Ulysses S. Grant

Photo of Ulysses S. Grant
Photo of Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant at Cold Harbor, June 1864

Quick Facts

Significance:
Commander of Union armies and 18th President of the United States
Place of Birth:
Point Pleasant, OH
Date of Birth
April 27, 1822
Place of Death:
Wilton, NY
Date of Death
July 23, 1885
Place of Burial:
New York, NY
Cemetery Name
General Grant National Memorial

Hiram Ulysses Grant was born April 27, 1822, in Pt. Pleasant, Ohio. His family called him Ulysses and when his father's political connections led to an appointment to the United States Military Academy, the appointment was made for Ulysses Simpson Grant, as the Congressman who made the appointment believed his first name was Ulysses and that his middle name was Simpson (his mother's maiden name). Grant unsuccessfully attempted to get the mistake correct, and so he became Ulysses S. Grant.

After graduating near the middle of his class, Grant was sent to Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis, in 1843. During the Mexican War, Grant was twice brevetted for bravery, though he believed the war to be political and unjust. After the war, Grant married Julia Dent, sister of a West Point roommate, and was assigned to several different posts before resigning from the army in 1854.

With the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, Grant re-entered the military and quickly rose to fame following his victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, where he earned the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant. In July 1863 he accepted the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and following his success at Chattanooga, President Lincoln named him commanding general of all Union armies in March 1864. Grant supported Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, and made sure that slaves who escaped and came into Union lines were protected and cared for. Grant accepted Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the Civil War.

After the Civil War, Ulysses Grant served as General of the Army and Interim Secretary of War. In 1868 he was elected 18th President of the United States. His two-term presidency was marked by the enforcement of African American voting and citizenship rights, but also by widespread corruption throughout his administration.

Once the Grants left the White House, they embarked on a world tour that lasted over two years. Welcomed by heads of state, diplomats, and citizens throughout the world, Grant acknowledged their praise as being more for the United States of America than himself.

To offset the loss of his personal fortune to a Wall Street scam, Grant wrote his memoirs of the Civil War, which were completed just a few days before his death from throat cancer on July 23, 1885. Published posthumously, The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant is still considered one of the best military commentaries ever written.