Who Keeps You On Your Horse?

Ulysses S. Grant was a four-star general of the Union forces during the Civil War and became the 18th President of the United States. John A. Rawlins was Grant’s friend and fellow general, who became Grant’s chief of staff. During the Civil War, no one was closer to Grant than Rawlins.

Ulysses S. Grant had a drinking problem, but he made a pledge to Rawlins that he would abstain from intoxicating liquors during the war so that he could carry out his duties. On one occasion when Grant broke that promise, Rawlins pleaded with great earnestness that Grant refrain from strong drink “for his own sake, and the nation’s great and holy cause.” Rawlins’ advice was heeded, and Grant was not impaired by drink when his decision-making was critical.

Wounds from a friend can be trusted! There stands today, in front of the Capital in Washington, a magnificent monument to General Grant. He sits upon his horse in characteristic pose and is flanked on either side by stirring battle scenes. At the other end of the mall and a little to the south of Pennsylvania Avenue is Rawlins Park. There stands a very ordinary statue of Grant’s friend, John A. Rawlins.

There might be no monument to Grant had there not been the admonition of a faithful friend. It was Rawlins (and his admonition) who kept Grant on his horse.

Contributed by: David Owens

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