- NAME: Ulysses S. Grant
- OCCUPATION: General, U.S. President
- BIRTH DATE: April 27, 1822
- DEATH DATE: July 23, 1885
- EDUCATION: United States Military Academy at West Point
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Point Pleasant, Ohio
- PLACE OF DEATH: Mount McGregor, New York
- Originally: Hiram Ulysses Grant
- Full Name: Ulysses Simpson Grant
- Nickname: "U.S. Grant"
- Nickname: "Unconditional Surrender Grant"
- AKA: Ulysses S. Grant
- AKA: Ulysses Grant
Best Known For
Ulysses S. Grant served as U.S. general and commander of the Union armies during the late years of the American Civil War, later becoming the 18th U.S. president.
As a young, quiet man, Grant loved horses and excelled in equestrian events at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Unfortunately, a clerical error changed his name from Hiram Ulysses Grant to U.S. Grant.
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.
At the beginning of April 1865, Grant's relentless pressure finally forced Gen. Robert E. Lee to evacuate Richmond, and after a nine-day retreat, Lee surrendered his army at the Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.
Lt. Grant served in the Mexican War under Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott, taking part in the battles of Resaca de la Palma, Palo Alto, Monterrey, and Veracruz.
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Ulysses S. Grant was born on April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He was entrusted with command of all U.S. armies in 1864, and relentlessly pursued the enemy during the Civil War. In 1869, at age 46, Grant became the youngest president theretofore. Though Grant was highly scrupulous, his administration was tainted with scandal. After leaving the presidency, he commissioned Mark Twain to publish his best-selling memoirs.
"Whatever may have been my political opinions before, I have but one sentiment now. That is we have a government, and laws and a flag and they must all be sustained."
"I have never advocated war except as a means of peace."
"[My] failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent."
"A verb is anything that signifies to be; to do; to suffer; I signify all three."
"It occurred to me at once that [my enemy] had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot afterwards."
"I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws so effective as their stringent execution."
"I never wanted to get out of a place as much as I did to get out of the presidency."
"No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted."
"I don't know anything of party politics, and I don't want to."
"I know only two tunes: One of them is 'Yankee Doodle' and the other isn't."
"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on."
"[Ulysses S. Grant] combined great gifts with great mediocrity."
"I can't spare this man—he fights."
President Ulysses S. Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant on April, 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio, near the mouth of the Big Indian Creek at the Ohio River. His famous moniker, "U.S. Grant," came after he joined the military. He was the first son of Jesse Root Grant, a tanner and businessman, and Hannah Simpson Grant. A year after Grant was born, his family moved to Georgetown, Ohio, and had what he described as an "uneventful" childhood. He did, however, show great aptitude as a horseman in his youth.
Grant was not a standout in his youth. Shy and reserved, he took after his mother rather than his outgoing father. He hated the idea of working in his father's tannery business—a fact that his father begrudgingly acknowledged. When Grant was 17, his father arranged for him to enter the United States Military Academy at West Point. A clerical error had listed him as Ulysses S. Grant. Not wanting to be rejected by the school, he changed his name on the spot.
Grant didn't excel at West Point, earning average grades and receiving several demerits for slovenly dress and tardiness, and ultimately decided that the academy "had no charms" for him. He did well in mathematics and geology and excelled in horsemanship. In 1843, he graduated 21st out of 39, and was glad to be out. He planned to resign from the military after he served his mandatory four years of duty.
After graduation, Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant was stationed in St. Louis, Missouri, where he met his future wife, Julia Dent. Grant proposed marriage in 1844, and Julia accepted. Before the couple could wed, however, he was shipped off for duty. They actually got married four years later on August 22, 1948. During the Mexican-American War, Grant served as quartermaster, efficiently overseeing the movement of supplies. Serving under General Zachary Taylor and later under General Winfield Scott, he closely observed their military tactics and leadership skills. After getting the opportunity to lead a company into combat, Grant was credited for his bravery under fire. He also developed strong feelings that the war was wrong, and that it was being waged only to increase America's territory for the spread of slavery.
In 1844, Ulysses and Julia finally married. Over the next six years, the couple had four children, and Grant was assigned to several posts. In 1852, he was sent to Fort Vancouver, in what is now Washington State. He missed Julia and his two sons—the second of whom he had not yet seen at this time—and thusly became involved in several failed business ventures in an attempt to get his family to the coast, closer to him.
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The first U.S. president, former military leader George Washington, took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall. From that moment onward, the United States' highest office has been filled regularly by elected officials who aim to serve the people under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution. Learn more about the 43 men who have served as America's chief executive.
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