On March the 7th of this year, Blue Mountain College hosted a distinguished guest, straight out of the pages of your history book… Ulysses S. Grant, the celebrated union general, paid a visit to the humble classroom of Dr. Stewart Bennett. The students, in equal parts amazed and amused, listened as Grant explained he had received orders via telegraph to report immediately to room 108 of BMC and give an account to the students there of both his own life and of the battle of Shiloh.
Of course, as you may or may not have suspected, Ulysses Grant himself was unable to attend, due to having been dead for a hundred and forty-two years. The real presenter was Dr. Kurt Fields, a man whose job it is to travel and “do” Grant. He presents on the man’s life by pretending to be him, and giving a first person narrative of events.
Dr. Fields was dressed in full civil war regalia, including Grant’s iconic slouch hat. He carried a crutch, and explained that it was because during the battle of Shiloh, his (Grant’s) leg was crushed by a horse. It was the first accident Grant had ever suffered with a horse, despite having swung on horses’ tails as a small child. Grant fought the battle of Shiloh wearing a slipper on one foot, as it was too swollen to wear a boot over.
Other interesting facts about Shiloh as they related to Grant is that it was the last time during the civil war that Grant was to lead a charge. It is also noted that he made his headquarters under a tree during the battle, because Grant could not stand the sight of blood. The only buildings available were filled to the brim with the wounded, and Grant chose instead to camp under a tree in the pouring rain.
The presentation was engaging and insightful, and helped the students to understand history on a deeper level. Dr. Kurt Fields is a master of his trade, and will be welcome back on campus whenever he might receive orders again.