Ulysses Simpson Grant


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Grant, Ulysses Simpson,

1822–85, commander in chief of the Union army in the Civil War and 18th President (1869–77) of the United States, b. Point Pleasant, Ohio. He was originally named Hiram Ulysses Grant.

Military Career

Grant spent his youth in Georgetown, Ohio, was graduated from West Point in 1843, and served creditably in the Mexican War. He was forced to resign from the army in 1854 because of excessive drinking. Grant failed in attempts at farming and business, and was working as a clerk in the family leather store in Galena, Ill., when the Civil War broke out. He was commissioned colonel of the 21st Illinois Volunteers, and in Aug., 1861, became a brigadier general of volunteers.

Grant assumed command of the district of Cairo, Ill., in Sept. and fought his first battle, an indecisive affair at Belmont, Mo., on Nov. 9. In Feb., 1862, aided by Union gunboats, he captured Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Fort DonelsonFort Donelson
, Confederate fortification in the Civil War, on the Cumberland River at Dover, Tenn., commanding the river approach to Nashville, Tenn. After capturing Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River (Feb. 6, 1862), General Ulysses S. Grant, on Feb.
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 on the Cumberland. This was the first major Union victory, and Lincoln at once made Grant a major general of volunteers. In April at Shiloh (see Shiloh, battle ofShiloh, battle of,
Apr. 6–7, 1862, one of the great battles of the American Civil War. The battle took its name from Shiloh Church, a meetinghouse c.3 mi (5 km) SSW of Pittsburg Landing, which was a community in Hardin co., Tenn., 9 mi (14.
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), however, only the arrival of the army of Gen. Don Carlos Buell may have saved him from defeat.

The Vicksburg campaignVicksburg campaign,
in the American Civil War, the fighting (Nov., 1862–July, 1863) for control of the Mississippi River. The Union wanted such control in order to split the Confederacy and to restore free commerce to the politically important Northwest.
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 (1862–63) was one of Grant's greatest successes. After repeated failures to get at the town, he advanced in cooperation with a fleet and finally took Vicksburg by siege. The victory of Braxton Bragg, the Confederate general, at Chickamauga (see Chattanooga campaignChattanooga campaign,
Aug.-Nov., 1863, military encounter in the American Civil War. Chattanooga, Tenn., which commanded Confederate communications between the East and the Mississippi River and was also the key to loyal E Tennessee, had been an important Union objective as
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), led to Grant's accession to the supreme command in the West, Oct., 1863. At Chattanooga in November his forces thoroughly defeated Bragg. The President, in Mar., 1864, made Grant commander in chief with the rank of lieutenant general, a grade especially revived by Congress for him.

Grant himself directed George G. Meade's Army of the Potomac against Gen. Robert E. Lee in the Wilderness campaignWilderness campaign,
in the American Civil War, a series of engagements (May–June, 1864) fought in the Wilderness region of Virginia. Early in May, 1864, the Northern commander in chief, Grant, led the Army of the Potomac (118,000 strong) across the Rapidan River into the
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. His policy of attrition against Lee's forces was effective, though it resulted in slaughter at Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor. Failing to carry PetersburgPetersburg,
city (1990 pop. 38,386), politically independent and in no county, SE Va., on the Appomattox River; inc. 1850. A port of entry and an important tobacco market, it has industries producing chemicals, pharmaceuticals, furniture, structural steel, lumber, paper goods,
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 by assault in June, 1864, Grant had that city under partial siege until Apr., 1865. Philip H. Sheridan's victory at Five ForksFive Forks,
crossroads near Dinwiddie Courthouse, SW of Petersburg, Va. The last important battle of the Civil War was fought there on Apr. 1, 1865. Philip H. Sheridan, leading his own and Gouverneur K. Warren's corps, decisively defeated the Confederates under Pickett.
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 made Petersburg and Richmond no longer tenable. Lee retreated, but was cut off at Appomattox Courthouse (see under AppomattoxAppomattox
, town (1990 pop. 1,707), seat of Appomattox co., central Va.; inc. 1925. Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant at nearby Appomattox Courthouse on Apr. 9, 1865. After Gen.
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, where he surrendered, receiving generous terms from Grant, on Apr. 9, 1865.

