Dispatches from the Field

You taught me a lot about Grant. I had no idea about the migraines and malaria. Also, the peer bashing he received. I never thought about the professional/personal jealousies and politics. After reading Grant’s Personal Memoirs, I developed a mental image of him. I must say that you nailed it! I hope to be in your audience some time again in the future. Not only are you a great historian, but also a good actor.

Sincerely, Jim Wehmer

As a professional historian who spent fifty-four years teaching on the college level, I am impressed by his ability to recreate not only the personality, but to recapture a moment in time–he makes the past live again, he makes Grant live again. It is magic.     

Dr. Clifford William Potter, Jr.

You know, without me saying, you portray the part of General Grant with “Command Presence.” You either “have it” or you don’t. Trust me, you “have it.” I am a retired Navy officer of twenty years, and I know when I see “Command Presence.” You also make Grant seem so real and natural. Everyone who saw you “in action” feels they have met the General. Well done. 


I was fortunate to be in attendance at your briefing of the Vicksburg Campaign on the 23rd instant.  First, I must apologize for not being able to personally thank you for the clear,  concise and vibrant picture of the campaign that you presented as I was compelled to leave due to my schedule.  Your presentation more than met my expectations and I would be remiss if I did not take the time to let you know how well it was received by all in my party.  Your mastery and telling of the details of the campaign not only coincided with the various reports that I have read,  but added life and detail to make the campaign events change from historical items to real experiences. I hope to have the opportunity to be in attendance at another of your briefing sessions.
I remain your most obedient servant,
Robert D. Niemietz

From: Archie Lintz
Sent: Saturday, October 19, 2019 9:36 AM
Subject: After Action Report Grant 1840-1861

Dr. Curt Fields presented the Ulysses S. Grant of 1840-1861 to us.  Focusing on a specific segment in the life of this familiar historical figure brought a depth of understanding missing in the telling of a complete biography, and Dr. Fields did this brilliantly.  His demeanor, very cool civilian clothing of those years, and skillful use of period language speaking as Grant, completed a great evening for us. (In any of the commentary that follows which may be critical, they are concerning Grant, not the excellent first-person impression of Dr. Fields as Grant.)

Successful as a West Point officer during the Mexican War, he afterward struggled; first, in trying to make a go of opportunities while posted in California, and then in civilian life to earn a living as a farmer and real estate agent.  It was painful to contemplate his seeming bad fortune and lack of ability in that.  As presented, Grant had debleating health problems during these years, which seemed to dissipate when war came on again.   It seemed that during the fortunate years of the country’s expansion, Grant sank, and during the tragic years of its civil war, he rose.  The same can be said of Abraham Lincoln in the political sphere of the nation during the same period.  Both men were Whigs who had opposed the Mexican War.

This presentation renewed an interest in me about Grant and, I am sure, many others, so that I got a paperback copy of the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant and read over the pages devoted to the Mexican War.  In the Ken Burns series on the Civil War, Lincoln and Grant are described as a team in which the one had a genius for politics, the other a genius for war, and in their work to save the Union they deserve both our respect, admiration.  The Grant of this program was first-person and not intended as biographically objective, and its significant points might be critically examined for a balanced view, but in helping one understand more about the man within the historical figure, it was superb.

Leonard Holtz Plato said, life is like a grindstone, some people will be worn down by it and some people will be polished up by it. Historians like Curt Fields polish us up by understanding and teaching us to learn from the carnage that was the Civil War and hell like Shiloh.

We are eagerly anticipating your visit.  One of our longest standing members, who has been president of other Civil War Round Tables attended one of your presentations with the past year or so (I don’t recall where).  When he saw your name on the schedule he told me I had scheduled the most realistic/authentic presenter he’s ever seen.  

Hamilton County (Indiana) Civil War Round Table


I attended my first meeting last night and was truly overwhelmed by both your lecture and your gravitas.
Can you recommend a biography which you feel most accurately interprets your life and career?
I would be most appreciative.
Thank you, General.
(Laura Finster)
Jim Doncaster


Just a brief note to thank you and Lena once again for the wonderful presentation last night. We at the Knoxville CWRT are most fortunate to have a quality presentation nearly every month of the year. What we rarely have, however, is history in the first person. Combining Civil War history with performance art takes an evening to a whole new level as far as I’m concerned. And so it was last night. I’ll never be able to talk with General Grant, but last night I felt like I came mighty close. I can’t imagine a truer portrayal. The good general has to be smiling down on you everytime you put on that uniform.

