Four American Patriots - Alma H. Burton

The Story of Ulysses S. Grant

Grant, Ulysses

Naming the Baby

Jesse Root Grant was a young tanner who lived in Clermont County, Ohio. It is said that his ancestors belonged to a Scottish clan whose motto was: "Stand fast, stand firm, stand sure."

His great-grandfather, "honest Matthew" Grant, landed on Nantasket Beach, in Massachusetts, in 1630, just ten years after the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. His grandfather was a soldier in the French and Indian war, and his father was a lieutenant in the Revolution.

Jesse Grant was proud of his ancestors. He tried to honor their memory by his own upright life and often said that "Stand fast, stand firm, stand sure" was just as good a motto for an American as for a Scotchman.

He was so honest and industrious that he was respected by all who knew him.

After he had saved enough money to build a house he married pretty Hannah Simpson. Their new home was at Point Pleasant near the Ohio River. The country around them was rough and wild, and Indians prowled in the forests, but they did not seem to mind that.

Young Grant whitewashed his cottage inside and out; he planted seeds for vines at the doorway and made a gravel walk to the gate.

Hannah wove mats for the floor and put curtains at the windows and hung all her new bright tins on the wall.

They were very happy; and on the 27th of April, 1822, the first baby came. It was a great event for the whole neighborhood.

"A boy, is it?" said one. "Well, if he's a second Jesse he'll be a blessing to Clermont County."

"Aye, and to the state, and to the United States," said another.

Many names were proposed for the new corner, but the doting parents were not satisfied with any of them.

The weeks went by. "Hello, Baby!" said Jesse, when he entered the house. "Bye-bye, Baby!" he called when he went away.

One day Hannah said: "It will never do. See what a big boy he is already. He must have a name. Let us drive over to father's and ask him about it."

And so when baby Grant was a month old he was bundled up and taken to Grandfather Simpson's in search of a name.

Grandfather and grandmother and two aunts were at the door to receive him. How proud the old folks were when they looked into the round, blue eyes of their first grandchild! And how the aunts laughed and chattered as they took off his shawls and showed his pink little hands and feet.

"What is his name?" they all cried in a breath.

"Well," said Hannah, "Jesse wants one name and I want another, and you shall decide. Which shall it be, Albert, after Albert Gallatin, the statesman of Pennsylvania, or Ulysses, after the hero of the Greeks?"

"Neither, daughter, neither," said Grandfather Simpson. "The name above all is Hiram, that of the king whom Solomon loved."

"Oh no!" cried one of the aunts, "Theodore is so much prettier than either of the others."

"Well, well," said Grandfather Simpson; "let us ballot for the name. Bring pen, ink and paper and write what you like on a slip. We will then put the ballots into a hat and shake them, and the one first picked out shall be the name."

The smiling old farmer held out the hat and all the votes went in. Little did he think that ballots would ever make his grandchild president of the United States!

The hat was shaken with a will. A slip was taken out: "Ulysses!" said Hannah, "its just what I wanted."

But the grandfather looked so disappointed that the child was called Hiram Ulysses. Now Hiram was a wise and upright ruler, and Ulysses was a warrior who fought for his country and then traveled over the whole known world.

I am sure that when you have read about Hiram Ulysses Grant you will say that he resembled his namesakes very much.

The Home in Georgetown

When Ulysses was nearly a year old, Mr. Grant moved to Georgetown, a little village about forty miles east of Cincinnati.

He built a house near a creek which emptied into the Ohio river, and established a tannery to make skins into leather.

Ulysses grew very fast and was petted by everybody. One day, when he was two years old, there was a celebration of some kind in Georgetown. Perhaps it was because John Quincy Adams had just been elected President of the United States. Many people were on the streets. Jesse Grant held Ulysses high up in his arms to see the procession.

"Hello, Lyss!" said a boy with a pistol. "Want to shoot? Let him fire it, Mr. Grant."

The father put the baby fingers to the trigger. Bang! went the pistol. The women screamed; but Ulysses did not wink or dodge.

"Fick it again! Fick it again!" he shouted in glee, and again the report rang out.

"He'll make a general, sure," said a bystander.

Ulysses often played in the tan bark near the mill. He saw trading flat-boats float down the Ohio river loaded with apples, cider, and corn; and family barges carrying settlers farther west; and sometimes a steamer passed by, with loud whistles and a great deal of smoke.

When he was older he ground tan bark for his father by driving in a circle a horse hitched to the bark-mill. He learned to swim and dive in a deep hole in the creek. He skated, and trapped rabbits in winter; and he amused himself all the year round much as other boys do.

He was not very brilliant at school. He was shy and slow, but because he was diligent he almost always succeeded in what he attempted to do.

"Believe that you can and you can," said Ulysses.

He would not lie. His honest blue eyes looked straight into the eyes of his playmates and they believed whatever he said.

He sometimes brought his friends home with him to spend the night. They would gather about the kitchen hearth, where the fire blazed high, and play checkers, or tell riddles while they ate apples or cracked hickory nuts, and after a game of fox-and-geese they went to bed in the loft overhead.

The first book that Ulysses read through was a Life of George Washington. Once he came near being punished because he defended the name of Washington. It came about in this way: His cousin John, who lived in Canada, made him a visit. Because Canada belonged to England, John was loyal to his king. He thought the United States should be an English province.

He said to Ulysses: "Your boasted Washington was a traitor when he fought against King George."

"You say that again and I'll thrash you," shouted Ulysses.

"I do say it again," said the little Canadian.

Both boys had pluck. Coats were off and the battle waxed fierce between the American eagle and the British lion.

In the end John lay sprawling on the ground. When Ulysses went into the house his mother saw that he had been in a fight. She made ready to punish him with a birch rod.

But his father said: "I do not think you ought to whip him. He has never quarreled with his cousin before. He fought in defense of his country, and he ought to defend his country." And so the boy escaped punishment.