Grant went about the distasteful business of war realistically and grimly. He was a skilled tactician and at times a brilliant strategist (as at Vicksburg, regarded by many as one of the great battles of history). His courage as a commander of forces and his powers of organization and administration made him the outstanding Northern general. Grant also was notably wise in supporting good commanders, especially SheridanSheridan, Philip Henry,
1831–88, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Albany, N.Y. Although not a brilliant general, Sheridan's flair for leadership and his ready fighting ability made him the outstanding Union cavalry commander.
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, William T. ShermanSherman, William Tecumseh,
1820–91, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Lancaster, Ohio. Sherman is said by many to be the greatest of the Civil War generals.
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, and George H. ThomasThomas, George Henry,
1816–70, Union general in the American Civil War, b. Southampton co., Va. He served in the Seminole War and in the Mexican War. Later he taught at West Point and served in Texas.
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. Made a full general in 1866, he was the first U.S. citizen to hold that rank.

Presidency

Grant at first seemed to favor the ReconstructionReconstruction,
1865–77, in U.S. history, the period of readjustment following the Civil War. At the end of the Civil War, the defeated South was a ruined land. The physical destruction wrought by the invading Union forces was enormous, and the old social and economic
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 policy of President Andrew JohnsonJohnson, Andrew,
1808–75, 17th President of the United States (1865–69), b. Raleigh, N.C. Early Life

His father died when Johnson was 3, and at 14 he was apprenticed to a tailor.
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. In Apr., 1867, Johnson appointed him interim Secretary of War, replacing Edwin StantonStanton, Edwin McMasters,
1814–69, American statesman, b. Steubenville, Ohio. He was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1836 and began to practice law in Cadiz. As his reputation grew, he moved first to Steubenville (1839), then to Pittsburgh (1847), and finally to Washington, D.
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. Johnson expected him to hold the office against Stanton and thus bring about a test of the constitutionality of the Tenure of Office ActTenure of Office Act,
in U.S. history, measure passed on Mar. 2, 1867, by Congress over the veto of President Andrew Johnson; it forbade the President to remove any federal officeholder appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate without the further approval of
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, but Grant turned the office back to Stanton when the Senate refused to sanction Stanton's removal. It was apparent then that the general had thrown his lot in with the radical Republicans. The inevitable choice of the Republicans for President, Grant was victorious over the Democratic candidate, Horatio SeymourSeymour, Horatio
, 1810–86, American politician, b. Pompey Hill, N.Y. He studied law at Utica, N.Y. and was admitted to the bar in 1832. A Democrat, he was military secretary to Gov. William L.
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, in 1868.

Characterized chiefly by bitter partisan politics and shameless corruption, his administrations remain notorious. The punitive Reconstruction program was pushed with new vigor, and legislation favorable to commercial and industrial interests was passed (see greenbackgreenback,
in U.S. history, legal tender notes unsecured by specie (coin). In 1862, under the exigencies of the Civil War, the U.S. government first issued legal tender notes (popularly called greenbacks) that were placed on a par with notes backed by specie.
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). The President associated with disreputable politicians and financiers; James Fisk and Jay Gould deceived him when they tried to corner the gold market in 1869 (see Black FridayBlack Friday,
Sept. 24, 1869, in U.S. history, day of financial panic. In 1869 a small group of American financial speculators, including Jay Gould and James Fisk, sought the support of federal officials of the Grant administration in a drive to corner the gold market.
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). In foreign affairs, however, much was accomplished by the able Secretary of State, Hamilton FishFish, Hamilton,
1808–93, American statesman, b. New York City, grad. Columbia, 1827; son of Nicholas Fish (1758–1833). He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1830.
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.

