General U.S. Grant - Image of Ulysses Grant upon horseback. Backmark "C.D. Fredericks & Co. New York".
Grant, Ulysses S., general, was born at Point Pleasant, Clermont county, Ohio, April 27, 1822. His grandfather was a soldier of the Revolution, bore arms at the battle of Lexington, and, when the war was ended, settled in western Pennsylvania. As a lad Ulysses assisted on the farm. He received the ordinary education of the frontier, going to school in winter, and at all other times working on the farm. In 1839 through the instrumentality of Thomas L. Hamer, member of Congress, he was appointed to a cadetship at West Point, entering at the age of seventeen. He was graduated in 1843, standing number twenty-one in a class of thirty-nine, slightly below the general average of the class. He was assigned to the infantry as brevet second lieutenant, and was sent to Jefferson barracks at St. Louis, Mo., where he remained until May, 1844, was then sent to Louisiana, and in Sept., 1845, was commissioned second lieutenant. At the beginning of the Mexican war he joined the army of occupation under Gen. Zachary Taylor and saw a great deal of service, being in all the battles of the war in which any one man could be. He first saw blood shed at Palo Alto on May 8, 1846, at Monterey he showed bold and skillful horsemanship by running the gauntlet of the enemy's bullets to carry a message for "more ammunition." In the spring of 1847 he was made quartermaster of his regiment and placed in charge of the wagons and pack-train for the march. At Vera Cruz served with his regiment during the siege, until the capture of the place, March 29, 1847. At the battle of Molino del Rey, on Sept. 8 following, he was with the first troops that entered the place. Seeing some of the enemy on top of a building, he took a few men, climbed to the roof and forced the surrender of six Mexican officers, for which service he was brevetted first lieutenant. At the storming of Chapultepec he distinguished himself by conspicuous services and received the brevet of captain.
For an especially gallant exploit during the advance on the city of Mexico, he was summoned into the presence of General Worth, specially complimented and promoted to a full first lieutenancy. Lieut. Grant remained with the army in Mexico until the withdrawal of the troops in 1848, then went with his regiment to Pascagoula, Miss., and at the close of the war was transferred with his regiment to Detroit, Mich. On July 5, 1852, he sailed from New York with his regiment for California, via the Isthmus of Panama going first to Benicia barracks, California, and thence to Fort Vancouver, Ore., a lonely outpost in the wilderness of the extreme Northwest. In July 1854, the year after he became captain, he resigned from the army and went to St. Louis, where he had married, in 1848, Julia T. Dent, a sister of one of his classmates at West Point. The next six years of his life were years of poverty, obscurity and failure. He tried his hand as a farmer but was not successful, took up bill collecting, but this also resulted in failure; tried for the position of county engineer but failed to get the place; tried auctioneering, and also made an experiment in the real estate business, but the result was the same in all his ventures. In the winter of 1859 he was actually wandering about the streets of St. Louis seeking work, and even offering to become a teamster to accompany quartermaster's stores to New Mexico. He finally went to Galena, Ill., and became a clerk at a nominal salary of $66 a month, in the store of his father and brother, who had a leather and saddlery business. Lincoln's first call for troops was made on April 15, 1861, and the telegraph flashed the call throughout the country. That evening the Galena court house was packed with an excited crowd, and Grant, being known as a West Pointer, as well as a Mexican soldier, was called upon to preside. In four days he was drilling a company of volunteers, then offered himself to Gov. Yates of Illinois, and was given the charge of mustering regiments. His eleven years, service in the regular army brought him a commission as brigadier-general of volunteers, to date from May 17, 1861, and on May 24 he wrote to Adjt.-Gen. Thomas, commanding at Washington, D. C., tendering his services to the government, but the letter was carelessly filed away and temporarily lost. Governor Yates then placed Grant in command of the 21st Ill. Volunteer infantry, and on July 3 he led it to Palmyra, Mo., and from there to guard the Hannibal & St. Joseph railroad. Subsequently he took command of the district of southeast Missouri, with headquarters at Cairo, and on Sept. 6, took possession of Paducah, Ky., on the Ohio near the mouth of the Tennessee, thus commanding a large region. Early in November he was ordered to make a demonstration in the direction of Belmont, a point on the west bank of the Mississippi about eighteen miles below the junction of the Ohio with the Mississippi, the object being to prevent the crossing of hostile troops into Missouri. He received his orders Nov. 5, moved 3,100 men on transports on the 6th; landed at Belmont on the 7th, and broke up and destroyed the camp while under fire, with raw troops. When Gen. Halleck assumed command of the Department of the Missouri he placed Grant in command of the district