Messages and Papers of Ulysses S. Grant

Author: Ulysses S. Grant

Messages and Papers of

March 4, 1869, to March 4, 1877

ULYSSES S. GRANT was born at Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio, April 27, 1822. He was of Scotch ancestry, but his family had been American in all its branches for several generations. Was a descendant of Mathew Grant, who arrived at Dorchester, Mass., in May, 1630. His father was Jesse R. Grant and his mother Hannah Simpson; they were married in Clermont County, Ohio, in June, 1821. In the fall of 1823 his parents removed to Georgetown, the county seat of Brown County, Ohio. Ulysses, the eldest of six children, spent his boyhood in assisting his father on the farm, which was more congenial than working in the tannery of which his father was proprietor. From an early age until 17 years old attended the subscription schools of Georgetown, except during the winters of 1836-37 and 1838-39, which were spent at schools in Maysville, Ky., and Ripley, Ohio. In the spring of 1839, at the age of 17, was appointed to a cadetship in the Military Academy at West Point by Thomas L. Hamer, a Member of Congress, and entered the Academy July 1, 1839. The name given him at birth was Hiram Ulysses, but he was always called by his middle name. Mr. Hamer, thinking Ulysses his first name, and that his middle name was probably that of his mother’s family, inserted in the official appointment the name of Ulysses S. Grant, The officials of the Academy were notified by Cadet Grant of the error, but they did not feel authorized to correct it, and it was acquiesced in and became the name by which he was always known. Graduated from the Academy in 1843, twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine members. Was attached to the Fourth United States Infantry as brevet second lieutenant July 1, 1843; was appointed second lieutenant, Seventh Infantry, September 30, 1845, and transferred to the Fourth Infantry November 15, 1845. During the Mexican War (1846-1848) took part with his regiment in active service, and was in all the battles fought by Generals Scott and Taylor except that of Buena Vista. Was brevetted for gallant conduct at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, but declined the honor. At the battle of Monterey distinguished himself by volunteering to run the gantlet and bring ammunition for the troops into the city. September 8; 1847, was appointed brevet first lieutenantfor gallant conduct at Molino del Rey. Acted as regimental quarter-master April 1, 1847, to July 23, 1848, and from November 17, 1848, to August 5, 1853. September 13, 1847, was brevetted captain for gallant conduct at the battle of Chapultepec, and on September 16 was appointed first lieutenant. At San Cosme was mentioned in special orders by his commanders--regimental, brigade, and division. After the Mexican War his regiment was sent to Pascagoula, Miss., and afterwards to Sacketts Harbor, N.Y., and Detroit, Mich. August 22, 1848, married Miss Julia Dent, of St. Louis, Mo. In 1852 his regiment was sent to the Pacific Coast. August 5, 1853, was appointed captain. Resigned July 31, 1854, and went to live on a farm near St. Louis, but in 1858 gave up farming on account of his health, and entered into the real-estate business in St. Louis. In May, 1860, removed to Galena, Ill., and became a clerk in his father’s store. In April, 1861, after President Lincoln’s call for troops, presided at a public meeting in Galena, which resulted in the organization of a company of volunteers, which he drilled and accompanied to Springfield, Ill. Was employed by Governor Yates in the adjutant-general’s office, and appointed mustering officer. Offered his services to the National Government in a letter written May 24, 1861, but no answer was ever made to it. June 17, 1861, was appointed colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers, and served until August 7, when he was appointed brigadier-general of volunteers by the President, his commission to date from May 17, 1861. Was assigned September 1 to command the District of Southeastern Missouri. September 4 established his headquarters at Cairo, and on the 6th captured Paducah, Ky. February 2, 1862, advanced from Cairo; on the 6th captured Fort Henry, and on the 16th Fort Donelson. Soon afterwards was made a major-general of volunteers, his commission dating from February 16. March 4 was relieved from his command and ordered to remain at Fort Henry, but on the 13th was restored. Commanded at the battle of Shiloh, April 6 and 7, 1862. General Halleck on April 11 assumed command of the combined armies, and General Grant became second in command during the advance upon and the siege of Corinth. In July Halleek became general in chief of all the armies, and General Grant was placed in command of the District of West Tennessee. In September fought the battle of Iuka, Miss., and in October the battle of Corinth. January 29, 1863, moved down the Mississippi River and took command of the troops opposite