Who Was Ulysses S. Grant?
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.
West Point Ulysses had never seen a train before. Now he was riding one to West Point, New York. The train went eighteen miles an hour—so fast he couldn’t believe it! The military school sat on the bluffs high above the Hudson River. Large gray stone buildings looked out over the water. It was a beautiful place. When Ulysses arrived, he reported to the officer in charge. But Ulysses’s name wasn’t on the list of new students. The officer was expecting someone named Ulysses S. Grant—not Hiram
the country. He had no choice but to get his new uniform and go. But at least now Ulysses was an officer. It meant he had more free time. So one day, he rode out to visit the family of his roommate from West Point, Fred Dent. The Dent family was warm and welcoming. The younger children loved Ulysses. The parents invited him to come often, so he did. Ulysses enjoyed the visits except for one thing: The family owned slaves. They worked as servants in the Dent house and as field hands on the huge
Finally, it looked like General Robert E. Lee’s troops were beaten. The South had lost the war. Ulysses sent Lee a letter saying that it was time for Lee to surrender. Ulysses waited in a farmhouse near Appomattox, Virginia, for a reply. He was having one of his very bad headaches. He spent the night putting hot treatments on his neck, hoping that would help. The next day, Grant received a note from Lee agreeing to surrender. Instantly, his terrible headache went away! The two famous generals
stopped in Philadelphia, a man came rushing to Ulysses. President Lincoln had been shot at the theater! Ulysses rushed back to Washington. By the time he got there, President Lincoln was dead. The whole country fell into a state of mourning. The man who shot Lincoln—John Wilkes Booth—had planned to stab Ulysses that night, too. Why? John Wilkes Booth was a Southerner. He bitterly hated the men who had beaten the South. To the end of his life, Ulysses regretted not being at Ford’s Theater
wrote his life story in pencil. Meanwhile, Mark Twain sent out ten thousand men who went door to door telling people about the book and getting them to put in an order for it. Many of the salesmen were old soldiers. They wore their Union army uniforms. More than 150,000 people ordered the book in advance. In his final weeks of life, Ulysses sat on a porch in a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains, writing. He was in a lot of pain, but he wanted to finish the book. When soldiers learned he was