Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Charles Gratiot 1786-1855
Aug. 29, 1786 Saint Louis
May 18, 1855
General Gratiot was the grandson of Madame Chouteau (mother of August Chouteau, the founder of St. Louis.) As a boy he was present at the ceremony of three flags when the Louisiana Territory became part of the United States.
He was one of five young men honored by President Thomas Jefferson with appointments as cadets to West Point. He served with honor in the War of 1812, received the vote of thanks for Congress & rose to the head of the Engineers Corps.
It was Gratiot who sent a young engineer named Robert E. Lee to St. Louis in 1835 when a shift in the channel of the river was about to wipe out river traffic. Lt. Robert E. Lee, who later became General Robert E. Lee of the Confederacy, built a series of jetties in the river, controlling the flow of the channel, performing a service for the North that made possible the building of the Eads Bridge in St. Louis.