GRANT, ULYSSES SIMPSON, an American statesman; 18th president of the United States; born in Point Pleasant, O., April 27, 1822, entered West Point Academy in 1839, graduated in 1843, received a commission in the United States Army in 1845, and served under Generals Taylor and Scott in Mexico.
In 1852 he was ordered to Oregon, and in August, 1853, became full captain. He resigned his commission in July, 1854, and soon after settled in business at Galena, Ill. From this privacy he was drawn out by the Civil War, and having acted first as aide-de-camp to the governor of his State in 1861, and afterward as colonel of the 21st Illinois Volunteers, was appointed a Brigadier-General in July of the same year. While in command at Cairo, he secured Paducah, and with it the State of Kentucky. In November, 1861, he fought and gained the battle of Belmont, and in January of the following year conducted a reconnoissance to the rear of Columbus. After capturing Fort Henry, on the Tennessee, General Grant pursued the Confederates to Fort Donelson. There a severe battle raged almost without interruption for three days and three nights, when, Feb. 15, the fort was surrendered unconditionally.
This brilliant feat elevated General Grant to the rank of Major-General. Having been appointed to the command of the district of western Tennessee, Grant advanced up that river to Pittsburg Landing, where he had to contend against a force of nearly 70,000 men. The National lines were overwhelmed, crushed, dispersed; but General Grant, undismayed, formed new lines, planted new batteries, and thus held the Confederates in check till dark, when the long expected arrival of his rear-guard of 35,000 men, under General Buell, enabled him to fight, April 6 and 7, the glorious battle of Shiloh, whence the Confederates, abandoning the field, retreated to Corinth. General Grant was second in command to General Halleck at the siege of Corinth, and when the latter was ordered to Washington, he was appointed to take command of the Department of Tennessee, in which capacity he marched against Vicksburg, the so-called “Gibraltar” of the Confederates on the Mississippi. After a long and memorable siege, this important place was surrendered unconditionally, and 37,000 prisoners, 150 cannons, with an immense amount of military stores, fell into the hands of the victors.
Upon the defeat of General Rosecrans at Chickamauga, Grant was sent to repair the disaster, and on Nov. 25, 1863, he defeated General Bragg at Lookout Mountain. This great victory, by which eastern Tennessee was reduced and Kentucky saved, was perhaps the most brilliant strategic and tactical movement of the war; it placed General Grant on a footing with the ablest generals of any country or of any age. A few months after, March 1, 1864, Grant was raised to the highest military position in the land — under the title of Lieutenant-General he was constituted commander-in-chief of all the armies of the United States. Invested with this authority, the plan of General Grant was to destroy Lee's army. Washington was to be covered from raid, through the Shenandoah, by General Sigel. General Butler was to menace Richmond from the S. Sherman, in Georgia, was to press his campaign in that department with all vigor, that no re-enforcements might be sent to the aid of Lee.
General Grant, with Meade's army of 150,000 N. of the Rapidan, was to draw Lee's army out of their intrenchments and either destroy them, or compel them to rush from the menacing of Washington to the protection of their own capital. On the night of Tuesday, May 3, General Grant crossed the Rapidan, and entered what is called The Wilderness. By a flank movement, Grant was getting into the rear of his foe. Lee rushed from his intrenchments, and endeavored to overwhelm Grant. Then began the most gigantic and terrific campaign recorded in history.
After 11 days of bloody and almost uninterrupted battles, the two armies, on the 12th day of this unparalled struggle, were still confronting each other, both on the defensive, sternly looking face to face, both prepared for another round! With the first dawn the battle was renewed by a tremendous but vain assault upon the Confederate lines. General Lee, nevertheless, fearing Grant might get between him and Richmond, cutting off his supplies, decided to retire, and Grant succeeded in crossing the North Anna, and reached the famous banks of the Chickahominy. Finding the intrenchments of the enemy in his front too formidable to be carried by direct assault. Grant moved his troops to join General Butler at Bermuda Hundred. The performance of this movement, in the presence of Lee's army, who at many points were but a few rods from him, is perhaps one of the most brilliant pages of General Grant's military career. Slowly wore away long months of expectation on the part of an impatient people.