From the time he could walk, Ulysses showed great love for horses. When he was about seven years old he climbed to the manger, put a collar and harness on a young colt, and then made the animal haul brushwood all day long.

At ten he drove with some leather from Georgetown to Cincinnati, and brought passengers back with him. He would ride bareback standing on one foot while his horse ran at full speed.

Once there was much excitement about a tricky pony that came to town. It was said to go round a ring like lightning and throw anyone who tried to ride it. Ulysses sat among the boys as the pony was led out.

"Will some one step up and ride this pony?" asked the jockey, smiling and bowing.

Ulysses mounted the pony. It began to kick and plunge; and when the little rider kept his seat it ran round the ring at full speed. Then out jumped a monkey and sprang on the boy's shoulder and pulled his hair, while the pony ran faster than ever. Ulysses sat bolt upright.

He did not smile nor look to the right or the left. The monkey chattered; the pony drooped its ears; and everybody laughed as the mortified jockey led them away.

The West Point Cadet

One day when Ulysses was busy in the tannery his father said: "My son, I believe you are going to receive the appointment."

"What appointment, father?"

"To West Point. I have applied for it."

Ulysses knew that a boy had just failed in the examination at West Point. He was afraid lest he also would fail, and so he said: "I don't want to go, father."

"But I wish it," said his father.

"Well, then, I suppose I shall go," he replied. He studied hard to prepare for the examination.

The people of Georgetown could scarcely believe that Lyss Grant was going to West Point. They looked upon him as a dull boy who cared only for horses, and they laughed at the idea of his wearing brass buttons and shoulder straps.

In 1839, when he was just seventeen years old, Ulysses set out for Ripley, which was the landing for the steamboat bound for Pittsburg.

He wore a new suit of clothes and had a hundred dollars in his pocket; but, for all that, his courage was at a low ebb. If he failed in examination he would only be making the long journey to bring disgrace on his family.

When he reached Pittsburg he took the canal boat to Harrisburg; then he rode in a railroad car to Philadelphia. The train traveled at the rate of twelve miles an hour, which seemed to be wonderfully fast.

At Philadelphia he called on his aunts. They made much of him and showed him about the Quaker City. He visited Carpenters' Hall where the first Continental Congress had met, and Federal Hall where President Washington had delivered his famous farewell address before Congress, and where John Adams had been inaugurated the second president of the United States. He went to the graveyard on Arch street where Benjamin Franklin lay buried, and he saw the old Penn mansion where Benedict Arnold, who became a traitor to his country, once lived with his beautiful Tory wife.

Ulysses wished he might stay longer in Philadelphia; but he was obliged to say good-bye to his kind aunts. He was soon in New York City.

And then one bright May morning he stepped on a steamboat and was carried up the Hudson River. When someone at his elbow said that the low buildings on the left bank were the West Point barracks his heart sank within him. He dreaded the examination very much.

At last the trial was over. Young Grant was found to be sound in body and more than five feet high and he answered enough questions for admission to West Point.

This meant that he could enter one of the best schools in the country. The United States government would pay him for learning to be a trained soldier and a polished gentleman; and when he had finished his studies he would receive a commission in the regular army.

Hiram Ulysses Grant was enrolled as Ulysses Simpson Grant through a mistake of the congressman who appointed him to the position. Ulysses tried to have the name changed; but he was called Ulysses Simpson the rest of his life.

Most of the cadets received nicknames. One was called "Dad" because his hair was turning gray; another "Doc "because he had clerked in a drug store; another "Chub "because he was stout. Ulysses was called "Uncle Sam "because his initials were "U. S."

He was, at first, put into the awkward squad, and a few snobs called him "mudsill "when they saw how awkward he was.

But he had no false pride to be hurt; and he was always so modest and manly that he soon won the respect of all.

There was much to do at West Point. The drum beat at five o'clock in the morning and the infantry drilled five days in the week. The lessons were long and difficult. There were maps of battlefields to draw, bridges to make, forts to build and entrenchments to fortify. There was engineering practice and artillery and cavalry drill.

Ulysses was the most daring rider in his class. "Old York" was a famous horse in camp which only one other besides himself dared to mount.

When seated on Old York he cleared a fence six feet and three inches high, which was the most noted leap ever made in the school.

Grant was four years at West Point. He marched in review before President Martin Van Buren; but whenever he saw General Winfield Scott ride about the drill ground on his splendid horse he thought he would rather be a general than a president.

When Grant was graduated he received a commission as lieutenant of the 4th infantry regiment of the United States army.

He returned home for a vacation before going to camp with the regular army. His friends in Georgetown found him much changed. He was taller and straighter, and his dress was always neat.

At first he took pride in wearing his full uniform; but one day his pride had a fall. As he was returning home from a stroll, in fine humor with himself, he saw a drunken stable-boy parading in front of his house. The fellow's ragged shirt was adorned with brass buttons and his nankeen pantaloons had a white stripe sewed down the seams. He wore neither hat nor shoes; but he held his head very high and marched up and down with the stately step of the new lieutenant, while street urchins cheered him on.

This parade taught Grant a lesson, and he resolved to wear his uniform only when duty required it.

The Mexican War

Lieutenant Grant began military service for the United States in 1843. The standing army numbered about ten thousand men. The troops were scattered in small squads about the country; for we were at peace with all the world except the Indians.

Grant was sent with the 4th infantry regiment to Missouri. He went on duty at Jefferson barracks, near St. Louis. The Indians did not make much trouble, and camp life was dull; but he spent many pleasant evenings in St. Louis at the home of the Dents.

Pretty little Julia Dent was the sister of his West Point roommate, and Grant soon became her devoted admirer.

It was not long before there was much talk about the new state of Texas. Texas had once been a part of Mexico. When Santa Anna became president of that republic he was so unpopular that the Texans refused to live under his rule. They set up a republic of their own with Samuel Houston, an American, as president.

Then Santa Anna marched his army across the Rio Grande River to conquer the rebellious province; but he was forced to march back again.

