Ulysses S. Grant

Early Life

Hiriam Ulysses Grant was born April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He was the eldest of six children (Samuel Simpson, Clara Rachael, Virginia Paine, Orvil Lynch, and Mary Frances) born to devout and hardworking parents: Jesse and Hannah Grant. He was small, quiet, soft-spoken, and well known for his talent with horses.


Although he was unaware of it, his father signed him up at the U.S Military Academy at West Point, NY. Grant’s middle initial of ‘S’ does not represent a name. His real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but it was entered incorrectly as Ulysses S. Grant when he went to West Point. Since he was embarrassed by his real initials (H.U.G), he didn't tell anyone and ended up going by Ulysses S. Grant for the rest of his life. He excelled in mathematics, writing, drawing, and horsemanship. After graduating in 1843, he was assigned to an  infantry company in Missouri. He soon moved south and fought in Mexican War from 1846-1848.

After war, he moved to various Army postings, but soon resigned in 1854 and returned to the Midwest to be with his wife, Julia Boggs Dent whom he married on August 22, 1848. They had four children: Jesse Root, Frederick Dent, Ellen Wrenshall, and Ulysses S Grant Jr.

Civil War

Ulysses S. Grant is best known as the Union general who led the United States to victory over the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. When the war began, Grant was assigned to make a disciplined fighting unit. He drilled, trained, and disciplined his men, and soon earned their respect. The Army noted his efforts and promoted him to Army General. He accumulated attention as he led his troops to fight and won multiple battles. He helped end the bloody Civil War when he directed the Union forces to lay siege on General Robert E. Lee's army, forcing surrender at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia, on April 1865.

Lincoln's tragic assassination at the end of the Civil War was followed by ineffective leadership of Andrew Johnson. He urged an approach to Reconstruction that neither punished the South or protected the rights of the newly freed slaves. Republicans wanted to ensure civil and political rights of African Americans. They backed Grant, and the popular general won the election and became the nation's 18th president.


Ulysses S. Grant was a Republican, represented the state of Illinois, and served two terms from 1869-1877. He was inaugurated at 46 years old. He was loyal to all his politicians but they despised him for protecting the rights of the African Americans. Although the Republicans wanted him to continue his presidency, in 1875, he announced that he would not seek a third term. Instead, Rutherford B. Hayes was nominated and became president after him.


After finishing his time in office, Grant lived only 8 more years. He found himself in economic difficulties and was dying of throat cancer. His final days were spent on his porch writing out his epic life story. He completed his autobiography days before his death. Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23, 1885 of esophageal cancer at 63 years old. He was buried at the General Grant National Memorial in New York City, NY.

Comment Stream