Union General Ulysses S. Grant Report


By Dr. Frank J. Collazo

December 27, 2006


Ulysses S. Grant, the Union Army’s greatest general, led his troops to victory in the American Civil War.  President Abraham Lincoln selected Grant to lead the Union forces on March 9, 1864, following a string of unsuccessful commanders

Introduction:  Late in the administration of Andrew Johnson, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant quarreled with the President and aligned himself with the Radical Republicans.  He was, as the symbol of the Union victory during the Civil War, their logical candidate for President in 1868.

When he was elected, the American people hoped for an end to turmoil.  Grant provided neither vigor nor reform.  Looking to Congress for direction, he seemed bewildered.  One visitor to the White House noted "a puzzled pathos, as of a man with a problem before him of which he does not understand the terms."

Born in 1822, Grant was the son of an Ohio tanner.  He went to West Point rather against his will and graduated in the middle of his class.  In the Mexican War he fought under General Zachary Taylor.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Grant was working in his father's leather store in Galena, Illinois.  He was appointed by the Governor to command an unruly volunteer regiment.  Grant whipped it into shape, and by September 1861 he had risen to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers.

He sought to win control of the Mississippi Valley.  In February 1862 he took Fort Henry and attacked Fort Donelson.  When the Confederate commander asked for terms, Grant replied, "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." The Confederates surrendered, and President Lincoln promoted Grant to major general of volunteers.

At Shiloh in April, Grant fought one of the bloodiest battles in the West and came out less well.  President Lincoln fended off demands for his removal by saying, "I can't spare this man--he fights."  For his next major objective, Grant maneuvered and fought skillfully to win Vicksburg, the key city on the Mississippi, and thus cut the Confederacy in two.  Then he broke the Confederate hold on Chattanooga.

Lincoln appointed him General-in-Chief in March 1864.  Grant directed Sherman to drive through the South while he himself, with the Army of the Potomac, pinned down General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.

Finally, on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House, Lee surrendered.  Grant wrote out magnanimous terms of surrender that would prevent treason trials.

As President, Grant presided over the Government much as he had run the Army.  Indeed he brought part of his Army staff to the White House.

Although a man of scrupulous honesty, Grant as President accepted handsome presents from admirers.  Worse, he allowed himself to be seen with two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk.  When Grant realized their scheme to corner the market in gold, he authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to sell enough gold to wreck their plans, but the speculation had already wrought havoc with business.

During his campaign for re-election in 1872, Liberal Republican reformers attacked Grant.  He called them "narrow-headed men," their eyes so close together that "they can look out of the same gimlet hole without winking."  The General's friends in the Republican Party came to be known proudly as "the Old Guard."

Grant allowed Radical Reconstruction to run its course in the South, bolstering it at times with military force.

After retiring from the Presidency, Grant became a partner in a financial firm, which went bankrupt.  About that time he learned that he had cancer of the throat.  He started writing his recollections to pay off his debts and provide for his family, racing against death to produce a memoir that ultimately earned nearly $450,000.  Soon after completing the last page, in 1885, he died.

After service in the Mexican War, an undistinguished peacetime military career, and a series of unsuccessful civilian jobs, Grant proved highly successful in training new recruits in 1861.  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 uncoordinated 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 to initiate coordinated offensives across multiple theaters in the war.  While his subordinates Sherman and Sheridan marched through Georgia and the Shenandoah Valley, Grant personally supervised the 1864 Overland Campaign against General Robert E. Lee's Army in Virginia.  He employed a war of attrition 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, but 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.  Military historians usually place Grant in the top ranks of great generals.  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 is 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 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.  Grant was personally honest, but he not only tolerated financial and political corruption among top aides, he 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 were enormously successful among veterans, the public, and the critics.




Birth and early years


Ulysses S. Grant Boyhood Home, Georgetown, Ohio


Ulysses S. Grant Boyhood Home, Georgetown, Ohio


Born Hiram Ulysses Grant in Point Pleasant (Log Cabin), 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 (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, where Grant spent most of his time until he was 17.


At the age of 17, and having barely passed the United States Military Academy's height requirement for entrance, Grant received a nomination to the Academy at West Point, New York, through his U.S. Congressman, Thomas L. Hamer.  Hamer erroneously nominated him as Ulysses Simpson Grant, knowing Grant's mother's maiden name 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, never acknowledging that the "S" stood for Simpson.  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.  Grant drank whiskey and, during the Civil War, began smoking huge numbers of cigars (one story had it that he smoked over 10,000 in five years) which may well have contributed to the development of throat cancer later in his life.


On August 22, 1848 Grant married Julia Boggs Dent (1826–1902), the daughter of a slaveowner.  They had four children: Frederick Dent Grant, Ulysses S. (Buck) Grant, Jr., Ellen (Nellie) Wrenshall Grant, and Jesse Root Grant.


West Point Cadet Predicted General Grant's Future:  A few months before graduation, one of Grant's classmates, James A. Hardie, said to his friend and instructor, "Well, sir, if a great emergency arises in this country during our life-time, Sam Grant will be the man to meet it."  If I had heard Hardie's prediction I doubt not I should have believed in it, for I thought the young man who could perform the feat of horsemanship I had witnessed, and wore a sword, could do anything.


I was in General Grant's room in New York City on the 25th of May 1885.  Forty years had elapsed since Hardie's prediction was made, and it had been amply fulfilled.  But, alas, the hand of death was upon the hero of it.  Though brave and cheerful, he was almost voiceless.  Before him were sheets of his forthcoming book, and a few artists’ proofs of a steel engraving of himself made from a daguerreotype taken soon after his graduation.  He wrote my name and his own upon one of the engravings and handed it to me.


I said, "General, this looks as you did the first time I ever saw you.  It as when you made the great jump in the riding exercises of your graduation.  Yes,” he whispered, "I remember that very well.  York was a wonderful horse.  I could feel him gathering under me for the effort as he approached the bar.  Have you heard anything lately of Hershberger?"


I replied, "No, I never heard of him after he left West Point years ago.  Oh," said the general, "I have heard of him since the war.  He was in Carlisle, old and poor, and I sent him a check for fifty dollars."  This early friendship had lived for forty years, and the old master was enabled to say near the close of his pupil's career, as he had said at the beginning of it, "Very well done, sir!"

Military Career

Grant at the capture of the city of Mexico, painting by Emanuel Leutze.


Grant at the capture of the city of Mexico, painting by Emanuel Leutze.

Mexican War:  Grant served in the Mexican-American War (1846–1848) under Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott, taking part in the battles of Resaca de la Palma, Palo Alto, Monterrey, and Veracruz.  He was twice brevetted for bravery: at Molino del Rey and Chapultepec.


Between Wars:  After the Mexican war ended in 1848, Grant remained in the army and was moved to several different posts.  He was sent to Fort Vancouver in the Washington Territory in 1853, where he served as regimental quartermaster of the 4th U.S. Infantry regiment.  His wife could not accompany him because his salary could not support a family (she was eight months pregnant with their second child) on the frontier. 


In 1854, he was promoted to captain and assigned to command Company F, 4th Infantry, at Fort Humboldt, California.  Despite the increase in pay, he still could not afford to bring his family out West. He tried some business ventures while in California to supplement his income, but they failed.  He started drinking heavily because of money woes and missing his wife.  Because his drinking was having an effect on his military duties, he was given a choice by his superiors: resign his commission or face trial.  He resigned on July 31, 1854.  Seven years of civilian life followed, in which he was a farmer and a real estate agent in St. Louis, Missouri, where he owned one slave (whom he let go free) a bill collector and finally an assistant in the leather shop owned by his father and brother in Galena, Illinois.  The land and cabin where Grant lived in St. Louis is now an animal conservation reserve, Grant's Farm, owned and operated by the Anheuser-Busch Company.


Grant was nonpolitical, but in 1856 he voted for Democrat James Buchanan for president to avert secession and because "I knew Frémont" (the Republican candidate).  In 1860, he favored Democrat Stephen A. Douglas but did not vote.  In 1864, he allowed his political sponsor, Congressman Elihu B. Washburne, to use his private letters as campaign literature for the Union Party, which combined both Republicans and War Democrats.  He refused to announce his politics until 1868, when he finally declared himself a Republican.


Western Theater: 1861–63

The home of President Grant while he lived in Galena, Illinois.


The home of President Grant while he lived in Galena, Illinois.


Shortly after Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln put out a call for 75,000 volunteers.  Grant helped recruit a company of volunteers, and despite declining the unit's captaincy, he accompanied it to Springfield, the capital of Illinois.  Grant accepted a position offered by Illinois Governor Richard Yates to recruit volunteers, but he pressed for a field command on multiple occasions.  The governor, recognizing that Grant was a West Point graduate, eventually appointed him Colonel of the undisciplined and rebellious 21st Illinois Infantry, effective June 17, 1861.


Although part of the Illinois militia, Grant was deployed to Missouri protect the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad from attacks that would interrupt the Pony Express mail service. At the time Missouri under Governor Claiborne Jackson had declared it was an armed neutral in the conflict and would attack troops from either side entering the state. By the first of August the Union army had forcibly removed Jackson, and Missouri was formally a Union state -- although a state with many southern sympathizers.


On August 7, Grant was appointed brigadier general of volunteers, a decision by President Lincoln that was strongly influenced by Elihu Washburne's political clout. After first serving in a couple of lesser commands, at the end of the month, Grant was selected by Western Theater commander Major General John C. Frémont to command the critical District of Southeast Missouri.


