Ulysses S. Grant's Field Glasses

Physical Description
This is a metal instrument with a central focus that belonged to General Ulysses S. Grant, and was probably used during the Civil War. The objective lenses are 55mm diameter and give a good image. The length is 160 mm (closed). The cloth covered barrels are flared slightly at the eye end; the outer 55 mm are cylindrical.
General History
Ulysses S. Grant, a West Point graduate who fought with distinction in the War with Mexico, found postwar life in the West unbearable and resigned from the army in 1854. When the Civil War began, he offered his services and soon took command of a volunteer regiment. In September 1861 he was appointed Brigadier General of Volunteers by President Abraham Lincoln. In February 1862 Grant took Fort Henry and attacked Fort Donelson. When the Confederate commander asked for terms, Grant replied, "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." The Confederates surrendered, and President Lincoln promoted Grant to Major General of Volunteers. Grant fought one of the bloodiest battles in the West at Shiloh, but it was not the decisive victory that the Union wanted. President Lincoln believed in Grant and refused to remove him from command, saying "I can't spare this man–he fights." His next major objective would cut the Confederacy in two. Grant maneuvered and fought skillfully, winning Vicksburg, the key city on the Mississippi, and breaking the Confederate hold on Chattanooga. Lincoln appointed him general in chief in March 1864. Grant directed Sherman to drive through the South while he himself, with the Army of the Potomac, pinned down Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. On April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Lee surrendered. Grant wrote out magnanimous terms of surrender that would prevent treason trials.
Object Name
field glasses
Grant, Ulysses S.
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
glass (overall material)
leather (?) (overall material)
overall: 6 1/4 in x 5 1/4 in x 2 3/4 in; 15.875 cm x 13.335 cm x 6.985 cm
United States
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Civil War
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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