Ulysses S. Grant was the commanding General of the Union Army during the American Civil War. After leading the Union to victory, he briefly served as the Secretary of War and was then elected as the 18th President of the United States.
Hiram Ulysses Grant was born on April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. As a child he learned to be a really good horseman. His father suggested that he attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. At first Grant didn’t want to since he had no interest in becoming a soldier, but he realized this was his chance to get a college education.
Grant went to West Point where he was registered as Ulysses Simpson Grant. In 1843 he would graduate ranked 21st out of 39 in his class and was assigned to Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri. Around this time he met his future wife Julia Dent and often visited her family estate at White Haven. They ended up getting married in 1848 and had four children, three boys and a girl.
Ulysses S. Grant served in the Mexican American War from 1846 to 1848 under future President Zachary Taylor. Grant was a quartermaster, responsible for providing quarters, rations, clothing, and supplies to soldiers. He volunteered to go into combat and famously rode hanging off the side of his horse through a field of snipers to carry an important dispatch.
Following the war, Grant was moved to various posts and eventually California where he was separated from his wife and children. He grew very lonely and eventually resigned from the Army in 1854 to return to his family. After this, he did a few jobs to try to make money for his family. He farmed, he sold his fathers leather goods, and he was a real estate bill collector.
When the Civil War began in 1861, Grant rejoined the Army and was appointed to command the Illinois Volunteer Regiment. In 1862 Grant had his first major victory when he captured Fort Donelson in Tennessee. When the Confederate commander asked for terms, Grant said, “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.” He was promoted to Major General of volunteers and became known as Unconditional Surrender Grant.
His next battle at Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles of the war. Here he won the battle but about 20,000 people died from this fight and Grant lost some popularity. His next battle was the battle of Vicksburg and he knew he needed to redeem himself. He cut off the Confederate supply lines to the city and laid siege for seven weeks until they surrendered. This victory helped to split the South’s forces in two and gave the Union considerable momentum.
In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln would eventually promote Grant to Commanding General of all Union Armies. Grant then led the Union Army against Robert E. Lee. They battled for over a year, with Grant eventually defeating Lee and the Confederate Army. Lee surrendered in Appomattox, Virginia on April 9, 1865.
A week later Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and Andrew Johnson became president. He was an unpopular president and almost got impeached. Ulysses S. Grant would be nominated as a candidate in the election of 1868 and easily defeated Johnson. Grant would serve as President for two terms from 1869 to 1877.
Some things he did as the president was fight for civil rights for Native Americans and African Americans. He also made the 15th amendment which granted African American men the right to vote. He established the first national park at Yellowstone. He also was known for his scandals. Some of his scandals were the Whiskey Ring and the Black Friday Gold Ring.
After Grant’s presidency he went on a world tour. After the world tour he became a partner in a financial firm that went bankrupt. He lost a lot of money and also got throat cancer. He decided to write memoirs to help his family financially. It was published by Mark Twain and supported Grant’s family by earning around $450,000. A few days after completing his memoirs, Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23, 1885 at his cottage in New York. He is buried in Grant National Memorial also known as Grant’s Tomb in New York City.
Ulysses S Grant Sites
Ulysses S Grant White Haven
Ulysses S Grants White Haven is where he first met and lived with the Dent family. It is near Grants Farm and you can go inside it and see some of the rooms in the house.
Ulysses S Grant Hard-Scrabble
Hardscrabble was the home Ulysses S Grant built so he didn’t have to live with the Dents. He showed Julia, his wife the house but she didn’t like it so they moved back to White-haven. This is located in Grants Farm, in Missouri.
General Grant National Memorial
The General Grant National Memorial is located in New York. It is the biggest monument in North America. Inside he monument is General Grant and his wife’s tombs. There are also other things like the living presidents letter for Grants 200th birthday.