Ulysses Simpson Grant ( April 27 , 1822 - July 23 , 1885 ) was an American Civil War General and the 18th ( 1869 - 1877 ) President of the United States.
At the age of 17, he received a cadetship to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York through his Congressman. The Congressman erroneously registered him as Ulysses S. Grant, and as such he is thus known. He graduated from West Point in 1843, No. 21 in a class of 39.
He married Julia Boggs Dent ( 1826 - 1902 ) on August 22, 1843 and they had four children: Frederick Dent, Ulysses Simpson, Jr., Ellen Wrenshall, and Jesse Root.
On April 24, 1861, ten days after the fall of Fort Sumter, Captain Grant arrived in Springfield, Illinois with a company of men he had raised. The Governor felt that a West Point man could be put to better use and appointed him Colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Infantry (effective June 17, 1861). On August 7th he was appointed a Brigadier-General of volunteers.
Grant gave the Union its first victory of the war by capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee on February 6, 1862 .
He doggedly pursued the Confederate Army and won impressive but costly victories at the Battle of Shiloh , the Battle of Vicksburg , and the Battle of Chattanooga. His willingness to fight and ability to win impressed President Lincoln who appointed him Lieutenant-General on March 2, 1864, and on the 17th he assumed command of all of the armies of the United States.
Grant left Major General William T. Sherman in immediate charge of all forces in the west and moved his headquarters to Virginia where he turned his attention to the long frustrated Union effort to take Richmond, Virginia. Despite heavy losses and difficult terrain, the Army of the Potomac kept up a relentless pursuit of General Robert E. Lee 's troops and won bloody contests in the Battle of the Wilderness, at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, at the Battle of Cold Harbor , and at the Battle of Petersburg. His relentless pressure finally forced Lee to evacuate Richmond early in April 1865 and forced him to surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on 9 April 1865. Within a few weeks, the American Civil War was over.
After the war the United States Congress appointed him to the newly-created rank of General of the Army on July 25, 1866.
He was the 18th ( 1869 - 1877 ) President of the United States and served two terms from March 4 , 1869 to March 3, 1877. After the end of his second term Grant spent two years travelling around the world.
Grant wrote his memoirs shortly before his death, while terminally ill from throat cancer and in financial difficulties after the collapse of the firm Grant and Ward. He heroically fought to finish his memoirs in the hope they would provide financially for his family after his death. He finished them just a few days before his death, and they succeeded in providing a comfortable income for his wife and children. He died on July 23, 1885 at Mount McGregor, Saratoga County, New York . His body lies in New York City, with that of his wife, in Grant's Tomb , the largest mausoleum in North America .
Grant's portrait appears on the U.S. $50 bill.
His professed religion was Methodist.