You drew very well. Our numbers were excellent. We had about 100 people in the audience. That’s about as good as it gets for us. For that we thank you.


Thank you to everyone who attended the March meeting to hear Curt Fields speak on “Appomattox: The Days before the Surrender”. His appearance and presentation as General Grant was commanding as well as enlightening. Total attendance for the lecture was an even 100. There were sixty-three diners, nine who were non-members. Also attending were an additional thirty-seven members and six who were non-members to hear the presentation. Thank you once again for your support and interest in the Round Table as this is the best attended event of the year.

Hi Curt, 

It was good to talk with you just now and make your acquaintance. I feel like I already know you, though, having watched your videos and seen your likeness on the Camp Chase Gazette a time or two through the years. As I mentioned to you on the phone, your videos are outstanding. I love first person presentations. Tom said you were good, but I didn’t realize how good until I watched your videos. I’m delighted you can join us in March.

(Jim Doncaster)


Dr. Curt Fields as General Grant adds a lot to the study of Civil War.

Having served on the board of the Lincoln Museum for several years, I have seen many impersonators.  I’ve met numerous General Grants and Abraham Lincolns.  I must say that you are the best Grant I’ve seen to date.

(Doug Lippman)

“to watch the General give a talk is totally spell binding and inspiring, he is my role model when i do them……”

(Scooter Aldrich)

Thank you Curt and thank you for helping me see the real Grant, for indeed you have shone a beacon on the man as no other can. I suppose in the past I have just accepted the role of the despot, as depicted by many Southerners, but when you scratch the surface there is so much more to this man and you embody his spirit as no other can.

(Robert Taylor of New Zealand)

 "...but in fact I 
sense a shift, not large, perhaps, but important, in my own feeling. I 
say "feeling" because my "thinking" has been conditioned by my 
perception of the facts of the war. That I can feel differently comes 
as something of a surprise.

On the other hand, that is no surprise. Ever since meeting you at 
Appomattox I have been aware of how you are shaping the way people feel 
about General Grant. I long ago came to terms with his role in the War, 
but I never felt a lot of sympathy for him, for his struggles, for his 
ability to rise above his own limitations, and especially for his 
endurance toward the end, determined to finish his own literary work as 
a writer and thinker who was more gifted than perhaps he realized. 
Which means that you are more than just a remarkable reenactor."

Jerry Tompkins 
Retired Presbyterian Minister

The last time I saw Curt was in Appomattox, Virginia, where he portrayed General Grant at the Sesquicentennial of Lee’s surrender in April, 1865.  That excursion produced this photo:

Unity - The Final Interview - Grant and Lee at Appomattox - April 10 1865/2035

which I still like to think of as one of the defining images of the Sesquicentennial.

When I first saw that image in the LCD on the back of my camera, I thought I had my “Hindenburg” shot (OK, maybe not quite that dramatic, but you get the idea…).

I don’t know how he does it, but Curt Fields is so well steeped in everything that has ever been written either by or about Ulysses S. Grant that he can hold forth for hours at a time and tell stories about Grant from Grant’s own perspective.  The material is all Grant, but the delivery… well, that’s all Curt. He keeps audiences enthralled, and while he has their attention he delivers a rich education on the true history of America’s Civil War and the men who fought, won, and lost it.

Curt Fields is much more than a cliche “Civil War reenactor.” He is the quintessential embodiment of a “living historian.”  I’m proud to consider him my friend and I hope these photos capture a little bit of what he brings to the experience.

(Paul Schatzkin  aka ‘The Matthew Brady of the re-enacted War’)

I love listening to his stories! Dr Curt Fields is an awesome living Historian and if you get the chance to attend one of his appearances I highly recommend it!

(Jennifer Fincher)

My friend, Curt Fields, is a living historian and his portrayal of Grant is amazing.

(Lynda Cox)

It’s been my honor and privilege to be a “Friend” both on and off Face Book to Prof. Curt Fields…..there Is, in my opinion, NO finer “General U.S. Grant” in the entire community of Civil War Reenactors.

