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General Ulysses S. Grant’s Loyal Friend, John A. Rawlins

General Ulysses S. Grant, who commanded the Union soldiers for Lincoln, was such a disciplined hard man on his soldiers that few knew of his weakness for liquor. One of those who was keenly aware of Grant’s shortcoming was his faithful friend, Galena lawyer, and later chief of staff for president Grant, John A. Rawlins. In the front of the Capitol building at Washington D.C. there is a magnificent monument of General Grant sitting on his horse in a characteristic pose and flanked by battle scenes on each side. The venerated Grant towers in bronze magnificence for all to see. At the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the farthest southern end of the street there is a very ordinary, commonplace statue of John A. Rawlins, Grant’s faithful and true friend. But what many do not know is that John A. Rawlins privately pleaded with the drunken, dissolute man General Grant to abstain from liquor for the sake of himself and the great holy cause of the nation. It was John A. Rawlins’ faithful friendship that kept Ulysses S. Grant on his horse.

From a sermon by Tim Adams, Friends for Christ’s Sake, 12/1/2009

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