Impenetrable to jealousy, he had but one aim, one thought $mdash; the grasping of Richmond; but the time was not yet come. With the coming of the spring of 1865, Lee, whose position and resources were quite exhausted by the self-possession and strategy of the Union commander-in-chief, now determined to assume the offensive, and on the night of March 27, 1865, he massed three divisions of his troops in front of Fort Steadman, and on Grant's right, and by a sudden rush at daybreak on the following morning, succeeded in surprising and capturing that important position. Before noon of the same day, however, it was retaken by the Union troops, with all its guns and 1,800 Confederate prisoners. At this time a battle, which continued until evening, was raging at Hatcher's Run.
Three corps were massed under General Sheridan below Petersburg, and on Sunday morning, April 2, flanked the Confederates at Big Five Forks, capturing their intrenchments with 6,000 men. The attack, under General Grant's direction, then commenced along the whole line, and the assault was so successful that on the same night his forces held the Confederate intrenchments from the Appomattox, above Petersburg, to the river below. At 3 o'clock that afternoon General Lee telegraphed to Jefferson Davis that he had been driven from hia intrenchments, and that Petersburg and Richmond must be abandoned, which operation was performed that night; and on the next day, April 3 1865, the National army entered Petersburg, and General Weitzel occupied Richmond. By rapid movements, General Grant cutting off Lee's retreat to Lynchburg and Danville, came up with him at Appomattox Courthouse, and demanded his immediate surrender. The two chiefs met and arranged the details, and on Sunday, April 9, the Army of Northern Virginia capitulated.
The whole of General Lee's army, officers and men, were paroled, with permission at once to return to their homes. The former were granted the privilege of retaining their side-arms, and each of the field-officers one horse. All other property belonging to the Confederate government within the department was surrendered to the United States.
In 1866 General Grant was promoted to the rank of General, that honor being created specially for him. In August, 1867, on the suspension of Mr. Stanton by President Johnson, General Grant consented to fill the office of Secretary of War ad interim, but the Senate having refused to approve the suspension, General Grant, Jan. 13, 1868, surrendered the office to Mr. Stanton. On June 20, 1868, General Grant was unanimously nominated by the Republicans as a candidate and elected the following November President of the United States, in which capacity he served till 1877, being re-elected at the end of his first term.
On May 17, 1877, accompanied by his wife and one son, he sailed from Philadelphia, Pa., for a tour around the world. Not only did he receive a grand farewell from his own countrymen, but when he arrived in the Mersey River, England, the ships of all nations gathered there displayed their flags to greet him. In England a grand reception was accorded him in every city he visited. He was received by Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales in London, and later visited the Queen at Windsor Castle. After visiting the other countries of Europe and being entertained by all the crowned heads, the United States man-of-war “Vandalia” was placed at his service and on board her he made a cruise of the Mediterranean Sea. He then visited Bombay and Calcutta in India, Hong Kong, Canton and Peking in China, and finally Japan. On Sept. 20, 1879, he arrived at San Francisco, where a magnificent demonstration was made in his honor, and during his route E. he was given public receptions and greeted with every mark of honor wherever he stopped.
He was placed on the retired list of the army by a special act of Congress in March, 1885, with the rank and pay of General. During the last few months of his life he wrote his “Memoirs,” which was published soon after his death, on Mount McGregor, near Saratoga, N. Y., July 23, 1885. The construction of a magnificent mausoleum for his remains was begun in Riverside Park, New York City, on April 27, 1891, and it was dedicated on April 27, 1897, in the presence of one of the greatest concourses of people and with one of the greatest parades ever witnessed in the United States. The mausoleum exclusive of steps and portico projections is about 100 feet square at the base and the height 160 feet from the ground and nearly 300 feet from the level of the Hudson river. There is an outer gallery 130 feet above the base from which the country may be seen for miles around.
Collier's New Encyclopedia, 1921