Ulysses S. Grant rose to command all the Federal armies in the Civil War. Ulysses Hiram Grant was born April 27, 1822, in a two room frame house at Point Pleasant, Ohio. His father, Jesse Root Grant, was foreman in a tannery. When Grant was one his parents moved to Georgetown where they had five more children there, two boys and three girls. At seventeen Grant was harvesting, and hauling wood. his father got him an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point that year. In spite of grants real middle name they used Grants’, mothers’ maiden name, Simpson.
He made few friends at West Point due to being shy and quiet. Grant was in almost every battle of the Mexican War. 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. Grant came back from Mexico a captain, with favorable mention. In the Mexican War Grant formed the habit of drinking. Grant spent two years on the Pacific coast and missed his second childs birth.
His colonel asked for his resignation due to him drinking and wearing sloppy uniforms, and Grant borrowed money from him to return home. Julias father gave Grant 80 acres to farm, near St. Louis. Grant called the place Hardscrabble. Two more children were born and Grant couldnt support his growing family so Grant worked as a clerk, selling hides to saddle makers and cobbles. After Fort Sumter was fired on April 12, 1861, President Lincoln issued a call to arms. Within two weeks Grant was drilling volunteers in Galena, because, as he said, there was no one else to do the job, the gathering was completed and Grant left.
A few weeks later the governor telegraphed him to come back and accept the rank of colonel because the men he had recruited had asked for him. Grant reached his headquarters at Cairo, Illinois, September 4, 1861. Grant then set to work to prepare his men for a long, hard struggle. In February 1862 Grant advanced into Tennessee. While he was invading this fort, the Confederate general, Simon B. Buckner asked for a truce. This was the same officer who in had loaned Grant money to rejoin his family in 1858. Grant’s answer became famous in American history: “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.
I propose to move immediately upon your works”. In two days of desperate fighting, Grant pushed the Confederate forces back to Corinth in Mississippi Grant was severely criticized for his conduct in this battle. Grant made no excuses but spent the rest of 1862 making plans to take Vicksburg. Grant’s son Frederick, 13 years old, was with him battle. On November 24 and 25, the Federal troops stormed the heights, and the Confederates fled into Georgia. In the final battle of the Civil War, Grant found himself up against Robert E. Lee. Lee saw that Grant wouldn’t back down, so he Grant went to Washington to disband the army.
Grant had never been interested in politics and belonged to no political party. The Radical Republicans in Congress demanded a harsh policy. Johnson hoped to have Grant’s support, but Grant quarreled with him and was won over by the Radicals unanimously nominated Grant for president, with Schuyler Colfax of Indiana for vice-president. Grant received 214 electoral votes as against 80 for the Democratic candidate, Horatio Seymour. Grant received great support from the black people, Grant’s brothers stayed with their business and were too busy to visit him.
Led by Carl Schurz and other reformers, a group in the Republican party set out to defeat Grant for reelection. They organized the Liberal Republican party, which called for civil service reform, an end to corruption in government. United States treasury, with Grant’s approval, suddenly put 4 million dollars in gold up for sale. Republicans re-nominated Grant. Grant received 286 electoral votes. Grant’s popularity declined as evidence as serious political corruption came to light. In 1874 the Whiskey Ring scandal was uncovered.
The ring was a combination of distillers and tax officers who defrauded the treasury of the revenue tax on whiskey. Grant was not personally implicated in the scandals, but he gave appointments to unfit people and stood by them after they had been shown to be dishonest. The wartime boom ended with the great panic of 1873. Five years of hard times followed. Businessmen urged the government to return to a sound currency and call in the “greenbacks”–paper money issued during the Civil War. Grant vetoed a bill calling for more paper currency. Both the Republicans and the Democrats nominated “reform” candidates Ulysses S.
Grant nominated James A. Garfield. Grant, however, was still the people’s hero. Grant’s children had become adults and been successful in living their lives. Grant unwisely invested all his money in Grant and Ward, a stock brokerage firm. The firm crashed in 1884 and left Grant penniless and humiliated. To earn money, Grant turned to writing. Samuel L. Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, was then a subscription book publisher. He offered Grant a high royalty for his memoirs, and in 1885 Grant began to dictate them. They were so popular that Mrs. Grant received nearly $450,000 from its sale.