Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant photograph from after the Civil War

Ulysses S. Grant photograph from after the Civil War

Ulysses S. Grant was the 28th President of the United States of America. He served from 1869-1877. Grant was born April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. His father, Jesse, operated a tannery and a farm. Soon after Ulysees was born, he moved to Georgetown, Ohio, where he lived until age 17. He was educated in a one-room schoolhouse.

He won appointment to West Point in 1839. He was an average student and graduated twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine. Many of his classmates went on to become generals in the Civil War on both sides, a fact that helped him later on, as he knew their strengths and weakness.

Grant’s first assignment after graduation was in an infantry company in 1843. He was sent to serve in the Mexican War in 1846, and served under Zachary Taylor and then Winfield Scott. He received a battlefield promotion to captain for bravery in the battle for Mexico City.

When the war ended, he took a leave and married Julia Dent, the sister of a West Point classmate, in 1848. They eventually had three sons and a daughter. As his pay was low, he left his family in St. Louis, and lived as a bachelor on Army posts in the West. He began drinking heavily due initially to boredom, and was forced to resign his commission in 1854.

Grant return to St. Louis and began farming, plus worked in a hardware store. He continued drinking and was forced to sell the farm at auction. He moved the family to Galena, Illinois where he worked with his younger brothers, who hoped to be able to straighten him out.

Grant responded to Lincoln’s call for volunteers to defend the Union in 1861. He was given command by the Governor of Illinois of a ragged regiment. He took it into battle and won some important victories. He was then commissioned a brigadier general and captured Forts Henry and Danielson in Tennessee. He got the nickname “Unconditional Surrender” Grant after those battles.

Grant fought at Shiloh, the bloodiest battle fought up to that time, and was given command of all union forces in Tennessee. He then fought a brilliant campaign at Vicksburg and won the day. Given command of all of the Western armies, he moved against General Bragg, decisively defeating him and his army at the Battle of Chattanooga. This opened up Georgia for an invasion.

Lincoln bought Grant to Washington in March of 1864 and placed him in command of all of the armies in the field. Other politicians complained about this due to Grants drinking. Lincoln replied that he if knew the kind of whiskey Grant drank, he would send all of the other generals a barrel.

Grant took over the army of the Potomac and began a campaign against General Lee. He also gave William Sherman command of the eastern armies and instructed him to march through Georgia, take Atlanta, and continue to the sea, leaving devastation in his wake. Sherman did exactly this.

Grant concentrated on Lee and the South’s main army. He boldly attacked, and attacked and attacked. Lee was forced to abandon Richmond in April of 1865, and one week later, surrendered to Grant at the Appomattox Court House. Grant was promoted to General of the Armies, and the Republican Party came calling as well. He had been appointed Secretary of War by Johnson, but gave the position back to Stanton soon after.

Grant was a national hero. He was nominated by the Republicans to run for President. He defeated Horatio Seymour, and was sworn in as the eighteenth President of the United States on March 4, 1869, at the age of forty-six. He was re-elected in 1872.

Grant was a brilliant soldier, but a very poor politician. He understood little of the art of politics and was soon both making poor decision in terms of political appointees and being taken advantage of by corrupt politicians, business person, friends and even relatives.

Grant pushed the Reconstruction Acts, but they were failures. The radical Republicans in Congress ignored his recommendations and threatened him as little more than a puppet. Scandal came into play when his brother-in-law gave insider information to the financier Jay Gould to help him try to corner the gold market.

Grant’s second term was marked by corruption. Many of the members of Congress were involved with illegal dealing in stock. A member of his own cabinet was tried as a member of the Whiskey Ring, and judges and other members of the cabinet resigned to avoid impeachment. Grant accepted blame for all of the transgressions and despite urging from his party, elected not to run again in 1876.

Grant left office and went abroad, where he received a hero’s welcome. He returned and lived quietly for a time, then was swindled out of all of his money by Ferdinand Ward, who was sent to prison. He was sixty two, destitute and suffering from a fatal cancer. To provide for his family, he wrote his memoirs and completed them only six week before his death in July of 1885. Mark Twain had the memoirs published and turned over the large profits to the Grant Family. They remain to this day one of the classics of military literature.

Ulysses S. Grant Facts

  • President No.: 18th
  • When did Ulysses S. Grant serve? 1869-1877
  • What was Ulysses S. Grant’s party? Republican
  • Where was Ulysses S. Grant from? Illinois
  • Who was Ulysses S. Grant’s wife? Julia Dent Grant
  • When was Ulysses S. Grant born? April 27, 1822
  • Where was Ulysses S. Grant born? Point Pleasant, Ohio
  • When did Ulysses S. Grant die? July 23, 1885
  • Where did Ulysses S. Grant die? Mount McGregor, New York
  • Which college did Ulysses S. Grant attend? United States Military Academy, West Point
  • What was Ulysses S. Grant’s Jobs Before President? Army Officer
  • What was Ulysses S. Grant’s height? 5 feet 8 inches
  • What was the population when Ulysses S. Grant was president? 39,818,449
  • What hobbies did Ulysses S. Grant have? Swimming
  • What transportation did Ulysses S. Grant use? Train
  • How did Ulysses S. Grant communicate? Letter, telegram


Ulysses S. Grant Inaugural Addresses

Ulysses S. Grant State of the Union Addresses

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