Our Eighth Annual U. S. Grant Symposium, which concluded on July 23, 2021, concentrated on African American troops in the Civil War, and Ulysses Grant’s relationship with those troops. As in the case of symposiums past, the event featured a Keynote Address, a character portrayal, and two other lectures. The Keynote Address was delivered by Maj. Gen. Byron S. Bagby (US Army, Ret.), a combat veteran and noted educator who served 31 years in the Army. Speaker Rob Mellon of Quincy, Illinois, covered Ulysses Grant’s “First March,” when as a Colonel of volunteers in July, 1861, he took his 21st Illinois Infantry to Quincy from Springfield. Dan Fuller of St. Louis provided a virtual tour of the many graves in St. Louis’s Bellefontaine Cemetery of persons in Ulysses Grant’s life, including his in-laws, and his friends and foes in the Civil War.
Marvin-Alonzo Greer, from Prince George’s County, Maryland, is acclaimed nationally for his portrayals of Civil War (and other) characters. He brought to St. Louis his portrayal of Private Spotswood Rice, a Missouri slave turned soldier and hospital orderly who, writing from St. Louis’s Benton Barracks in 1864, excoriated the woman who still owned his daughter Mary.