cadet. The instigators, including Fred, were intent on driving Smith from the Academy.

Smith wrote to Clark about the racial hazing, where upon Clark went to the White House to talk with President Grant. Fred was also at the meeting between Clark and the President. Clark advocated that Grant stop the hazing. Grant said, "Don't take him away; the battle may as well be now as anytime." The young Fred was noted to say in front of his father, "the time had not come to send colored boys to West Point." When Clark disagreed, Fred said, "Well, no damned nigger will ever graduate from West Point." Smith was later discharged after failing an unconventional private examination test by Professor Peter S. Mitchie. Fred Grant denied being a leader of the cadets who hazed Smith for being an African American; however, there is evidence to suggest he actively participated.

Non-military career

He resigned from the army in 1881, and assisted his father in preparing the latter's memoirs. During this time, he was in business in New York City.

In 1887, he ran on the Republican ticket for Secretary of State of New York, but was defeated by the Democratic incumbent Frederick Cook.

In 1889, President Benjamin Harrison appointed him Minister to Austria-Hungary. After Grover Cleveland became president, Grant was allowed to continue in his post. Grant resigned in 1893.

Grant became a commissioner of police in New York City in 1894, an office he held until 1898. He served alongside future President Theodore Roosevelt.

Later military career

When the Spanish-American War started in 1898, Grant was colonel of the 14th New York Volunteers and was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers. He served in Puerto Rico. In 1899, Grant was sent to the Philippines for service in the Philippine-American War, where he remained until 1902. In 1901, he was made a brigadier general in the Regular Army.

When he returned to the United States, he held various commands and was promoted to major general in 1906. At the time of his death, he was the commander for the Eastern Division which included the Department of the East and the Department of the Gulf. He died of cancer, the same disease that had claimed his father, at Fort Jay on Governors Island in New York City on April 12, 1912, and was buried in West Point Cemetery.


Obituary of Frederick Dent Grant

From Report of the Sixth Reunion of the Grant Family Association at the Breevort House, Manhattan, New York City, Feburary 27, 1914, ed. by Frank Grant and Elihu Grant (Westfield, Mass.: n. p., 1914), pp. 26-29.

