DescriptionUlysses S. Grant Civil War Partially-Smoked Cigar. along with two letters of provenance. This cigar is 2.5" long and was partially smoked by General Grant in late May 1864 during the Overland Campaign, shortly before the Battle of Cold Harbor. According to Lt. George Clark, adjutant to Gen. George J. Stannard, Gen. Grant dropped this cigar while smoking it. Rather than pick it up, he asked Lt. Clark for a fresh one. Clark then (or later) retrieved this cigar and sent it home to his wife. (See two letters of provenance in the next paragraphs.) The Battle of Cold Harbor that followed was a lopsided Confederate victory, though Grant did not admit it. Many years later, however, he did admit regret at his disastrous June 3 assault. This cigar is housed in a shadow box measuring 6" x 5".
Two letters of provenance accompany this rare cigar. The first was written by Lt. George Clark to his wife on July 3, 1864. It reads in part: "I must request this cigar to be held as a keepsake. Our own Gen. Grant let this cigar fall to the ground, prior to our engagement at Cold Harbor. He promptly asked me for a fresh cigar."
The second letter of provenance was written on July 17, 1893, by Matthew Camp[?] for G.A.R. Post 306 to "The Clark Family," thanking them for donating the cigar to the post following the death of Lt. Clark: "We at the Gen. Robert L. Rodine[?] G.A.R. Post 306 of Doylestown, Pennsylvania would like to take the time to thank your family for remembering your home state and donating to our post momentos of the late Lt. George Clark. It is grand to have such donations as the cigar of the late Gen. and present [president] U. S. Grant. Our post thanks you for your generosity."
Ulysses Grant was closely associated with the cigar, both as a general and president. Prior to the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862, he was only an occasional smoker, but after that battle, newspapers reported that he had smoked a cigar during the heat of the battle. The American public then sent him boxes of cigars-so many that he could not give them all away. According to General Horace Porter, who later wrote a book about campaigning with Grant, the general told him, "I naturally smoked more than I would have done under ordinary circumstances, and I have continued the habit ever since" (Horace Porter, Campaigning with Grant, (New York: Century Company, 1906), 381. This cigar is housed in a shadow box measuring 6" x 5".
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