Ulysses S. Grant

— 18th President of the United States —

View full portraits at:
National Portrait Gallery or the White House Presidential Portrait Gallery


March 4, 1869 to March 3, 1877

BORN: April 27, 1822
Point Pleasant, Ohio
July 23, 1885, Mt. McGregor, N.Y.
Buried in New York City
Julia B. Dent, 1848
Fred, Buck, Jesse, Nellie

From the time he was two, Ulysses Grant loved horses. As a young boy, he loved to play among the horses in father's stable. By age five, he could stand up on a trotting horse's back and balance himself with the reins. By age 11, he was strong enough to hold a plow. From then until he was 17, he did all kinds of work with horses such as breaking up the soil, furrowing, plowing, and bringing in the crops at harvest time.

He began school when he was five. He was a quiet, shy child who was well-behaved and very good at math. When he was 17, he went off to the military academy at West Point. In 1843, he graduated and was assigned to a U.S. Army post in St. Louis.

Grant served under Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott in the Mexican War. He resigned from the Army in 1854, and he worked in St. Louis until 1860. When the Civil War began, he was commissioned a Brigadier General with the 21st Illinois Volunteers. Grant fought at Shiloh, and his army took Vicksburg, Mississippi. It was under Grant's leadership that a floundering Yankee army became aggressive and swept to victory. He accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Confederate forces at Appomattox in April 1865 that ended the Civil War.

Grant was nominated for president by the Republicans at their convention in 1868. Riding his popularity as a war hero and a proponent of peace, Grant buried Horatio Seymour in the electoral vote, 214 to 80. In 1872, Grant again won the popular vote, but his opponent, Horace Greeley, died before the electoral votes could be cast, thereby giving Grant a 286-0 win. Notable achievements during his administration were extensive civil service reform, the Amnesty Act, and the 15th Amendment to the Constitution.

When he left office, Grant went into business. Eventually, the business failed, and he was left penniless. He wrote his memoirs to raise money, and they were published just four days before he died of cancer on July 23, 1885 in Mt. McGregor, New York.

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