The party unanimously renominated Grant in 1872, and he was reelected easily over Horace GreeleyGreeley, Horace,
1811–72, American newspaper editor, founder of the New York Tribune, b. Amherst, N.H. Early Life

His irregular schooling, ending at 15, was followed by a four-year apprenticeship (1826–30) on a country weekly at East Poultney, Vt.
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, the candidate of the Liberal Republican partyLiberal Republican party,
in U.S. history, organization formed in 1872 by Republicans discontented at the political corruption and the policies of President Grant's first administration. Other disaffected elements were drawn into the party.
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 and the Democrats. Toward the end of his second term his Secretary of War, William W. BelknapBelknap, William Worth,
1829–90, U.S. Secretary of War (1869–76), b. Newburgh, N.Y. After practicing law in Iowa, he served in the Civil War, was a division commander under Sherman in Georgia and the Carolinas, and became a major general in 1865.
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, and his private secretary, Orville E. Babcock, were implicated in graft scandals. Through the loyalty of the deceived Grant, both escaped punishment.

Later Years

The two years following his retirement from the White House were spent in making a triumphal tour of the world. In 1880 the Republican "Old Guard," led by Roscoe ConklingConkling, Roscoe,
1829–88, American politician, b. Albany, N.Y. On his admission to the bar in 1850, he was immediately appointed district attorney of Albany. The son of Alfred Conkling, Congressman and federal judge, he became a U.S.
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, tried to secure another nomination for Grant but failed. He took up residence in New York City, where he invested money in a fraudulent private banking business. It collapsed in 1884, leaving him bankrupt.

Dying of cancer of the throat, he set about writing his Personal Memoirs (2 vol., 1885–86) in order to provide for his family. He died a few days after the manuscript was completed. These memoirs are ranked among the great narratives of military history. The remains of the general and his wife lie in New York City in Grant's Tomb.

Bibliography

See, in addition to his memoirs, his papers ed. by J. Y. Simon and J. F. Marszalek (32 vol., 1967–2012); biographies by U. S. Grant 3d (1969), W. McFeely (1981), G. Perret (1997), B. D. Simpson (2000), J. E. Smith (2001), J. Bunting 3d (2004), M. Korda (2004), H. W. Brands (2012), and R. C. White (2016); J. F. C. Fuller, The Generalship of U. S. Grant (1929, repr. 1968); W. B. Hesseltine, Ulysses S. Grant, Politician (1935, repr. 1957); B. Catton, U. S. Grant and the American Military Tradition (1954), Grant Moves South (1960), and Grant Takes Command (1969); A. Nevins, Hamilton Fish: The Inner History of the Grant Administration (2 vol., rev. ed. 1957); J. H. Marshall-Cornwall, Grant as Military Commander (1970); B. D. Simpson, Let Us Have Peace: Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of War and Reconstruction, 1861–1868 (1991); F. J. Scaturro, President Grant Reconsidered (1998); G. Perret, Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier and President (1998); C. B. Flood, Grant and Sherman (2006); J. Waugh, U. S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (2009).

Grant, Ulysses Simpson

 

Born Apr. 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio; died July 23, 1885, in Mount McGregor, near Saratoga, N.Y. Military and political figure in the USA. Son of a merchant.

In 1843, Grant graduated from the military academy at West Point. He participated in the American war against Mexico of 1846–48. During the Civil War (1861–65), he commanded the 21st Illinois Volunteer Regiment. In August 1861 he became a brigadier general. In March 1864 he received the title of lieutenant general of the land forces and was appointed commander in chief of all federal armies. Grant’s successful direction of military operations made possible the destruction of the main armed forces of the Southern slaveowners in Virginia and the capitulation of the rebels at Appomattox (Apr. 9, 1865). From 1869 to 1877 he was president of the USA (he was the candidate of the Republican Party). In domestic politics and particularly with regard to Reconstruction. Grant supported the political course of the moderates among the Republicans. During Grant’s years in the presidency there was much speculation on the stock exchange and corruption became widespread.

REFERENCES

K stoletiiu grazhdanskoi voiny v SShA (collection of articles). Moscow, 1961.
Kuropiatnik. G. P. Vtoraia amerikanskaia revoliutsiia. Moscow, 1961.
Catton, B. Grant Takes Command. Boston-Toronto [1969].

R. F. IVANOV