Ulysses S. Grant




Ulysses S. Grant Chronology

  • April 27, 1822, Hiram Ulysses Grant is born in Point Pleasant, Ohio to Hannah and Jesse Grant.
  • 1828-1835, He attends subscription schools in Georgetown, Ohio and works on the family farm. He loves horses but hates the tan yard.

  • May, 1839, Departs Ohio for the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. His name is registered as Ulysses S. Grant, a name he will continue to use for the rest of his life. Grant spends the next four years at this school on the Hudson as a Cadet.

  • June-August, 1841, Spends his furlough with his family in Bethel, Ohio. Grant later wrote, "Those ten weeks were shorter than one week at West Point."

  • July 1, 1843, (his diploma is dated June 23rd) Grant graduates from West Point and is commissioned a brevet second Lieutenant. He is assigned to the Fourth Infantry in St. Louis, Jefferson Barracks. He meets Julia, his future wife, in February, 1844.

  • 1846-1848, Grant fights in the Mexican War as a Quartermaster.

  • 1848-1852, Following his honeymoon, Grant is assigned to Sackets Harbor, New York and Detroit, Michigan. Though blissfully happy in his private life, he is bored with the tedium of the peacetime army. He enjoys playing cards, accompanying Julia to dances and racing his mare, Cicotte.

  • 1852-1854, He is sent to Humboldt Bay, California , in July, 1852. The next two years are ones of lonesome reflection for the Captain, who desperately misses his family. Being separated from Julia wreaks havoc on his psyche.

  • August, 1854, He returns to Missouri after resigning his commission.

  • 1854-1858, He works a 60-acre farm near St. Louis. He builds a home, sells cordwood and faces a bleak financial future.

  • 1858-1859, Enters the Real Estate business with Julia's cousin. He proves incapable of collecting rents and is frequently late to work. Grant was never cut out to be a business man.

  • May, 1860, He moves to Galena, Illinois and accepts a clerkship at his father's leather store at $800 a year. He lives in a comfortable, snug house on a hill, fronting a cemetery.

  • June 17, 1861, Appointed a Colonel of the 21st Illinois Infantry.

  • August 9, 1861, Commission signed by President Lincoln making Grant a Brigadier General of Volunteers dated retroactively to May 17, 1861. August 5th Congress approved Lincoln's request of July 31, 1861 to make Grant a Brigadier General.

  • November 17, 1861, The Battle of Belmont, Grant's first engagement as General. Union forces raid the Confederate camp, but fall back when they counterattack. Grant's horse is shot from under him in the fight. Belmont is frequently described as a "fighting retreat" by Union forces, who gain much-needed experience under fire.

  • February 16, 1862, Grant takes Fort Donelson, Tennessee, the first Union victory of strategic importance in the war. He becomes nationally famous with his dispatch, "No terms except immediate and unconditional surrender. I propose to move immediately upon your works." The jealous General Henry Halleck schemes behind Grant's back and spreads malicious and false rumors that Grant has "resumed his former bad habits."

  • February, 17th, 1862, Grant receives his two star rank of Major General of Volunteers

  • April 6-7, 1862, The Battle of Shiloh. Though Grant and Sherman deny until their deaths that they were surprised here, the evidence is persuasive that they were. Grant's iron will and stubbornness resist disaster and the Union holds the field on the second day.

  • February, 1863-April, 1863, Unsuccessful moves around Vicksburg, Mississippi.

  • May 12- May 17, 1863, Grant implements his grand strategy in taking Vicksburg by moving between two wings of the enemy and routing them both. In five days, he fights and defeats the enemy at Jackson, Champion Hill and Big Black River. His baggage consists of a toothbrush and comb.

  • May 19-May 22, 1863, Grant attempts two frontal assaults upon Vicksburg, but both are repelled. The Union forces settle down to a siege.

  • July 4, 1863, Surrender of Vicksburg - Grant's tour de force as a General, one of greatest military campaigns in history.

  • Summer, 1863, Following a fall from a fractious horse in New Orleans, Grant spends the summer with his family in a house near Vicksburg. His leg is so badly swollen that he is bedridden for weeks and uses crutches until October.

  • October 22, 1863, Takes command at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

  • November 22-25, 1863, The Battle of Chattanooga, which culminates in Union victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, the Confederates are forced to retreat into Tennessee.

  • March 9, 1864, Grant receives his commission as Lieutenant General from Lincoln and on March 12, he is appointed General in Chief of all U.S. armies.

