Portraits: Ulysses S Grant   6 comments

Ulysses Grant, circa 1870 – 1880

The 18th President of the United States, 1869 – 1877

AKA: Sam, Unconditional Surrender Grant, U S Grant

From: Ohio, New York

College: United States Military Academy

Married to: Julia Dent

Children: Fredrick Dent Grant, Ulysses S. (Buck) Grant, Jr., Ellen (Nellie) Wrenshall Grant, Jesse Root Grant

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Horse trainer, soldier, farmer, real estate agent, leather goods merchant,

In His Words: “The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.”

General Ulysses Grant, a 2-star General, 1864

General Ulysses Grant, a 2-star General, 1864

“I have long since believed that in spite of all the vigilance that can be infused into post commanders, the special regulations of the Treasury Department have been violated, and that mostly by Jews and other unprincipled traders. So well satisfied have I been of this that I instructed the commanding officers at Columbus to refuse all permits to Jews to come South, and I have frequently had them expelled from the department, but they come in with their carpet-sacks in spite of all that can be done to prevent it. The Jews seem to be a privileged class that can travel anywhere. They will land at any woodyard on the river and make their way through the country. If not permitted to buy cotton themselves, they will act as agents for someone else, who will be at military post with a Treasury permit to receive cotton and pay for it in Treasury notes which the Jew will buy up at an agreed rate, paying gold.”

“God gave us Lincoln and Liberty, let us fight for both.”

“Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do.”

A 3-star General, circa 1864.

A 3-star General, circa 1865.

“I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.

-Terms of surrender, given to General Robert E Lee after the Battle of Appomattox Courthouse, April 9, 1985.

“I rise only to say that I do not intend to say anything. I thank you for your hearty welcomes and good cheers.”

– Grant’s “Perfect Speech,” used frequently in 1865

“I leave comparisons to history, claiming only that I have acted in every instance from a conscientious desire to do what was right, constitutional, within the law, and for the very best interests of the whole people. Failures have been errors of judgment, not of intent.”

“Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately you occasionally find men disgrace labor.”

“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace.”

“Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions.”

Not true: In 1839, his father arranged for his admission to West Point. The congressman who nominated him mistakenly believed his name was Ulysses Simpson Grant (Simpson was his mother’s maiden name). Grant never corrected the error, maintaining that the “S.” didn’t stand for anything. His birth name, however, was Hiram Ulysses Grant.

True: When the Confederate Army launched a surprise assault at the Battle of Shiloh, the Union Army under Grant suffered devastating casualties on the first day of fighting.  President Abraham Lincoln received several demands for Grant’s removal from command. Nevertheless, Lincoln refused, stating, “I can’t spare this man. He fights.”

Lincoln appointed him General-in-Chief in March 1864.

Grant was appointed our first 4-star general in 1866.

The Suez Canal opened and the first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, his first year as President.

His annual salary as President was $25,000 … the same sum paid George Washington and every other President through 1872. In 1873, his salary was doubled to $50,000 (where it stayed through Theodore Roosevelt’s tenure).

Our first national park, Yellowstone, was established during Grant’s Presidency.

Colorado became a state during his tenure.

Ulysses Grant’s time in office was marred by scandal and corruption. However, he did not participate nor profit from the illegal actions of his associates and appointees.

After leaving Washington to write his memoirs, Grant entered into an investment partnership with Ferdinand Ward. Unfortunately, Ward embezzled Grant’s asset, for which he went to jail. This left Grant with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and he claimed bankruptcy. He was forced to sell his Civil War memoirs to save his family from further financial hardship.

Ulysses S. Grant is buried in New York City in the largest mausoleum of its kind in the United States.  Grant’s tomb is a National Memorial.

The Official Portrait: President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes took great interest in collecting presidential portraits for the White House, adding paintings of Ulysses S. Grant, Andrew Jackson, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, Zachary Taylor and William Henry Harrison in the 1870s. German-born Henry Ulke completed a fine portrait of Grant from life in 1875.

Ulysses S Grant, Official White House Portrait

Ulysses Grant Signature


Big Mo

Civil War Trust’s Biography

Grant’s Tomb

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