The Klickitat County Sheriff's Office this week shared a humorous story about how as Americans we seem to have a need for speed---even before cars were invented.

 Famous Civil War general was cited twice for speeding.

Doubtful they had any kind of way of measuring his actual speed (no radar) but according to historical accounts, including,  on April 9th, 1866, one year exactly after the surrender of General Lee ending the Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant was out and about in his horse-drawn carriage in Washington D.C. That was 157 years ago.

The first official operational gas-powered US 'car' was not driven until 1893.


General Grant (
General Grant (


Grant, who was the overall Union Army Commander during the later stages of the war, and very successful at it, was stopped and cited for excessive speed. According to the reports:

"...two police officers detained Grant on 14th Street, where he was “exercising his fast gray nag.” Grant offered to pay the fine, but “expressed his doubts of their authority to arrest him and drove off,” the article said. Grant’s defiance, though, later subsided; he acknowledged the warrant, appeared before the justice of the peace and paid the fine."

Later that year, on July 4th, historical reports indicate he was stopped a second time for speeding, According to the report:

"On July 4, 1866, the Richmond Daily Dispatch reprinted a National Intelligencer article stating that Grant was arrested a second time for speeding. In this incident, the article said, Grant “took the arrest very good humoredly, said it was an oversight, and rode over to the Second Precinct station house and paid his fine.”

Imagine if he'd been driving today...whew!

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Gallery Credit: Andrew Lisa

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