(Richard William Baker)

Another one of my pictures made the cover of Camp Chase Gazette magazine. Featured on the cover is General Grant, Curt Fields, who does the best Grant portrayal in the land. Curt was Grant at the Appomattox 150th and has worked with the National Parks Service in other roles such as movies and such for their visitor centers.

(Jeff Shiflett– Photographer referring to the March-April (2016) cover of the Camp Chase Gazette Magazine)

Curt Fields: I saw one of your short films recently, where you were explaining how “you’ had arrayed your army before a battle across the river [maybe Port Gibson?] and it was really quite extraordinary, in both voice & story. And for what it’s worth…in Look & Storytelling ability, you do… far & away… the best U.S. Grant portrayal in the World! Is there a place [website?], where I could watch all the other battlefield shorts you must have filmed?

(Yes, generalgrantbyhimself.com  and on Facebook: Curt Fields, General Grant’s Campaigns, Grant: Unconditional Surrender, and President Grant by Himself)

(Cary Eberly)

Curt Fields who portrays Grant does an excellent job and really captures the essence of the General.

(Chris Cherry)

A memorable occasion at Appomattox a year ago. Curt Fields and I on hand for the 150th anniversary of the surrender at Appomattox. Curt really embodies U.S. Grant in every way imaginable and he handled the ceremonies with the dignity they deserved. History truly lived that day. Lest We Forget

(David Kinsella)

Dr. Fields sets the standard for such endeavors.  His depth of knowledge and performance approach are just remarkable.

(Mike Moorman)

“You are so authentic, that even as a military history major from West Point, it was hard to keep reminding myself that I was not, in fact, listening to a lecture from General Grant.”

(Roy Shipley  USMA  Class of 1994)

Integrity, intelligence, and inspiration do not always earmark celebrity.  The qualities of a true gentleman are always apparent and noticeable but do not necessarily represent the man himself.

The mask of hypocrisy is worn by many who ply their trade by entertaining audiences, individuals, and followers by depending on a scripted dialogue; speaking, moving, and performing on cue.

I recommend all of my Facebook folks to friend Curt Fields, or General Ulysses S. Grant.  He has taken upon himself to resurrect history factually, purely, and honestly.  when you find one such as he is, it is a worthy find.

Curt works hard at period costuming, language, weaponry, accuracy, and a tremendous team effort with others who join him in keeping the dignity, horrors, lessons, costs, trauma, and causes of the Civil War alive.

His gift of realism, love of character, and energy toward excellence reward the follower with a great deal of satisfaction, and if they will allow it, the feeling that they are right there in the time, place, and essence of the era.

I am impressed and interested in his work, and I believe you will be also if you friend and follow Curt Fields.


I’ve been following your Facebook posts about the activities at Appomattox.  I can’t imagine the excitement and honor you must feel in portraying General Grant during this time.  Based on everything I’ve seen and heard, the General could not have asked for a better, more devoted person than yourself to carry out the role of remembering his life and service.

(MS)                                                                                                                                                          OHIO

Your portrayals of Grant are world class.  I believe Grant himself would be impressed.  All of us here are (Dallas, TX, CWRT).

John C. Waugh

Author of: “The Class of 1846:  From West Point to Appomattox: Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan and Their Brothers”   (1994)

Warner Books

You really capture Grant’s look of weariness combined with an almost ‘sadness’ too. I see the determination as well. Truly you have done an amazing job to capture the essence of this man. Well done!   (Steven Eleftheriadis)

Dear Sir, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation last week In Columbus Indiana. (I was the one who sat on the aisle in the front row.) The mayor also spoke very highly of it, too, I am the president of the city council so I rank just below him in city government.
Thanks again for the quality of your presentation. It did not take long to suspend reality and observe the presentation as being real.

Curt, Hands down, the best program we have EVER had!  Thank you!

(JS of Middletown, IN)

Curt Fields is an amazing “voice and story” of U. S. Grant. I have seen Curt on various programs on C-SPAN, historical DVD’s and various other programs on television.
His interpretation really captures the look, likeness and spirit of Ulysses S. Grant. From Commanding General of the Army of the Potomac to 18th President of the United States.
He is an outstanding historian, reenactor and interpreter!

Three cheers and a HUZZAH! For Curt “U. S. Grant” Fields!

