Civil War - Ulysses S. Grant

Commanding General of the Union, 18th President

Early Years

Born on April 27, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio, Hiram Ulysses Grant was raised by a religious family, the first of six children. His parents weren't particularly poor, although it is notable that his father was less than proud of his work - he skinned animals for a living, such conditions in which this was done being far from optimal.

In his youth he was quiet, though undoubtedly skilled in horsemanship. Though despite this, it was never put to use. Regardless of them being, as mentioned previously, not particularly poor, they couldn't quite scrape up the funds for college.

Though, luckily, there was a deal at hand. One put out in favor by the United States Military Academy located at West Point. The deal was a more-than-decent education for free at the cost of military service after graduation. At face value, it was a good deal. Despite this, Ulysses was hesitant, though with his father signing him up regardless and him being coerced by his family, little could have been done.

Surprisingly, his horsemanship came in handy in the military. Especially with the militia as it was being small, his talent most definitely shown through. Though, as far as his previous military victories go, the most acknowledged was The Mexican War, in which he was a lieutenant.

Contribution to the Civil War

On Union lines, it was obvious that the Confederacy had an advantage. That of which was major - the very ground they fought upon. The Civil War took place in the South, so naturally there had to be a good General in charge of the army. Seeing that the South won, it's obvious that there was.

Ulysses S. Grant was none other than that General, his expertise with the military was unmatched, and the Civil War would've certainly gone differently without him. Unlike the majority of the Union (or, at least in comparison to the Confederacy) he was willing to fight.

One of his major victories were the captures of two Confederate forts: Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. In which a large chunk of the Confederacy blatantly surrendered to him. Another, perhaps more well-known battle was the Battle of Vicksburg, in which Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton surrendered.

Despite these astounding actions, his tactics were rather brutal and upfront. This caused controversy for obvious reasons, especially considering the sheer amount of soldiers lost and brutality in the Civil War as it was. Alas, Ulysses S. Grant still played a major role in the capture of multiple Confederate forts and the overall Union win.

LIfe After the Civil War

While less can be said for the other Generals and participants of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant is most acknowledged for his eventual rise to presidency. He ran against Andrew Johnson in 1868, though obviously came out on top in terms of votes. And with that, he was elected the 18th president of the U.S.

This presidency was written down as one of the most profound and corrupt of the bunch, or, at least in the South's opinion. The black right's movement was at it's new found height, and the most Grant did was try to ease the South and North back together. With the North recovering from the previous war, it wasn't nearly as easy as it is spoken.

His presidency can be seen as the Era of Reconstruction. While this wasn't entirely a failure, it was still flawed in more ways than one. In fact, it's flaws blocked out anything good that came from Reconstruction. While many rights bills were passed (15th, 14th) that revolved around black rights, the prejudice it built in the South was mortifying.

For example: the Black Codes. These "codes" rejected many rights of black individuals, whether that be anything from not being able to walk about late to them not being able to properly be hired for any given job. And, of course, the infamous creation of the Klu-Klux-Klan (KKK) that not only burned houses of black right's activists to the ground, but killed a multitude of people as a whole.

Interesting Facts

  • He was planned to be assassinated with along with Lincoln, but narrowly avoided it.
  • Despite playing a major part in the Civil War, he couldn't stand the sight of blood.
  • His real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant.
  • He was fairly quiet as a child.
  • He was known to smoke anything from seven to ten cigars a day.