Memorable Quotations from Ulysses S. Grant

Book Cover

By Jim Dell


Memorable Quotations from Ulysses S. Grant
(Kindle Book at Amazon)

Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822-1885) was commander in chief of the Union army in the American Civil War and the 18th president (1869-1877) of the United States. Born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, he graduated from West Point in 1843. For two years he served in several posts in Missouri and Louisiana and in 1845 he joined the Texas command of General Zachary Taylor. He fought in the Mexican War (1846-1848) and was twice cited for bravery in combat.

When the Civil War began, he was commissioned colonel and then brigadier general of a regiment of volunteers and fought his first battle at Belmont, Missouri, on November 9, 1861. In February 1862 he captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Tennessee, delivering the first major Union victory, and was promoted to major general. The Vicksburg campaign, 1862 to 1863, which finished Confederate control of the Mississippi, was one of his greatest achievements.

Summoned to the supreme command in the West in October 1863, he defeated the Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg at Chattanooga. President Lincoln promoted him to commander in chief, with the rank of lieutenant general, in March 1864. Grant directed the Union army to victory in the Wilderness campaign in May to June of 1864 and took Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. He was made full general in 1866.

Grant was elected president in 1868 and reelected in 1872. His administration included a progression of scandals. Although Grant was involved in none of them, the irregularities perpetrated by officials in his government and by members of his party in Congress reflected on the president. His unrelenting loyalty to friends whose abuse of public office was well known hurt Grant's reputation. Grant left office in March 1877 and on May 17 he sailed with his family for England on the first step of a trip around the world. In all places he was well received as the hero of the Civil War. After two years Grant returned home.

Grant's final years were harsh ones. When he resigned from the army to become president he had given up a guaranteed income for life. After returning to the United States from Europe, his family survived on the income from a fund collected by friends. When the securities in which the fund was invested crashed, Grant was without financial means.

In 1885 Congress voted to restore Grant's rank of full general with a suitable salary. By that time he was gravely ill and moved to Mount McGregor, New York, in order to repair his health. There he began writing his reminiscences of the war years, the Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant (1885-1886). They were completed a week before he died of cancer. The book was a decisive success. Grant focused on the Civil War, the phase of his greatest glory and attempted to inform what really happened, acknowledging his errors and sharing credit with others. His book is one of the world’s impressive war commentaries of all time. Grant died at Mount McGregor in 1885, and he rests today in the great mausoleum known as Grant's Tomb, overlooking the Hudson River in New York City.


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