John Paul Jones
Oliver Hazard Perry
Robert Edward Lee
William Tecumseh Sherman
Ulysses Simpson Grant
Read More Articles About: Famous Warriors
Ulysses Simpson Grant
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
"LET US HAVE PEACE"
President Lincoln, when asked to name the greatest of American generals, unhesitatingly replied, "U. S. Grant." The calm determination which made Grant remain before Vicksburg for months without even mildly resenting the ridicule which was being heaped upon him, and the firm resolution that never failed to carry out a project once fixed upon, only partly explains the great success and remarkable career of Grant as a warrior. Many of his biographers have given credit to these qualities alone, but even a cursory glance at his achievements cannot fail to demonstrate that, in addition to courage and unfaltering persistency, he was endowed with such far-reaching judgment and skill both in the planning and execution of great projects as cannot be said to have been surpassed by any of the most notable commanders of the world. From obscure and unpromising boyhood he advanced by merit alone to an eminence attained by but few American citizens. Through it all he remained the same modest, unassuming character as when he worked in his youth in his father's tannery. In every difficulty and under the most discouraging and perilous conditions that imperturbable calm, which was a characteristic of the man, was never broken. There is no instance recorded in which Grant ever showed anger, nor has there ever been any denial of the assertion that he never used a profane word. His accomplishments as a soldier in meeting and overcoming obstacles of apparently insurmountable proportions is little short of marvelous. In addition to other qualities which made him great as a soldier, was the confidence and loyalty which he inspired in his troops by his own example. He was quick to see a fault, but quicker to pardon offense. He never forgot to thank his soldiers for the part they had taken in bringing about victory, and his addresses to his troops read like the stirring addresses of Napoleon. The grateful nation which he had served, remembered and honored him both before and after his death. Twice he was chosen President of the United States, and was offered a third term. Congress created for him a rank of distinction which no other American ever received, and when his brilliant career ended a whole nation bent with grief. His name and fame will live long after the maginificent marble tomb in which he sleeps has crumbled and become a thing of the past.
Ulysses Simpson Grant was born April 27, 1822, at Point Pleasant, Clermont County, Ohio. His ancestry is Scotch, and the first member of the family appears to have been Matthew Grant, who emigrated from the Old World and settled in New England in 1630. At the close of the Revolutionary War, Noah Grant, sixth in descent from Matthew, removed to Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and was there married. In 1797 Jesse Root Grant was born, and two years later the parents removed to Ohio. In 1805 the lad was left an orphan, and was received into the family of judge George Tod. Later he was apprenticed to learn the tanner's trade, and upon attaining legal age, he set up in business for himself, first at Ravenna, and finally at Point Pleasant, Ohio. In June, 1821, he married Hannah Simpson, daughter of John Simpson, who two years previously had moved to Ohio from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where the family had been known for several generations. Ulysses Grant was the first fruit of this marriage. The child was christened Hiram Ulysses Grant, and it was not until he entered West Point as a cadet that fate caused the initials of the nation to fasten themselves upon the future warrior. It came about through the mistake of the Congressman who secured young Grant's appointment, and sent in the name of the cadet as Ulysses S. Grant. Subsequent efforts to have the error corrected upon the records of the academy failed, and Grant adopted the name. One year after the birth of their child the parents removed to Georgetown. They were poor, and while the father taught the lad industry and frugality, the mother instilled into his mind the Christian principles of truth and honesty. This early training remained indelibly stamped upon Grant throughout his whole life. It is asserted that at no period in his life was Grant ever heard to utter a profane word. His first occupation was that of hauling firewood from distant parts of the farm with his father's team. He was then but eight years of age. Four years later, his father having obtained a contract to build the Brown County Jail, the lad of twelve was set to hauling the logs of which the structure was to be built. As an example of the ingenuity displayed by him at this early age, it is related that he loaded these logs upon the wagon without any assistance by backing his wagon up to a tree-trunk which had been cut and lay aslant in such a way that one end was on the ground, while the other was elevated, and then, with the aid of a log-chain and the use of his team, he drew the heavy logs up the slanting trunk and into the wagon. Many other incidents are related of his boy-hood, tending to show that he was even then possessed of the pluck and determination which was later displayed when the fate of a nation