A historically accurate and expanded interpretation of Ulysses S. Grant that’s accessible and entertaining
Erik serves up a heaping helping of the “battles and leaders” that Civil War buffs crave along with a side of the politics and people that students and informed citizens need to know — including the cause of the war in slavery and secession along with the connection of Union and emancipation as twin objectives of victory.
Western Theater Photo Gallery
View photos from Erik’s tour in uniform of Grant’s biggest battles in the Western Theater of the Civil War: Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg and Chattanooga.
Like other interpreters, Erik talks about Grant’s life before, during and after the Civil War, where he focuses on Grant’s battlefield strategy and stirring stories of Grant’s great battles. In the western theater of the war, these include Forts Henry and Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg and Chattanooga. In the eastern theater, Erik focuses on Grant’s experiences at the Wilderness and in the Virginia Overland Campaign of 1864, the Siege of Petersburg and the final campaign that ended with Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House.
Erik also talks about the relationship of Grant to key generals of the war:
- “Make Georgia howl”: The partnership with William Tecumseh Sherman key to Union victories from Shiloh to Atlanta and to the “strategy of exhaustion” that powered Sherman’s March to the Sea and helped win the war
- Ride on, Rienzi: Grant’s elevation of Phillip Sheridan, enabling his brilliant performance at the head of Union cavalry
- Old Brains, the Rock of Chickamauga, Old Snapping Turtle: The ups and downs of Grant’s relationships with Henry Halleck, George Henry Thomas and George Gordon Meade
- “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”: Grant’s innovative cooperation with naval commanders Andrew Hull Foote, David Dixon Porter and David Farragut
- Confederates Galore: Grant vs. Lee plus Grant vs. second-string Confederates from the two Johnstons, Simon Bolivar Buckner and John Pemberton to mediocre or just plain awful commanders like John Floyd, Gideon Pillow and Braxton Bragg
While many Grant interpreters limit their scope to covering battle tactics and personalities in uniform, Erik also brings a new emphasis on Grant’s connections to slavery, civil rights and race as well as Grant’s role in national politics, both during and after the war, whether in uniform or in the White House.
Informed by the work of such leading historians on Grant’s life as Ron Chernow, HW Brands, Brooks Simpson, Joan Waugh and Donald Miller, on the Civil War by Gary Gallagher, and on Reconstruction by WEB DuBois and Eric Foner — as well as by classic works of the post-war era including Grant’s own memoirs and books on Grant by Horace Porter, Adam Badeau and John Russell Young — Erik strives for historical accuracy.
At the same time, drawing on 35 years experience as a public speaker and college instructor on three continents, Erik presents an entertaining program that will engage people of all ages and that seeks to appeal to Civil War buffs and diverse audiences alike who want to know more about the leader who has been called “America’s first civil rights president” by historian Allen C. Guelzo.
Erik is a member of the US Grant Association, the Grant Memorial Association, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Civil War Roundtable in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is the official portrayer of General Grant for the Confederation of Union Generals, based in Gettysburg. Erik is currently writing a short, accessible biography of Grant to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth observed in 2022.
His wife Lindsay offers an interpretation of Julia Dent Grant.