Ulysses S. Grant was an able military leader in the Civil War. He would also become president, though he was considered less competent in that position than as a general. He was one of the most significant generals in the Civil War, and he brought it to an end in 1865.
Ulysses S. Grant was born in 1822 to Jesse Grant, and Hannah Simpson He lived at home for most of his childhood, sometimes assisting in his father’s tannery. Ulysses detested this work, however, and vowed never to do it he was an adult. One of six children, Ulysses attended various schools in his childhood, with little success. At the age of 18, his father applied for him to enter West Point Military Academy. This arrangement was made without Ulysses’ knowledge, and when he found out, he opposed it. However, his father was able to persuade him into going, and Ulysses, then 17, left for West Point.
It was at West Point that Grant received the name he would use for the rest of his life. Due to an error on his application, his name was listed by the academy as Ulysses Simpson Grant, which he later accepted. In his time at West Point, Grant’s grades were fairly average, though he excelled at horsemanship. In 1843, he graduated 21st out of 39 students in his class. Despite his skill with horsemanship and his desire to join the cavalry, he was assigned to the infantry after his graduation.
After graduating from West Point, Grant was assigned to his first military position, in the Fourth Infantry. In the 1840s, Grant’s regiment fought in the Mexican War under Zachary Taylor. Grant eventually rose to the Rank of Captain, and was an effective leader of American troops in the war. After the war was over, however, Grant was sent to distant posts in the West, and began to drink heavily. He resigned from his position in 1854.
After his resignation, Grant lived with his wife and family. He struggled during this time, however, and eventually was forced to work in his brother’s leather shop.
Grant resumed his military service in 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War. After war was declared, Grant applied for, and was given control of, a volunteer regiment in Illinois. This particular regiment was particularly lacking in discipline, having been led poorly, and taming it was no easy prospect for Grant. However, Grant succeeded, and his regiment was reformed into a strong one.
In the Civil War, Grant led troops into many important battles. In 1862, in the early battle of Ft. Donelson, Grant earned the nickname “Unconditional Surrender”, after demanding...