Battles of Belmont, Henry, and Donelson:  Grant's first important strategic act of the war was to take the initiative to seize the Ohio River town of Paducah, Kentucky, immediately after the Confederates violated the state's neutrality by occupying Columbus, Kentucky.  He fought his first battle, an indecisive action against Confederate General Gideon J. Pillow at Belmont, Missouri, in November 1861.  Three months later, aided by Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote's gunboats, he captured Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River.  At Donelson, his army was hit by a surprise Confederate attack (once again by Pillow) while he was temporarily absent.  Displaying the cool determination that would characterize his leadership in future battles, he organized counterattacks that carried the day. 


The captures of the two forts were the first major Union victories of the war.  The Confederate commander, Brigadier General Simon B. Buckner, an old friend of Grant's, yielded to Grant's hard conditions of "no terms except unconditional and immediate surrender."  Buckner's surrender of 14,000 men made Grant a national figure almost overnight, and he was nicknamed "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.  This victory also won him promotion to major general of volunteers.


Despite his significant victories, or perhaps because of them, Grant fell out of favor with his superior, Major General Henry W. Halleck.  Halleck objected to Grant's visit to Nashville, Tennessee, where he met with Halleck's rival, Don Carlos Buell, and used that as an excuse to relieve Grant of field command on March 2.  Personal intervention from President Lincoln caused Halleck to restore Grant, who rejoined his army on March 17.


General Grant at Cold Harbor, photographed by Mathew Brady in 1864


General Grant at Cold Harbor, photographed by Mathew Brady in 1864.


In early April 1862, Grant was surprised by Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard at the Battle of Shiloh.  The sheer violence of the Confederate attack sent the Union forces reeling.  Nevertheless, Grant refused to retreat.  With grim determination, he stabilized his line.  Then, on the second day, with the help of timely reinforcements, Grant counterattacked and turned a serious reverse into a victory.


The victory at Shiloh came at a high price; it was the bloodiest battle in the history of the United States up to that time with over 23,000 casualties.  Halleck responded to the surprise and the disorganized nature of the fighting by taking command of the army in the field himself on April 30, relegating Grant to the powerless position of second-in-command for the campaign in Corinth, Mississippi.  Despondent over this reversal, Grant decided to resign.  The intervention of his subordinate and good friend, William T. Sherman, caused him to remain.  When Halleck was promoted to general-in-chief of the Union Army, Grant resumed his position as commander of the Army of West Tennessee (later more famously named the Army of the Tennessee) on June 10.  He commanded the army for the battles of Corinth and Iuka that fall.


Vicksburg:  In the campaign to capture the Mississippi River fortress of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Grant spent the winter of 1862–1863 conducting a series of operations to gain access to the city through the region's bayous.  These attempts failed.  His strategy in the campaign to capture Vicksburg in 1863 is considered one of the most masterful in military history.


Grant marched his troops down the west bank of the Mississippi and crossed the river by using the U.S. Navy ships that had run the guns at Vicksburg.  There, he moved inland and—in a daring move that defied conventional military principles—cut loose from most of his supply lines.  Operating in enemy territory, Grant moved swiftly, never giving the Confederates, under the command of John C. Pemberton, an opportunity to concentrate their forces against him.  Grant's army went eastward, captured the city of Jackson, Mississippi, and severed the rail line to Vicksburg.


Knowing that the Confederates could no longer send reinforcements to the Vicksburg garrison, Grant turned west and won at Champion Hill.  The defeated Confederates retreated inside their fortifications at Vicksburg, and Grant promptly surrounded the city. Finding that assaults against the impregnable breastworks were futile, he settled in for a six-week siege.  Cut off and with no possibility of relief, Pemberton surrendered to Grant on July 4, 1863.  It was a devastating defeat for the Southern cause, effectively splitting the Confederacy in two, and, in conjunction with the Union victory at Gettysburg the previous day, is widely considered the turning point of the war.  For this victory, President Lincoln promoted Grant to the rank of major general in the regular army, effective July 4.


Chattanooga:  After the Battle of Chickamauga Union General William S. Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Confederate Braxton Bragg followed to Lookout Mountain, surrounding the Federals on three sides.  On October 17, Grant was placed in command of the city.  He immediately relieved Rosecrans and replaced him with George H. Thomas.  Devising a plan known as the "Cracker Line," Grant's chief engineer, William F. "Baldy" Smith, opened a new supply route to Chattanooga, greatly increasing the chances for Grant's forces.


Upon reprovisioning and reinforcing, the morale of Union troops lifted.  In late November, they went on the offensive.  The Battle of Chattanooga started out with Sherman's failed attack on the Confederate right.  He not only attacked the wrong mountain but committed his troops piecemeal, allowing them to be defeated by one Confederate division.  In response, Grant ordered Thomas to launch a demonstration on the center, which could draw defenders away from Sherman.  Thomas waited until he was certain that Hooker, with reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac, was engaged on the Confederate left before he launched the Army of the Cumberland at the center of the Confederate line. 


Hooker's men broke the Confederate left, while Thomas's men made an unexpected but spectacular charge straight up Missionary Ridge and broke the fortified center of the Confederate line.  Grant was initially angry at Thomas that his orders for a demonstration were exceeded, but the assaulting wave sent the Confederates into a head-long retreat, opening the way for the Union to invade Atlanta, Georgia, and the heart of the Confederacy.


Grant's willingness to fight and ability to win impressed President Lincoln, who appointed him lieutenant general in the regular army—a new rank recently authorized by the U.S. Congress with Grant in mind—on March 2, 1864.  On March 12, Grant became general-in-chief of all the armies of the United States.


General-in-Chief and strategy for victory

Statue of Grant astride his favorite mount, "Cincinnati", at Vicksburg, Mississippi


Statue of Grant astride his favorite mount, "Cincinnati", at Vicksburg, Mississippi

In March 1864, Grant put Major General William Tecumseh Sherman in immediate command of all forces in the West and moved his headquarters to Virginia where he turned his attention to the long-frustrated Union effort to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia. 


His secondary objective was to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, but Grant knew that the latter would happen automatically once the former was accomplished.  He devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the heart of the Confederacy from multiple directions: Grant, George G. Meade, and Benjamin Franklin Butler against Lee near Richmond; Franz Sigel in the Shenandoah Valley; Sherman to invade Georgia, defeat Joseph E. Johnston, and capture Atlanta; George Crook and William W. Averell to operate against railroad supply lines in West Virginia; and Nathaniel Banks to capture Mobile, Alabama. 


Grant was the first general to attempt such a coordinated strategy in the war and the first to understand the concepts of total war, in which the destruction of an enemy's economic infrastructure that supplied its armies was as important as tactical victories on the battlefield.






Overland Campaign, Petersburg, and Appomattox

Poster of "Grant from West Point to Appomattox."


Poster of "Grant from West Point to Appomattox."


The Overland Campaign was the military thrust needed by the Union to defeat the Confederacy.  It pitted Grant against the great commander Robert E. Lee in an epic contest.  It began on May 4, 1864, when the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan River, marching into an area of scrubby undergrowth and second growth trees known as the Wilderness.  It was such difficult terrain that the Army of Northern Virginia was able to use it to prevent Grant from fully exploiting his numerical advantage.


The Battle of the Wilderness was a stubborn, bloody two-day fight, resulting in advantage to neither side, but with heavy casualties on both.  After similar battles in Virginia against Lee, all of Grant's predecessors had retreated from the field.  Grant ignored the setback and ordered an advance around Lee's flank to the southeast, which lifted the morale of his army.  Grant's strategy was not to win individual battles, it was to wear down and destroy Lee's army.


Sigel's Shenandoah campaign and Butler's James River campaign both failed.  Lee was able to reinforce with troops used to defend against these assaults.  The campaign continued, but Lee, anticipating Grant's move, beat him to Spotsylvania, Virginia, where, on May 8, the fighting resumed.  The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House lasted 14 days. On May 11, Grant wrote a famous dispatch containing the line "I propose to fight it out along this line if it takes all summer."  These words summed up his attitude about the fighting, and the next day, May 12, he ordered a massive assault that nearly broke Lee's lines.


In spite of mounting Union casualties, the contest's dynamics changed in Grant's favor. Most of Lee's great victories in earlier years had been won on the offensive, employing surprise movements and fierce assaults.  Now, he was forced to continually fight on the defensive.  The next major battle, however, demonstrated the power of a well-prepared defense.


Cold Harbor was one of Grant's most controversial battles, in which he launched on June 3 a massive three-corps assault without adequate reconnaissance on a well-fortified defensive line, resulting in horrific casualties (3,000–7,000 killed, wounded, and missing in the first 40 minutes.  Although modern estimates have determined that the total was likely less than half of the famous figure of 7,000 that has been used in books for decades, as many as 12,000 casualties for the day far outnumbered the Confederate losses.


The normally imperturbable general was observed crying as the magnitude of the slaughter became known.  Grant said of the battle in his memoirs "I have always regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made.  I might say the same thing of the assault of the 22nd of May, 1863, at Vicksburg.  At Cold Harbor no advantage whatever was gained to compensate for the heavy loss we sustained."  But Grant moved on and kept up the pressure.  He stole a march on Lee, slipping his troops across the James River.


Arriving at Petersburg, Virginia, first, Grant should have captured the rail junction city, but he failed because of the overly cautious actions of his subordinate William Smith. Over the next three days, a number of Union assaults to take the city were launched.  But all failed, and finally on June 18, Lee's veterans arrived.  Faced with fully manned trenches in his front, Grant was left with no alternative but to settle down to a siege.


As the summer drew on and with Grant's and Sherman's armies stalled, respectively in Virginia and Georgia, politics took center stage.  There was a presidential election in the fall, and the citizens of the North had difficulty seeing any progress in the war effort.  To make matters worse for Abraham Lincoln, Lee detached a small army under the command of Major General Jubal A. Early, hoping it would force Grant to disengage forces to pursue him.  Early invaded north through the Shenandoah Valley and reached the outskirts of Washington, D.C.  Although unable to take the city, Early embarrassed the Administration simply by threatening its inhabitants, making Abraham Lincoln's re-election prospects even bleaker.

