Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America. Grant began his lifelong career as a soldier after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1843. Fighting in the Mexican-American War, he was a close observer of the techniques of Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. He resigned ...
Ulysses S. Grant was the 18th President of the United States as well as military commander during the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction periods. Under Grant's command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America. Grant began his lifelong career as a soldier after graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1843. Fighting in the Mexican-American War, he was a close observer of the techniques of Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. He resigned from the Army in 1854, then struggled to make a living in St. Louis and Galena, Illinois. After the American Civil War began in April 1861, he joined the Union war effort, taking charge of training new regiments and then engaging the Confederacy near Cairo, Illinois. In 1862, he fought a series of major battles and captured a Confederate army, earning a reputation as an aggressive general who seized control of most of Kentucky and Tennessee at the Battle of Shiloh. In July 1863, after a long, complex campaign, he defeated five Confederate armies (capturing one of them) and seized Vicksburg. This famous victory gave the Union control of the Mississippi River, split the Confederacy, and opened the way for more Union victories and conquests. After another victory at the Battle of Chattanooga in late 1863, President Abraham Lincoln promoted him to the rank of lieutenant general and gave him charge of all of the Union Armies. As Commanding General of the United States Army from 1864 to 1865, Grant confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of very high casualty battles known as the Overland Campaign that ended in a stalemate siege at Petersburg. During the siege, Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns launched by William Tecumseh Sherman, Philip Sheridan, and George Thomas. Finally breaking through Lee's trenches at Petersburg, the Union Army captured Richmond, the Confederate capital, in April 1865. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. Soon after, the Confederacy collapsed and the Civil War ended. During Reconstruction, Grant remained in command of the Army and implemented the Congressional plans to reoccupy the South and hold new elections in 1867 with black voters. This gave Republicans control of the Southern states. Enormously popular in the North after the Union's victory, he was elected to the presidency in 1868. Reelected in 1872, he became the first president to serve two full terms since Andrew Jackson did so forty years earlier. As president, he led Reconstruction by signing and enforcing civil rights laws and fighting Ku Klux Klan violence. He helped rebuild the Republican Party in the South, an effort that resulted in the election of African Americans to Congress and state governments for the first time. Despite these civil rights accomplishments, Grant's presidency was marred by economic turmoil and multiple scandals. His response to the Panic of 1873 and the severe depression that followed was heavily criticized. His low standards in Cabinet and federal appointments and lack of accountability generated corruption and bribery in seven government departments. In 1876, his reputation was severely damaged by the graft trials of the Whiskey Ring. In addition, his image as a war hero was tarnished by corruption scandals during his presidency. He left office at the low point of his popularity. After leaving office, Grant embarked on a two-year world tour that was received favorably with many royal receptions. In 1880, he made an unsuccessful bid for a third presidential term. In 1884, broke and dying of cancer, he wrote his memoirs. Historians have ranked his Administration poorly due to tolerance of corruption. His presidential reputation has improved among scholars who are impressed by the Administration's support for civil rights for freed slaves.
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U. S. Grant's Memoirs is a basic part of any military library! This edition is as good as any soft cover book can get. Thoroughly enjoying it!
Feb 2, 2012
This book is an absolute must for anyone who has a library that includes books on warfare, presidential decision making and historic perspective.
Nov 6, 2008
Both this publication and the Personal Memoirs of Julia Dent Grant hold particular interest to me as they are my father's father's father's mother's mother's parents and through these writing I can now trace my paternal family history back to 1631. This book is of particular interest to me, as it was written by Grant himself and projects his personality through the stories he tells on himself and the humor he exhibits.
However, at times, I found myself having to reread to be sure I was correctly understanding what he was putting down, as the venacular of 125 years past (as well as punctuation) has, obviously, undergone some drastic changes. As with Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, the written word was more "artistic" in the 1800s and even makes the science of soldiering and warfare come alive. Of course, having been a history buff for many, many years and being a resident of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and thus, having been immersed in the history and battles of the Civil War in this and other areas (comes with the territory of living here), it holds particular interest because of my familiarity with the names of the "players" (General's, batallions, etc.,).
I do recommend that his memoirs be read with either maps close at hand (US and Mexico) or Google Earth. Makes the reading so much more interesting when you have some understanding of the terraine and distances covered. If you have been fortunate enough to have personally travelled any of the routes he takes you over in his memoirs, it compounds the comprehension of the awesome changes that have occured to our lands over the past 125 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed this read! Of course, I may be biased. lol
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