In researching and writing my new biography of Ulysses S. Grant I have determined that I need to travel to the places where Grant lived and worked. It is one thing to do research in the bowels of a library, it is another to walk where Grant walked.
In April I spent nearly a week in Ohio where Grant grew up. In early October I was at West Point attempting to learn more of these critical years in Grant’s formation. In the last week of October I spent a very fruitful week doing research in the Grant Papers which are now at Mississippi State University at Starkville, Mississippi. Dr. John Marszalek, Executive Director of the Grant Papers, and his marvelous staff, are opening up rich resources.
I have completed two chapters on Grant’s participation in the War with Mexico.
I wish conditions in Mexico made it possible to visit some of the key sites there. Next year I will be visiting the sites of the first two battles of the war, at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, both located in South Texas.
People ask me: what is it like to study Grant after Lincoln? What they don’t always say out loud is: is it a come down? Actually, I am finding Grant to be quite a compelling figure. In future posts I will say a bit more about what I am discovering about him.