France, England, and the United States acknowledged the independence of Texas. Most of the citizens in that country were Americans, and they soon asked that their state might be annexed to the United States.

The people of the South wanted Texas admitted to the Union. It was a fine cotton country, it had a long sea coast for shipping to foreign ports, and it might be divided into several slave states.

But the people of the North bitterly opposed the admission of Texas because they did not wish slavery extended.

At last near the close of President John Tyler's administration Texas was admitted. The new state soon caused trouble. A dispute arose about the southern boundary line. The Mexicans claimed that it was on the river Nueces, but the Texans said that it extended farther south to the Rio Grande.

President James K. Polk took the side of Texas in the quarrel and, in 1846, he sent General Zachary Taylor with an army to the disputed territory.

Lieutenant Grant and his regiment hastened to join General Taylor.

The Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande and attacked the Americans. General Taylor drove them back across the river.

Grant's company guarded the artillery; the young lieutenant proved so useful that he was made quartermaster to look after supplies.

General Taylor soon marched against Monterey. This was the largest city in northern Mexico. It lay in the midst of beautiful orchards and vineyards, and was guarded by ten thousand Mexican soldiers.

While the battle was raging the ammunition in Grant's regiment gave out. Someone must order more. The headquarters were four miles away on the other side of the camp. To reach them a courier must ride straight through the enemy's city.

Grant volunteered to go on the dangerous errand. He mounted a swift horse, hung one foot over the saddle and, catching hold by the mane, started off like a Comanche Indian. Away the horse flew through the streets of Monterey, while muskets were being fired from all the windows. Neither horse nor rider was hurt, and Grant soon returned, with a wagon load of ammunition.

Monterey was captured, and then Grant's regiment was sent to the mouth of the Rio Grande to join General Winfield Scott on his way to the City of Mexico.

General Scott landed with his army at Vera Cruz. The troops marched within sight of volcanoes crowned with snow, and past ruined temples and pyramids; built by the Aztec Indians long before the Spaniards discovered Mexico.

The army fought as it marched. The nearer it came to the capital the more it was opposed by the desperate enemy.

Grant was always in the thickest of the fight. He received promotion at Molino del Rey, or the Mill of the King. This was a long stone fortification where grain was stored. While the batteries were bombarding the strong, wall, Grant and a few others forced a gate, climbed to a roof, and captured six Mexican officers and several privates.

The King's Mill was taken; but between it and Mexico stood a high mound called Chapultepec. Its rocky sides were bristling with guns. The mound was taken after a hard fight.

Grant, with a few volunteers, pulled a small cannon under an aqueduct, which carried water into Mexico. He crept along in the shadow of its pillars till he reached a church which overlooked the city. With his comrades he dragged the cannon up to the belfry and, opening fire, dislodged the enemy from an important position.

"That was a brilliant idea!" exclaimed the commanding officer, and he sent Lieutenant Pemberton to bring Grant to headquarters to receive his personal thanks.

This Lieutenant Pemberton, as we shall see, would one day be defeated by Grant on quite another field of battle. Major Robert E. Lee made special mention of Grant in his report on Chapultepec. "Second Lieutenant Grant," he said, "behaved with distinguished gallantry." Major Lee little thought that the time would come when he and Grant would be the commanders of opposing armies in a great civil war.

Mexico surrendered. When General Scott entered the city Grant was at his side

The army went into camp while waiting for a treaty of peace to be signed. Grant was still quartermaster. The soldiers were ragged, and he set Mexican tailors to work on new uniforms. Provisions were almost gone and he rented a stone bakery, bought flour and fuel, and hired Mexican bakers to make bread.

He managed the funds of the regiment so well that he saved money enough to furnish a band of musicians and provide other luxuries.

You may be sure that he was popular with his men. Meanwhile he visited the places of interest in the quaint old city. He went to one of the bull fights, where horsemen, armed with long spears, tortured wild bulls to death; but the sight of such cruelty made him sick and he would not stay to watch it.

He climbed Mount Popocatepetl and was lost with some comrades, in a storm, for several hours. One of the party was Captain Buckner who would one day surrender an army to Grant. But, of course, neither of them ever thought of such a thing as that, and they had many a jaunt together among the ruins of old Mexico.

In 1848 the treaty of Guadalupe was signed. There was peace again between Mexico and the United States. Grant set sail with his regiment, and was soon home again.

He was just twenty-six years old. He had served under the best officers in the army; he had seen cities besieged and stout forts carried by storm, and he had become acquainted with most of the military men in the country.

The knowledge gained in the Mexican war was to be of great service to him later on.

On the Pacific Coast

Soon after Lieutenant Grant's return from the Mexican war he married Julia Dent of St. Louis. They lived wherever the 4th regiment was stationed, until 1852, when the regiment was ordered to California. Grant then told his young wife that she must remain at home. He said that the Pacific coast was so far off that she must not even expect a letter for several months. There was a sad parting when he set out on his journey.

Now before you could possibly guess why Grant's regiment was sent to the coast you must know what wonderful events had occurred since the treaty with Mexico.

By that treaty upper California, with a great deal of other land, was ceded to the United States.

California had good harbors and a fertile soil, but it was so far from the states that no one thought it would ever be very thickly settled.

Hardly was the treaty signed, however, when it was reported that gold had been discovered near the Sacramento River. The news spread round the world. Sari Francisco, a sleepy little Spanish mission with a few mud cabins, became a city of many thousands within a year.

Americans, Mexicans, Germans, Frenchmen, Englishmen, and Chinamen flocked into California and scattered over the gold fields.

Saloons and gambling-houses were everywhere. The reckless miners provoked the Indians to go on the warpath; and then helpless citizens called on the government for protection. And so it came about that Grant's regiment was ordered to California.

There was no railroad to the coast in those days. The journey across the prairies and over the mountains was so slow and so dangerous that the troops went by way of the Isthmus of Panama. They set sail at New York and landed at Aspin wall.

