John A. Rawlins Statue

This monument to John Rawlins honors the Civil War General, Secretary of War, and most trusted advisor to President Ulysses S. Grant.

This statue of General John A. Rawlins was erected by the Federal Government in 1874 to honor the longtime friend, trusted adviser, and aide-de-camp of General Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War. Rawlins also served as Secretary of War during President Grant's first term in office, but tragically died just five months after being appointed. During his brief tenure, Rawlins was a strong advocate for recently freed slaves and worked hard to protect Native Americans from the cruelty of military officers.

On June 10, 1872, at the request of President Grant, Congress authorized $10,000 for a statue of General Rawlins to be built. The statue, which was created by French-born sculptor Joseph A. Bailly, shows the general standing at ease while wearing his Civil War military uniform. His left hand is resting on the hilt of his sheathed sword, while he holds his field glasses in his right. Like many other Union statues created during this time period, Rawlins' figure was cast from Confederate cannons captured during the Civil War.

The 20-foot-tall, bronze statue was installed in Rawlins Park in November 1874, with little fanfare and no formal ceremony to mark the occasion. In 1880, a group of Union veterans visited the statue and were appalled by the condition of the park and its surroundings. They successfully lobbied for the statue to be relocated to a more prominent location, resulting in a series of moves to various sites along Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1931, Rawlins’ statue was returned to Rawlins Park where it now overlooks a reflecting pool added in 1938.

Part of Civil War Monuments
DC Inventory: March 3, 1979
National Register: September 20, 1978



Rawlins Park, 18th & E Streets, NW