Adam Badeau: Grant & Sherman’s Memoirs


Adam Badeau was born in N.Y.C., NY, on December 29, 1831 and died on March 19, 1895. Mr. Badeau was an American author, Union Army officer, and diplomat. He was most prominent for his service on the staff of Ulysses S. Grant during the American Civil War.

After the war, Adam Badeau served as Secretary of the United States embassy in London, England from 1869 to 1870, and U.S. Consul in London from 1870 to 1881. He was granted a leave of absence from 1877 to 1878, when he accompanied Grant on Grant’s trip around the world.

In 1875 Badeau was nominated as Minister to Belgium, and in 1881 he received appointment as Minister to Denmark, but he declined both. From 1882 to 1884 he was U.S. Consul in Havana, Cuba. Badeau resigned this appointment after alleging that officials in the State Department were corrupt in their dealings with Cuba and Spain, and stating that the department took no action after he made his charges.


Badeau then aided Grant in the preparation of Grant’s memoirs, but left Grant before the book was finished over a dispute about how much Badeau would be paid and how he would be credited for his editing, research and fact checking. He subsequently settled with Grant’s heirs for $10,000, or about $250,000 in 2012 dollars.

Mr. Badeau’s was a prolific author of both fiction and non-fiction and along with newspaper columns and magazine articles, his published books include: “The Vagabond” (1859), “Military History of Ulysses S. Grant” (1881), “Aristocracy in England” (1885), “Conspiracy: A Cuban Romance” (1885); and Grant in Peace: From Appomattox to Mount McGregor. (1887)


Ulysses S. Grant, seated in a rattan chair, writing his memoirs, at Mount McGregor near Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in the months before his death in 1885.

Top image Adam Badeau: Mathew Brady [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Second image Ulysses S. Grant with Adam Badeau: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • Vale: Great post Taylor, I love the last image!
  • Taylor: Thanks Vale. There’s quite a dichotomy between photos taken of Grant both as a soldier/POTUS, and this one 20 years post war, which depicts a fragile and sick, elderly man.
  • Vale: I love seeing these old photos, it makes the stories about the people in them more interesting :) Was Badeau credited in his memoirs or was his name left out entirely?
  • Taylor: Vale:
    To answer your question:
    "In the fall of 1884, the former president was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer. Facing his mortality, Grant struck a publishing deal with his friend Mark Twain for his memoirs, hoping that they would provide for his family after his death. In the early stages of his work, he had the assistance of Adam Badeau, an author who had served on his staff during the war. Badeau left before the project was complete, having disputed with Grant and his family concerning how much he would be paid and how he would be credited for his research, editing, and fact-checking. Badeau eventually settled with Grant’s heirs for $10,000, or about $250,000 in 2012 dollars.
    Grant suffered greatly in his final year. He was in constant pain from his illness and sometimes had the feeling that he was choking. Despite his condition, he wrote at a furious pace, sometimes finishing 25 to 50 pages a day. The cancer spread through his body, so the family moved to Mount MacGregor, New York in June 1885 to make him more comfortable. He worked at finishing the book, propped up on chairs and too weak to walk. Friends, admirers, and even a few former Confederate opponents made their way to Mount MacGregor to pay their respects. Grant finished the manuscript on July 18; he died five days later."

    "Transcript Archived June 6, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. of PBS biography of Grant"
    "New York Times, "Gen. Badeau’s Suit Ended" October 31, 1888"
  • Vale: Wow, thanks for that information Taylor, he was very dedicated! I will have to find his biography and read it one day :)

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