Washington DC - Capitol Hill: General Ulysses S. Grant Memorial - Cavalry Group
The General Ulysses S. Grant Memorial, located at the base of Capitol Hill below the west front of the United States Capitol and east of the National Mall, was installed over a period from 1912-1920 and officially dedicated on April 27, 1922. The memorial, created by sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady, assisted by sculptor Edmund Amateis, and architect William Pearce Casey, consists of of a long marble platform with an equestrian statue of General Grant in the center, and two groups of military figures--the Artillery Group on the south end, and the Cavalry Group on the north end. Shrady, who spent 20 years of his life working on the memorial, died two weeks before its dedication.
General Grant, in the center of the 252-foot long by 71-foot wide Vermont marble platform, faces west toward the Lincoln Memorial, honoring his war-time president. The 17-foot-2-inch, 10,700-piund statue, dressed in his military uniform and slouch hat, and seated astride his charger, Cincinnatus, is the second largest equestrian statue in the United States, and third in the world. On each side of the 22½-foot marble base is a large bas-relief panel depicting soldiers in action. Each of the four corners of the base is dotted with a bronze lion in repose guarding both the United States flag and the flags of the Army. The Union Cavalry Group depicts seven horsemen of the Cavalry Regiment's color squad making a charge, fronted by their commanding officer. The Union Artillery Group depicts three horses pulling a caisson carrying a cannon and three soldiers. A plague on the rear of the Artillery Group lists the names: Fairfax Ayers, James E. Chaney, and Henry J. Weeks (the West Point cadets who were the models). At completion, it was the largest bronze sculpture cast in the United States. Today it stands as part of a three-part sculptural group including the James A. Garfield Monument and the Peace Monument.
The idea for the memorial originated in 1895 by the Society of the Army of the Tennessee, Grant's old command. The location on the east side of the mall was chosen when Theodore Roosevelt reportedly vetoed the original location of the Ellipse, since it would block his view of the Potomac. Excavation on the site began on October 7, 1907. The sculpture of Grant was installed in late 1920, the Artillery Group was placed on the site in 1912 and the Cavalry Group in 1916. The two reliefs on the base were sculpted by Fry and Amateis from a sketch done by Shrady shortly before his death and were installed after 1922.