Living historian,’ Ulysses S. Grant impersonator to lead inaugural Ballard lecture                                                                    February 3, 2018 10:03:32 PM

A “living historian,” Ulysses S. Grant impersonator and educational consultant will lead the inaugural Dr. Michael B. Ballard Lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Mississippi State University.                                                                                                                                     During the 2:30 p.m. event in the Grant Presidential Library at MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library, Curt Fields will don Civil War attire and present “Ulysses S. Grant: The Man Behind the Uniform.” The lecture is free and open to the public. Guests are welcome to tour the recently opened Grant Presidential Library and Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana before and after the event.                                                             “Mike Ballard was one of the nation’s leading Civil War historians, and he wrote the revised history of Mississippi State University,” Ulysses S. Grant Association Executive Director and MSU Giles Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History John Marszalek said. “When he passed away unexpectedly in October 2016, his wife Jan established the Ballard Lecture in his memory. Mike had so many friends in the community and in the Civil War world that these lectures will keep fresh the memory of his contributions to MSU, Mitchell Memorial Library, and the study of history.”

Ballard, an Ackerman native, received a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in history from MSU. He was an archivist in MSU’s Mitchell Memorial Library from 1983 to 2011, serving successively as associate university archivist, university archivist, and university archivist and coordinator of the Congressional Collection. He also was associate editor of the U. S. Grant publishing projects. In addition to producing 11 books, Ballard has published some 25 articles and more than 75 book reviews. In 2005, Ballard received the Dunbar Rowland Award from the Mississippi Historical Society in recognition of his scholarly publications and other contributions to the documentation of Mississippi history.

Fields, the featured speaker for the first Ballard Lecture, holds degrees from the University of Memphis and a doctorate from Michigan State University. As a career educator, he taught at the high-school level for eight years and then served for 25 years as a high school administrator. He currently is an educational consultant and a “living historian,” which involves the re-enactment of historical events or the recreation of living conditions of the past.

Fields has a national reputation as a Grant interpreter, recognized for his deep knowledge of Ulysses S. Grant as general and president. He portrays Grant in the Appomattox Court House film, and has appeared on the Discovery Channel. He represented Grant in Civil War Sesquicentennial events throughout the nation. Along with George Buss, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, he participated in the grand opening of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library and Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana. For more, visit https://www.generalgrantbyhimself.com/.

For more on the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, one of six presidential libraries in the nation housed on a university campus, see usgrantlibrary.org.

Hi Curt:  I just wanted to say hi and let you know how our visit with you on the American Queen was so special.  I wish it could have been even longer. You made a great impression on my mind. 

A good man, an amazing historian who brings history right to you, personally and does the most ingenious thing ever while doing it. Unbiased and honest about history, one of the most reliable experts on the subject.     (Sean A. Langley)

I have met a few noteworthy individuals in my time whose personal mettle was stronger than the metal of their sword, and their character, integrity, and moral fiber was sufficient to the task that was their sacred trust. The annals of their deeds hold them in high regard or low esteem, and stand in lasting judgment after their honorable or ignoble demise. You, General Grant have stayed the righteous course.

I have followed you, sir since your advent into living history, and can no longer separate the living from the dead. You and your beloved lady stand pictorially, iconically, and representative of a bygone yet still precious and very much alive system of values that have undergirded the democracy, freedoms, and proud heritage of this, our great country.

As long as Old Glory flies valiantly over the United States of America, and reverence is the legacy for the Stars and Bars, you and yours shall grace the hallowed halls of this Land of the Free and Home of the Brave and in my heart.

Thank you for keeping history alive, accurate, noble, and dignified. I wish you a future of sterling reputation and grand success.

Mike LaRiviere

I wanted to let you know that we enjoyed your presentations and presence on board the American Duchess cruise of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers following Thanksgiving. 
Your knowledge of U. S. Grant and his role in the battles of Forts Henry and Donelson and Shiloh was impressive and made us feel like we were present at the moment. 
We are pleased to have had the opportunity to meet you and Lena. Your presence and on board involvement certainly added to a very positive cruise experience.
Many thanks. Our best to you and Lena for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Tim and Sara Campbell Prescott, AZ

Linda Kelley recommends General Grant’s Campaigns.

December 13, 2018 ·

love his stories of Gen/President Grant

Peter Mullen recommends General Grant’s Campaigns.

Excellent living history presentation

January 28 at 6:40 AM ·