Adventures of Grant's life from being a President to a war leader and hero.

by Keith Taplin

This book titled Ulysses S. Grant, Defender of the Union, written by Earle Rice Jr.  is a historical nonfiction story. I chose this book because I wanted to learn more about Grant and all about his life from being born in Ohio, to a family of humble means , to a Civil War hero, to becoming the President of the United states.

In 1839 Grant entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York state. A classmate described Grant as small but muscular and active. He held his own when other classmates bullied him. Grant graduated from West Point in 1843. During the next years, he met and married Julia Dent in 1848. Grant served with distinction in the Mexican War in 1848. After several other assignments, Grant resigns from the army in 1854.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861 Grant returned to the army. He was a strong and brave leader which earned him promotions. His major battles included Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Donelson on the Cumberland River, Shiloh, Vicksburg and Appomattox. The battle of Shiloh was the severest battle fought in the west during the war. "The narrow Union victory cost Grant more than thirteen thousand men. This adversary reported more than ten thousand men killed, wounded, or missing. Of the roughly one hundred thousand men who fought at Shiloh, almost one out of four was killed." (U.S.G., Defender of The Union).  After much fighting, the fall of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River caused the Confederacy to finally split in half.  They could no longer draw on the flow of replacements, horses, cattle, pigs, sugar, and salt from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. In the Battle of Petersburg, a new phase of fighting was introduce.  It included using trenches, tunnels and long sieges and artillery bombardments to overrun fortifications.

On April 9, 1865, General Lee sent out a note to General Grant.  "I now request an interview in accordance with the offer contained in your letter of yesterday for that purpose". (U.S.G., Defender of The Union). The two leaders met at two o'clock in the afternoon at the Appomattox Court house. General Lee surrendered.

photo of Grant

In 1866, because of Grant's past and continuing contributions to his nation, the Senate confirmed him as General of the Army.  He was the first American officer to attain four-star ranking.

On March 4, 1869,  Ulysses S. Grant took the oath of office to become the eighteenth president and commander in chief of the United States of America . Grant was widely admired and respected. It was time to change. In 1870, Congress passed the fifteenth amendment guaranteeing that the right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Gettysburg battle
Grant at Civil War camp
War strategies
Siege of Vicksburg

President Grant had many problems. The country had a long national debt. He worked to settle differences between the north and the south.  Also, there were problems as the settlers moved westward into Indian territories. In 1873, he was elected for a second term as president.

After Grant left the White House, he traveled around the world and then began to record his memoirs.  In 1885, Ulysses S. Grant, at the age age 85, passed away at his home on Mount McGregor in upstate New York.  His remains are interred in Grant's Tomb located in the Bronx just outside of NYC.

Extended Response

Ulysses S. Grant was a magnificent leader who won the civil war for the North. Grant had great battle strategies including confronting southern infantry troops from all angles with quick sneak attacks that cornered them in.  He kept his men alive by having correct and timely intelligence. As president, Grant was respected because of his service during the Civil war.the country was rapidly changing and expanding .In conclusion Ulysses Grant was seen and always will be seen as a war hero and as a drunk of some sort.

                                                                                   -Keith Taplin


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