was at stake. Until he was seventeen years of age young Grant continued to. work at all sorts of manual labor about the farm and around the tannery of his father in the pioneer settlement of George-town. But neither mind or body became stunted for lack of parental care. His parents instructed him care-fully to the extent of their own ability, and for the balance of his early education he had to depend upon the "subscription schools" of Georgetown. Work and study were thus intermingled, and while the body grew to hardy proportions to withstand the hardships of campaigns upon the field, the mind was prepared in rough but strong rudiments for the mental requirements which the future was to demand of him. Young Grant was fond of agricultural pursuits, but averse to the tannery, and his father failed to enlist his sympathies ii that business to any extent. Both father and son were anxious that he should secure an education, but the means of the family, which now consisted of eight children, were limited, and West Point came to be looked upon as the only hope. Application was made, fortunately with success, and Grant arrived at West Point June 3, 1839. Dr. Henry Coppťe, who was at West Point at this time, describes him as a plain, common-sense, straightforward youth of quiet disposition, respected by all, and extremely popular in the small circle of those whom he called friends. Nearly all cadets had nick-names, and that bestowed upon Grant was, "Uncle Sam," on account of the initials of his name. It is related that he was an excellent horseman, but exhibited little enthusiasm in any of the branches of study, with the exception of mathematics as applied to mechanics and military engineering. General James H. Stokes, a classmate of Grant's, says that the "smart" set looked upon Grant as "countrified." He was rather slouchy in his air, and unsoldierly in his appearance. As a rider he had no superior at the academy. General James B. Fry, who arrived at West Point as a cadet in June, 1843, relates that he entered the riding hall as the members of the graduating class were being given their final mounted exercises. The board of visitors and a large number of spectators, both ladies and gentlemen, were present. H. R. Hershberger, the riding master, placed the leaping bar at a height of 6 feet 5 inches, and called, "Cadet Grant." Out from the ranks of the class, which was formed in line through the center of the hall, dashed a slender youth on a splendid horse and galloped down to the end of the hall. As he turned and came down toward the bar the animal increased his pace and a splendid picture was presented as horse and rider gathered them-selves for the effort. The bar was cleared perfectly and gracefully, while the spectators gazed with astonished admiration. "Cadet Grant," says Fry, "remained a living image in my memory." This feat has no equal in military annals. Grant graduated from West Point in June, 1843, as brevet second lieutenant in the Fourth United States Infantry. His service with the army began the following month at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, where his regiment was stationed. The following summer the regiment was ordered to Nachitoches, La. Texas was at this time fighting for independence, and war with Mexico was momentarily expected. The bill annexing Texas was signed March 1, 1845. The Fourth expected to be at once ordered to Mexico, but no movement came until July, and then only as far as New Orleans. In September the regiment proceeded to Corpus Christi, Texas, where General Zachary Taylor's army of occupation was located. Shortly after the arrival of the Fourth Regiment Taylor's force of 3,000 men crossed the Rio Grande and began to intrench itself before the Mexican town of Matamoras. Here began the war with Mexico. Lieutenant Grant's first taste of battle was at Palo Alto, where a large force of Mexicans was met. It was mainly an artillery duel, and Grant's conduct in this, his first fight, was admirable. In a skirmish at Resaca de la Palma, the following day, Grant led a charge, which resulted in the capture of a Mexican Colonel and several other prisoners. One incident of the Mexican War in which Grant's horsemanship came into play took place at Monterey. The Third and Fourth Regiments had succeeded in advancing to within a short distance of the plaza of the town where the Mexican troops were concentrated, and were under fire from troops posted on the roofs of houses, when suddenly the ammunition of the Americans gave out. A volunteer was called for to return to General Twiggs for a fresh supply, and Grant promptly responded, and ran the perilous gauntlet in safety. That evening the Mexicans surrendered. General Winfield Scott now became the ranking officer of the armies in Mexico, and throughout all of the battles under this General, Grant distinguished himself by his bravery, energy, and activity. He served as quarter-master during the march into the interior, and as such was exempt from active duty in the field, but every time his regiment went into action Grant occupied his post at the front. At Chapultepec, in September, 1846, he was in the front rank of skirmishers which led the attack. One of his distinguishing acts during this battle gained for him favorable mention from three of his superior officers. He discovered a church which commanded the rear of the gate to San Cosme. With a mountain