Ulysses S. Grant

Term Paper (Advanced seminar), 2003

19 Pages, Grade: 2,5 (B)


Table Of Contents

A. Introduction

B. Main Part
I. Grants Battles During the Civil War
1. The War In The West, April 1861 – March 1864
2. The Virginia Campaigns, April 1864 – April 1865
II. Who was Grant – a Portrait
1. During military tasks
2. Personality and Character

C. Conclusion

A. Introduction

„What General Lee's feelings were I do not know. As he was a man of much dignity, with an impassable face, it was impossible to say whether he felt inwardly glad that the end had finally come, or felt sad over the result, and was too manly to show it. Whatever his feelings, they were entirely concealed from my observation; but my own feelings, which had been quite jubilant on the receipt of his letter, were sad and depressed. I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse. I do not question, however, the sincerity of the great mass of those who were opposed to us.”[1]

Down-hearted, but joyous about victory, maybe even more about a cruel civilwar finally finding its end and respect for his enemy, even if he condemns the cause they fought for, are just a few characteristics already beeing revealed to us. The Man writing this, is Ulysses Hiram Grant, one, if not the most famous general of the northern troops throughout the american civil war. The circumstances surrounding these few sentences written above, describe a moment of major importance for the war, because they represent the downfall, the final collapsing of the confederate resistance and the defeat of another great legend of war,”General E. Lee”, at Appomattox in April 9, 1865.

Grant obviously is on the peak of success, beeing a national hero, a highly decorated general and only 4 years after the war, candidating and winning the presidential elections. But considering how his career started it was hard to foresee such a splendid development. A resigned Military Officer, incapable as an entrepreneur, and with a tendency of excessive enjoyment of alcoholics, turned into a War-Hero within 4 Years.

Born to Jesse Root and Hannah Simpson Grant in Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio, on April 27, 1822, he moved along with his family to Georgetown, Brown County, Ohio in 1823. He attended the Maysville Seminary in Maysville, Kentucky From 1836-1837 and the Presbyterian Academy in Ripley Ohio From 1838-1839.

In 1839 He was appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point. By this time, he had been signing his name as “Ulysses H. Grant.” Congressman Thomas Hamer, who had been acquainted with the Grant family, mistakenly listed Grant as "Ulysses S. Grant," probably assuminng that his middle name was his mother's maiden name, Simpson. Grant didn't bother to correct the error.[2] Grant was generally an average student, but he excelled in mathematics and horsemanship and graduated from West Point In 1843 as 21st in a class of 39. He was commissioned a Brevet Second Leitenant and ”On the 30th of September I reported for duty at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, with the 4th United States infantry. It was the largest military post in the country at that time[…]”[3]

There he met Julia Boggs Dent who was the daugher of "Colonel" Frederick Fayette Dent (1786-1873), a Missouri slaveowner with strong Southern sentiments. In June of 1844, Grant and Julia Dent became engaged.

In the Mexican War (1846-1848), he gained first impressions and experience about military strategies and war in general.

In 1852, Grant's regiment was ordered to the Pacific Coast, and Grant was stationed at Columbia Barracks in Fort Vancouver in the Oregon Territory, later on beeing transferred to Fort Humboldt, California. Unhappy and in poor health, he resigned from the army on April 11, 1854 and rejoined his family trying by numerous attempts to support his family, but suffered repeated setbacks and failures.[4]

These beeing his prospects shortly before the outbreak of the american civilwar, makes it hard to believe that a man like him would soon play such an important role for the american history.

This research paper will follow Ulysses S.Grant throughout his battles, from the very beginning until the the end of the american civil war. It will try to give the reader an overview and at some points a deeper inside view of what happened on the various battlefields, and the clashes of armies, Grant was involved in.

Alongside these, mainly on military aspects based parts, this paper will also try to present Ulysses S. Grants personality to the reader, sometimes in his own words, written down in his memoires, but also by discussing various opinions of his friends and enemies.

B. Main Part

I. Grants Battles During The Civil War


In 1861 the differences between the so classified southern and northern countries had become so serious, that on February 9, The Confederate States of America were formed with Jefferson Davis as president. Only about one month after his election, the gap that had been growing between the Union and the Confederation, run into what was the greatest war in American history, with mor than 3 million souldiers in arms and about 600,000 dead. On April 12, the Confederate troops attacked Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War had begun.

On April 17, Virginia secedes from the Union, followed within 5 weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy, that immediately suffers from blockades which limited the ability of the rural South to stay well supplied in its war against the industrialized North. As a reaction on the attack on Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 500.000 man; among them 75,000 volunteers[5], and Grant rejoined the army as a volunteer[6] on April 23, 1861. This is where his military career starts again.[7]


[1] Grant, Ulysses S.: Ulysses Grant Memoirs, Chapter 67.

[2] Marshall-Cornwall, James : Grant as Military Commander, p.29-33.

[3] Grant, Ulysses S.: Ulysses Grant Memoirs, Chapter 3.

[4] Moran, Philip R.: Ulysses. S. Grant 1822-1885, “youth and early army service”.

[5] The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, vol. 2, p.3, letter to Frederick Dent: „The Gouvernment can call into field not only 75.00 troops, but ten or twenty times 75.000 if it should be necessary.“

[6] The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, vol.2, p.9, to Julia Dent Grant: „[...] he (the Gouvernor) wanted me to take the command and drill them until they are organized.“

[7] Marshall-Cornwall, James: Grant as Military Commander, p.3-6 & p.12-16.

Excerpt out of 19 pages


Ulysses S. Grant
University of Cologne  (History Seminar, Cologne)
United States History, 1830-77
2,5 (B)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
685 KB
Ulysses, Grant, United, States, History
Quote paper
Nils Urban (Author), 2003, Ulysses S. Grant, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/15832


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