Vicksburg. On March 29 sent one corps of his army across the peninsula opposite Vicksburg, and on April 16 ran the batteries with seven gunboats and three transports. April 22 six other transports ran the batteries. His army was now below Vicksburg, and on the 29th bombarded Grand Gulf. May 1 fought the battle at Port Gibson, and on May 3 captured Grand Gulf. May 12 defeated the Confederates at Raymond, and on the 14th captured Jackson, Miss. After several engagements the Confederates were driven by him into Vicksburg, whenhe began the siege of that city, which was surrendered July 4, 1863. On the same day was commissioned a major-general in the United States Army. In August went to New Orleans to confer with General Banks, and while reviewing the troops there was injured by his horse falling on him. About the middle of October was assigned to the command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, which included Rosecran’s army at Chattanooga, Tenn. Arrived at Chattanooga October 23, and the next day issued orders which resulted in the battle of Wauhatchie on the 29th. Attacked the Confederates under General Bragg on November 23, and after three days’ fighting captured Missionary Ridge, whereupon the Confederates retreated to Dalton, Ga. For his successes Congress, in December, 1863, passed a resolution of thanks to him and the officers and soldiers of his command, and presented him with a gold medal. The bill restoring the grade of lieutenant-general became a law in February, 1864, and on March 1 he was nominated for the position and was confirmed the succeeding day. On March 12 assumed command of all the armies of the United States, and immediately began the plan of campaign that kept all of the armies in motion until the war ended. About May 4, 1864, this campaign, the greatest of the war, began, and lasted until the surrender of the Confederates in April, 1865. During this period there were fought some of the bloodiest battles of the world. On April 9, 1865, General Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox, Va., to General Grant, who then displayed the greatest magnanimity to the Confederates, and won for himself from his late enemies their warmest gratitude. His magnanimity will always be remembered by the Confederate soldiers and will stand in history as long as nobility of character shall be appreciated by mankind: On the closing of the war directed his attention to mustering out of service the great army under his command and the disposal of the enormous quantity of stores of the Government. In the discharge of his duties visited different sections of the country and was received everywhere with enthusiasm. The citizens of Philadelphia presented him with a handsome residence in that city; his old neighbors in Galena gave him a pretty home in their town; the people of New York presented to him a check for $105,000. In November and December, 1865, traveled through the Southern States, and made a report to the President upon the conditions there. In May, 1866, submitted a plan to the Government for the reorganization of the Regular Army of the United States, which became the basis of its reorganization. July 25 Congress passed an act creating the grade of general of the armies of the United States, and on the same day he was appointed to this rank. August 12, 1867, was appointed by President Johnson Secretary of War ad interim, which position he held until January 14, 1868. At the national convention of the Republican party which met in Chicago on May 1868, was unanimously nominated for President on the first call of States. His letter of acceptance of that nomination was brief, and contained thefamous sentence, "Let us have peace." At the election in November was chosen to be President, receiving 214 electoral votes, while Horatio Seymour received 80. Was renominated by his party in national convention in Philadelphia June 6, 1872, and at the election in November received 286 electoral votes, against 66 which would have been cast for Horace Greeley if he had lived. Retired from office March 4, 1877. After his retirement made a journey into foreign countries, and was received with great distinction and pomp by all the governments and peoples he visited. An earnest effort was made to nominate him for a third term, but it failed. By special act of Congress passed March 3, 1885, was placed as general on the retired list of the Army. He died July 23, 1885, at Mount McGregor, N.Y., and was buried at Riverside Park, New York City, on the Hudson River.


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Chicago: Ulysses S. Grant, "Title Page," Messages and Papers of Ulysses S. Grant in 3958–3960. Original Sources, accessed May 26, 2024,

MLA: Grant, Ulysses S. "Title Page." Messages and Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, in , pp. 3958–3960. Original Sources. 26 May. 2024.

Harvard: Grant, US, 'Title Page' in Messages and Papers of Ulysses S. Grant. cited in , , pp.3958–3960. Original Sources, retrieved 26 May 2024, from