Who was Lewis A. Grant?


Lewis Addison Grant (17 January 1828 to 20 March 1918) was a teacher, lawyer, soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and later United States Assistant Secretary of War.

He was among the leading officers from the state of Vermont, and received the Medal of Honour for “personal gallantry and intrepidity.”

Lewis A. Grant, Medal of Honour.

Early Life

Grant was born in Winhall, Vermont, the son of James and Elizabeth (Wyman) Grant. He attended the district school of Townshend, Vermont, and the academy at Chester, Vermont. He then taught school for five years in New Jersey, in Chester, Vermont, and near Boston, meanwhile reading law. He was admitted to the bar in 1855 and established his law practice in Bellows Falls, Vermont.

Civil War

Grant was mustered into the service of the United States on 16 September 1861, at St. Albans, Vermont, as major of the 5th Vermont Infantry. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 25 September 1861, and Colonel, on 16 September 1862. He was wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg. He assumed command of the famed Vermont Brigade and led it during the 1863 Gettysburg Campaign.

Grant was appointed brigadier general of volunteers on 27 April 1864, and accepted the appointment 21 May 1864. He was commissioned brevet major general of volunteers, to date from 19 October 1864, “for gallant and meritorious services in the campaign before Richmond, Virginia, and in the Shenandoah Valley;” and was honourably discharged from the service 24 August 1865.

He commanded the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, VI Corps, from 21 February 1863 to 29 December 1863, and from 02 February 1864 to 29 September 1864, and from 08 October 1864 to 02 December 1864; the 2nd Division, VI Corps, from 02 December 1864 to 11 February 1865; the 2nd Brigade, same Division, from 11 February 1865 to 20 February 1865, and from 07 March 1865 to 28 June 1865.

During his service with the 5th Vermont Infantry, he participated in the following battles: Yorktown, Williamsburg, Goldings’s Farm, Savage’s Station, White Oak Swamp, Crampton’s Gap, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.

As a brigade or acting division commander, he participated in the following: the Second Battle of Fredericksburg and the Battle of Salem Church, Gettysburg, Fairfield, Second Battle of Rappahannock Station, the Mine Run Campaign, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbour, Siege of Petersburg, Charlestown, West Virginia, Gilbert’s Crossing, Cedar Creek, the siege and assault on Petersburg (where he was wounded in the head), and the Battle of Sayler’s Creek during the Appomattox Campaign. Grant was acting commander of 2nd Division, VI Corps, at the height of its stand against the Confederate assault at Cedar Creek.

He was recommended 22 August 1866, for appointment as a field officer in the regular army by General Ulysses S. Grant, and was appointed 29 August 1866, as lieutenant colonel of the 36th US Infantry, to date from 28 July 1866, but declined the appointment.

On 11 May 1893, Grant was awarded the Medal of Honour for “Personal gallantry and intrepidity displayed in the management of his brigade and in leading it in the assault in which he was wounded,” at Salem Church, Virginia, 03 May 1863. That same year, he became a member of the District of Columbia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was assigned national membership number 6939 and district membership number 439. He was also a companion of the Minnesota Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

Post War

After the war, Lewis Grant lived in Illinois, Iowa, and finally Minnesota. His son was Ulysses Sherman Grant, professor of geology, at Northwestern University. He was Assistant US Secretary of War during the administration of President Benjamin Harrison. He died at Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is buried in Lakewood Cemetery (Section 8, Lot 416, Grave 2) in that city.

Medal of Honour Citation

Rank and organization: Colonel, 5th Vermont Infantry. Place and date: At Salem Heights, Va., May 3, 1863. Entered service at: Bellow Falls, Vt. Born: January 17, 1828, Winhall, Vt. Date of issue: May 11, 1893.


Personal gallantry and intrepidity displayed in the management of his brigade and in leading it in the assault in which he was wounded.


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