Wednesday, December 12, 2007

U.S. Grant the actor

I have been reading some of my old Civil War books and currently I am reading Lee and His Generals: In War and Memory by Gary Gallagher. The book contains an article discussing the life of Confederate General John Bankhead Magruder. Magruder's personality made him a well known figure in the antebellum army and he loved to stage plays for his fellow soldiers as they endured the rigors of army life. While stationed in Texas with General Zachary Taylor's army in 1845-1846, he set up a theatre and staged several plays. A performance of Othello, was staged by Magruder and he enlisted his fellow soldiers to serve as characters in the play. U.S. Grant was cast as Desdemona because his original choice, James Longstreet was too tall. Grant did not fill Desdemona's shoes any better than "Old Pete" and Magruder was forced to hire an actress for the role. I just thought this was an interesting tidbit for Civil War buffs. I love this stuff.

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