Frederick Dent Grant

Frederick Dent Grant, soldier and U. S. minister, was born in St. Louis, Mo., May 30, 1850, son of Ulysses S. and Julia (Dent) grant. His father was the eighteenth president of the United States. His early days were passed in the military posts of Fort Wayne, Mich., Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., and near Jefferson Barracks, Mo., where his father was stationed. After the latter's resignation from the army, the family lived in St. Louis, Mo., and Galena, Ill., and young Grant attended the common schools of the latter town until the outbreak of the civil war. He accompanied the 21st Ill. volunteer infantry, of which his father was colonel, in its march across that state to relieve the troops in northern Missouri, then threatened by a Confederate force under Benjamin Harris. When the regiment reached Quincy, Col. Grant sent the boy home, but he rejoined his father at Cairo, after the battle of Belmont and stayed with him until the campaign of Forts Henry and Donelson. At the commencement of the march to Fort Donelson, he was sent to school at Covington, where he remained until the fall of Corinth. In the spring of 1863, he rejoined Gen. Grant at Young's Point, La., and accompanied him in the Vicksburg campaign, where he was for the first time under fire. He was on the same boat with his father during the naval battle of Grand Gulf. In the battle of Port Gibson, he was in action with Powell's battery, being slightly wounded, and later accompanied the 7th Ill. in the advance that drove the enemy from the field. Subsequently he took part in the skirmishes of the Suspension Bridge, Bayou Pierre, and Grindstone Fork, and the battle of Raymond. He was with Tuttle's division in the assault on Jackson and was led by curiosity to enter the city in advance of the Federal troops and before the Confederate force had evacuated the place. In later years, he was accustomed to refer humorously to what he called his single-handed capture of Jackson. After the surrender of the Mississippi capital, he remained with his father until the battle of Champion's Hill and subsequently took part in the charge of Lawler's brigade at Black River bridge, where he was wounded in the leg. He was with his father during the siege of Vicksburg, and after the evacuation of the city was sent North on account of illness. During the whole Vicksburg campaign, he had served unofficially on his father's staff and his conduct, in view of his extreme youth, was remarkably cool and courageous. On recovering from his illness, he joined his father at Nashville, Tenn., and accompanied him to Washington, when the elder Grant was commissioned lieutenant-general by Lincoln. His health would not permit him to take part in the Wilderness campaign, so he attended school at Burlington, N. J., until 1866, when he was appointed at-large to the West Point Military Academy. Upon being graduated in 1871, he waived the usual privilege accorded to graduates of naming the regiments they prefer lest the granting of his request might be attributed to influence. But he was one of the most expert horsemen that ever attended West Point, and for that reason he was appointed to the cavalry and assigned to the Fourth regiment. After his graduation, he obtained leave of absence and accepted a position as civil engineer on the Union Pacific Railway, in which capacity he assisted in various surveys across the continent and in the construction of part of the Colorado Central road in Clear Creek canyon. In the fall of 1871, he went to Europe as aide-de-camp to Gen. Sherman, and on his return, joined his regiment in Texas. During the winter of 1872 and 1873, he commanded the escort of the surveying parties on the Texas Pacific road across the Llano Estacado. In March, 1873, he was appointed to the staff of Gen. Phil Sheridan, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and in the same year was with Gen. Stanley on the Yellowstone expedition. In the following year, he was with Custer on the Black Hills expedition. Obtaining a leave of absence in 1877, he accompanied his father on his memorable trip around the world, and after his return, served in the Bannock Indian War of 1878, and on the various expeditions, on one of which he followe[d] Victoria's Apache band for 500 miles into New Mexico. In 1881, he resigned his commission and started in business in New York. During the last days of the life of Gen. U. S. Grant, his son, Fred, was his constant companion and aided in the compilation and preparation of his autobiography. After his father's death, he re-entered business and became identified with a number of important financial interests. In 1888, he was appointed by Pres. Harrison, minister to Austria, where his success in securing the admission of American products and in protecting American citizens from military duty won for him the highest commendation, and on Cleveland's election to the presidency, he was informed that, unless he insisted, his resignation would not be accepted. He did insist, however, and returned to the United States in 1893. In the following year, he became one of the police commissioners of New York under Mayor Strong's reform administration. When the war with Spain began, he became colonel of the 14th N. Y. volunteers, and on May 27, 1898, was appointed brigadier-general of the United States volunteers. He was honorably discharged on April 15, 1899, and on the same day was re-appointed brigadier-general of volunteers. During the war, he served for a year in Puerto Rico and after the war, he commanded the military district of San Juan. He commanded the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 8th army corps in the Philippine Islands from April to November, 1899. He commanded the troops that found the battles of Big Ben and Binancian. In 1899, he was transferred to the 2nd brigade, 2nd division for the advance into Northern Luzon and covered the flanks and rear of MacArthur's division. Later he was detached to invade the provinces of Batan and Zambilles, which he accomplished after a number of heavy skirmishes. In June, 1900, he was assigned to the command of the 5th district, Northern Luzon, and for the following year was engaged in the severe guerilla warfare, which included the battles of Balahad and Ipo and a number of more or less serious skirmishes. On Feb. 18, 1901, he was commissioned a brigadier-general in the regular army. He was transferred to the command of the 4th separate brigade, Samar and Leyte, in October, 1901, and received the surrender of the last of the insurgents. He was responsible for the subsequent establishment of civil government in those provinces and in this connection showed diplomacy and constructive statesmanship of the highest order and called forth the warm commendation of many of the most prominent men of affairs in the United States. He commanded the Department of Texas, 1902-4; the department of the Lakes, in which he had served under Sheridan, July to September, 1904; the department of the East, 1904-8, being promoted to the rank of major-general in February, 1906; the department of the Lakes again, 1908-10; the department of the East, July 25, 1910, to July 1, 1911; and the eastern division, which embraces the department of the East and the department of the Gulf from its establishment on July 1, 1911; and the eastern division, which embraces the department of the East and the department of the Gulf from its establishment on July 1, 1911, until his death. It was inevitable that Gen. Grant's career should fall under the shadow of his father's reputation. The elder Grant was one of the big figures of this country's history, ranking with the greatest military leaders of all time. That his son should be subjected to the handicap of a constant comparison is natural enough, and that he stood the comparison so well is perhaps the best compliment that could be paid him. But the comparison was, of course, unfair, for even allowing that Frederick Dent Grant possessed his father's genius, he was never confronted with the same big trial and the same big opportunity. Indian fighting and a war, whose result was a foregone conclusion from the beginning, were the extent of his opportunities, and he acquitted himself as brilliantly as the limitations of those opportunities allowed. It required a big test to bring out the great qualities of his father, a similar test that never applied to the son. That under such a test he would have shown equal powers is quite probable. He was a born soldier, with an innate capacity for leadership and a rare faculty of inspiring confidence and affection in his men. His resemblance to his father was so striking in all other respects, both in character and physique, as to intrude itself inevitably on every description of him. A prominent New York business man said of him several years before his death, "What seems to me the best trait in the man is his honest courage and persistency in facing any kind of circumstances without allowing himself to be disheartened. I have known him over twenty years, and the more I see of him, the better I like him." He was married in Chicago, Ill., Oct. 20, 1874, to Ida M., daughter of Henry Hamilton Honore (q. v.), and had two children; Julia, who married Prince Cantacuzene, of Russia, and Ulysses S. Grant, 3d, who is a captain in the Corps of Engineers of the U. S. army. Gen. Grant died in New York City, April 12, 1912.