of Cairo, which was enlarged so as to make one of the greatest in size in the country, including the southern part of Illinois, Kentucky west of the Cumberland, and the southern portion of Missouri. In Feb.,1862, Grant gained a reluctant consent to a well-matured plan that he had been cherishing for a month past, and started off with 15,000 men, aided by Com. Foote with a gunboat fleet, to capture Forts Henry and Donelson, the former commanding the Tennessee river, and the latter the Cumberland, near the dividing line between Kentucky and Tennessee. The capitulation of both of these forts, as well as the other military achievements of General Grant, are important parts of the main history of the Civil war, and are given appropriate mention on other pages of this work, but it may be said here that the boldness of the assault at Fort Donelson, and the completeness of the victory, made Grant the hero of the people. The president nominated him to the senate as major-general of volunteers, to date from February 16, 1862, the date of the surrender of Fort Donelson, and the senate immediately confirmed him. While this was going on General Halleck, who never seemed to estimate Grant's work at its value, was writing to the war department that after his victory Grant had not communicated with him, and the result of this complaint was that Grant was suspended from his command. Halleck's jealousy met with a rebuff, however, and Grant was restored to his position and was soon on his way to other important and decisive victories. On March 17 he transferred his headquarters to Savannah, on the Tennessee river, and in the vicinity of Pittsburg landing. After the dearly-bought victory at Shiloh, Grant was named second in command of all the Federal troops congregated in that section, but especially entrusted with the right wing and reserve, and on April 30 the order was given to advance against Corinth. On June 21 Grant moved his headquarters to Memphis, on July 11 Halleck was appointed general-in-chief of all the armies and six days later set out for Washington, leaving Grant in command of the Army of the Tennessee, to which position he was officially promoted on Oct. 25.
On Jan. 29, 1863, he arrived at Young's point above Vicksburg, and began in detail the working out of well matured plans of his own, the ultimate object of which was the capture of the fortified city of Vicksburg, a supposed impregnable position commanded by the Confederate Gen. Pemberton. The history of this campaign is the record in detail of one of the master strokes and brilliant achievements of the Federal forces during the Civil war, but it is unnecessary to recount the different movements in this sketch. On May 1 he defeated a portion of Pemberton's force at Port Gibson; on May 12 he routed a part of Johnston's army that was trying to join Pemberton; and then pushed on to Jackson, Mississippi, capturing that place on the 14th.
Grant then turned about and moved rapidly toward Vicksburg, attacking Pemberton at Champion's hill, and from this onward the advance was steady and the fighting constant. And after an active campaign of eighty days, on the afternoon of July 4, 1863, the Federal troops marched in and took possession of the city, while Pemberton's troops marched out as paroled prisoners of war. Port Hudson soon surrendered to Banks, and the Mississippi was open for commerce through its entire length, or, as President Lincoln expressed it, "the mighty river ran unvexed to the sea." Grant was at once appointed a major-general in the regular army to date from July 4, 1863, a gold medal was given him by Congress, and on Oct. 18 he was given command of the "Military District of the Mississippi," comprising the departments of the Tennessee, the Ohio, and the Cumberland. He went at once to Chattanooga, took command in person, and five days later a three hours' battle was fought at Wanhatchie in Lookout valley, resulting in a Federal victory and the opening of a much-needed line of communication for supplies. Grant then ordered a concentration of forces near Chattanooga, and on November 23, one month after his arrival began the series of battles embracing Chattanooga, Orchard knob, Lookout mountain and Missionary ridge. On March 1, 1864, Grant was nominated lieutenant-general, the grade having been revived by Congress, was confirmed by the senate on March 2, and left Nashville, where he then was stationed, in obedience to an order calling him to Washington, March 4. His new commission was handed him by the president on the 9th, and he was given formal command of all the armies of the United States on the 17th. He established himself at Culpeper, Va., with the Army of the Potomac, and opened the final great campaign of the war, on May 4, when he crossed the Rapidan, and the 5th, 6th and 7th witnessed the terrible scenes of the battle of the Wilderness between opposing forces aggregating 183,000 men. Then by strategic movements Grant endeavored to outwit Lee, and a long series of battles resulted. Spottsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor and Chickahominy followed, and by the time Grant had reached the James river he had lost, including the Wilderness fight, 70,000 of his troops. Then ensued the Richmond and Petersburg campaign, with the capture of those places as the desideratum, and through the