The Life and Legacy of Ulysses S. Grant, A Biography


Discover the fascinating story of Ulysses S. Grant, the renowned Civil War general and 18th President of the United States. Learn about his early life, military career, political achievements, and enduring legacy.

Ulysses S. Grant


Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822-1885) One of the greatest American soldiers and a President of the United States. Grant was a farmer’s son born at Point Pleasant, Ohio. At the age of 17 he went to the military academy and became an officer. In the war against Mexico he was promoted to captain for his bravery, but when peace came it was said that he was too fond of drinking, and he resigned from the army in 1854. For some years he was a nobody—just an unsuccessful farmer and shopkeeper—but when the civil war came he became a colonel in the Northern Union army and soon showed himself an able and skilled leader.

Although he won several victories against the Confederate (Southern) armies he was not always successful and again some of his rivals complained he drank too much. When the President, Abraham Lincoln, heard of this, he asked what brand of whisky Grant drank, saying he would like to send some to his other generals if it would make them fight like Grant did. Finally Grant became general commanding all the Union armies and by his determination and singleness of purpose he forced the Confederates to surrender in 1865. He himself wrote the terms of surrender, which were generous and without thought of revenge. Knowing the Confederate soldiers were almost starving he gave them food from Union supplies, and he allowed those with horses to take them home for the spring ploughing. Grant was a man who hated war; once after a battle he slept outside in the rain because he could not bear to be near the sufferings of the wounded soldiers.

He became President in 1869 and served until 1877, but was less successful than he had been as a general. There were scandals connected with the misuse of public money by members of the government and though Grant was innocent it was felt that he trusted others too readily. When he retired he was left almost penniless by a business failure. To pay off his debts he wrote the story of his life, while he was already dying of cancer, and finished it only four days before he died. Above his tomb in New York are carved the words “Let us have peace”.

Facts About Ulysses Simpson Grant

Here are some interesting facts about Ulysses S. Grant:

  1. Ulysses S. Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant, but due to a mistake on his application to West Point, he was enrolled as Ulysses S. Grant and the name stuck.
  2. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1843 and served in the Mexican-American War.
  3. Grant struggled in civilian life and failed at several business ventures before the outbreak of the Civil War.
  4. During the Civil War, Grant rose to fame as a brilliant military strategist and commander, eventually becoming the Union’s top general.
  5. He accepted the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the Civil War.
  6. In 1868, Grant was elected the 18th President of the United States, serving two terms in office.
  7. As President, Grant focused on Reconstruction efforts in the South and fought against corruption in government.
  8. He was instrumental in the passage of the 15th Amendment, which granted African American men the right to vote.
  9. Grant’s presidency was marred by financial scandals, including the Credit Mobilier scandal and the Whiskey Ring.
  10. After leaving office, Grant went on a world tour, which he documented in his memoirs. He was diagnosed with throat cancer soon after and died in 1885.

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