[Written on the initial marker, provided for context]
Our Constitution names the President of the United States the Commander in Chief of all the Armed Forces. Presidents who have served in our military are displayed on the following plaques. Each has served either on Active Duty, in the National Guard or in the Reserves. History will judge their performance as President and as Commander in Chief, usually long after they have served. Each President is to be commended for their service and each fill the office of President in a particular time-frame, confronted with unique problems and circumstances. It is fitting that we honor their service here.
James Buchanan, 15th President
President Buchanan served in the Army during the War of 1812 (the defense of Baltimore) as a private. Only President who enlisted without going on to become an officer.
Abraham Lincoln, 16th President
President Lincoln served during the Black Hawk War in the Illinois militia, attaining the rank of Captain. He was reprimanded twice and re-enlisted as a private. First President to be assassinated, (5 days after the end of the Civil War) on Good Friday, April 14, 1865.
Andrew Johnson, 17th President
President Johnson served in the Civil War. In 1862, President Lincoln appointed him as Military Governor of Tennessee, attaining rank of Brigadier General.
Ulysses Simpson Grant, 18th President
President Grant graduated from West Point, served in the Mexican War and the Civil War, attaining the rank of Lieutenant General. General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, VA on April 9, 1865. In 1866, he was appointed a Four Star General, the first US citizen to hold this rank, which gave him a rank higher than that of George Washington.