howitzer and a few soldiers he broke into the church, mounted the howitzer in the steeple, and opened a disastrous fire upon the defenders of the gate. For this act of ingenuity and bravery he received the brevet of Captain, which was awarded in 1849, though not con-firmed until the following year. As the Americans were entering the city on September 14th Lieutenant Sidney Smith was killed. His death advanced Grant to the grade of first lieutenant. After the close of the war with Mexico Grant returned with his regiment to the United States, and in August, 1848, was married to Miss Julia Dent, of St. Louis, a sister of one of his West Point class-mates. For a brief time Grant was stationed at Sackett's Harbor, New York, and was then ordered to Detroit, where he passed two years in the ordinary duties of the garrison. Subsequently the regiment was ordered to California, a portion of it being detached for duty in Oregon. Grant's rank as captain had been confirmed, and July 5, 1853, he was given command of a company stationed at Humboldt Bay, California. Having served there through the winter and spring, he became disgusted with his life of inactivity and the cheerless surroundings, and resigned. He then settled upon a farm near St. Louis, but finding it neither pleasant nor profitable, and his health failing somewhat, he tried the real estate business in St. Louis, but soon gave it up, and became a clerk in the leather establishment which his father had set up at Galena, Ill., and which was being conducted by two of his younger brothers. In 186o Abraham Lincoln was elected President, and this was followed immediately by the secession of the Southern States. Grant immediately gave up all thought of leather and returned to the sword. Upon the President's call for troops, patriotic meetings were held, in which he was a leading spirit. A company of volunteers was raised, of which Grant was given charge. He was then called upon by Governor Yates, who had learned through a friend of Grant's military career, to assist the Adjutant-General of the State in mustering in the State's quota of troops. Grant had already. offered his services to the general Government, but no notice was taken of it. He went to Cincinnati and tried to get on the staff of McClellan, but failed. Governor Yates then commissioned him Colonel of the Twenty-First Illinois Volunteers. James Grant Wilson, in his story of the life of Grant, relates that long afterward Governor Yates raised his right hand and exclaimed : "It was the most glorious day of my life when I signed that commission." On August 7, 1861, Grant was commissioned Brigadier-General, and was sent to southern Missouri, which was threatened by the Confederates. The district of southeastern Missouri was placed under his command September 1st, and included portions on the borders of Kentucky and Tennessee. His head-quarters were at Cairo, the importance of which, strategetically, Grant immediately realized. Kentucky claimed to be neutral and forbade the establishment of military posts within her boundaries. This position, however, was not maintained against the South, and Grant, seeing the importance of the location of Paducah, sent a detachment and occupied it without even consulting his superiors. Early in November Grant was directed by Fremont to make demonstrations in the vicinity of Columbus, where the enemy was located in great strength. On November 5th a second dispatch came from Fremont, saying that Polk, in command at Columbus, was sending reinforcements into southwest-ern Missouri, and that it was of vital importance to check the further incursion into Missouri by making feints against Columbus and Belmont. November 6th Grant began his move against the enemy with 3,100 men on transports, attended by two gunboats, dropped down the river and made a pretense of landing on the Kentucky shore. During the night he learned that large bodies of the enemy were crossing from Columbus to Belmont, and although he had been ordered only to make demonstrations, he now determined to attack, and the troops were marched toward the Confederate encampment at Belmont. The whole force was deployed as skirmishers, and at 9 o'clock the attack began. Grant himself led an impetuous charge, captured the camp, together with several hundred prisoners, artillery, baggage, and stores, and drove the enemy to their transports. He then ordered the complete destruction of the encampment, and with the prisoners and captured artillery, started for his own transports. In the meantime large reinforcements had come from Columbus, and a panic was almost raised by a report, quickly spread, that they had been surrounded by the Rebels. A young officer dashed excitedly up to Grant and gave this startling information. "Well," said Grant, with that quiet demeanor so often afterward observed under most trying circumstances, "if that is true, we must cut our way out as we cut our way in." It was true, but Grant's conduct was so confident and inspiring that his officers valiantly led the troops to a second attack, and reached the transports in safety. The troops reŽmbarked and returned to Cairo. Grant's loss amounted to 85 killed, 300 wounded, and about 10o missing. The loss to the enemy was, all told, 642. Compared to subsequent engagements, in which Grant was the master spirit, this brief campaign was insignificant, yet it was characteristic of the