Grant born in 1822 was the oldest son of an Ohio leather tanner named Jessie Grant and his wife Hannah. He grew up as a hard working farm hand without much academic distinction, but still managed to secure an appointment to the US Army military academy at West Point New York. Ulysses S. Grant was named Hiram Ulysses but the Army made an error on his West Point application that never was amended. He rose slowly within the officer ranks of the infantry never fulfilling his desire to be a part of the cavalry troops to make use of his excellent ability with horses. While on leave from the army following his service in the Mexican War he married his fiancée Julia Dent of St. Louis Missouri.
The Dents were slave owning farmers who held strong Confederate views of states rights. Mr. Dent was a reluctant father-in-law to his daughter's new husband who seemed to be unsuccessful in most financial ventures throughout his life. Eventually he resigned his commission and worked for his fathers tannery business in Galena Ohio. When war was declared between the states Grant was made an officer of a volunteer company of soldiers. Grant was unflinching as a military commander, almost always advancing regardless of the cost in men and supplies. He felt that fewer lives would be lost the sooner the conflict was resolved. Grant's ability to stomach the high price of warfare on his troops made him a rare leader among the Union officers, willing to confront the enemy and continue the battle to its resolution. Compiling victory after victory, Grant was rapidly promoted as other higher-ranking officers were killed, transferred to other duties, or demoted. Grant also earned a well-deserved reputation for hard drinking.
CSA General Robert E. Lee, knowing his doggedly determined opponent would not relent his attack on the Army of Northern Virginia, brought about the wars end when he agreed to the terms of Grant's proposal for surrender at Appomattox, Virginia. Grant was merciful and magnanimous in victory having gone to West Point and later fought alongside many of his opposing officers during the Mexican War. He also had to live with his wife's pro-Confederacy family after war's end. Grant's election to the Presidency in 1868 was a foregone conclusion due to his tremendous popularity. His two terms in office were scandal ridden and ineffectual due to his lack of skill as a politician and his trusting nature. He recovered his family's fortune by authoring his memoirs shortly before his agonizing death of throat cancer in 1885.
This report prepared by David Fletcher