Ulysses S. Grant:
Civil War General Becomes
Ulysses S. Grant had no interest in holding
political office, yet he became the 18th
President of the United States. He led an
amazing military career and entered politics
because of his commitment to President Abraham
Lincoln's ideals regarding the abolition
of slavery and the reunification of the
nation after the Civil War.
Reluctant Start In The Military
Hiram Ulysses Grant was born on the banks
of the Ohio River on April 27, 1822. As
a young man, he reluctantly attended West
Point military academy from July 1, 1839
to July 1, 1843. While at West Point, his
initials were mistakenly listed as "U.S."
From then on, he became known as U.S. Grant.
After graduating from West Point, Grant
went on to participate in the military occupation
of Texas from 1845 to1846 and then the U.S.
- Mexican War in 1847. After the U.S. won
the war and claimed Texas, Grant moved throughout
the country on a variety of military assignments.
from being a military expert, Grant is also
remembered as a devoted husband to his wife
Julia and as an attentive father. After
leaving military service, he worked as a
farmer and in a leather goods store. When
the Civil War began in 1861, Grant's highly
respected military expertise was again called
Civil War is truly where Grant made a name
for himself, working through the ranks until
President Abraham Lincoln named him General-In-Chief
of the Union Army in 1864. Grant established
Union Army headquarters at City Point, VA,
and directed the Union troops across the
nation to final victory over the Confederate
Army in 1865. (The town of City Point is
now known as Hopewell, VA.)
A War Hero Becomes President
Grant's leadership as a general during the
Civil War is a model for military strategy
studied to this day. His military skills
earned him the office of Secretary of War.
In 1868, he ran for the office of the United
States President out of dissatisfaction
with President Andrew Johnson's approach
to rebuilding the country after the tragic
death of Abraham Lincoln. President Johnson
was less empathetic to the South's problems
than Lincoln. The Republican Party supported
the war hero and a hopeful American populous
elected Grant president.
he was viewed as the hero of the Civil War,
he soon lost favor with the American people
during his presidency. He was criticized
by some for using military force during
reconstruction of the South, the very issue
for which he criticized his predecessor,
President Johnson. Other detractors criticized
Grant for his lack of experience in political
matters and for his continued reliance on
his military background. He even brought
some of his army staff with him to the White
House. Grant's legacy as a triumphant military
leader but ineffectual president has caused
many historians to label him "one of the
most misunderstood leaders of the 19th century."
the man, was a combination of characteristics.
He was one of the greatest military leaders
in our history, and he was also an intensely
devoted family man. He was a lyrical writer,
composing beautifully expressive letters
to his wife. And, many still consider U.S.
Grant a genius at military strategy. Based
on his superior military acumen, Grant contributed
greatly to the sovereignty of our nation.
Jimmy Blankenship, Petersburg National Battlefield,
Larson, National Park Foundation, 202-530-1487
Sue Waldron, National Park Service, 202-208-5477
Jill Sharp or Kim Scher, Lord, Sullivan
& Yoder, 614-846-7777 (firstname.lastname@example.org;