man, and served as an indication of what was to come. It also gave Grant that estimation in the eyes of his soldiers which from that moment never waned. On his return to Cairo Grant briefly, but eloquently, thanked his soldiers for their courageous conduct. A few days later Fremont was superseded by General Halleck in the Western Department, and Grant's territory was enlarged to include all of southern Illinois, that part of Kentucky west of the Cumberland River, and the southern section of Missouri. During the winter he greatly increased his forces, organized and disciplined his army, and made every preparation to respond to any demand that might be made upon him. From reports that he had received, Grant was confident that Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, which had been called the Gibraltar of America, could be easily taken. The movement took place February 6, 1862. The plan was to be a combined naval and land attack, with Foote in command of the gunboats. While Grant with his army was struggling over the muddy roads in the direction of Fort Henry, Foote had already arrived, and after a brief bombardment, compelled the surrender of the enemy. Grant took possession and was ordered by Halleck, who had previously believed the place impregnable, to hold on to the position and strengthen it. Grant, however, had already turned his eyes toward Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, twelve miles distant. It was the key to Nashville, and he determined to reduce it. Leaving a force to hold Fort Henry, he marched with 15,000 men across the country, while Foote carried six regiments on his gunboats and went around to aid in the attack from the water front. The Rebel works were of great strength, being located on steep hills and protected naturally by gullies and ravines, while additional obstructions had been provided in the shape of large trees, which had been felled and so placed as to make an advance through their tangled branches seem impossible. It commanded both the river and the interior, mounted sixty-five cannon, and was held by 20,000 men. Grant's army appeared before the fort February 12th, and Foote having arrived, the attack began. After a short, determined contest, however, the fleet was disabled and driven off. Grant determined to closely invest the place, until Foote could repair his losses. A great semi-circle was formed around the works, and the Rebel commanders realized that they must take immediate action against the enemy or be starved into submission. The main force poured out of the fort against Grant's right wing. Smaller forces made feints against the center and left of the besieging army. At this time Grant was away consulting with Foote. On his way back to the army he was met by a courier, and, putting spurs to his horse, galloped forward and into the vortex of the battle. At the moment of his arrival a scene of confusion met his gaze. Thousands of fugitives were rushing about panic-stricken. The right had struggled long and heroically against the overwhelming Confederate forces, but was now being cut to pieces and scattered. His arrival was none too soon. In an instant he saw clearly what was to be done. Galloping to the left, commanded by Smith, he ordered an immediate attack on the Rebel works. He knew that this must be the enemy's weakest point. A braver charge was never made, and at dusk a portion of the outside works were captured. The weather had for days been extremely cold, and now a driving snowstorm added to the misery of the troops. Many were frozen to death during those terrible days before Donelson. The next morning a flag of truce was flung out by the Rebels. Floyd, who was in supreme command of the Fort, and Pillow, next in command, had, during the night, turned everything over to Brigadier-General Buckner, and had made their escape to Nashville. Buckner sent a communication to Grant, requesting an armistice until noon and the appointment of commissioners to agree upon terms of capitulation. But Grant was not a man of formalities. Without a second's hesitation, he dispatched the famous reply, "No other terms than unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." The surrender was at once effected. Over 17,000 small arms, 65 guns, and 15,000 prisoners was the result of the victory. It was the most important that had been gained, and February 16, 1862, became a memorable date in the war. All over the North church bells rang, guns thundered, and Grant's name was upon every lip. With the fall of Donelson, Nashville, Bowling Green, and Columbus were evacuated by the Confederates. With one strong blow Grant had broken down the whole line of the enemy's defense from the Mississippi to the Alleghany Mountains, and forced it beyond the State of Kentucky. General Halleck tried to rob Grant of the credit for this victory, but the greatness of the exploit was recognized at Washington, and the Secretary of War recommended Grant for the rank of Major-General. Just after this Grant proceeded to Nashville to consult with General Buell without first having asked Halleck's permission, and the latter's jealousy was so aroused that, by false reports to Washington, he was empowered to turn Grant's command over to General Smith for an advance into Tennessee, while Grant was ordered to remain in charge of the garrison at Fort Henry. As a consequence of this many false and injurious