Lieut. General Ulysses S. Grant, portrait by Mathew Brady


Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, portrait by Mathew Brady


In early September, the efforts of Grant's coordinated strategy finally bore fruit.  First, Sherman took Atlanta.  Then, Grant dispatched Philip Sheridan to the Shenandoah Valley to deal with Early.  It became clear to the people of the North that the war was being won, and Lincoln was re-elected by a wide margin.  Later in November, Sherman began his March to the Sea.  Sheridan and Sherman both followed Grant's strategy of total war by destroying the economic infrastructures of the Valley and a large swath of Georgia and the Carolinas.


At the beginning of April 1865, Grant's relentless pressure finally forced Lee to evacuate Richmond, and after a nine-day retreat, Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.  There, Grant offered generous terms that did much to ease the tensions between the armies and preserve some semblance of Southern pride, which would be needed to reconcile the warring sides.  Within a few weeks, the American Civil War was effectively over; minor actions would continue until Kirby Smith surrendered his forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department on June 2, 1865.


Immediately after Lee's surrender, Grant had the sad honor of serving as a pallbearer at the funeral of his greatest champion, Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln had been quoted after the massive losses at Shiloh, "I can't spare this general. He fights."  It was a two-sentence description that completely caught the essence of Ulysses S. Grant.


Grant's fighting style was what one fellow general called "that of a bulldog."  The term accurately captures his tenacity, but it oversimplifies his considerable strategic and tactical capabilities.  Although a master of combat by out-maneuvering his opponent (such as at Vicksburg and in the Overland Campaign against Lee), Grant was not afraid to order direct assaults, often when the Confederates were themselves launching offensives against him.  Such tactics often resulted in heavy casualties for Grant's men, but they wore down the Confederate forces proportionately more and inflicted irreplaceable losses.  Copperheads denounced Grant as a "butcher" in 1864, but they wanted the Confederacy to win.  Although Grant lost battles in 1864, he won all his campaigns.


After the war, on July 25, 1866, Congress authorized the newly created rank of General of the Army of the United States, the equivalent of a full (four-star) general in the modern U.S. Army.  Grant was appointed as such by President Andrew Johnson on the same day.

Grant and Johnson:  As commander in chief of the army, Grant had a difficult relationship with President Johnson.  He accompanied Johnson on a national stumping tour during the 1866 elections but did not appear to be a supporter of Johnson's moderate policies toward the South.  Johnson tried to use Grant to defeat the Radical Republicans by making Grant the Secretary of War in place of Edwin M. Stanton, whom he could not remove without the approval of Congress under the Tenure of Office Act.  Grant refused but kept his military command.

That made him a hero to the Radicals, who gave him the Republican nomination for president in 1868.  He was chosen as the Republican presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention in Chicago in May 1868, with no real opposition.  In his letter of acceptance to the party, Grant concluded with "Let us have peace," which became the Republican campaign slogan.  In the general election that year, he won against former New York governor Horatio Seymour with a lead of 300,000 out of a total of 5,716,082 votes cast but by a commanding 214 Electoral College votes to 80.  He ran about 100,000 votes ahead of the Republican ticket, suggesting an unusually powerful appeal to veterans.  When he entered the White House, he was politically inexperienced and, at age 46, the youngest man yet elected president.

Presidency 1869–1877

Grant was the 18th President of the United States and served two terms from March 4, 1869, to March 4, 1877.  In the 1872 election he won by a landslide against the breakaway Liberal Republican party that nominated Horace Greeley.

18th President of the United States

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant

18th President of the United States

In office

March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877

Vice President(s) 

Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873),
Henry Wilson (1873-1875),
None (1875-1877)

Preceded by

Andrew Johnson

Succeeded by

Rutherford B. Hayes


April 27, 1822
Point Pleasant, Ohio


July 23, 1885
Mount McGregor, New York

Political party



Julia Dent Grant


Never baptized


Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American soldier and politician who was elected the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877).  He achieved international fame as the leading Union general in the American Civil War.



Critical cartoonist ridicules imperial inauguration of Grant in 1869, compared to Jeffersonian simplicity (upper left).


Critical cartoonist ridicules imperial inauguration of Grant in 1869, compared to Jeffersonian simplicity (upper left).

Policies:  Grant presided over the last half of Reconstruction, watching as the Democrats (called Redeemers) took control of every state away from his Republican coalition.  When urgent telegrams from state leaders begged for help, Grant and his attorney general replied that "the whole public is tired of these annual autumnal outbreaks in the South," saying that state militias should handle the problems, not the Army.  He supported amnesty for Confederate leaders and protection for the civil rights of African-Americans.

He favored a limited number of troops to be stationed in the South—sufficient numbers to protect rights of southern blacks, suppress the violent tactics of the Ku Klux Klan, and prop up Republican governors, but not so many as to create resentment in the general population.  In 1869 and 1871, Grant signed bills promoting voting rights and prosecuting Klan leaders.  The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing voting rights, was ratified in 1870.  Recent scholarly work has begun to argue for the significance of Ulysses S. Grant on the development of Reconstruction.  Not only have these scholars provided evidence for Grant's commitment to protecting Unionists and freedmen in the South immediately after the Civil War, but have also argued for Grant's support of intervention in the South right up until the election of 1876. Grant's commitment to black civil rights can be easily seen by his address to Congress in 1875 and by his attempt to use the annexation of Santo Domingo as leverage to force white supremacists to accept blacks as part of the southern political polity.


Grant confronted an apathetic Northern public, violent terrorist organizations in the South, and a factional Republican party.  Grant was charged with bringing order and equality to the South without being armed with the emergency powers that Lincoln and Johnson employed.  Given the formidable task it can be argued that Grant did as much as could be done.


Grant signed a bill into law that created Yellowstone National Park (America's first National Park) on March 1, 1872.


The Panic of 1873 hit the country hard during his presidency, and he never attempted decisive action one way or the other to alleviate distress.  The first law that he signed, in March 1869, established the value of the greenback currency issued during the Civil War, pledging to redeem the bills in gold.  In 1874, he vetoed a bill to increase the amount of a legal tender currency, which defused the currency crisis on Wall Street but did little to help the economy as a whole.  The depression led to Democratic victories in the 1874 off-year elections, as that party took control of the House for the first time since 1856.


In foreign affairs, a notable achievement of the Grant administration was the 1871 Treaty of Washington, negotiated by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish.  It settled American claims against Britain concerning the wartime activities of the British-built Confederate raider CSS Alabama.  He proposed to annex the independent, largely black nation of Santo Domingo.  Not only did he believe that the island would be of use to the navy tactically, but he sought to use it as a bargaining chip.  By providing a safe haven for the freedmen, Grant believed that the exodus of black labor would force Southern whites to realize the necessity of such a significant workforce and accept their civil rights.


At the same time he hoped that U.S. ownership of the island would urge nearby Cuba and Haiti to abandon slavery.  The Senate refused to ratify it because of (Foreign Relations Committee Chairman) Senator Charles Sumner's strong opposition.  Grant helped depose Sumner from the chairmanship, and Sumner supported Horace Greeley and the Liberal Republicans in 1872.


In 1876, Grant helped to calm the nation over the Hayes-Tilden election controversy.  He made it clear he would not tolerate any march on Washington, such as that proposed by Tilden supporter Henry Watterson.


Reconstruction Policy



Culver Pictures


Cartoon of the Carpetbaggers:  This cartoon is critical of the so-called carpetbaggers, government agents and others from the North who often took advantage of the South after the American Civil War ended in 1865.  It was published to ridicule the administration of United States President Ulysses S. Grant. Culver Pictures 


A great variety of complex internal problems confronted the nation when Grant took office in March 1869.  Paramount among these was the Reconstruction of the South and the reestablishment of relations between the seceded states and the federal government.


Grant dealt ineptly with Reconstruction.  After a visit to the South in 1865 he had made a report to President Johnson supporting Johnson's moderation policy.  His letter of acceptance to the Republican convention had exhorted: “Let us have peace.”  In his first months as president, Grant listened to the counsel of moderation.  He smoothed the road to congressional legislation that would speed the readmission of Virginia, Mississippi, and Texas to the Union.  The other Southern states had been readmitted earlier.


By 1870, however, most of the moderate Republicans had shifted their views toward those held by the Radicals.  It was clear that Reconstruction was not working as intended. Although the new governments of the South, elected by blacks and Unionist whites, had ended restrictions against blacks and extended social services, most white Southerners refused to accept the changes.  Violent organizations like the Ku Klux Klan began to terrorize black leaders and keep black voters away from the polls to ensure the election of their own candidates.


Grant approved the punitive Force Acts of 1870 and 1871 to curb the violence.  It was made a federal crime to interfere with civil rights, and the president was authorized to declare martial law (government by the military) where there was severe disorder.  Grant did so only once, in nine counties of South Carolina, and managed to break the Klan's grip on that state.  There was little more he could do, however, because the army was very small, and the North was too exhausted by the Civil War to be willing to build it up again.  By 1876 most blacks had been driven from the polls, and the white-elected governments were free to start their program of segregation, or separation of the races. Segregation prevented most blacks in the South from having economic or political power for the next 70 years.


Monetary Policy:  Grant's administration also faced financial problems.  Farmers and laborers, who were often debtors, wanted to keep the paper money called greenbacks in circulation.  Greenbacks, which had been issued to finance the Civil War, were soft money.  There was no reserve of gold kept in the Treasury to guarantee payment if a holder wanted to turn them in for coin.  Thus they varied in value in relation to gold, and a $1 greenback was usually worth less than a dollar gold piece.  At one point it took $2.85 in greenbacks to buy a $1 gold piece.  The government also authorized the issuance of national bank notes, which were backed by government bonds and thus did not vary in value.  They were called hard money.  Creditors did not want to be repaid in money that was not worth its face value, but to debtors this was an advantage.