1/7/2015 found on Birth: May 30, 1850 Saint Louis St. Louis City Missouri, USA Death: Apr. 11, 1912 Fort Jay New York County (Manhattan) New York, USA

United States Army General. Son of President Ulysses S. Grant. Accompanied his father through much of General Grant's Civil War campaigns, often coming under hostile fire himself. Graduating from West Point in 1871, he served as an aide-de-camp to Lt. Gen. Philip Sheridan. He participated in exploration expeditions to the Yellowstone area and the Black Hills, and fought in the 1878 Bannock Indian War. After taking leave of the Army to travel abroad with his parents, and to serve as a secretary to his dying father, he returned to the Army at the onset of the Spanish-American War. Promoted Brigadier General, he commanded the district of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and fought in the Philippines. When he died in 1912, it was revealed he had also suffered throat cancer like his father. (bio by: Russ Dodge)

Family links:

 Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822 - 1885)
 Julia Boggs Dent Grant (1826 - 1902)


 Ida Marie Honore Grant (1854 - 1930)*


 Julia Dent Grant Cantacuzene (1876 - 1975)*
 Ulysses Simpson Grant (1881 - 1968)*


 Frederick Dent Grant (1850 - 1912)
 Ulysses Simpson Grant (1852 - 1928)*
 Ellen Wrenshall Jones (1855 - 1922)*
 Jesse Root Grant (1858 - 1934)*

*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Cancer

Burial: United States Military Academy Post Cemetery West Point Orange County New York, USA Plot: Section 26, Row D, Grave 39

Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001 Find A Grave Memorial# 2302

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Brigadier General Frederick Dent Grant's Timeline

May 20, 1850
St. Louis, Missouri, United States
January 6, 1876
White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington D.C., DC, United States
July 4, 1881
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
April 11, 1912
Age 61
Governors Island, New York, New York County, New York, United States
West Point Cemetery, US Military Academy, West Point, Orange County, New York, United States