rumors concerning Grant were put in circulation, one of them being that, during the capture of Fort Donelson, Grant was drunk on the flagship of Foote's fleet. But the people were with Grant, and Halleck, finding that he could not injure his popularity, restored him to his command. This was on March 13th, and Grant joined the army at Savannah, nine miles below Pittsburg Landing. His directions were to act on the defensive until the arrival of Buell with 40,000 troops from Columbia, about ninety miles away. For three weeks the army lay waiting, while the Confederates, under Johnston, were daily gaining strength. On learning of the approach of Buell, Johnston decided to strike Grant's army before Buell's arrival. On April 6th, the Confederates attacked in full force. Grant was breakfasting at Savannah when the battle opened, and, surmising what was taking place, he dispatched a courier to hurry Buell along and another to Wallace, whose division was at Crump's Landing, five miles away. He then pushed to the front and found the divisions of Sherman and McClernand magnificently battling against great odds. The situation was desperate. Grant moved about from point to point, calmly smoking a cigar and urging the men to hold their ground until the arrival of reinforcements. But as the hours passed and the ranks grew thinner and thinner, nothing was heard either from Buell or Wallace. Finally, late in the afternoon, Buell arrived, but accompanied only by a few staff officers, having left his army far in the rear Buell regarded the day as lost, but Grant doggedly asserted that, "I don't despair of whipping them yet." At last darkness came, and the fighting ceased. A terrific storm broke on the exhausted troops. Instead of seeking shelter Grant went from one commander to another giving instructions for the attack, which he had deter-mined to make the following morning. At midnight he stretched himself upon the ground, resting his head against a stump, and with the rain beating down upon him and drenching him to the skin, he composedly went to sleep, sharing the sufferings and hardships of the common soldier. The following morning the battle was resumed. It continued unabated through the day, the Confederates gradually yielding before the Union troops. Colonel Radeau relates an incident which took place near the close of the day. Grant was watching a stubborn fight at the edge of a wood between his own troops and those of the enemy. He saw that his troops were be-ginning to give way, and, glancing about, saw the First Ohio Regiment marching toward a distant part of the field. He placed himself at their head and led the charge to relieve the wavering ranks, which were at this moment retreating before the enemy. The charge was successful and the Confederates were swept from one of the last important positions in the battle of Shiloh; or, as it is sometimes called, Pittsburg Landing. Grant's total loss in this terrible conflict was 12,217, that of the enemy i i,000. Johnston had fallen during the battle and was succeeded by Beauregard. The great losses of the Federal army in this battle caused a great outcry against Grant. Congressman and Governors demanded his removal, but so extreme a step was not taken, Halleck, however, now placed himself at the head of the army, with Grant nominally second in command. His position was practically one of disgrace and humiliation. He made, however, no defense and uttered no complaint. Having reorganized the army, it took Halleck six weeks to advance fifteen miles. Grant had been criticised for not throwing up intrenchments, but Halleck practically "dug his way to Corinth." When he arrived there the enemy had vanished, leaving an empty town and a few wooden guns. A pursuit was barren of result, and, finally, after further pursuing his system of throwing up intrenchments and waiting in vain for attacks, Halleck was called to Washington. On leaving, he offered the command of the Army of the Tennessee to Colonel Allen, a quartermaster, who declined it. This again gave Grant the command of the army, and he fortified Corinth in such a way that it could be held by a small force. October 3d, the Rebel forces advanced against Corinth, 40,000 strong, and though defended by but 19,000, the enemy was repulsed with great loss. A grand expedition against Vicksburg was now planned, and Grant's department, being enlarged to cover the Mississippi to this place, he concentrated his army and arrived at Young's Point January 29, 1863. Vicksburg was deemed impregnable. It occupied the bluffs commanding the river, and was surrounded by a net work of swamps, bayous, and rivers, the largest of the latter being the Yazoo, flowing from the east and entering the Mississippi nine miles above Vicksburg. On Haines' Bluff there were heavy batteries, and all along from there to Vicksburg, a distance of eleven miles, and thence to Warrenton, six miles below Vicksburg, the high lands were covered with batteries and rifle pits. The only approach was through the swamps and marshes. The great problem which now confronted Grant was to secure a foothold on the high land east of the Mississippi. The herculean task which Grant now entered upon, the suffering and privation which he and his army endured for months, the failures and successes, the brilliant campaign, which resulted in the capture of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, would