The Democratic Party appealed to debtors in the 1868 campaign by promising to keep the greenbacks in circulation to pay off the government bonds issued during the war.  The Republicans believed in hard money, and Grant held firmly to this position.  In his inaugural address in 1869, he insisted that the war bond debt be paid in gold.  Later that year he signed the Public Credit Act, pledging payment in gold or coin to holders of government bonds.  However, Grant knew little about finance and was inconsistent in his monetary policy.  He did nothing about the greenbacks, and they remained a threat to fiscal stability.  The U.S. Treasury had to intervene frequently in the money market, by buying or selling gold or federal securities, because every serious political change or international disturbance threatened to destroy the delicate balance between greenbacks and gold.










Black Friday

Culver Pictures


The Manipulators of Black Friday, Jim Fisk, above left, and Jay Gould, were two of the most notorious financial speculators in the era of freewheeling capitalism called the Gilded Age.  In 1869 they embarrassed the administration of United States President Ulysses S. Grant with their scheme to corner the market in gold.  They bid up the price of gold on "Black Friday," September 24, 1869, ruining many investors.  The president acted quickly to restore the price to normal, but was widely blamed for allowing the panic to occur. 


In the first year of Grant's presidency, the constant variation in the value of greenbacks against the gold dollar enabled two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, to create a major financial crisis.  They set out to corner the market for gold by buying a significant part of the gold offered for sale on the New York City Gold Exchange, where most gold in the country was bought and sold.  The government could foil their scheme by putting its gold reserves on the market, but Gould and Fisk spread the rumor that the president had agreed not to do so.


Fisk and Gould then bought gold on the New York exchange until, in a few days, the price shot up by 20 percent.  Many businessmen who were locked into contracts to buy gold with greenbacks—which had not increased in value—were ruined.  Prices of many commodities became unstable; foreign trade, which was conducted in gold, was paralyzed; and the stock market came to a halt on the day known as Black Friday, September 24, 1869.  Grant and his able secretary of the treasury, George S. Boutwell, who had replaced Stewart, narrowly saved the market from collapse by releasing $4 million in government gold for sale before the end of the trading day.


This action broke the corner; but then the gold price sank even faster than it had risen, ruining other businessmen who had invested in the rising market.  Economic activity was depressed for weeks afterward.  The president and Boutwell were widely blamed for the economic crisis, even though they had not known of the scheme, had acted promptly to stop it, and had fired all government officials involved.


E-Foreign Policy:  Only in the conduct of foreign affairs, where Grant largely followed the advice of Hamilton Fish, was his administration at all remarkable.  The long controversy with Britain over payment for damages inflicted during the Civil War by the Alabama and other British-built Confederate ships was submitted for international arbitration in 1871.  Its settlement the following year greatly strengthened the relationship between the United States and Britain.


Scandals: The first scandal to taint the Grant administration was Black Friday, a gold-speculation financial crisis in September 1869, set up by Wall Street manipulators Jay Gould and James Fisk.  They tried to corner the gold market and tricked Grant into preventing his treasury secretary from stopping the fraud. Several of Grant's aides were suspected of inside dealings, but the president himself had been totally fooled.


The most famous scandal was the Whiskey Ring of 1875, exposed by Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin H. Bristow, in which over $3 million in taxes was stolen from the federal government with the aid of high government officials.  Orville E. Babcock, the private secretary to the President, was indicted as a member of the ring but escaped conviction because of a presidential pardon. Grant's earlier statement, "Let no guilty man escape" rang hollow.  Secretary of War William W. Belknap was discovered to have taken bribes in exchange for the sale of Native American trading posts.  Grant's acceptance of the resignation of Belknap allowed Belknap, after he was impeached by Congress for his actions, to escape conviction, since he was no longer a government official.  Other scandals included the Sanborn Incident at the Treasury and problems with U.S. Attorney Cyrus I. Scofield.


Although Grant himself did not profit from corruption among his subordinates, he did not take a firm stance against malefactors and failed to react strongly even after their guilt was established.  When critics complained, he vigorously attacked them. He was weak in his selection of subordinates, favoring colleagues from the war over those with more practical political experience.  He alienated party leaders by giving many posts to his friends and political contributors rather than supporting the party's needs.  His failure to establish working political alliances in Congress allowed the scandals to spin out of control.  At the conclusion of his second term, Grant wrote to Congress that "Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent."


Anti-Semitism Grant's legacy has been marred by anti-Semitism. The most frequently cited example is the infamous General Order No. 11, issued by Grant's headquarters in Oxford, Mississippi, on December 17, 1862, during the early Vicksburg Campaign. The order stated in part:


“The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, and also Department orders, are hereby expelled from the Department (comprising areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky).”


The order was almost immediately rescinded by President Lincoln.  Grant maintained that he was unaware that a staff officer issued it in his name.  Grant's father Jesse Grant was involved; General James H. Wilson later explained, "There was a mean nasty streak in old Jesse Grant.  He was close and greedy.  He came down into Tennessee with a Jew trader that he wanted his son to help, and with whom he was going to share the profits. Grant refused to issue a permit and sent the Jew flying, prohibiting Jews from entering the line." 


Grant, Wilson felt, could not strike back directly at the "lot of relatives who were always trying to use him" and perhaps struck instead at what he maliciously saw as their counterpart—opportunistic traders who were Jewish.  Although it was portrayed as being outside the normal inclinations and character of Grant, it has been suggested by Bertram Korn that the order was part of a consistent pattern.  "This was not the first discriminatory order [Grant] had signed... he was firmly convinced of the Jews' guilt and was eager to use any means of ridding himself of them."


The issue of anti-Semitism was raised during the 1868 presidential campaign, and Grant consulted with several Jewish community leaders, all of whom said they were convinced that Order 11 was an anomaly, and he was not an anti-Semite.  He maintained good relations with the community throughout his administration, on both political and social levels.

Administration and Cabinet

Grant Memorial Statue in Grant Park, Galena, Illinois. Julia Grant remarked that it was the best likeness of her husband, as his hands were thrust into his pockets.


Grant Memorial Statue in Grant Park, Galena, Illinois.  Julia Grant remarked that it was the best likeness of her husband, as his hands were thrust into his pockets.  The following is a summary of the Cabinet Members of the Grant Administration:





Ulysses S. Grant


Vice President

Schuyler Colfax



Henry Wilson


Secretary of State

Elihu B. Washburne



Hamilton Fish


Secretary of the Treasury

George S. Boutwell



William Adams Richardson



Benjamin Bristow



Lot M. Morrill


Secretary of War

John A. Rawlins



William T. Sherman



William W. Belknap



Alphonso Taft



James D. Cameron


Attorney General

Ebenezer R. Hoar



Amos T. Akerman



George Henry Williams



Edwards Pierrepont



Alphonso Taft


Postmaster General

John A. J. Creswell



James W. Marshall



Marshall Jewell



James N. Tyner


Secretary of the Navy

Adolph E. Borie



George M. Robeson


Secretary of the Interior

Jacob D. Cox



Columbus Delano



Zachariah Chandler


Supreme Court Appointments:  Grant appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

States Admitted to the Union:

Government Agencies Instituted:

Election of 1872:  Toward the end of his first administration, Grant's Southern policy, coupled with public scandals involving his political advisers and appointees, led to widespread public disapproval.  The Congressional and state elections of 1870 resulted in a setback for Grant's administration.  By 1872 a formidable reformist wave was beginning to roll across the nation.  The Republicans nominated Grant for reelection, but a new, anti-Grant Liberal Republican Party combined with the Democrats to nominate Horace Greeley, publisher of the New York Tribune, to run against him.


Although Grant was assailed for his mal-administration in both the Liberal Republican and Democratic platforms, he was overwhelmingly reelected.  He carried every Northern state and most of the South, receiving 3,596,745 votes to Greeley's 2,843,446.  Greeley died less than one month after the election, and when the electors met they spread his electoral votes among several other candidates.  The final vote of the electors was Grant, 286; Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana, 42; Benjamin Gratz Brown of Missouri, 18; Charles J. Jenkins of Georgia, 2; David Davis of Illinois, 1. Seventeen electors did not vote.


Grant had made an even better showing in reelection than in 1868.  This was important to him.  He had not cared intensely about his first election, but about 1872, he later said, “My reelection was a great gratification because it showed me how the country felt.”

Second Term Administration:  Grant's second administration was even less successful than the first.  A series of scandals in government was unearthed.  Although Grant was implicated in none of them, the improprieties committed by officials in his government and by members of his party in Congress reflected on the president.  His continued loyalty to friends whose abuse of public office was well known did not add to Grant's prestige.

A congressional investigation of the Crédit Mobilier swindle, involving stockholders in the Union Pacific Railroad, was completed in 1873.  It was found that the Crédit Mobilier company, formed to do the Union Pacific's construction work, had overcharged millions of dollars on government contracts.  Furthermore, one of its principal stockholders, Congressman Oakes Ames of Massachusetts, had tried to buy off the investigation by distributing stock among his colleagues.  Those implicated in the scandal included Vice President Colfax and several Republican senators and representatives, including a future president of the United States, James A. Garfield (1881).

Also in 1873, Grant's secretary of the treasury, William A. Richardson, came under fire for an irregular tax collection scheme, known as the Sanborn Contracts.  In May 1874 the House Ways and Means Committee declared that Richardson deserved “severe condemnation.”  The committee privately urged Grant to remove Richardson.  The president complied but made Richardson a U.S. Court of Claims judge.

