Ulysses S. Grant's Field Glasses

Ulysses S. Grant's Field Glasses

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Usage conditions apply
Physical Description
These field glasses belonged to General Ulysses S. Grant, and were 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.
United States
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
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Civil War
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
Price of Freedom
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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You always have to be careful about what is really civil war era. Not everything that a person that served in the civil war had in their possession when they died came from the civil war. In regards to civil war binoculars such as the one you have pictured I am very much an expert in that area. I have far over 1,000 sets from the 1800's and have collected and studied them for over 35 years. I have hundreds of binoculars from the civil war era and before the civil war era. Your binoculars claimed to be from General Ulysses S. Grant from the two pictures I see looks to have the characteristics to be authentic civil war era. About 99.99% of the binoculars claimed to be civil war era are not. However, yours are obviously civil war era or slightly before and obviously would have been used by Ulysses S. Grant's in that time period if they belonged to him. Could I prove they are from the civil war era? YES! I have a set of civil war era binoculars that came from Col. John S. Slocum of Second Rhode Island Volunteers. He died in the battle of Bull Run in July, 1861.
Are you able to determine the manufacturer or any other markings on the binoculars? Thank you
How can you tell they belonged to Grant? We have a pair of binoculars that are " embossed " or stamped with raised lettering that says Gen George Crook. Does that mean they were made specifically for him? How can we tell if they are authentic? I could send a picture. Thanks.

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