require a separate volume if all of the elaborate plans of attack and difficulties encountered in the general plan upon Vicksburg were to be enumerated in detail. Finally, on May 19th, with three corps in position from the Mississippi below to the Yazoo above Vicksburg, he had the place completely invested. Colonel Badeau, the military biographer of Grant, says of this great exploit, "After long months of toiling and waiting after repeated failures, till the enemy laughed in derision at Grant's futile obstinacy, he had at last, by one of the most brilliant military movements on record, succeeded in flinging his strong arms around the Gibraltar of the Mississippi. From the perseverance he had shown from the outset, from the tireless energy with which he had worked undeviatingly toward that single point; from the tremendous blows he had dealt the foe, as he bore swiftly down upon it, he had astonished his own army and paralyzed that of his adversaries." Not the least remarkable part of the movement against Vicksburg was the famous twenty days' campaign preceding the establishment of his base at Chickasaw Landing, which gave him the final grip upon the doomed city. This is summed up by Colonel Badeau as follows : "In that time Grant had marched more than 200 miles, beaten two armies in five several battles, captured twenty-seven heavy cannon, sixty-one pieces of field artillery, taken 26,500 prisoners, and killed and wounded at least 6,000 Rebels more. He had forced the evacuation of Grand Gulf, seized the capital of the State, destroyed the rail-roads of Jackson for a distance of more than thirty miles, and invested the principal Rebel stronghold on the Mississippi River. Separating forces twice as numerous as his own, he had beaten first, at Port Gibson, a portion of Pemberton's army; then, at Raymond and Jackson, the troops under Johnston's immediate command; and again, at Champion Hill and the Big Black River, the whole force that Pemberton dared take outside the works at Vicksburg. Starting without teams, and with an average of two days' rations in haversacks, he had picked up wagons in the country, and subsisted principally on for-age and rations that he found on the road. Only five days' rations had been issued in twenty days. His losses were 698 killed, 3,407 wounded, and 30 missing in all.
At 2 o'clock on the afternoon of May 19th a general assault was made all along against the Rebel line. Everywhere was the assault repulsed. On the 22d a second and more determined attempt was made, sup-ported by Admiral Porter, with all his guns from the river. All day the earth shook with the thunder of cannonading, the terrible assault covering miles of space, where storming columns dashed against the hostile works to be cut down by a desolating fire of canister and grape. Still no impression was made upon the formidable works of the enemy. Days and weeks passed. Gradually the work of sapping and mining proceeded and trenches were pushed forward on every side. Mean while the sharpshooters kept up incessant firing to pre-vent interference with the work. At last, on the 25th of June, the day fixed for the explosion of the mines arrived. The fuse was ignited, and was followed by a spectacle grand and terrible. The surrounding country shook, as if with the shock of an earthquake. Debris of every kind was thrown hundreds of feet into the air. At the same moment the artillery opened all along the line. Into the crater made by the explosion sprang a column of troops which had been held in readiness for that purpose. A fierce struggle took place and the enemy retired to an interior line. The assault continued until darkness all along the lines. July 1st another mine was sprung, and another abyss formed and occupied. On July 3d Pemberton proposed an armistice to arrange terms of capitulation. At 3 o'clock that afternoon Grant and Pemberton met on a grassy slope just outside the fortifications. Each dismounted, advanced on foot, and the two shook hands. Pemberton asked Grant what terms he proposed. Grant replied that only unconditional surrender of city and garrison would be accepted. Pemberton haughtily replied that under those circumstances hostilities might as well be immediately resumed. "Very well," replied Grant, and the two turned and parted. General Bowen, however, who accompanied Pemberton, proposed a further discussion. Pemberton eagerly pressed for terms that would somewhat soften his humiliation. Finally terms were agreed upon for the surrender of the city and the paroles of officers and men upon laying down their arms. The following morning, the Fourth of July, the garrison marched out by regiments, stacked their arms, gave up their colors, and marched back into the city, to remain prisoners of war until paroled. On Saturday, July 11 11th, everything having been completed, the weaponless army marched forth. Four days later Port Hudson fell, thus opening the Mississippi throughout its entire length. In a letter written by President Lincoln, July 13, 1863, to General Grant, he acknowledges the great service done to the country, admits that he regarded Grant's plans in the attempt on Vicksburg a mistake and concludes, "You were right and I was wrong." The campaign of Vicksburg cost Grant in killed and wounded and missing 8,873 men, while the loss to the enemy was 56,000 troops, besides vast stores of war material and public property.