Now, today, a swift train of cars crosses the isthmus from Aspinwall to Panama City; but in 1852 there was no railroad, and on account of floods it sometimes took weeks to make the journey.

The regiment began its slow march in the hot month of July. Poisonous vapors lurked in the marshes and cholera broke out among the troops. Grant was still quartermaster. He furnished food and fresh water, distributed medicines, and fought the plague as best he could. But more than fifty of his comrades died.

When the survivors of the 4th regiment reached California they went into camp near San Francisco. They helped restore order among the miners, and scattered the Indians to their wigwams.

Then Grant's company was stationed at Vancouver, at that time in Oregon Territory. People in the East were emigrating more and more to the West. It was said that a railroad ought to be built to the coast, and several surveying parties were sent out by the government to examine the different routes.

In 1853 Lieutenant George B. McClellan came to Vancouver with some engineers to make a survey for a Northern Pacific railroad.

Grant had been with McClellan in the Mexican war, and was delighted to meet him again. He lodged him in his best tent, and gave him his fleetest horse to ride. Grant was a fine host. When his army friends gathered about him none described the Mexican campaign so well as he.

After one of the talks an officer said: "How clear headed Grant is in describing a battle! He seems to see the whole thing."

But in all the talks around the camp fire he never said anything he would be ashamed for his mother to hear. When an officer was about to repeat a story, and said, as he looked around: "There are no ladies here—"

"No," said Grant, "but there are gentlemen!" and the bad story was never told.

After a time Lieutenant Grant was made captain of a company in California. But camp life on the frontier was dull; the pay was not enough to support his family on the coast, where everything was very expensive, and he felt that he could not always be separated from his loved ones.

And so, in 1854, Captain Grant resigned his commission in the army. He said to a friend, as he started for home, "Whoever hears from me in ten years will probably hear of a well-to-do Missouri farmer."

Farmer and Leather Merchant

When Grant landed in New York he was obliged to send to his father for money to get home. He was thirty-two years old. He knew no profession except that of the army, and he had a wife and children to support.

Mrs. Grant owned a small farm near St. Louis, and here he decided to try to make a living. He hewed logs and built a house, which he called "Hardscrabble."

A hard scrabble, indeed, did the army officer have in his efforts to make a farmer of himself.

In the spring he plowed the ground, and sowed and planted his grain; in the summer he mowed and threshed his wheat; and when winter came he gathered his corn, and cut wood to sell at four dollars a cord.

But in spite of his work he could not succeed, because he did not know how to manage. His horses and machinery cost so much, and the products of his farm brought so little, that, at the end of three years, he was two thousand dollars in debt.

The crops had to be sold, and the horses and implements put up at auction. The neighbors loitered about the place while the auctioneer called off the sales.

They found the stable well kept, and the horses in fine condition; Grant had learned how to do such work at West Point; but the thrifty farmers shook their heads when they saw that the plows were rusty and broken, and the grain bins were almost empty.

"Grant is a good fellow," they said; "but he was never cut out to be one of us!"

After everything was sold, Grant tried to get employment in St. Louis. He first went into the real estate business. He was so quiet and so shy that he could not make bargains. Then he tried to get an appointment as county engineer. He was too little known to the politicians, and so some one more favored than he received the office.

He worked in various ways to make a living for his family, but fortune seemed to frown upon him. When his father heard of his desperate straits he cast about to find how he might help him.

He wrote to a son who was in the leather business at Galena, Illinois, and told him of his brother's ill luck.

"Give Ulysses a chance, my boy," he said, "I may have spoiled him at West Point."

It was not long before Grant was clerking in the leather store at Galena. He was to receive only a few hundred dollars the first year. If he made a good salesman, his salary would then be increased. He went quietly about his tasks, and expected to be a leather merchant the rest of his life.

The War for the Union

It was in the year 1860 that Grant went into the leather business. There was great excitement in Galena over the national conventions. Two citizens of Illinois, Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, were candidates for President of the United States.

One branch of the Democratic party nominated Douglas. The Democrats were then in power, with James Buchanan as President of the United States.

The Republican party nominated Lincoln. It was a new party, and had once been defeated.

If the Democratic party had been united Douglas would have felt sure of being elected. Lincoln was not sure about his own election; but he said that his party was in the right, and if it did not win this time it would the next. The chief question between the two parties was whether slavery should be allowed in the territories.

The United States owned several territories which had not yet been made into states. Douglas declared that the citizens of a territory had the right to say whether it should be a slave or a free state when it came into the Union.

Lincoln denied this. He said that the government of the United States had control of its territories before they became states. He quoted the Declaration of Independence that all men are "endowed by their Creator with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," and he said that Washington and Jefferson had intended that government land should be free soil.

Many of the people in the North agreed with Lincoln. "He is right," they said. "Look at Europe. Every respectable nation in Europe has set its slaves free. America boasts that she is the 'land of the free and the home of the brave, and stamps Liberty  on her coins, yet four million human beings are kept as slaves within her borders. We cannot prevent slavery in the old states, but let us forbid it in the new states."

In the end the Republicans elected Abraham Lincoln.

Before he was inaugurated, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Perhaps you will remember that, in 1832, South Carolina tried to secede from the Union and President Andrew Jackson prevented it by sending a warship to Charleston.

But James Buchanan was a very different kind of president. He allowed other stages to join South Carolina. They established a government of their own which they called the Confederate States of America, with Jefferson Davis as president.

The members of Congress from the Confederate States; the secretaries in Buchanan's Cabinet; and many officers in the army and navy resigned their places and took oath to support the new government.

Most of the forts in the South, which belonged to the United States, were seized by the Confederates. The commander of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was Robert Anderson. He was a brave soldier and had been wounded at Chapultepec while fighting by the side of Grant.

Major Anderson refused to surrender his fort. The whole world waited to see what Abraham Lincoln would do when he became President. He was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1861.

In his speech he said: "I shall take care that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the states. In doing this there need be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority."

