President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant
18th President of the United States
March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1877
Vice President(s) Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873),
Henry Wilson (1873-1875),
Preceded by Andrew Johnson
Succeeded by Rutherford B. Hayes
Born April 27, 1822
Point Pleasant, Ohio
Died July 23, 1885 (aged 63)
Mount McGregor, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse Julia Dent Grant
Occupation Soldier (General)
Ulysses S. Grant, born Hiram Ulysses Grant (April 27, 1822 - July 23, 1885), was an American general and the eighteenth President of the United States (1869-1877). He achieved international fame as the leading Union general in the American Civil War, capturing Vicksburg in 1863 and Richmond in 1865. He accepted the surrender of his Confederate opponent Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.
After service in the Mexican-American War, an undistinguished peacetime military career, and a series of unsuccessful civilian jobs, Grant returned to service in 1861 at the outset of the Civil War and proved highly successful in training new recruits. His capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February 1862 marked the first major Union victories of the Civil War and opened up prime avenues of invasion to the South. Surprised and nearly defeated at Shiloh (April 1862), he fought back and took control of most of western Kentucky and Tennessee. His great achievement in 1862-63 was to seize control of the Mississippi River by defeating a series of Confederate armies and by capturing Vicksburg in July 1863. After a victory at Chattanooga in late 1863, Abraham Lincoln made him general-in-chief of all Union armies.
Grant was the first Union general in the war to initiate coordinated offensives across multiple theaters. While his subordinates Sherman and Sheridan marched through Georgia and the Shenandoah Valley respectively, Grant personally supervised the 1864 Overland Campaign against General Robert E. Lee's Army in Virginia. He employed attrition warfare against his opponent, conducting a series of large-scale battles with very high casualties that alarmed public opinion, while maneuvering ever closer to the Confederate capital, Richmond. Grant announced he would "fight it out on this line if it takes all summer." Lincoln supported his general and replaced his losses, and Lee's dwindling army was forced into defending trenches around Richmond and Petersburg. In April 1865 Grant's vastly larger army broke through, captured Richmond, and forced Lee to surrender at Appomattox Court House. He has been described by J.F.C. Fuller as "the greatest general of his age and one of the greatest strategists of any age." His Vicksburg Campaign in particular has been scrutinized by military specialists around the world.
Grant announced generous terms for his defeated foes, and pursued a policy of peace. He broke with President Andrew Johnson in 1867, and was elected president as a Republican in 1868. He was the first president to serve for two full terms since Andrew Jackson forty years before. He led Radical Reconstruction and built a powerful patronage-based Republican party in the South, with the adroit use of the army. He took a hard line that reduced violence by groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Although Grant was personally honest, he not only tolerated financial and political corruption among top aides but also protected them once exposed. He blocked civil service reforms and defeated the reform movement in the Republican party in 1872, driving out many of its founders. The Panic of 1873 pushed the nation into a depression that Grant was helpless to reverse. Presidential experts typically rank Grant in the lowest quartile of U.S. presidents, primarily for his tolerance of corruption. In recent years, however, his reputation as president has improved somewhat among scholars impressed by his support for civil rights for African Americans. Unsuccessful in winning a third term in 1880, bankrupted by bad investments, and terminally ill with throat cancer, Grant wrote his Memoirs, which was enormously successful among veterans, the public, and the critics.
Birth and early years
Ulysses Grant Birthplace, Point Pleasant, Ohio
Ulysses S. Grant Boyhood Home, Georgetown, Ohio
Grant was born in a small two-room cabin in Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio, 25 miles (40 km) east of Cincinnati on the Ohio River. He was the eldest of the six children of Jesse Root Grant (1794-1873) and Hannah Simpson Grant (1798-1883). His father, a tanner, and his mother were born in Pennsylvania. In the fall of 1823, they moved to the village of Georgetown in Brown County, Ohio. The smell of his father's tannery was one of his earliest memories.
On August 22, 1848, Grant married Julia Boggs Dent (1826-1902), the daughter of a slave owner. They had four children: Frederick Dent Grant, Ulysses S. (Buck) Grant, Jr., Ellen (Nellie) Wrenshall Grant, and Jesse Root Grant.
Ulysses S. Grant
Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, portrait by Mathew Brady
Allegiance United States Army
Years of service 1839-1854, 1861-1868
Rank General of the Army (four star)
Battles/wars Mexican-American War, American Civil War
At the age of 17, Grant entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, after securing a nomination through his U.S. Congressman, Thomas L. Hamer. Hamer erroneously nominated him as "Ulysses S. Grant of Ohio," knowing Grant's mother's maiden name was Simpson and forgetting that Grant was referred to in his youth as "H. Ulysses Grant" or "Lyss." Grant wrote his name in the entrance register as "Ulysses Hiram Grant" (concerned that he would otherwise become known by his initials, H.U.G.), but the school administration refused to accept any name other than the nominated form. Upon graduation, Grant adopted the form of his new name with middle initial only. He graduated from West Point in 1843, ranking 21st in a class of 39. At the academy, he established a reputation as a fearless and expert horseman. Although this made him seem a natural for cavalry, he was assigned to duty as a regimental quartermaster, managing supplies and equipment.
Ulysses S. Grant in 1843, in his West Point uniform
Grant at the capture of Mexico City, painting by Emanuel Leutze.
Lieutenant Grant served in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) under Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott, where, despite his assignment as a quartermaster, he got close enough to the front lines to see action, taking part in the battles of Resaca de la Palma, Palo Alto,Monterrey (where he volunteered to carry a dispatch on horseback through a sniper-lined street), and Veracruz. Once Grant saw his friend, Fred Dent, lying in the middle of the battlefield; he had been shot in the leg. Grant ran furiously into the open to rescue Dent; as they were making their way to safety, a Mexican was sneaking up behind Grant, but the Mexican was shot by a fellow U.S soldier. Grant was twice brevetted for bravery: at Molino del Rey and Chapultepec. He was a remarkably close observer of the war, learning to judge the actions of colonels and generals. In the 1880s he wrote that the war was unjust, accepting the theory that it was designed to gain land open to slavery.
After the Mexican-American war ended in 1848, Grant