For three months following the fall of Vicksburg, Grant and his army remained practically idle, many of his troops being sent to reinforce movements in other sections of the country. But events were hurrying Grant forward to the high position which he was destined to reach. On the last day of September, Halleck, having become fully alive to the perilous state of affairs in the Cumberland department, telegraphed Grant requesting him to proceed to Nashville to take charge of the movement of troops of which Rosecrans was in pressing need. Grant went to Cairo, and there received a telegram directing him to go to Louisville with his staff. He started the same day, and at Indianapolis was met by the Secretary of War himself, with an order consolidating the three departments of Ohio, Cumberland, and his own into one, to be called the military division of the Mississippi. Grant was placed at the head of this division, with full power to plan and execute his campaigns without interference from any one. Grant's first act after assuming this authority was to place Thomas in command of the Army of the Cumberland instead of Rosecrans, and his first message to Thomas was, "Hold Chattanooga at all hazards." Thomas promptly responded, "I will hold it till we starve." Grant himself soon joined Thomas at Chattanooga. The army was in a half-starved condition. Bragg, with a large force of Confederates, held the river between Chattanooga and Bridgeport the terminus of the railroad from Nashville so that the only means of getting supplies was over the Cumberland Mountains, a distance of sixty miles. The heights all around Chattanooga on every side were occupied by the Rebel armies and fortifications. Grant's first care was to provide means for the feeding of the troops. This was accomplished by clearing the enemy out of Lookout Valley and opening the river as far as Bridgeport, which left but nine miles of land transportation for supplies. Grant's next move was to drive the enemy from the threatening heights. Before this could be attempted, Sherman must arrive from Memphis 400 miles away. Grant ordered Sherman to disregard his previous orders to repair the railroad as he proceeded, and to drop everything and hurry forward. Sherman reached Chattanooga November 15th. Grant rapidly matured his plans, and on November 25th, the several divisions having gained during the preceding days the various strategic positions assigned to them, made those unsurpassed charges up the precipitous sides of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge and gained glorious victories in the face of the most desperate resistance. The trophies of the day were 6,000 prisoners and forty cannon. The next day Bragg was in full flight with the victors in hot pursuit. It continued for two days, and was stopped at Grant's order only for the purpose of sending relief to Burnside at Knoxville, which was besieged by the army of Longstreet. On the approach of the reinforcements Longstreet withdrew and rapidly retreated eastward. This ended one of the most brilliant campaigns conducted by Grant or any other commander. He had in a brief period driven 45,000 men from positions that were considered impregnable, relieved all East Tennessee and firmly established a base for further operations in the interior. He received from President Lincoln a telegram expressing the most pro-found admiration and gratitude. On December 17th, Congress voted a resolution of thanks to Grant and his soldiers, and a gold medal was struck in his honor. On February 29, 1864, Congress passed a bill which revived the grade of Lieutenant-General, and promptly con-firmed the nomination of Grant to the high position, never before occupied except by two men, Washington and Scott. Grant was ordered by the President to report at Washington, and arrived there March 4th. His arrival was the signal for wildest demonstrations of enthusiasm, and he was lionized to the fullest gratification but greatly to his own annoyance, expressed by this simple soul in the remark, "I hope soon to get away from Washington, for I am tired of this show business."
Grant had no faith in the many visionary schemes which were propounded and fostered to bring the rebellion to an end. He was certain that it would not end until the military power of one or the other was broken. Atlanta and Richmond now became the two points toward which he turned his thoughts, and he determined to assail the two great armies of the South, that of Lee on the Rapidan and Johnston at Dalton, with all the strength at his command. To Meade, the commander of the Army of the Potomac, his simple order was, "Where Lee goes, go after him." When spring came, the public expected a great movement to begin and it came, although not so quickly as had been expected. Grant had carefully gone over all the problems that con-fronted him, and finally gave the signal which set three great armies, composed of more than a quarter of a mil-lion men in motion. The army of Lee was stretched for miles along the Rapidan and held all the fords. On the morning of May 4th the mighty host which was to sweep him to destruction began to move. Grant was desirous of getting between Lee and Richmond, and for this purpose sent his army across the Potomac. He did not desire to battle in that vast wilderness now occupied by Lee, but it was the plan of the latter to bring about this very result. The fighting in the Wilderness began on the morning of May 5th. To Grant it was a surprise. The conditions of campaigning in the Wilderness and the battle of this day is well summed up in Swinton's "Army of the Potomac," in these words: "The woods of the 'Wilderness have not the ordinary features of a forest. The region rests on a belt of mineral rocks, and for above a hundred years extensive mining has