Very soon after this the Confederates again demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter. Major Anderson stoutly refused and kept the Stars and Stripes waving on the flagstaff. At last the Confederates fired on the fort.

When the people in the North heard that the flag of the Union had been dishonored, they forgot all about the slavery question and united to defend the honor of the United States government.

One young Democrat in Galena, who had voted against Lincoln for President, said: "I am not a Democrat now, nor a Republican, either; I am an American and will defend our flag!"

When President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers so many enrolled at Galena that a company was formed immediately.

Grant quit the leather store. He said: "The United States educated me for the army. What I am I owe to my country. I have served her through one war and, live or die, I will serve her through this."

He drilled the Galena company and helped them get their blue uniforms ready.

He was soon called to Springfield and made colonel of the 21st Illinois regiment of infantry. The men were disorderly. Their former colonel had been dismissed because he could not control them.

When Grant appeared before them on the drill-ground he was in citizen's dress.. He looked shabby and seemed so modest that they began to jeer at hint. "Speech! Speech!" they cried.

"Soldiers," said Grant, "go to your quarters." His tones were so commanding that they obeyed. It was not long before they said: "Grant knows what he is about. We can't scare him or deceive him."

The 21st regiment was ordered to Missouri to guard the railroads. Grant did not transport his troops on the cars. He knew they must become accustomed to long marches.

"My first marching should be in a friendly country," he said.

He drilled his men on the way to Missouri and taught them to obey every one of his commands.

At this very time the Confederates at Richmond, Virginia, were wondering who would be the officers In the armies of the North.

"There is one West Pointer," said General Beauregard, "whom I hope the Northern people will not find out; I mean 'Sam' Grant. I knew him well at West Point and in Mexico. I should fear him more than any other man they have. He is clear headed, quick, and daring."

Forts Henry and Donelson

It was not long until the Northern people did find out "Sam" Grant. After several skirmishes with the Confederates he was made brigadier-general with headquarters at Cairo, Illinois.

Missouri and Kentucky were still in the Union; but they were slave states.

"Missouri must be ours," said the Confederates; "for the lead mines for our bullets are there, and most of the slaveholders will help us."

They hurried guns and troops to Columbus, in Kentucky, which stood on a high bluff overlooking the Missouri shore.

"Kentucky must belong to us, too," they said. "It must be our vanguard on the border of three Union states."

They planted guns at Fort Henry on the Tennessee, and at Fort Donelson on the Cumberland, and along the east bank of the Mississippi. Then they stretched their armies from the great river to the Atlantic ocean."

"The Yankees cannot invade the South by land or water," said the men in gray.

"We must see about that," said General Grant.

He laid plains with Commodore Foote who commanded the gunboats on the Ohio. Soon a fleet of boats steamed up the Tennessee with transports. Grant, with seventeen thousand men in blue, was landed four miles below the fort.

And while the army marched by land, the gun-boats proceeded up the river to the fort. Shot and shell plowed through its earthworks and crippled its mounted guns.

The Confederates saw that it was useless to try to hold Fort Henry. They raised the white flag of surrender. But the smoke was so dense it could not be seen. The firing from the boats continued and then two thousand Confederates fled in a panic to Fort Donelson, twelve miles away.

In the meantime Grant was hurrying up with his army as fast as he could. The ground was wet from a heavy rain. His progress was so slow that when he reached the fort, the Stars and Stripes were waving on its flagstaff.

"Can you do as well as that at Donelson?" asked General Grant of Commodore Foote.

"I shall do my best to help you take the fort, replied the brave seaman.

The Confederates were determined to hold Fort Donelson. It guarded the Cumberland River, which led up to Nashville, where their armies in the West had headquarters. It was strongly intrenched on a bend of the river. Back of a line of batteries at the water's edge were rifle pits; beyond these were stretches of felled trees, and above all towered a broad bluff well guarded with cannon.

Grant marched toward the fort. The gunboats steamed down the Tennessee, then up the Ohio and then up the Cumberland. When Commodore Foote came near the fort he opened fire; but his shots were answered with shots from the batteries until nearly every gunboat was crippled.

The Union soldiers surrounded the fort, and for three days there was hard fighting. Then Grant secured a commanding position overlooking the fortifications. That night the Union army slept well. It was sure of victory on the next day.

But there was no sleeping in the great fort. Lights were moving all night long. Early next morning a negro came into the Union camp saying he had some news for "de gen'l."

"Dey's been a goin' all night!"

"What?" said. Grant; "leaving the fort?"

"Yes, Massa, of I's don't tell de truf I'll hang. Dey's been a goin' all night."

The old negro was right. Many Confederates had escaped under cover of the night.

General Buckner was in command of the fort. He knew Grant well. He was the same Buckner that had been lost in a storm with him on Mount Popocatepetl, and he understood what kind of a person he had to oppose.

"It is useless to hold out against such a man as Grant," he said. "He will never retreat. I must surrender, but I'll get the best terms I can."

So he wrote a letter asking favorable terms. Grant promptly replied: "No terms, except unconditional and immediate surrender, can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works."

General Buckner and fourteen thousand men laid down their arms as prisoners of war.

When the news of the fall of Donelson reached the North, people could hardly believe it.

"Who is this Grant?" they asked.

"I remember a little lieutenant who won laurels in the war with Mexico," said General Winfield Scott; "his name was U. S. Grant."

"The 'U. S.' stands for Unconditional Surrender!" said the delighted people.

Grant was soon afterwards made major-general.

Shiloh, or Pittsburg Landing

After the surrender of forts Henry and Donelson the Confederates abandoned Columbus, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee. They hurried to Corinth, a little town in northern Mississippi, where they collected large stores of food and ammunition. They planned to cross the Ohio and carry war into the North.

General Grant heard that a large army was collecting at Corinth.

"This army must not go North," he said to his generals.

