Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero (Eminent Lives)
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The first officer since George Washington to become a four-star general in the United States Army, Ulysses S. Grant was a man who managed to end the Civil War on a note of grace, and was the only president between Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson to serve eight consecutive years in the White House. The son of an Ohio tanner, he has long been remembered as a brilliant general but a failed president whose second term ended in financial and political scandal. But now acclaimed, bestselling author Michael Korda offers a dramatic reconsideration of the man, his life, and his presidency. Ulysses S. Grant is an evenhanded and stirring portrait of a flawed leader who nevertheless ably guided America through a pivotal juncture in its history.
expense, with the company of Galena volunteers to Springfield, where they were to be mustered, and declined to advance himself for the captaincy on the grounds that as a former officer of the Regular Army he was entitled to something better—a stroke of cunning and realism that was new to Grant but may simply have been the instinctive understanding of how the army works coming back to him, a West Pointer and regular officer, as if he had never taken off the uniform. For weeks Grant was in limbo, a
Porter’s armored gunboats might survive a determined attempt to slip past the town, but they could do no damage to the Confederate guns, since it was impossible to elevate their own high enough to reach the top of the bluff from the river. Coming down on Vicksburg by land from the north was rendered impractical by the Yazoo River, which formed an almost impassible swamp as it met the Mississippi. Landing on the east bank, below the Yazoo and just above Vicksburg, at Chickasaw Bluffs, might be
the army east and north, probably meet and fight Pemberton, then cut the road and railway between Jackson and Vicksburg. Porter was confident of getting his armored gunboats past Vicksburg but more pessimistic about the fate of the transport steamships, which he proposed to protect with bales of hay and cotton. It took a long time to organize it all—longest of all to get the army and its vast supplies down to Hard Times on the improvised roads—and it was fortunate that Dana was able to persuade
feelings of America’s most successful general. Epilogue Why Grant? THERE ARE MANY BIOGRAPHIES of Grant, so many that it seems to be something of a minor industry; some of them, like William S. McFeely’s Grant, are works of literature, many others more humdrum or narrowly military in interest. But from time to time it is necessary to remind Americans about Grant, first of all because his is a kind of real-life Horatio Alger story, exactly the one that foreigners have always wanted to
Ulysses Grant. At this point in Grant’s young life (he was sixteen) his legal name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but Representative Hamer could not be expected to know that, since everyone always referred to the boy as Ulysses. Hamer knew that Ulysses had a middle name and, taking a wild guess, made the assumption that it was probably Simpson, after Hannah’s family. He wrote to the War Department to inform them that his choice for the vacancy was Ulysses Simpson Grant. Thus, accidentally, Grant’s