Richardson's successor, Benjamin H. Bristow, broke up the notorious Whiskey Ring, a conspiracy among Internal Revenue Service officials to defraud the government of liquor taxes.  Among the more than 200 people involved was Orville E. Babcock, Grant's private secretary and formerly his aide-de-camp during the Civil War.  When Babcock was indicted in December 1875 for conspiracy to defraud the revenue, Grant volunteered a deposition that he knew of nothing suggesting Babcock's guilt and that Babcock was innocent.  Grant's intercession saved Babcock from conviction and allowed him to resume his secretarial duties for a time.

Discoveries of other frauds in the U.S. Treasury and in the Indian Service came to light as Grant's second administration drew to a close.  However, the president remained loyal to his friends, almost regardless of what their conduct had been or of how seriously they had damaged his reputation.

Third Term Attempt in 1880:  In 1879, the "Stalwart" faction of the Republican Party led by Senator Roscoe Conkling sought to nominate Grant for a third term as president. He counted on strong support from the business men, the old soldiers, and the Methodist church. Publicly Grant said nothing, but privately he wanted the job and encouraged his men. His popularity was fading however, and while he received more than 300 votes in each of the 36 ballots of the 1880 convention, the nomination went to James A. Garfield. Grant campaigned for Garfield for a month, but he supported Conkling in the terrific battle over patronage in spring 1881 that culminated in Garfield's assassination

Last Years:  Grant's followers planned to nominate him for a third presidential term in 1876, but the leaders of the Republican National Convention opposed his re-nomination. They named Governor Rutherford B. Hayes of Ohio as the party's standard-bearer, and he won the election.  Grant left office in March 1877, with a few thousand dollars saved and a desire to see the world. 


On May 17 he sailed with his family for Liverpool, England, on the first leg of a journey around the world.  Everywhere he was well received, not as the former president of the United States, but as the hero of the Civil War.  He met and talked with many foreign leaders.  John Russell Young's Around the World With General Grant (1879) provides an account of some of Grant's impressions and conversations.  Grant's last years were bitter ones. 



He had given up an assured income for life when he resigned from the army to become president.  For a year after returning to the United States, his family lived on the income from a $250,000 fund collected for him by friends.  When the securities in which the fund was invested failed, Grant was once again without financial resources.


Not until 1885 did Congress vote to restore Grant's rank of full general with an appropriate salary.  By that time he was fatally ill.  He was moved to Mount McGregor, near Saratoga, New York, in an effort to restore his health.  There he began to write his recollections of the war years, the Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant (1885-1886).  They were completed only a week before he died of cancer of the throat.  Because in the last months of his life he was unable to speak, the memoirs were in large part written out in his own hand.


World Tour:  After the end of his second term in the White House, Grant spent two years traveling around the world with his wife.  He visited Ireland, Scotland, and England; the crowds were huge.  The Grants dined with Queen Victoria and Prince Bismarck in Germany.  They also visited Russia, Egypt, the Holy Land, Siam, and Burma.  In Japan, they were cordially received by Emperor Meiji and Empress Dowager Shoken at the Imperial Palace.  Today in the Shibakoen section of Tokyo, a tree still stands that Grant planted during his stay.


In 1879, the Meiji government of Japan announced the annexation of the Ryukyu Islands. China objected, and Grant was asked to arbitrate the matter.  He decided that Japan's claim to the islands was stronger and ruled in Japan's favor.  After two years of travel, Grant returned home.  He was still interested in a third term as president, but at the convention in 1880 the nomination went to James A. Garfield. Grant's political career was at an end.


Grant's Significant Acts for the two Terms in Office


General Status:  Congress, although unofficially given to George Washington during the American Revolution, first officially created the title of general, in the United States in 1799.  Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan, and John J. Pershing were the only men to hold this rank permanently until World War II, when many generals were appointed.  The U.S. Army and Air Force chiefs of staff hold this title by statutory designation, as do several others holding high-ranking positions.  The insignia in the U.S. is four silver stars on each shoulder strap and collar lapel.  In December 1944, the rank of General of the Army was created, with an insignia of five silver stars, in order to make U.S. commanders equal to European field marshals.  Omar N. Bradley, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas Macarthur, and George C. Marshall, as well as Henry H. Arnold of the Air Force held this rank.  Previously, General of the Army had been an honorary rank, conferred only on Pershing after World War I.


Forty Acres and a Mule:  The Civil War ended in May 1865, and six months later President Andrew Johnson sent General Ulysses S. Grant on an information-gathering tour of the South.  In his letter to the president upon his return, Grant made two key observations.  First, he concluded that the federal government needed to keep troops in the South.  Second, he concluded that most Southern blacks mistakenly believed that the Freedmen's Bureau was going to give them land.


Many freedmen did indeed believe they would receive “40 acres and a mule,” as had been proposed by radical members of Congress, but those promises were not realized. Grant talks about the freedmen being unwilling to sign labor contracts agreeing to work in the fields, and he cites this as an indication they did not want to work.  What Grant does not mention, however, is that those labor contracts restricted freedmen to conditions little better than slavery.  The contracts often forced the freedmen to work for their former masters, but without the provisions for food and shelter that they had received under the slave system.  The language reflects the conventions of the time in which the letter was written.


Stanton Dismissal:  Secretary of War Stanton had been working with the Radicals from the beginning of Johnson’s presidency.  In August 1867, while Congress was adjourned, Johnson suspended Stanton and named General Ulysses S. Grant to the post.  In January 1868 the Senate refused to accept Stanton’s suspension.  When Grant stepped out in favor of Stanton, the president again dismissed Stanton and appointed General Lorenzo Thomas as secretary of war.  Supported by the Radicals, Stanton barricaded himself in his War Department office and refused to let Thomas in.


Stock Market:  Saved the stock market from collapse in September 1869 by allowing the sale of $4 million in government gold.


Military Commission:  After the war the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Ex parte Milligan that military tribunals could not properly try civilians where civil courts were available.  In 1871 Milligan sued the military commission for $100,000 in damages.  Harrison was appointed special assistant U.S. attorney by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant to defend the commission.  Harrison argued that the military commission had acted in good faith.  The jury, aware that the law was on Milligan's side, had no alternative but to declare in his favor; Harrison's victory lay in the damages awarded to Milligan—a mere $5.


William Howard Taft Served Under President Grant:  Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Alphonso and Louisa Torrey Taft.  Both parents were descendants of old and substantial New England families of British origin.  His father, a native of Vermont and the son of a judge, had moved to Cincinnati in 1837 to practice law.  His mother came to Ohio from Massachusetts years later as Alphonso's second wife.  Their first son died in infancy, but in 1857, William Howard Taft was born, healthy and strong.  In time there were six children, including William, his two brothers, his sister, and his two half brothers by his father's first marriage. 


Traditions revering education and public service ran strong in the family.  Alphonso Taft himself served as a judge in Ohio, as attorney general and secretary of war in the administration of Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877), and as U.S. minister to Austria and to Russia.  He set an example that his son William was to emulate and exceed.

First Black Diplomat


In 1869 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Bassett U.S. minister to Haiti and the Dominican Republic, giving the United States its first black diplomat.  Letters on file in the National Archives urging Bassett's appointment came from many prominent citizens, including 12 of his Yale professors.


He signed the Force Acts of 1870 and 1871 to ensure the voting rights of blacks by making it a crime to interfere with civil rights.


Endangered Species Act:  The U.S. government’s interest in preserving species in danger of extinction can be traced back to the 19th century.  In an effort to curtail the mass destruction of the nation's bison population, Congress passed the Buffalo Protection Act in 1875 to safeguard the relatively few remaining bison.  However, President Ulysses S. Grant vetoed the act.  For nearly a century thereafter no legislation that directly addressed the issue of endangered species was signed into law.


Yellowstone National Park:  Slightly more than 125 years ago, on March 1, 1872, United States President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill creating Yellowstone National Park.  Carved primarily out of what was then the Wyoming Territory, Yellowstone became the nation's (and the world's) first national park, set aside for the “benefit and enjoyment of the people,” according to the text of the bill.  Since that time, Yellowstone has served as a model for parks and preserves throughout the United States and around the world.


Over the course of its 125-year history, the park has served many purposes: national symbol, natural laboratory for scientists and naturalists, and a place where visitors may glimpse an earlier, wilder America.  Abounding in natural splendor, Yellowstone is perhaps most famous for its geysers, steam vents, and hot springs.  The park is also home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elk, bison, and grizzly bears.  It is also an ongoing experiment in the dynamic and challenging relationship between human beings and nature.


KKK Proclamation:  Attired in sheets and wearing masks with pointed hoods, Klansmen terrorized public officials and blacks.  From 1868 to 1870, while federal occupation troops were being withdrawn from the southern states and radical regimes replaced with Democratic administrations, the Klan was increasingly dominated by the rougher elements in the population.  The local organizations, called klaverns, became so uncontrollable and violent that the Grand Wizard, former Confederate general Nathan B. Forrest, officially disbanded the Klan in 1869.  Klaverns, however, continued to operate on their own.


In 1871, Congress passed the Force Bill to implement the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing the rights of all citizens.  In the same year President Ulysses S. Grant issued a proclamation calling on members of illegal organizations to disarm and disband; thereafter hundreds of Klansmen were arrested.  The remaining klaverns gradually faded as the political and social subordination of blacks was reestablished.


President Johnson Impeachment and 15th Amendment:  By 1869 the Republican Party was firmly in control of all three branches of the federal government.  After attempting to remove Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, in apparent violation of the new Tenure of Office Act, Johnson had been impeached by the House of Representatives in 1868.  Although the Senate, by a single vote, failed to convict him, his power to obstruct the course of Reconstruction was gone.  Republican Ulysses S. Grant was elected president that fall.  Soon afterward, Congress approved the 15th Amendment, prohibiting states from restricting the franchise because of race.  Then it enacted a series of Enforcement Acts authorizing national action to suppress political violence.  In 1871 the administration launched a legal and military offensive that destroyed the Klan.  Grant was reelected in 1872 in the most peaceful election of the period.