been carried on. To feed the mines, the timber of the country for many miles around had been cut down, and in place there had arisen a dense undergrowth and low-limbed and scraggy pines, scrub oaks, and hazel. It is a region of gloom and the shadow of death. Maneuvering here was out of the question, and only Indian tactics told. The troops could only receive directions by a point of the compass, for not only were the lines of battle entirely hidden from the sight of the commander, but no officer could see ten files on each side of him. Artillery was wholly ruled out of use, the massive concentration of 300 guns stood silent. Cavalry was still more useless. But in that horrid thicket there lurked 200,000 men, and through it lurid fires played ; and though no array of battle could be seen, there came out of it the crackle and roll of musketry, like the noisy boiling of some hell-cauldron, that told the dread story of death. Such was the battle of the Wilderness." The fighting ceased only with the fall of darkness, and the next morning found the army of Grant no further advanced than when the battle began. In fact, some ground had been lost. But Grant determined to continue the deadly contest. Longstreet arrived with a fresh army in the night, and although he recoiled at the first resistless rush of the Federals, the Texans made so gallant a charge that Grant's troops were compelled to fall back. For seven miles over the uneven ground and in dark ravines the slaughter continued for another day. The third day both armies were too exhausted to fight, and that night Grant tried to march around Lee at Spottsylvania. Lee knew of the march within an hour and sent troops by a shorter route to intercept his foe. For days the fighting continued, until, on June 12th, finding himself unable to break through the enemy's lines, Grant, under cover of darkness, struck across the country to the James River, and crossed it. In this disastrous campaign, Grant had lost nearly 6o,000 men and had thus far accomplished nothing. The losses of Lee, it is asserted, did not exceed 10,000. But Grant was now beginning to make himself felt in the vicinity of Petersburg and Richmond, and through the fall and winter his operations were everywhere meeting with flattering success. March 24, 1865, the final great movement began. On April 2d Petersburg fell. It was the last straw, and Lee at once advised the Confederate President to evacuate Richmond. In the meantime the fighting in front of that city had reached its limits. The Confederates could no longer continue the struggle to save the Capital. On the morning of April 3d the advance of the Federal army entered the city and the Stars and Stripes was hoisted over the Capitol, while Grant continued to press after the conquered foe. The pursuit continued until the 9th, when Lee found himself practically hemmed in on all sides at Appomattox. On that morning he requested an interview regarding terms of surrender, which Grant had two days previously advised him to do. The two great soldiers met and clasped hands in the house of Wilmer McLean at Appomattox. They had served together in the Mexican War, and remembered each other. Grant sat down and wrote out the terms of surrender, and Lee, after reading the document and discussing the details to some extent, signed the agreement. To all intents and purposes this ended the war. It was followed April 26th by the surrender of Johnston to Sherman. Mobile had fallen April 11th, and the other Southern armies surrendered gradually, the last being on May 26th. Grant visited Washington, where a grand review, the most imposing this country has ever witnessed, was held. In New York, Chicago, and everywhere where Grant appeared he met with great and spontaneous ovations, not the least of them being the town of Galena, Ill., which was the point from which he had started for the war. Numerous swords were presented to him, and gifts of every description were showered upon him by States, municipalities, and private individuals who admired his skill and success. In July, 1866, Congress created the title of General, never before in existence in America, and conferred it upon Grant. In 1868 Grant was nominated for President and elected by the almost unanimous vote of the Nation. After serving his first term he was reŽlected. During his service as President, Grant proved himself no less a statesman than he had been a warrior. A third term as President was offered him, but he firmly refused to accept it. He now had the opportunity to gratify a desire which had clung to him from youth, to see the Old World and its wonders. He set sail from Philadelphia May 17, 1877, accompanied by Mrs. Grant and his youngest son. He visited nearly every country upon the earth, and was everywhere accorded the highest honors. His return to the United States was the signal for another series of ovations such as has been accorded to few citizens of this Nation. Early in the year 1884, General Grant began to be troubled with the illness which proved his last. It was cancer of the tongue, and from the first there was no hope that he could be cured. His closing days were given up to preparing his autobiography, in which he wished to be strictly accurate in the smallest matters.
Facing the last enemy, the gallant soldier remained as undismayed as had been his habit on the field of battle. He died peacefully on the morning of Thursday, July 23, 1885. His death was felt the world over, and expressions of regret and sympathy came from every quarter of the globe. His mortal remains lie under a magnificent monument in Riverside Park in the City of New York. Cut into the enduring marble of his tomb are the memorable words he uttered at the first convention which nominated him for the Presidency : "Let us have peace."