He sent to Nashville for more troops and transported his army up the Tennessee to Pittsburg Landing, about twenty miles from Corinth. Here he went into camp while waiting for the Nashville troops. His lines stretched out several miles.

One night the Confederates marched from Corinth. General Albert Sidney Johnston was in command. He made a quick attack upon one wing of Grant's army at Shiloh Church, three miles from Pittsburg Landing.

It was just daylight. The cooks in the Union camp were stirring the camp fires for breakfast. The arms were stacked and many soldiers were still asleep.

Shot and shell tore through the tents. Some were killed in their beds; some fled in a panic; but the most of the men seized their guns and made a bold stand.

Grant was several miles away when he heard the roar of the cannon. He took a boat for the front and was soon in the midst of the battle. The men fell, dead and wounded, around him; a ball struck the scabbard of his sword and broke it off; but he hurried from one company to another, urging them forward.

All day the battle raged. The Union army was driven slowly back to the landing. Despair was written on every face. Suddenly cheer on cheer arose. Buell's army from Nashville was seen on the opposite bank of the river.

Union gunboats hurled shells upon the pursuing enemy as evening came on; but the battle of Shiloh seemed won by the Confederates:

"What preparations have you made for surrender?" asked General Buell, as he sat with Grant in his tent.

"I have not given up hope of victory yet," replied Grant.

During most of the night he and his generals formed their lines for the morning.

Now the Confederates expected that the blue coats would be fleeing for safety down the river; but when the sun rose, there stood the Union army in battle array. The struggle began again. The Confederates were driven back until they had lost all they had won the day before. When night came on again, the Union troops threw themselves down on the ground to sleep. The Confederates returned to Corinth. In a few weeks they retreated from Corinth. Then Union troops and gunboats moved down the Mississippi River, defeated the Confederate ironclads and took possession of Memphis. The states north of the Ohio were safe.

Grant was given command of the Department of Tennessee and made his headquarters at Corinth.


All this time there had been fighting at the mouth of the Mississippi. Commodore Farragut ascended the river, bombarded the forts, and captured New Orleans.

Farragut then wished to join Grant up the river; but Port Hudson stood in the way.

Grant wished to join Farragut down the river; but Vicksburg stood in the way.

Between these two forts the Confederates had control of the country. They brought flour and cattle from Texas and Louisiana to feed their armies.

"No gunboats can pass Vicksburg without my consent," said General Pemberton whose army guarded the batteries along the waters edge.

"We'll see about that," said General Grant; "I think we shall now split the Confederacy in two, and the wedge that shall do it will be my army at Vicksburg."

He marched his troops from Corinth to Memphis, and, floating down the river, he landed a few miles above Vicksburg. Before him were high bluffs and a dense forest, bristling with guns. It was quite out of the question to reach the fort from the north.

"We must attack it from the south," said Grant.

"Impossible!" exclaimed his generals.

Vicksburg stood on a bend of the river and was guarded for eight miles with batteries. There seemed no way to carry provisions past the fort.

"We will coax the river to change its old bed," said Grant.

He set thousands of men to digging a broad canal across the neck of land opposite Vicksburg. They worked for several months.

But the summer sun melted the snows in the mountains. The Ohio, the Missouri, and the Arkansas rolled in floods into the Mississippi, and then the great river overflowed its banks and filled the canal. The troops were obliged to flee for their lives.

"Ha! ha!" cried men in the South. "Even the 'Father of Waters' is helping us."

"Shame! shame!" said men in the North. "Our armies are wasting time making ditches."

Some busy bodies went to Washington and said to President Lincoln: "Remove Grant from command and put a real general in his place."

But the President replied: "I rather like the man. I think I will try him a little longer." Grant did not say a word when he heard about the complaints. He had his plans. He knew very well that if these plans failed he would be removed from command.

He called an old boatman to his tent. "Can I run my transports past the batteries on a very dark night?"

"It might be done, general; but it's a great risk you'd be taking."

"I'll take the risk," said Grant to himself.

He had a talk with Admiral Porter who commanded the gunboats, and then he crossed the Mississippi with his army. He marched down the west bank and halted south of Vicksburg.

The terrible fort now shut off supplies.

"Grant has put his army into a death trap!" cried his enemies in the North. Even President Lincoln thought perhaps he had made a mistake. But Grant's plans were not yet complete. He was waiting for Porter.

One very dark night three transports were made ready. They were fashioned wide and long to carry supplies. Their boilers were padded with cotton and wet hay that could not easily be penetrated by bullets; their engines were oiled that every joint might work its best; and their fires were screened that their light might be hid.

Then eight of Porter's gunboats sailed out, like angry monsters, before Vicksburg. The transports ran at full speed behind their shelter. The Confederate guards saw the gunboats. Bonfires were built on the shore. It was as light as day on the river. Shot and shell screamed through the air; but on sped the provision boats, while Porter's guns answered those on the shore.

One of the transports was burned; but the others passed the batteries, followed closely by the gun-boats. At daybreak the little fleet sailed up to Grant's camp, on the west bank of the river; and men and supplies were soon across the river.

Friendly negroes guided the army as it fought its way toward Vicksburg. Pemberton, with his troops, was soon shut up inside the city. A siege was begun. Shot poured into Vicksburg until the citizens had to dig caves and cellars for shelter. Pemberton must have remembered the cannonading in the belfry of the old church in front of Mexico!

The weeks went by, and at last the Confederates were starving.

"We will escape by the river," said Pemberton. Houses were torn down to build rafts; but the gunboats drove the rafts back.

"We will flee in the night by way of unfrequented roads," said Pemberton; but two hundred cannons were guarding those roads.

Grant's army lay coiled around the city like a huge serpent guarding its prey. And, at last, on the 4th of July, 1863, General Pemberton made an unconditional surrender.

When Admiral Porter saw the Union flag waving from the ramparts of the city, he hurried his gun-boats beneath the friendly walls. And fleet and army celebrated Independence Day in Vicksburg.