Martial Law in South Carolina:  Hundreds of blacks were killed for attempting to vote, for challenging segregation and for organizing workers.  To regain power in state governments, Southern Democrats used violence to keep black voters away from the polls.  Throughout Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups conducted terrorist attacks on African Americans and their allies to limit Republican political power and restrict black opportunities.  Hundreds of blacks were killed for attempting to vote, for challenging segregation, for organizing workers, or even for attending school. 


In 1871 President Ulysses S. Grant declared martial law in nine South Carolina counties because of the proliferation of lynching and beatings.  In 1873 white terrorists massacred more than 60 blacks on Easter Sunday in Colfax, Louisiana and killed 60 Republicans, both blacks and whites, during the summer of 1874 in nearby Coushatta.  They killed 75 Republicans in Vicksburg, Mississippi in December 1874.


Settled claims against Britain in 1872 for damage done during the Civil War by British-built Confederate warships.


Buffalo Pocket Veto:  If you dine on buffalo, history makes a bitter sauce.  The indiscriminate slaughter of millions of animals on the frontier provoked outrage in Congress, which in 1874 voted overwhelmingly to end it in the federally controlled territories.  The bill was pocket vetoed by President Ulysses S. Grant, whose army was losing as many as 25 troopers for every Indian killed in a campaign to confine them to reservations.


Arkansas Corruption Charges:  There was some corruption in the state Republican Party, however, and it culminated in what was known as the Brooks-Baxter War.  Elisha Baxter, a Republican, won the 1872 election for governor; his opponent, Joseph Brooks, also a Republican, charged fraud.  In early 1874 armed forces of the two rivals clashed on Main Street in Little Rock.  Other clashes occurred elsewhere around the state, and about 200 people were killed. President Ulysses S. Grant eventually declared that Baxter was the governor.


Secretary of War Impeachment:  The United States Senate has held full impeachment trials 14 other times in American history.  Twelve federal judges have been tried, and seven were convicted.  The Senate acquitted four judges, and one resigned before the trial was complete.  The Senate also tried and acquitted William W. Belknap, secretary of war during the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant.


Wyoming Territory:  Hence, Dakota laws were enforced in Wyoming until the following year when President Ulysses S. Grant took office and the Congress approved his territorial appointments.  John A. Campbell was named the first territorial governor, and Cheyenne became Wyoming Territory’s temporary capital.


World Events 1861-1865:


Date                                         Event

1861    The Civil War between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America begins. 

The Kingdom of Italy is proclaimed with Victor Emmanuel II as king and Camillo Benso, Conte di Cavour as prime minister.

Czar Alexander II abolishes 1861 Serfdom in Russia.

1862    An income tax is levied in the United States to help pay for war costs.

The United States homestead law encourages settlement in the West by allowing those who qualify to acquire homesteads.

1863    President Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, proclaiming freedom for all slaves in Confederate-held territory.

1865    Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders to U.S. General Ulysses S. Grant, ending the American Civil War.


Bankruptcy:  In 1881, Grant purchased a house in New York City and placed almost all of his financial assets into an investment banking partnership with Ferdinand Ward, as suggested by Grant's son Buck (Ulysses, Jr.), who was having success on Wall Street. Ward swindled Grant (and other investors who had been encouraged by Grant) in 1884, bankrupted the company, Grant and Ward, and fled.


Memoirs:  Grant learned at the same time that he was suffering from throat cancer. Grant and his family were left destitute; at the time retired U.S. Presidents were not given pensions, and Grant had forfeited his military pension when he assumed the office of President.  Grant first wrote several articles on his Civil War campaigns for The Century Magazine, which were warmly received. 


Mark Twain offered Grant a generous contract, including 75% of the book's sales as royalties.  The book was a resounding success.  Grant focused on the Civil War, the period of his greatest glory, yet he did not write to glorify or justify himself.  He attempted to tell what really happened, admitting his mistakes and sharing credit with others.  His book remains one of the Great War commentaries of all time.


Terminally ill, Grant finished the book just a few days before his death.  The memoirs sold over 300,000 copies, earning the Grant family over $450,000.  Twain hyped the book as "the most remarkable work of its kind since the Commentaries of Julius Caesar," and they are widely regarded as among the finest memoirs ever written.


Just before his death, Grant summed up his career in a note to his doctor: “It seems that man's destiny in this world is quite as much a mystery as it is likely to be in the next.  I never thought of acquiring rank in the profession I was educated for; yet it came with two grades higher prefixed to the rank of General officer for me.  I certainly never had either ambition or taste for political life; yet I was twice President of the United States.  If anyone ... suggested the idea of my becoming an author ... I was not sure whether they were making sport of me or not. I have now written a book which is in the hands of the manufacturers.”


Ulysses S. Grant died at 8:06 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, 1885, at the age of 63 in Mount McGregor, Saratoga County, New York.  His body lies in New York City's Riverside Park, beside that of his wife, in Grant's Tomb, overlooking the Hudson River in New York City, the largest mausoleum in North America.

In memoriam

Grant as he appears on the 2004 series U.S. $50 note


Grant as he appears on the 2004 series U.S. $50 note

Counties in ten U.S. states are named after Grant: Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin and Grant Parish, Louisiana.

Grant Trivia:

Grant the General:

When Ulysses S. Grant died in 1885, his reputation as a General was forever etched into the pantheon of great American military leaders.  Along with his great adversary, Robert E. Lee, his fame as a military figure was secure.  Below are some comments by historians and contemporaries regarding Grant's military acumen.


John Singleton Mosby (1833-1916), a southerner, praised General Grant's attributes as a person.  Mosby, also known as the "Gray Ghost," was a Confederate Colonel during the Civil War.  The article describes the persona of General Grant as humanitarian, generous, and compassionate.


"In common with most Southern soldiers, I had a very kindly feeling towards General Grant, not only on account of his magnanimous conduct at Appomattox, but also for his treatment of me at the close of hostilities.  General Grant was as much misunderstood in the South as I had been in the North.  Like most Southern men, I had disapproved of the reconstruction measures and was sore and very restive under military government; but since my prejudices have faded, I can now see that many things which we regarded as being prompted by hostile and vindictive motives were actually necessary in order to prevent anarchy and to insure the freedom of the newly emancipated slave.”


I had strong personal reasons for being friendly with General Grant.  If he had not thrown his shield over me in 1865, I should have been outlawed and driven into exile.  When Lee surrendered, my battalion was in northern Virginia, a hundred miles from Appomattox. Secretary of war Stanton invited all soldiers in Virginia to surrender on the same conditions, which were offered to Lee's army, but I was accepted.  General Grant, who was then all-powerful, interposed, and sent me an offer of the same parole that he had given General Lee.  Such a service I could never forget.  When the opportunity came, I remembered what he had done for me, and I did all I could for him.


In November 1872, I had to go to the Treasury Department on business.  To my surprise, General Grant walked in.  He shook hands with me and said, "I heard you were here, and came to thank you for my getting the vote of Virginia."  Of course, I appreciated General Grant's compliment, although he gave me credit for a great deal more than I deserved. General Grant had also done another thing, which showed the generosity of his nature.  A few weeks before the surrender, a small party of my men crossed the Potomac one night and got into a fight, in which a detective was killed.  One of the men was captured and sent to Fort McHenry.  After the war he was tried by a military commission and sentenced to be imprisoned.  The boy's mother went to see President Johnson, to beg a pardon for her son, but Johnson repelled her roughly.


In her distress, she went over to the War Department to see General Grant.  He listened patiently to her sorrowful story, then rose and asked her to go with him.  He took her to the White House, walked into the reception room, and told the President that there had been suffering enough, and that he would not leave the room without a pardon for the young Southerner.  Johnson signed the necessary paper.


Often as I went to the White House during Grant's second term, I never failed to see him except once, when he was in the hands of a dentist.  In those days, hundreds went to see him for appointments.  In spite of all this pressure, he never seemed to be in a hurry.  He was the best listener I ever saw, and one of the quickest to see to the core of a question.  In once called at the White House about seven o'clock in the evening.  The doorkeeper said that the President was at dinner.  I gave the man my card and told him I would wait in the hall.


He returned with a message from General Grant, asking me to come in and take dinner with the family.  I replied that I had already dined.  Then Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. came out and said, 'Father says that you must come in and get some dinner."  Of course I went in. At the table, the General spoke of having called that evening on Alexander Stephens, who was lying sick at his hotel.  It looked as if our war was a long way in the past when the President of the United States could call to pay his respects to the Vice President of the Confederate States.


A few weeks before the close of Grant's second term, I introduced one of my men to him. "I hope you won't think less of Captain Glascock because he was with me in the war, I said.  "I think all the more of him," the President promptly replied.  I once said to General Grant, "General, if you have been a Southern man, would you have been in the Southern Army?"  "Certainly," he replied.  He always spoke in the friendliest manner of his old army comrades who went with the South.  Once, speaking of Stonewall Jackson, who was with him at West Point, he said to me, "Jackson was the most conscientious beings I ever knew."  He talked a good deal about his early life in the army and gave a description of his first two battles - Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma.


