Ulysses S. Grant was one of the
greatest military generals and the 18th President of
the United States. He led the Union forces to victory
in the American Civil War.
Ulysses S. Grant was born in
Point Pleasant, Ohio, on April 27, 1822. His father
was named Jesse, and his mother was named Hannah. He
had two brothers and three sisters.
Ulysses S. Grant was born Hiram
Ulysses Grant. At Ulysses' birth, his family had not
decided on what to name him. Eventually, each member
of the family wrote a name on a piece of paper and dropped
it into a hat. They drew the name Hiram Ulysses Grant
from the hat, and that became his name. He was known
as Ulysses to his family and friends.
When Ulysses was a boy, his family
moved to Georgetown, Ohio. Ulysses developed a love
for horses. At age 10, he was so good at handling horses
that people brought horses to Ulysses for him to train.
By age 12, he was an excellent horseman. Ulysses also
worked in his father's tannery by cutting and delivering
wood. Did you know
a tannery is a place where hides of animals are turned
Military Academy at West Point
Ulysses attended the United States Military Academy
at West Point. When Ulysses registered, his name appeared
on West Point's records as Ulysses Simpson Grant, rather
than Hiram Ulysses Grant. So, Ulysses changed his name
to Ulysses Simpson Grant. He was known as U.S. Grant
or "Uncle Sam" Grant. His good friends shortened this
name and called him Sam.
In 1843, Ulysses graduated from
West Point and became a Second Lieutenant in the U.S.
In 1848, the United States fought
a war with Mexico. It was called the Mexican War. Ulysses
fought in the Mexican War and won two brevets for meritorious
conduct at Molino del Rey and Chapultepec.
After the Mexican War, Ulysses
served in Michigan, Oregon, and California. Ulysses
missed his family. In 1854, he resigned from the U.S.
Army and returned to civilian life.
American Civil War
On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began. The
Union Army needed strong and competent leaders to match
the brilliant generals of the Confederate Army. Ulysses,
then 38 years old, was appointed colonel of the 21st
In February, 1862, Ulysses led
the Union forces to victories at Forts Henry and Donelson
in Tennessee. He earned the nickname "Unconditional
Surrender" Grant at Fort Donelson when he stated to
the surrendering General, "No terms except unconditional
and immediate surrender can be accepted."
Ulysses also won victories at
Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga.
Battle of Shiloh
On April 6 and 7,
1862, Ulysses led the Army of the Tennessee and the
Army of the Ohio to victory against Confederate General
Albert S. Johnston's Army of the Mississippi at the
Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee.
Important landmarks and buildings
from this battle include Pittsburg Landing, Hornet's
Nest, Shiloh Church, and the Bloody Pond.
Siege of Vicksburg
From May 18 to July 4, 1863, Ulysses led the Army of
the Tennessee to victory against Confederate Lieutenant
General John Pemberton's army during the Siege of Vicksburg
Important landmarks and buildings
from this siege include the Mississippi River, the Great
Redoubt, Fort Hill, and the Shirley House.
From November 23 to 25, 1863, Ulysses led the Armies
of the Tennessee, Cumberland, and Potomac to victory
against Confederate General Braxton Bragg's Army of
Tennessee at the Battle of Chattanooga in Tennessee.
Important landmarks include the
Tennessee River, Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge, and
Did you notice one of Ulysses'
Union Armies was called the Army of THE Tennessee, whereas
Bragg's Confederate Army was called the Army of Tennessee
(without a "the")? Why? Because the Union Army was named
after "The Tennessee" as in the Tennessee River, and
the Confederate Army was named after "Tennessee" as
in the state of Tennessee.
was a leader on the battlefield and gained respect from
his men. His aggressive tactics stood out above those
of the other cautious Union Generals. In 1864, Ulysses
was promoted to Lieutenant General and appointed General
in Chief of the Armies of the United States.
Appomattox Court House
In April, 1865, Ulysses' Union
Army was closing in on Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army
in Virginia. The Confederate forces stayed one town
in front of Union's forces from Petersburg to Appomattox
Court House. The Confederate troops were hungry and
tired, and Lee knew his Army could not continue.
On April 9, 1865, Ulysses and
Robert E. Lee met at Appomattox Court House. Lee surrendered
the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses in the front
parlor of the McLean House in Appomattox Court House.
This surrender ended the American Civil War and united
Ulysses was known as "Unconditional
Surrender" Grant at the beginning of the Civil
War. But now Ulysses offered lenient terms to the Confederate
soldiers who would once again be his countrymen. The
officers and the soldiers of the Confederate Army were
allowed to go home. The officers were allowed to keep
their swords, and the soldiers were allowed to keep
In 1866, Ulysses was promoted to a Four Star General.
This was a new rank in the military, and Ulysses was
the first person promoted to a Four Star General. Ulysses
was head of the U.S. Army. From 1867 to 1868, he served
as Secretary of War under President Johnson.
After the Civil War, Ulysses became the 18th President
of the United States. He went from Brigadier General
to Lieutenant General to President in just eight years.
He is the only person to have risen to that high of
a position in that short of time. Ulysses served two
terms as U.S. President from 1869 to 1877.
Memoirs of U.S. Grant
During his life, Ulysses saved the Union, served two
terms as President, and traveled around the world. He
told about these experiences in his autobiography called
Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant.
Ulysses finished writing the
book two days before he died. His autobiography has
become an American classic and is considered one of
the greatest autobiographies in the English language.
Ulysses died on July 23, 1885,
in Mount McGregor, New York. He was 63 years old.
A train carried Ulysses' body
from upstate New York to New York City. While the train
passed West Point, the Corps of Cadets stood at attention
and presented arms in a salute to Ulysses. The cadet
captain was John J. Pershing. Pershing would become
the commander of all the American forces in World War
Ulysses' funeral procession passed
through the streets of New York City for seven miles.
President Grover Cleveland led the procession. One million
people lined the route and said good-bye to Ulysses.
Ulysses is buried at Grant's
Tomb in New York City. Grant's Tomb is the largest burial
vault in America. It is located in Riverside Park overlooking
the Hudson River. On the front of the tomb Ulysses'
words, "Let us have peace," are carved over the entrance.
In 1959, the National Park Service took over the operation
of Grant's Tomb. It is called the General Grant National
Memorial and is still known as Grant's Tomb.
Ulysses is pictured on the United States currency. His
picture is on the front of the fifty dollar bill, and
the U.S. Capitol is on the back. There was also a Grant
Centennial half-dollar coin to commemorate Ulysses.
Ulysses is honored at the Grant
Memorial located on the west side of the U.S. Capitol
in Washington, D.C. There is a statue of Ulysses riding
his favorite horse, Cincinnati. It faces west towards
the Lincoln Memorial.
Ulysses is also remembered in
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California.
These parks are home to the giant sequoias which are
the largest living things on earth. A grove within Kings
Canyon is called Grant Grove and contains a tree named
after Ulysses. It is called The General Grant Tree.
The General Grant Tree is The Nation's Christmas Tree
and a living National Shrine in memory of Americans
who have died in war.
Ulysses was a brilliant general
and a hero in our hearts.