Civil War History/Ulysses S. Grant
Shortly after his promotion to the rank of brigadier General, U.S. Grant was suddenly relieved of his command in Jefferson City, Missouri. His orders directed that he should report to department headquarters in St. Louis without delay, to receive important instruction. What follows, taken from Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant published in 1885, is his own account of these early days in Civil War History. “The important special instructions which I received the next day, assigned me to the command of the district of southeast Missouri, embracing all the territory south of St. Louis, in Missouri, as well as southern Illinois... In pursuance of my orders I established my temporary headquarters at Cape Girardeau and sent instructions to the commanding officer at Jackson, to inform me of the approach of General Prentiss from Ironton. Hired wagons were kept moving night and day to take additional rations to Jackson, to supply the troops when they started from there. Neither General Prentiss nor Colonel Marsh, who commanded at Jackson, knew their destination. I drew up all of the instructions for the contemplated move, and kept them in my pocket until I should hear of the junction of our troops at Jackson. Two or three days after my arrival at Cape Girardeau, word came that General Prentiss was approaching that place (Jackson). I started at once to meet him there and give him his orders. As I turned the first corner of the street after starting, I saw a column of calvary passing the next street in front of me. I turned and rode around the block the other way, so as to meet the head of the column. I found there General Prentiss himself, with a large escort. He had halted his troops at Jackson for the night, and had come on himself to Cape Girardeau, leaving orders for his command to follow him on the morning.” The building which now houses Port Cape Girardeau Restaurant served as the office for Grant’s headquarters during his stay in Cape Girardeau. Later, headquarters for the district were moved to Cairo, Illinois, thirty miles to the south.
The building which now houses Port Cape Girardeau is one of the oldest standing structures west of the Mississippi River. The abstract dates back to a Spanish land grant to Don Louis Lorimier, one of the city’s founding fathers. Construction of the building was prior to 1836, as evidenced in the abstract. A proud trademark of Port Cape Girardeau restaurant is the refurbished historic Coca-Cola sign on the north side of the present building. Guests of the Port Cape can view the majestic and mighty Mississippi River, just a few feet east of the restaurant entrance. The decor of the building’s interior reflects its historic past, and the aroma of hickory smoked barbeque entices visitors to enjoy a taste-tempting feast in a truly unique atmosphere.
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19 North Water Street • Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 • 573-334-0954
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