North and South: Grant and Lee

Stephen Richard Kerbs Exhibit Area

 Civil war troops

This exhibition is timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the first year of the American Civil War.  The two famous generals associated with this conflict are General Ulysses S. Grant for the North and General Robert E. Lee for the South.  This display presents primary and secondary sources preserved in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center relating to Grant and Lee.  The items provide documentary evidence about these two leading soldiers.

Porter, Horace. Campaigning with Grant (New York: Century Co., 1897).

Northern General Horace Porter rose in the ranks of the Union army and eventually served directly under Grant. After impressing Grant during the Chattanooga Campaign, Porter joined Grant's staff as aide- de-camp in April 1864. Porter was present with Grant at the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. Porter’s personal papers and a collection of his muniments are preserved in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.


Creasap, Bernarr. Appomattox Commander: The Story of General E.O.C. Ord (South Brunswick, NJ: A.S. Barnes, 1981).

Early in the war, E.O.C. Ord won the first significant Union victory at the Battle of Dranesville, Virginia. He served with distinction at Vicksburg, and he was at Appomattox with Grant at the end of the war. Ord was the son of James Ord, who attended Georgetown College from 1800 to 1806. James was reputed to be the son of King George IV of England and Maria Fitzherbert. A number of Ord family members have attended Georgetown University throughout the years. The Ord Family Papers are housed in the Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.


Grant's Cigar Case and Cigar

General Grant presented this cigar case to his secretary Harmon W. Brown, a private in Company I of the 78th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Oxford, Mississippi, on December 20, 1862. One cigar is still contained inside the case. This artifact was donated along with the Horace Porter Collection.

According to one reference source, Grant smoked about 20 cigars per day. [Degregorio, William A. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents (New York: Wings Books, 1991), p. 263]. Later in life, he was stricken with mouth cancer.

Horace Porter Collection: Box 2 Folder 5. Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

Photograph of Grant

Photograph of General Ulysses S. Grant and Staff on Lookout Mountain. The photo was taken in November 1863 after the “Battle Above the Clouds.” Those depicted are General Grant, General Webster, Colonel Lago, Colonel Hillyard, and Colonel Rawley. Copyrighted by G. M. Brandt and Co. of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Photo taken by A. W. Judd, Portrait and Landscape Photographer.

Horace Porter Collection: Box 9 Folder 2. Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

Photograph of Appomattox Wooden Table

Photograph of table on which General Ulysses S. Grant drafted the terms of surrender for General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. The photo was taken by Pach Brothers of Broadway, New York. Written on verso: "Grant wrote terms of surrender at Appomattox on this table, which now belongs to Mrs. Custer. H[orace] P[orter]." Also, one autograph letter signed (copy) dated April 10, 1865 from General Philip H. Sheridan to Mrs. George Custer, regarding the table. The letter was written from Appomattox Court House. The original table is preserved in the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution.

Horace Porter Collection: Box 9 Folder 6. Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

Photograph of Appomattox Marble Table

Photograph (Xerox copy) of Major General E.O.C. Ord, United States Army, standing by the marble table upon which General Grant and General Lee signed the surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 10, 1865. The photograph was taken at the Jefferson Davis Mansion in Richmond, Virginia.

Ord Family Papers: Part 2: Box 20 Folder 18. Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

Georgetown College Philodemic Society

Autograph letter signed (reproduction) from Robert E. Lee dated February 14, 1866, to Samuel H. Anderson, thanking him for Lee's honorary election into the Philodemic Society of Georgetown College; sent from Lexington, Virginia. Also, autograph letter signed (reproduction) dated June 14, 1867, from Lee to James Clark, S.J., President of the Georgetown College Philodemic Society, indicating that he will not be able to attend the Reunion of the Philodemic Society; also sent from Lexington, Virginia. The Georgetown University Philodemic Club made Lee an honorary member. Lee served as president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia until his death in 1870. The school later became known as Washington and Lee College.

Original letters in Philodemic Society Archives, Georgetown University Archives.

Images of Lee

One carte de visite of Lee photographed by Vannerson and Jones in Richmond, Virginia. Also, one engraving of Lee reproduced by Johnson, Wilson and Co. Publishers, New York.

Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection: Box 10 Folder 31.
Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

Photograph of Arlington House

Photograph: "The Arlington House at Arlington, Va." Photographed and published by Bell and Bro' No 319 Penn Avenue, Washington, D.C.

Arlington House was the Lee family mansion before the Civil War. Lee and his family were forced to leave the house as the Northern troops occupied that part of northern Virginia. Arlington House still stands today, and it is open to public tours administered by the National Park Service at Arlington Cemetery.

John Gilmary Shea Papers: Box 26 Folder 6.5. Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

Arlington House

Autograph letter signed from Union soldier from New York John McHarg to his brother Rufus McHarg discussing John’s work in the Quarter Master's Department. McHarg mentions his unit’s advancing towards Centreville, Virginia. The letter includes a lengthy description of Robert E. Lee's former home Arlington House being used as a depot for all types of quarter master stores except clothing and tents. McHarg sent the letter from the Quarter Master's Department, 1st Brigade, Porter's Division, Halls Hill, Virginia.

McHarg Family Papers: Box 1 Folder 12. Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

John Dooley’s  Diary

John Dooley’s Diary

Durkin, Joseph T., S.J., ed.
John Dooley: Confederate Soldier, His War Journal.
(Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1945).
A photo of Dooley appears in the book.

Dooley, a student at Georgetown College, left school to enlist in the Confederate army. He served in the 1st Virginia Regiment. His dairy covers his experiences from Cedar Mountain in 1862 to Gettysburg in 1863. He was wounded at Gettysburg and subsequently imprisoned. Excerpt (reproduction) from the autograph manuscript journal by Dooley about the Battle of Gettysburg: “July 3d [1863] Before the day has fully dawned we are on our way to occupy the position assigned us for the conflict of the third day. As we turn from the main road to the right General Lee, silent and motionless, awaits our passing by and anxiously does he gaze upon the only division of his army whose members have not been thinned by the terrible fires of Gettysburg.”

Original journal in John Dooley Papers, Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.

West Point Standing of Lee

Register of the Officers and Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy, June 1829. Lee ranked 2nd in the First Class, and James Clark ranked 34th in the First Class. Lee graduated in 1829.

James Clark (1809 – 1885) was a Pennsylvanian who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1829. He served just one year in the military. Later in life, he entered the Society of Jesus, and he taught at Georgetown and served as president of Holy Cross College and Gonzaga College. An asterisk accompanies Lee’s name to recognize superior achievement at the time of the General Examination. Grant graduated from West Point much later, in 1843.

Rev. James Clark, S.J. Papers, Box 1 Folder 2. Georgetown University Library Special Collections Research Center.