In 1879, during the Grant's tour of the world, I last saw him.  I went in a boat to meet him.  As I went up the gangway, I recognized him, with his wife and eldest son, standing on the deck.  He was the guest of the governor for about ten days.  On several days I breakfasted with him, and we had many free and informal talks.  Once he was giving a description of his ride on a donkey-back from Jaffa to Jerusalem. "That," he said, "was the roughest rode I ever traveled."  "General," I replied, I think you traveled a rougher road than that."  "Where?" he inquired.  "From the Rapidan to Richmond," I answered.  "I reckon there were more obstructions on that road," he admitted.  I never saw the great soldier again.  When a dispatch announced his death, I felt had lost my best friend".

Shelby Foote:
"Grant the general had many qualities but he had a thing that's very necessary for a great general.  He had what they call "four o'clock in the morning courage."  You could wake him up at four o'clock in the morning and tell him they had just turned his right flank, and he would be as cool as a cucumber.  Grant, after that first night in the wilderness, went to his tent, broke down, and cried very hard.  Some of the staff members said they'd never seen a man so unstrung.  Well, he didn't cry until the battle was over, and he wasn't crying when it began again the next day.  It just shows you the tension that he lived with without letting it affect him... Grant, he's wonderful."

T. Harry Williams, Military Historian:
"There is no difficulty in composing a final evaluation of Ulysses S. Grant.  With him there be no balancing and qualifying, no ifs and buts.  He won battles and campaigns, and he struck the blow that won the war.  No general could do what he did because of accident or luck or preponderance of numbers and weapons.  He was a success because he was a complete general and a complete character.  He was so complete that his countrymen have never been able to believe he was real...Grant was, judged by modern standards, the greatest general of the Civil War.  He was head and shoulders above any other general on either side as an over-all strategist, as a master of global strategy.  Fundamentally Grant was superior to Lee because in a modern total war he had a modern mind, and Lee did not.  Lee was the last of the great old-fashioned generals, Grant was the first of the great moderns."

James Dinkins, Army of Northern Virginia:
"There was one Federal general whose name lends luster to the American soldier and to the American citizen, who is respected and revered by every fair minded man, who understood the prowess of the Southern soldier, and who removed from the South the sting of defeat by the magic touch of his magnanimity in dealing with the vanquished.  Grant was the genius of the war on the Federal side.  He never made war on defenseless women and old men.  He crushed the Confederacy with superior numbers, but he paroled and trusted the Confederate.  He knew that if he put the Southern solider on his honor he would make a good citizen and that if the leaders were imprisoned, the Southern people would become a nation of bushwhackers.  By that act he bound to him with hooks of steel the Southern hears, which his magnanimity won at Appomattox."

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain:
"Grant was necessary to bring the war to a close... his positive qualities, his power to wield force to the bitter end, much entitle him to rank high as a commanding general.  His concentration of energies, inflexible purpose, imperturbable long-suffering, his masterly reticence, ignoring either advice or criticism, his magnanimity in all relations, but more than all his infinite trust in the final triumph of his cause, set him apart and alone above all others.  With these attributes we could not call him less than great."

General John B. Gordon, C.S.A.:
"The strong and salutary characteristics of both Lee and Grant should live in history as an inspiration to coming generations.  Posterity will find nobler and more wholesome incentives in their high attributes as men than in their brilliant career as warriors.  General Grant's truly great qualities - his innate modesty, his freedom from every trace of vain-glory or ostentation, his magnanimity in victory, his genuine sympathy for his brave and sensitive foemen, and his inflexible resolve to protect paroled Confederates against any assault... will give him a place in history no less renowned and more to be envied than any other man."

Abraham Lincoln, in conversation, 1864:
"He's the quietest little fellow you ever saw.  He makes the least fuss of any man you ever knew.  I believe he had been in this room a minute or so before I knew he was here.  Grant is the first general I have had.  You know how it's been with all the rest.  As soon as I put a man in command of the army, they all wanted me to be the general.  Now it isn't so with Grant.  He hasn't told me what his plans are.  I don't know and I don't want to know.  I am glad to find a man who can go ahead without me.  He doesn't ask impossibilities of me, and he's the first general I've had that didn't."

General William T. Sherman:
"It will be a thousand years before Grant's character is fully appreciated. Grant is the greatest soldier of our time if not all time... he fixes in his mind what is the true objective and abandons all minor ones.  He dismisses all possibility of defeat.  He believes in himself and in victory.  If his plans go wrong he is never disconcerted but promptly devises a new one and is sure to win in the end.  Grant more nearly impersonated the American character of 1861-65 than any other living man.  Therefore he will stand as the typical hero of the great Civil War in America."

General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A., to someone who had slandered Grant:
"Sir, if you ever again presume to speak disrespectfully of General Grant in my presence, either you or I will sever his connection with this University.  (Yet Lee had a slightly different opinion in 1864, when he wrote his son: "His talent and strategy consists in accumulating overwhelming numbers.")."

Colonel Theodore Dodge:
"Criticism cannot deprecate the really great qualities of General Grant.   His task was one to tax a Bonaparte.  He had determined, unflinching courage and he adds to the laurels of Lee.  No other Northern general could have accomplished more against the genius of a soldier.  It was Grant, who, in the face of the gravest difficulties, won the war.  He deservedly ranks among the greatest of Americans."

General Philip Sheridan:
"He guided every subordinate with a fund of common sense and superiority of intellect, which left an impression so distinct as to exhibit his great personality.  When his military history is analyzed after the lapse of years, it will show, even more clearly than now, he was the steadfast center about and on which everything else turned."

The Medal of Honor during the Civil War


Historical Background:  The medal was originally proposed to General Winfield Scott who did not like idea.  However, Gideon Welles, then Secretary of the Navy, endorsed a similar proposal.  President Abraham Lincoln signed this proposal in December 1861. The next year a "medal of valor" was created for the Army thanks to the efforts of Edward D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant General.  The bill creating this medal was signed into law in July 1862.  Although proposed only for the Civil War, Congress made the medal permanent in 1863.


Number of Awards:  Since that time more than 3400 men and 1 woman have been awarded the medal.


Who are the only female awardees?


Medal Design:  Silversmiths William Wilson & Son of Philadelphia and the designs were coordinated by James Pollock, Director of the U. S. Mint, designed the Civil War era medals.  The "foul spirit of Secession and Rebellion" is depicted on the obverse side as a man holding serpents attacking a female figure (The Union).  The back of the medal was unadorned so that the awardees' name could be engraved.

Medals Awarded Twice for Valor:  From the time the first medal was issued until January 14, 1997, 3,427 medals were awarded to 3,408 recipients (there were 19 to whom the Medal was awarded twice.)  Of these, 2,553 were enlisted personnel and 169 were living as of this date.  (Source: Congressional Medal of Honor Society).


1897 Review of the Medal Honor Awards: Three medals, awarded to Daniel Sickles, Henry Tremain, and Daniel Butterworth (the so-called "Sickles' Circle) forced the review of the process in 1897.  Because these high-ranking individuals had gained medals in questionable ways, and because of other abuses of the Civil War era medal nominations, the process of applying for a Medal of Honor was revised.  In addition to standardizing the nomination process, eyewitness testimony was required so that the committee could reduce the number of inappropriate medals awarded.


The Purge of 1917:  Perhaps the single most famous event associated with the Medal of Honor is the Purge of 1917.  Originally convened in 1916 by Nelson Miles, a MOH awardee, the commission reviewed each of the Army medals awarded.  Their report, presented in February 1917, revoked the medals presented to 911 people including 864 medals awarded to the 27th Maine for re-enlisting, and President Lincoln's funeral guard. Six medals awarded to civilians were revoked as well.  Included in this group were Mary Walker, the only female awardees, and Buffalo Bill Cody, a scout and technically not a soldier during the Indian Wars.


Jimmy Carter Reinstated Dr. Walker:  For sixty years the revocation of the medals stood.  Dr. Walker, who refused to return the medal as requested by the U. S. Army, proudly wearing it every day until she died.  In 1977 President Jimmy Carter re-instated the award to Walker.  It would be another 13 years before President George Bush re-instated the medals for Cody and five other scouts.


President George H. Bush:  Bush also presented a medal to the family of Freddie Stowers, an African-American who died in World War I, gravely wounded while attempting to destroy a machine gun that had pinned down his men.  While Medals of Honor had been awarded to African-Americans for heroic deeds during Civil War actions, in 1997 President Bill Clinton ordered a review of heroic deeds by African-Americans during World War II that may have been overlooked because of racial prejudice.  Seven men were chosen to receive the award.


Code Talkers Award:  During the Second World War a group of Navajo served the front lines relaying coded messages back to rear echelon support groups.  These "Code Talkers" were routinely in the line of fire and performed their assigned task with merit -- duty that frequently brought them into jeopardy.  It was felt that the heroic action of the "Code Talkers" had been overlooked.  Congress approved a special gold medal to be awarded these Navajo Indians who served on the battlefield during World War II. President George W. Bush presented these medals to the living recipients on July 26, 2001.  While not technically a "Medal of Honor," these Americans were Marines at the time of their heroic actions, and deserve to be mentioned in any history of the Medal of Honor.

Ulysses S. Grant The President

Events during Grant's Administrations 1869-1877:

·         Cabinet and Supreme Court of Grant

Ulysses S. Grant Chronology:

April 27, 1822, Hiram Ulysses Grant is born in Point Pleasant, Ohio to Hannah and Jesse Grant.

1828-1835, He attends subscription schools in Georgetown, Ohio and works on the family farm. He loves horses but hates the tan yard.

May 1839, Departs Ohio for the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. His name is registered as Ulysses S. Grant, a name he will continue to use for the rest of his life. Grant spends the next four years at this school on the Hudson as a Cadet.

June-August, 1841, spends his furlough with his family in Bethel, Ohio. Grant later wrote, "Those ten weeks were shorter than one week at West Point."

July 1, 1843, (his diploma is dated June 23rd) Grant graduates from West Point and is commissioned a brevet second Lieutenant. He is assigned to the Fourth Infantry in St. Louis, Jefferson Barracks. He meets Julia, his future wife, in February 1844.

