Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant rose to command all the Federal armies in the Civil War and lead

them to victory. He was respected so much that he went on to be president of the United

States for two terms. His time of glory didn't last forever though, he developed cancer and

died bankrupt.

Ulysses Hiram Grant was born April 27, 1822, in a two room frame house

at Point Pleasant, Ohio(Ulysses S. Grant 1). His father, Jesse Root Grant, was foreman in

a tannery and a farmer. His mother, Hannah Simpson Grant, was a hard working frontier

woman. When Ulysses was a year old, the family moved to Georgetown. There his father

bought a farm, built a house, and set up his own tannery. Jesse and Hannah had five more

children there, two boys and three girls(Ulysses S. Grant 1).

Grant love horses and learned to manage them at an early age. When he was seven

or eight he could drive a team and began hauling all the wood used in the house and shops.

From that point on until he reached seventeen, Grant did all the work done with horses;

such as breaking up the land, furrowing, plowing corn, bringing in the crops when

harvested, and hauling wood(Ulysses S. Grant 1). Three months each winter when work

was minimized Grant went to a one room schoolhouse, and that's how he was educated

until he went to West Point at age seventeen.

When Grant turned seventeen, his father got him an appointment to the United

States Military Academy at West Point. The congressman who made the appointment did

not know Grants' full name, so he left out Hiram and added Simpson. Simpson, was

Grants', mothers' maiden name(Ulysses S. Grant 1). He was pleased with his new name

because he disliked his old initials H.U.G.

Cadet Grant did not care for military life and never expected to stay in the army.

He was good in mathematics and hoped sometime to teach it. In other subjects he was

about average. He was, however, the finest horseman at the academy. Quiet and shy, he

made few friends(The Civil War).

When he was commissioned, Ulysses was ordered to Jefferson Barracks, near St.

Louis, Missouri. While stationed there he met Julia Dent, daughter of a slave owning

Southern family(Ulysses S. Grant 2). Within three months he proposed to her and was

accepted. Since he had only his pay as lieutenant, the wedding was postponed(Ulysses S.

Grant 2).

Grant was in almost every battle of the Mexican War. He fought on foot,

observing many different commanders and how they lead their troops. This experience, he

said, was of great value to him, because he became acquainted with nearly all the officers

of the regular army. Some of them including the great soldier Robert E. Lee were to be on

the Confederate side in the Civil War(Krick 15).

Grant came back from Mexico a captain, with favorable mention. He at once

married Julia and took her to his new station, Sackett's Harbor, New York. During the

Mexican War Grant formed the habit of drinking. At Sackett's Harbor he joined a

temperance society, but he forgot the pledge the next year when he was sent to

Detroit(Ulysses S. Grant 1).

In 1852 Grant’s regiment was ordered to the Pacific coast by way of the Isthmus of

Panama. Mrs. Grant stayed with her parents because she didn’t want to take their two year

old child on a trip like that. Cholera attacked the regiment in Panama. Grant showed great

leadership and resourcefulness in getting the mules to carry the delirious men across the

isthmus(Krick 16). He kept his cool and showed how he could lead men when times got


Grant spent two years on the Pacific coast. He missed Julia and wasn’t there when

his second child was born. He turned again to drink and wore slovenly uniforms. His

colonel asked for his resignation, and Grant borrowed money to return home(Ulysses S.


Julia’s father gave Grant 80 acres to farm, near St. Louis. Grant called the place

Hardscrabble(Ulysses S. Grant2). He cleared the land, built a log cabin, and worked hard

but could not make farming pay. Two more children were born and Grant couldn’t

support his family. Grant sold his stock and implements and turned to selling real estate in

St. Louis. He failed again and walked the streets looking for something to do. Finally his

father persuaded his younger sons to take Grant into their leather business at Galena,

Illinois. Grant worked as a clerk, selling hides to