"It's Grant again," said the people of the North, when they heard the good news. "It's Unconditional Surrender Grant!"

President Lincoln wrote: "My Dear General: I do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service you have done the country."

Grant was given command of all the armies in the West.


While Grant and other generals were fighting in the West, war had been raging in the East. Washington, the capital of the United States, and Richmond, the capital of the Confederate States, were both well guarded.

When Robert E. Lee became commander of the army at Richmond, he asked for more clothing and food for his soldiers.

"If General Lee wants supplies, let him find them in the North," said the Confederate commissary general.

Lee crossed the Potomac River and marched into Pennsylvania. He was met by General Meade at Gettysburg and driven back into Virginia, just one day before the surrender of Vicksburg.

"We must keep Lee in Virginia," said Grant when he heard of it.

He began to gather his forces together to march toward Virginia. On the line of march lay Chattanooga, where General Rosecrans, with a Union army, was shut up by the Confederates. There seemed no way for him to escape. On the north of the city was the Tennessee River, on the east, south, and west were high mountains, with cannons guarding all the passes.

"We must get the boys out of Chattanooga," said Grant. With Sherman, Sheridan, and other brave officers he led his armies to an assault.

They stormed up the mountain sides. Some of the fighting on Lookout Mountain was so high that the engagement is called the" battle above the clouds."

The Confederates were routed completely, and the starving army was fed. When the news of the victory at Chattanooga reached the North, there was the wildest excitement.

"Unconditional Surrender Grant has a better name now," cried the people. "It is Uniformly Successful Grant!"

Congress ordered a gold medal for the conqueror; and some congressmen said, "Washington fought for the independence of our states; Grant is fighting for their union. Washington was lieutenant-general of the army, let us revive the grade for Grant."

And so the hero was summoned North to receive his new title. Special trains carried him to Washington. At every station crowds gathered to see him. He bore his honors with modesty, and, when he reached the capital, went quietly to a hotel. Few persons knew that he was there.

While he sat unnoticed in the dining room a gentleman recognized him, and when it was whispered about who the stranger was, cheers resounded through the hall; he could hardly return to his room for the crowd.

Lincoln, when he handed him his commission as lieutenant-general, said: "As the country herein trusts you, so, under God, will it sustain you."

Grant felt very serious at that moment. It seemed that the success of the Union arms depended on his skill. And when some fashionable ladies of Washington wished to give a ball in his honor, he said: "Ladies, I wish to ask you, in all kindness, if this is a time for music and feasting among the officials of the army.

"Do dances soothe our sick and wounded? Do they inspire our troops with courage in the field?"

You may be sure that the ball was not given.

The Close of the War

"We must work together," said Lieutenant-General Grant, "but we must keep the enemy divided."

He planned a campaign with General Sherman, and then hurried to the East to take command of the Army of the Potomac.

Sherman defeated the Confederates in the West, and then marched toward the sea. His army was in four columns covering a belt of country sixty miles wide. He destroyed bridges, railroads, and provisions, so that no aid could be sent to Lee at Richmond.

It was a terrible thing to do; but there seemed to be no other way of ending the war. When Sherman reached Savannah he went into winter quarters to wait until Grant might need him.

All this time Grant was fighting around Richmond. Some of the battles were in such a wilderness that the armies could not stand in line; but shot and shell shrieked through the gloomy shade. The loss of life was so frightful that many thought Grant should abandon the siege around Richmond.

But Grant said: "I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."

This was not because he was careless about the loss of so many brave soldiers. When news came that one gallant officer had fallen, he sat alone and sobbed. The whole army knew of his sorrow, and the band gathered at the door of his tent to play a funeral dirge.

The slaughter of battle was as dreadful to Grant as to any one else; yet he knew that the cruel war must be ended by desperate fighting.

At last his army surrounded Lee's army. On the 9th of April, 1865, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, about seventy-five miles from Richmond.

The two generals met at a farm house to agree upon terms. Lee wore an elegant new uniform, with a sword at his side. Grant was in plain soldier's blouse, and without a sword. He did not wish to make a display of authority before his unhappy countrymen.

He gave generous terms of surrender. No men were kept as prisoners, and all were allowed to keep their horses.

"They will need them to work their little farms," he said.

There was rejoicing in the North and in the South that the conflict was over. But the joy was turned to grief when President Lincoln was assassinated. He had been Grant's best friend, and it was with a sad heart that the victorious general marched his army into Washington.

Vice-President Johnson had become President, and before him the troops passed in review. Then they went to their own states to return to their shops and farms.

General Grant went to his home in Galena,. Illinois. The grateful people all over the country raised large sums of money for him. The citizens of Galena presented him an elegant house, and those of Boston sent him a library of rare books.

Home of Ulysses Grant

Congress created for him the grade of General. Even Washington did not receive such a high military title as that. Then some began to say that U. S. stood for "United States," and that it would be a graceful act to make U. S. Grant President of the United States.

President of the United States

Andrew Johnson was a very unpopular President, and when the time came for the national convention the Republicans nominated General Grant to succeed him.

During the campaign which followed, he did not go about making speeches.

"No terms except unconditional surrender."

"I shall fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."

"The men will need their horses to work their little farms."

"The people of the South are again our countrymen."

"Let us have peace."

These were some of the speeches he had made during the four years' war and the people remembered them.

They elected him President and he was inaugurated March 4th, 1869. His first term was so successful that he was elected for a second term.

When the year 1876 came, Congress decided to celebrate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence by giving a World's Fair.

You can guess why Philadelphia was chosen for the Fair. All the foreign nations were invited. Some said that the monarchs of Europe would not take part in such a parade over the birthday of a republic. But they did.

Even Queen Victoria sent laces and other beautiful things to this Fair which celebrated the day when our patriots refused to obey her tyrannical grandfather.

The Centennial Exposition helped to unite the people of the North and the South more than anything else had done since the war. Those from South Carolina remembered how their fore-fathers had sent rice to Boston when King George had shut up her port. Those from Virginia recalled how Patrick Henry had spoken in Philadelphia for liberty and George Washington had fought for liberty and Union.

