Who Was Ulysses S. Grant?
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Ulysses S. Grant certainly does not have the typical war hero “back story.” Although a graduate of West Point, he never wanted to be a soldier and was terrified when he first saw battle. However, during the Civil War, after many Northern generals failed to deliver decisive victories, U.S. Grant rose to what the times required. He took command of Union forces, helped bring the war to an end in 1865, and went on to serve two terms as president.
marching and doing drills. He couldn’t imagine becoming a soldier after graduation. As for his classes, he wasn’t good at much of anything except math. He hardly ever studied. Instead, he went to the library and took out novels. He liked to lie in his room reading them. But by his second year, he was fitting in better at West Point. And then West Point started a new class—horseback riding! Ulysses was already a pro with horses. He offered to break in the new, wild horses. Everyone was impressed
injured in May 1864. In one earlier battle in 1862 at Antietam, Maryland, more than thirteen thousand men were killed or wounded in a single morning! Ulysses sent General William T. Sherman across Georgia to the city of Atlanta. When Sherman’s men reached Atlanta, they burned the whole city down. Then they burned down plantations as they marched toward the sea. After that, Ulysses sent troops to Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States. Soon the people of Richmond fled.
remembered that they had fought together in the Mexican-American War. Finally, Lee said that they should write down the terms of the surrender. Ulysses was generous. He could have demanded that all the Southern soldiers give up their horses. He could have taken all their weapons. He could have insisted on taking Southern soldiers as prisoners. Instead, he said the soldiers could keep their personal pistols or swords. He said they could keep their horses. He knew the men would need them, after
that night. He always believed he could have saved the president’s life had he been there. With Lincoln dead, the vice president became the president. His name was Andrew Johnson. Ulysses didn’t admire President Johnson. Johnson wasn’t good-hearted like Lincoln. He didn’t want former slaves to have the vote. He felt more sympathy for the slave owners than he did for the slaves. But at least the war was over. During a victory parade that marched past the White House, Ulysses sat beside
out of politics. It was a difficult time for America. The country was trying to come together again. People wanted a leader they could trust—someone like Ulysses. They wanted someone who was fair and even-handed. They wanted someone who respected the rights of black people. President Johnson was not that man. In 1868, they asked Ulysses to run for president. Ulysses was tempted to run, for the good of the country. But there was one big problem: money. If he gave up being general of the army,