1846-1848, Grant fights in the Mexican War as a Quartermaster, Fought under General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War.

1848-1852, following his honeymoon, Grant is assigned to Sackets Harbor, New York and Detroit, Michigan.  Though blissfully happy in his private life, he is bored with the tedium of the peacetime army.  He enjoys playing cards, accompanying Julia to dances and racing his mare, Cicotte.

1852-1854, He is sent to Humboldt Bay, California, in July 1852.  The next two years are ones of lonesome reflection for the Captain, who desperately misses his family. Being separated from Julia wreaks havoc on his psyche.

August, 1854, He returns to Missouri after resigning his commission.

1854-1858, He works a 60-acre farm near St. Louis.  He builds a home, sells cordwood and faces a bleak financial future.

1858-1859, Enters the Real Estate business with Julia's cousin.  He proves incapable of collecting rents and is frequently late to work.  Grant was never cut out to be a businessman.

May 1860, He moves to Galena, Illinois and accepts a clerkship at his father's leather store at $800 a year.  He lives in a comfortable, snug house on a hill, fronting a cemetery.

June 17, 1861, Appointed a Colonel of the 21st Illinois Infantry.

August 9, 1861, Commission signed by President Lincoln making Grant a Brigadier General of Volunteers dated retroactively to May 17, 1861.  August 5th Congress approved Lincoln's request of July 31, 1861 to make Grant a Brigadier General.

November 17, 1861, The Battle of Belmont, Grant's first engagement as General. Union forces raid the Confederate camp, but fall back when they counterattack.  Grant's horse is shot from under him in the fight. Belmont is frequently described as a "fighting retreat" by Union forces, which gain much-needed experience under fire.

February 16, 1862, Grant takes Fort Donelson, Tennessee, the first Union victory of strategic importance in the war.  He becomes nationally famous with his dispatch, "No terms except immediate and unconditional surrender.  I propose to move immediately upon your works."  The jealous General Henry Halleck schemes behind Grant’s back and spread malicious and false rumors that Grant has "resumed his former bad habits."

February 17th, 1862, Grant receives his two star rank of Major General of Volunteers

April 6-7, 1862, The Battle of Shiloh. Though Grant and Sherman deny until their deaths that they were surprised here, the evidence is persuasive that they were.  Grant's iron will and stubbornness resist disaster and the Union holds the field on the second day.

February, 1863-April, 1863, Unsuccessful moves around Vicksburg, Mississippi.

May 12- May 17, 1863, Grant implements his grand strategy in taking Vicksburg by moving between two wings of the enemy and routing them both.  In five days, he fights and defeats the enemy at Jackson, Champion Hill and Big Black River.  His baggage consists of a toothbrush and comb.

May 19-May 22, 1863, Grant attempts two frontal assaults upon Vicksburg, but both are repelled.  The Union forces settle down to a siege.

July 4, 1863, Surrender of Vicksburg - Grant's tour de force as a general, one of greatest military campaigns in history.

Summer, 1863, following a fall from a fractious horse in New Orleans, Grant spends the summer with his family in a house near Vicksburg.  His leg is so badly swollen that he is bedridden for weeks and uses crutches until October.

October 22, 1863, Takes command at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

November 22-25, 1863, The Battle of Chattanooga, which culminates in Union victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, the Confederates are forced to retreat into Tennessee.

March 9, 1864, Grant receives his commission as Lieutenant General from Lincoln and on March 12, he is appointed General in Chief of all U.S. armies.

May 5-7, 1864, The Battle of the Wilderness.  The two titans of the war, Grant and Lee, finally face each other.  The result is a draw, with Union forces losing two times as many men as Lee.

May 7-10, 1864, Spottsylvania campaign.  Lee once again thwarts Grant and the results of the battle are inconclusive.  On May 11, Grant writes another of his famous dispatches, "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."

May 31-June 3, 1864, The Battle of Cold Harbor. In the main frontal assault on June 3, Grant loses 7,000 men in an hour.  Lee loses 1,500.  This was Grant's searing blunder as a General, and one, which he freely admitted.  Rebel losses during the campaign were 32,000, while the Federals lose 50,000. But Grant can obtain replacements and Lee cannot.

April 9, 1865, Lee surrenders to Grant in the McLean House, Appomattox, Virginia.  This is Grant's great hour, showcasing his delicacy and decency.  When Union soldiers get too rambunctious, he quiets them.  "The war is over," he said, "the Rebels are again our countrymen, and the best sign of rejoicing is to abstain from all demonstrations in the field."

July 25, 1866, Congress establishes a new rank of "General" for Grant making him the first four star General in U. S. history.

Fall, 1866, Grant refuses to be sent to Mexico by President Andrew Johnson, a wily and jealous man who wanted the popular General out of the way. These two fellows never hitched - very dissimilar.

May 21, 1868, Nominated as a candidate for President by the Republican National Convention in Chicago.  Grant does no campaigning and lolls about his Galena, Illinois home.

March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1877, President of the United States of America for two terms.

May, 1877-September, 1879, The Grant's make an around the world tour, and he is besieged by crowds throughout the journey.  Here is no itinerary and Grant enjoys himself immensely.  He said, 'I feel like a boy out of school."  Jesse accompanies his parents for some of the trip, and Fred then takes his place.  Grant routinely plows through 15 course dinners, but actually loses weight on the trip - he returns to San Francisco weighing 159 pounds. His favorite countries on the trip were Japan and Switzerland.

June 2-8, 1880, after two difficult terms in the White House, Grant has had enough and does not secure the Republican nomination for the Presidency.  It is difficult to know whether he actually coveted the Presidency again, though Julia certainly wanted to return to the White House.  His friends and sons were convinced he didn't care and the evidence shows they were correct.  Garfield eventually secures the nomination and the Presidency, and Grant claims he possesses "the backbone of an angleworm."

December 24, 1883, Grant suffers a serious injury to his hip while slipping on the pavement outside his home.  While handing a cab driver a 20-dollar bill, he falls heavily on his side.  He is bedridden for weeks and walks with crutches or a cane for the rest of his life.

May, 1884, the brokerage firm of Grant and Ward fails on Wall Street, losing the General and his family's fortune.  Grant had been a silent partner in the firm with his son and Ferdinand Ward, the scoundrel who robbed the company and was eventually jailed.  Days before the bankruptcy, Ward begs Grant for a loan of $150,000 to save the Marine bank. The General then asked William Vanderbilt to make him a personal loan, and he eventually repaid the millionaire with his war trophies and uniforms.  These priceless bits of American are now in the Smithsonian, though only a fraction is displayed.  The Grant and Ward failure plunges Grant into a prolonged depression.

September 1884, doctors diagnose Grant’s illness of the throat as cancer.  In the fall, he begins work on his memoirs.

January-March, 1885, the cancer spreads and completely debilitates the General.  He is only able to have liquid foods in small portions.  The pain is almost unendurable, but he valiantly writes on in an effort to provide for his family after his death.

June 16, 1885, Moves with his family to Mt. McGregor, New York.  The doctors advise the move because of the cooler climate.  Grant is down to 120 pounds and is so weak he sometimes falls from his chair, but gallantly hides his suffering from his family.

July 19, 1885, He finishes his Memoirs and lays down his pencil for the last time.

July 23, 1885, at 8:06 in the morning, Grant dies, surrounded by his family and physicians.  Fred stops the mantle clock and then fondly returns to the bedside to stroke his father's forehead a last time.  Grant's memoirs, a timeless classic, sells over 300,000 copies, becomes the best selling book in U. S. history, and earns Julia a staggering $500,000.  Even today in the 21st century, Grant's work is still considered the most well written memoirs by a U. S. President.
































Civil War, Web Site: U.R.L. Address: http://www.civilwar.com/


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Surrender at Appomattox, 1865, Web Site:  http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/appomatx.htm


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Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822-1885), Web Site: http://www.civilwarhome.com/grantbio.htm 


Life Facts- Ulysses S. Grant

(April 27, 1822 - July 23, 1885), Web Site:  http://www.americanpresidents.org/presidents/president.asp?


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Medal of Honor

By John Dubois, Special to Civil War Courier Web Site: http://ngeorgia.com/history/mohm.html


John Pope, Web Site: http://www.civilwarhome.com/popebio.htm


New York Times, March 13, 1885, Ulysses S. Grant’s Condition – The Continued Progress of the Disease


Ulysses S. Grant Sinking Into the Grave, Dying Slowly of Cancer – Working Calmly on his Book in Terrible Pain, New York Times, March 1, 1885


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Ulysses S. Grant Facts, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantfacts.htm


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First Time Lincoln and Grant Meet, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantlincoln.htm


Grant the General, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantgeneral.htm


Grant the President, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantpresident.htm


Grant the World Leader, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantleader.htm


Grant the Family Man, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantfamily.htm


Grant the Equestrian, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantequestrian.htm


Grant the author, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantauthor.htm


Grant the Author, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantauthor.htm


Grant the Artist, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantartist.htm


Grant on Slavery, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantslavery.htm


Grant the Genius, Web Site: http://www.empirenet.com/~ulysses/grantgenius.htm


Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


History of Generals, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Forty Acres and a Mule, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Stanton Dismissal, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Military Commission, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Quick Facts, General Grant, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


William Howard Taft served under President Grant, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


First Black Diplomat, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Endangered Species Act, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Yellowstone National Park, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


KKK Proclamation, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


President Johnson Impeachment and 15th Amendment, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Martial Law in South Carolina, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Buffalo Pocket Veto, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Arkansas Corruption Charges, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


Secretary of War Impeachment, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


Wyoming Territory, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.


World Events, Microsoft ® Encarta ® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.