Ulysses S. Grant was a heroic figure for many reasons. He was a great leader of the Union forces during the Civil War. He won many battles and held the Union together. His presidential years also had positive outcomes of the future of the United States.
Grant's life was a long and interesting one. He was born at Point Pleasant, OH on April 27, 1822 (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). He was the son of Hannah Simpson and Jesse Grant (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). After he got out of school he went to West Point Military Academy and graduated 21st in his class of 39 in 1843 (Encarta, 1995). After graduating West Point he then was promoted to the Army. Grant was assigned to Jefferson Barracks, MO (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). There he met Julia Dent and married a few months later (Encarta, 1995). They had a family of four children and moved to St. Louis. Grant built a cabin named Hardscrabble on his farm now known as Grant's Farm in Grantwood, St. Louis. Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23, 1885 after battling throat cancer for several months (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). His wife Julia Grant died in 1902 and was buried with Ulysses S. Grant at the Grant National Memorial in New York City (World Book CD-ROM, 1995).
Being stationed at Jefferson Barracks, MO marked his leadership and career in the Army and his role he played in the Civil War. In 1854 Grant
resigned from the army and moved to his cabin with his family. Disaster struck
and the price of crops dropped dramatically. Grant's farm was mainly crops and
he lost all his crops in the price change and lost tons of money (Encarta, 1995). Since no one was buying crops there wasn't anymore income for his family. Grant heard about a meeting that was being held to talk about the war. President Lincoln attended and liked Grant's comments and enthusiasm and asked him to rejoin the Union forces (WWW Page, 1994). Grant had no other choice but to join since he didn't have any other way of making money.
Grant's regiment went to Louisiana in 1844 and to Texas in 1845 (Encarta, 1995). He was in an area claimed by both Mexico and the United states when the Mexican War started in 1846 (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). Grant became regimental quartermaster and in charge of supplies. In 1847 Grant took part in the capture of Mexico City and won praise and promotions for his skills (WWW Page, 1994). Grant was appointed Colonel by the Illinois volunteers in 1861 shortly after the Civil War broke out (World Book CD-ROM, 1995).
Grant was 39 when the war started and he led his troops into the battle of Shiloh. Grant defeated and captured the confederate troops there. The battle of Shiloh was the mark of the downfall of the confederate army (WWW Page, 1994). After the battle of Shiloh Grant led his troops into a very long siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Vicksburg was the key to the Mississippi River and couldn't be taken by the confederate troops, so Grant had to take action (WWW Page, 1994). The battle
of Vicksburg started in December of 1862 and ended on July 4, 1863. Grant won the battle of Vicksburg and saved the Mississippi River and Grant declared a
unconditional surrender on the confederate troops (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). Grant then got the nickname "unconditional surrender." Ulysses S. Grant wrote a letter to president Lincoln asking for a promotion and permission to invade Fort Henry, the key to open the Kentucky and Tennessee territory (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). Lincoln looked at all of Grant's accomplishments and said, "They were very exceptional and showed his great leadership (WWW Page, 1994)." Lincoln gave permission to invade Fort Henry and on April 6, 1862, Grant then led his troops into battle at Fort Henry, Mississippi. After two days battling the confederate troops Grant's troops defeated them and won another victory for the Union on April 7, 1862 (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). On March 9, 1864 Ulysses S. Grant was appointed Commander of all the Union forces (WWW Page, 1994). Grant was preparing for his final battle of the Civil War at Fort Stedman. On the same day, Lincoln landed from the River Queen at City Point for a series of conferences with Grant (WWW Page, 1994). Grant sent his troops around the right end of Lee's line in order to force Lee to retreat (O'Brien, Steven. 1991). Grant's victory at Five Forks forced Lee to abandon and surrender on April 9, 1865 (O'Brien, Steven. 1991). The Civil War was now over. Grant helped with the reconstruction of the South and this comes to show he played a major roll in re-uniting the North and the South.
After the Civil War, Grant was elected president on March 4, 1869 (Encarta,
1995). He was our 18th President and was a Democrat. Grant signed his first law
on March 18, 1869 an Act to Strengthen the Public Credit, pledging the
government to redeem in gold the greenback currency issued during the Civil War (O'Brien, Steven. 1991). The Transcontinental Railroad was also finished during the first two months of his presidency (WWW Page, 1994). In 1870 Amendment 15 to the Constitution was adopted by Grant (O'Brien, Steven. 1991).
The 15th Amendment was: "The right of citizens of the United States 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 (WWW Page, 1994)." On November 5, 1872 Grant was reelected with an electoral college majority of 286-66, and a popular majority of 763,000 (O'Brien, Steven. 1991). During his second term as president his government became corrupted. He hired officials that were his friends that used their power to make money and get what they wanted. On May 1, 1875 a group of corrupt officials and businessmen known as the Whisky Ring was exposed by a St. Louis Democrat (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). An investigation ordered by Secretary of the Treasury Benjamin H. Bristow compromised with Grant and General Orville E. Babcock, Grant's private secretary. Upon first hearing of the scandals, Grant had ordered: "Let no guilty man escape (WWW Page, 1994)." Later, Grant's testimony influenced a jury to acquit Babcock (O'Brien, Steven. 1991). After this scandal was uncovered Grant wrote a public letter announcing that he would not be a candidate for a third term (World Book CD-ROM, 1995). In Grant's
last message to Congress Grant surveyed his years in the White House. "It was
my fortune, or misfortune, to be called to the office of Chief Executive without
any previous political training. From the age of 17 I had never even witnessed the excitement attending a Presidential campaign but twice antecedent to my own candidacy, and at but one of them was I eligible as a voter (WWW Page, 1994)." On March 4, 1877 Grant retired from the White House (Encarta, 1995). When he returned home, his family and him took a world trip and left from Philadelphia (O'Brien, Steven. 1991).
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