summer, autumn, and following winter the campaign was "fought out on this line." On the morning of April 2, 1865, an assault was begun upon the lines around Petersburg, the city was evacuated the same night, and the Federal forces took possession on the morning of April 3. Then the retreat of the Confederates began, closely pursued by the Federal troops and on April 9 the end came - the war was over - Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. Following the surrender Grant established his headquarters in the city of Washington. Wherever he went he was greeted with ovations; honors were heaped upon him from every hand, and he was universally hailed as the country's deliverer. Congress as a reward for his military valor, created for him the grade of general. He also obtained through Congress the entire control of affairs relating to the southern states, and in Aug., 1867, was appointed by President Johnson secretary of war ad interim while Secretary Stanton was under suspension. Grant protested against this action, and much dissension ensued, but he held the office until Jan. 4, 1868, when, the senate refusing to confirm the suspension of Stanton, Grant promptly retired, greatly to the president's annoyance. Grant grew daily in popularity with the people, and at the national convention of the Republican party, held at Chicago on May 20, 1868, he was nominated for the presidency on the first ballot. When the election occurred in November, out of 294 electoral votes cast for president, Grant received 214, and Seymour, the Democratic candidate, 80 the former carrying twenty-six states against eight won by his rival and on March 4, 1869, the victorious general took the oath as chief executive of the United States.
During his first term of office occurred the Credit Mobilier scandal, in connection with the building of the Union Pacific railroad, but in all the investigations made in connection with the matter, no stain ever rested on Grant. There came another scandal, the "Back-pay" affair, where certain laws regarding salaries had been passed, retroactive in their character, and near the close of his term a determined effort was made by his political enemies to encompass his defeat. The lamented Horace Greeley was placed against him in the presidential contest of 1872, but Grant carried thirty-one states and received the largest vote that had ever been given for any presidential candidate. His second administration was mainly important for the passage of the "Resumption act", in Jan., 1875, and the detection and punishment of the ringleaders in the notorious "Whiskey ring," of which many were men of great personal influence, and with friends claiming to hold very important positions near the president himself. Shortly after the close of his second term, on May 17, 1877, he set sail from Philadelphia on a tour of the world, his first objective point being England. On May 28 he arrived at Liverpool and there received the first of a grand series of ovations in foreign lands, which for two years and four months constituted a triumphal tour never experienced by even a Roman or Oriental monarch, his welcome by every class of people, from royalty to peasants, being of the most heartfelt kind. He finally sailed from Yokohama for home on Sept. 3, 1879, and touched the American shore at San Francisco on Sept. 20. Then banquets and receptions met him everywhere, until he sought the retirement of his private home. In 1880 he visited Cuba and Mexico, after which he went with his family to his old home in Galena, Ill., but the popular feeling in his favor was such that a movement was started for his third nomination to the presidency of the United States. The convention gathered at Chicago, in June,1880, and for thirty-six ballots the iron-clad vote for Grant was 306, with slight variations ranging between 302 and 313. After a long and exciting contest, the opposition became united upon James A. Garfield and secured his nomination, thus defeating the third-term movement. The military and public life of Gen. Grant having ended, he invested his entire capital of accumulated money in a banking house in New York city, and in May, 1884, through a series of unblushing frauds the firm became bankrupt, and the man who had been able to conquer and subdue the greatest uprising in all history found himself completely swindled by the skillful manipulation of a single business partner. In 1884, at the age of sixty-two, Gen. Grant was attacked by a disease which proved to be cancer at the root of the tongue, and which ultimately caused his death. On March 4, 1885, Congress unanimously passed a bill creating him a general on the retired list, thus restoring him to his former rank with full pay; but he enjoyed this evidence of a nation's gratitude but a short time, for on July 21 an alarming relapse set in, and on Thursday morning, July 25, 1885, death released him from his suffering. In 1884 he began the preparation in two octavo volumes of "Personal Recollections," in which he told the story of his life down to the close of the Civil war, and he finished the proof-reading four days prior to his death. General Grant was buried at New York city, and the public funeral, which occurred August 8, 1885, was the most impressive spectacle of the kind ever witnessed in the United States.
Inventory Number: CDV 303