The Fair lasted for six months; but of course, the great day was the 4th of July. President Grant was present then, and stood on a reviewing stand while a grand procession passed. He received the foreign guests with dignity, and won the praise of all by his plain common sense.

The people were so proud of him that some declared he must serve for a third term. But Grant remembered the example of Washington and Jefferson. He said: "I will not serve again. There are many others as worthy as I."

Rutherford B. Hayes, of Ohio, was elected President and, after his inauguration, General Grant returned to his home in Galena.

The Travels of Ulysses

It is said that after he had served his country all he could, the Greek Ulysses wandered over the known world; and that is just what his American namesake did.

While Grant was President his only daughter, Nellie, married an English gentleman. And now that his public duties were over, he resolved to pay her a visit. So he set sail from Philadelphia with his wife and one son.

When Queen Victoria learned that Grant was coming to England she did not know just what to do. She asked her ministers: "Shall we receive him as a ruler or as a private citizen?"

Ex-presidents Martin Van Buren and Millard Fillmore had both traveled abroad as private citizens.

But just at this time Lord Beaconsfield was prime minister in England. He had once been a commoner yet he had more power at court than any nobleman in the realm. He said to the queen: "We will be doing honor to a wonderful general and pay a high tribute to a great nation if we receive ex-President Grant as a sovereign."

And so when Grant's steamer reached Liverpool, the flags of all nations were flung to the breeze in greeting. Hail Columbia and The Star Spangled Banner were played by the bands.

At Manchester, where the lack of cotton during the American war had stopped the humming of thousands of spindles, the name of Grant was well known.

When he made a speech to the delegates from the Labor Unions, he said: "In America we recognize that labor dishonors no man. No matter what a man's occupation is, he is eligible to fill any post in the gift of the people."

And who was better fitted than Grant, the tanner, to prove these words?

He was received in state at Windsor Castle by the queen, and the Prince of Wales did him honor.

Wherever Grant went he learned much about famous generals. In Sweden he saw the clothes of Gustavus Adolphus, stained with the blood of battle; in Germany he stood at the grave of Frederick the Great; in France he lingered over the tomb of Napoleon; in Spain he examined the armor of King Ferdinand; in Italy he admired the marble busts of the Caesars; in Russia he held the sword of Peter the Great; in Egypt he climbed the pyramids of the Pharaohs. Wherever he went he heard of great generals and he knew that the world called him one of the greatest.

Yet when he entered Jerusalem and saw the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth, he said: "Here slept the real warrior! He conquered the world with his love." He stood a long time with bowed head at this tomb of the carpenter's son, whose mission was "peace on earth and good will to men!"

When Grant reached China, he thought that no one there would know anything about him. Yet at Shanghai he was received with fireworks. One of the banners in a procession said: "Washington, Lincoln, and Grant, three immortal Americans!"

The emperor of China was only eight years old and the prime minister, Li Hung Chang, received Grant at Canton. The two men became great friends. Grant urged the Chinese statesman to come to America to study modern methods of living.

At Nagasaki, in Japan, the Mikado shook his hand. Such an honor had never before been granted to a foreigner.

At last Grant set sail from Yokohama for home. When he reached San Francisco the harbor was crowded with steamers, yachts, and tugs. Thousands of his countrymen greeted him with cheers. Bands of music played national airs, and at night bonfires were built and sky-rockets lighted the sky.

Grant went back to Galena. After a time he moved to New York city; but wherever he lived he was loved and respected.

The Closing Years

General Grant lived in New York like any other private citizen. He invested his money in the banking business. He had wealth and friends and honor. It seemed that he would have nothing to do the rest of his life but enjoy himself.

But the year that he was sixty-two years old misfortune came. The manager of his bank proved dishonest. Grant found himself deprived of his fortune. He fell ill. Throat trouble developed. When he was able to be about again some publishers asked him to write for a magazine.

He said he was not sure that he could write anything worth reading, but he would try. He wrote about the battle of Shiloh.

Everybody wanted to read what the hero of Shiloh had written. The publishers were delighted. They asked him to write more; and he wrote about the siege of Vicksburg.

Meanwhile his throat was growing worse. One morning the doctors looked very grave. They told him he could live only a few months.

Grant had never surrendered in any battle; yet he knew that Death conquers all. He wanted very much to live long enough to pay his debts and make his family comfortable.

And so he began to write what he called his Memoirs. Most of the book was to be about the civil war. His throat pained him; he grew thin and pale; but he worked away at his task. He became so weak that he was removed to Mount McGregor, near Saratoga.

News came to him that many thousand people had subscribed for his book. This pleased him very much. At last, the Memoirs  was finished. He laid down his pen and, a few days later, on the 23d of July, 1885, he died.

His body was carried to the city hall in New York, where it lay in state. Thousands passed to view the remains.

Almost all who passed had lost a relative or a friend in the war, and they felt that General Grant had gone to meet his comrades on the great recruiting ground on high.

He was borne to a temporary vault on the banks of the Hudson.

Among the pall-bearers were General Buckner, whom he had conquered at Fort Donelson, and General Joseph E. Johnston, once the commander of Confederate armies.

These heroes from the South walked side by side with other heroes from the North.

A temple of pure white marble was erected in Riverside Park for his last resting place. Among those who contributed funds to build it was Li Hung Chang in far-away China.

In 1896, when the Chinese prime minister came to New York, he was borne to the tomb in his sedan chair. He stood long in silence at the sarcophagus which enclosed the remains of his friend.

And every day in winter, when the snow lies cold around the marble tomb, and in summer, when the banks of the Hudson gird it with green, people enter within the noble monument and stand in silence before the remains of Ulysses S. Grant, the protector of our American Union; and with solemn thoughts they read the inscription, Grant's own words, carved in the white stone above the doorway:&8212;