  • May 5-7, 1864, The Battle of the Wilderness. The two titans of the war, Grant and Lee, finally face each other. The result is a draw, with Union forces losing two times as many men as Lee.

  • May 7-10, 1864, Spottsylvania campaign. Grant is once again thwarted by Lee and the results of the battle are inconclusive. On May 11, Grant writes another of his famous dispatches, "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."

  • May 31-June 3, 1864, The Battle of Cold Harbor. In the main frontal assault on June 3, Grant loses 7,000 men in an hour. Lee loses 1,500. This was Grant's searing blunder as a General, and one which he freely admitted. Rebel losses during the campaign were 32,000, while the Federals lose 50,000. But Grant can obtain replacements and Lee cannot.

  • April 9, 1865, Lee surrenders to Grant in the McLean House, Appomattox, Virginia. This is Grant's great hour, showcasing his delicacy and decency. When Union soldiers get too rambunctious, he quiets them. "The war is over," he said, "the Rebels are again our countrymen, and the best sign of rejoicing is to abstain from all demonstrations in the field."

  • July 25, 1866, Congress establishes a new rank of "General" for Grant making him the first four star General in U. S. history.

  • Fall, 1866, Grant refuses to be sent to Mexico by President Andrew Johnson, a wily and jealous man who wanted the popular General out of the way. These two fellows never hitched - very dissimilar.

  • May 21, 1868, Nominated as a candidate for President by the Republican National Convention in Chicago. Grant does no campaigning and lolls about his Galena, Illinois home.

  • March 4, 1869 - March 4, 1877, President of the United States of America for two terms.

  • May, 1877-September, 1879, The Grant's make an around the world tour, and he is besieged by crowds throughout the journey. There is no itinerary and Grant enjoys himself immensely. He said, 'I feel like a boy out of school." Jesse accompanies his parents for some of the trip, and his place is then taken by Fred. Grant routinely plows through 15 course dinners, but actually loses weight on the trip - he returns to San Francisco weighing 159 pounds. His favorite countries on the trip were Japan and Switzerland.

  • June 2-8, 1880, After two difficult terms in the White House, Grant has had enough and does not secure the Republican nomination for the Presidency. It is difficult to know whether he actually coveted the Presidency again, though Julia certainly wanted to return to the White House. His friends and sons were convinced he didn't care and the evidence shows they were correct. Garfield eventually secures the nomination and the Presidency, and Grant claims he possesses "the backbone of an angleworm."

  • December 24, 1883, Grant suffers a serious injury to his hip while slipping on the pavement outside his home. While handing a cab driver a 20 dollar bill, he falls heavily on his side. He is bedridden for weeks and walks with crutches or a cane for the rest of his life.

  • May, 1884, The brokerage firm of Grant and Ward fails on Wall Street, losing the General and his family's fortune. Grant had been a silent partner in the firm with his son and Ferdinand Ward, the scoundrel who robbed the company and was eventually jailed. Days before the bankruptcy, Ward begs Grant for a loan of $150,000 to save the Marine bank. The General then asked William Vanderbilt to make him a personal loan, and he eventually repaid the millionaire with his war trophies and uniforms. These priceless bits of American are now in the Smithsonian, though only a fraction are displayed. The Grant and Ward failure plunges Grant into a prolonged depression.

  • September, 1884, Grant's illness of the throat is diagnosed by doctors as cancer. In the Fall, he begins work on his Memoirs.

  • January-March, 1885, The cancer spreads and completely debilitates the General. He is only able to have liquid foods in small portions. The pain is almost unendurable, but he valiantly writes on in an effort to provide for his family after his death.

  • June 16, 1885, Moves with his family to Mt. McGregor, New York. The doctors advise the move because of the cooler climate. Grant is down to 120 pounds and is so weak he sometimes falls from his chair, but gallantly hides his suffering from his family.

  • July 19, 1885, He finishes his Memoirs and lays down his pencil for the last time.

  • July 23, 1885, At 8:06 in the morning, Grant dies, surrounded by his family and physicians. Fred stops the mantle clock and then fondly returns to the bedside to stroke his father's forehead a last time. Grant's Memoirs, a timeless classic, sells over 300,000 copies, becomes the bestselling book in U. S. history, and earns Julia a staggering $500,000. Even today in the 21st century, Grant's work is still considered the most well-written memoirs by a U. S. President.




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