The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Grant, Ulysses S.

Edition of 1879. See also Ulysses S. Grant on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

GRANT, Ulysses S., eighteenth president of the United States, born at Point Pleasant, O., April 27, 1822. His ancestors were Scotch. In 1823 his parents removed to the village of Georgetown, O., where his boyhood was passed. He entered West Point military academy in 1839, appointed by the Hon. Thomas L. Hamer, member of congress. His name originally was Hiram Ulysses; but the appointment was blunderingly made out for Ulysses S., and so it had to remain. The study in which he showed most proficiency during his course at the academy was mathematics. He graduated in 1843, ranking 21st in a class of 39, and was made a brevet second lieutenant of infantry and attached as a supernumerary lieutenant to the 4th regiment, which was stationed on the Missouri frontier. In the summer of 1845 the regiment was ordered to Texas, to join the army of Gen. Taylor. On Sept. 30 Grant was commissioned as a full lieutenant. He first saw blood shed at Palo Alto, May 8, 1846, and took part also in the battles of Resaca de la Palma and Monterey, and the siege of Vera Cruz. In April, 1847, he was made quartermaster of his regiment, but still participated in all active operations; and after the battle of Molino del Rey, Sept. 8, 1847, he was appointed on the field a first lieutenant for his gallantry. In his report of the battle of Ohapultepec (Sept. 13, 1847) Col. Garland, commanding the first brigade, said: “The rear of the enemy had made a stand behind a breastwork, from which they were driven by detachments of the 2d artillery under Capt. Brooks and the 4th infantry under Lieut. Grant, supported by other regiments of the division, after a short but sharp conflict.” “I must not omit to call attention to Lieut. Grant, 4th infantry, who acquitted himself most nobly, upon several occasions, under my own observation.” Grant was brevetted captain for his conduct at Chapultepec, to date from the battle. After the capture of the city of Mexico he returned with his regiment, and was stationed first at Detroit, and then at Sackett's Harbor. In 1848 he married Miss Julia T. Dent of St. Louis, sister of one of his classmates. In 1852 he accompanied his regiment to California and Oregon, and while at Fort Vancouver, Aug. 5, 1853, was commissioned full captain. On July 31, 1854, he resigned, and removed to St. Louis, cultivating a farm near that city and engaging in business as a real estate agent. In 1859 he was employed by his father in the leather trade at Galena, Ill. — When the civil war broke out, he was chosen to command a company of volunteers, with which he marched to Springfield. There he was retained as an aid to Gov. Yates, and acted as mustering officer of Illinois volunteers until he became colonel of the 21st regiment, his commission dating from June 17, 1861. He joined his regiment at Mattoon, organized and drilled it at Caseyville, and then crossed into Missouri, where it formed part of the guard of the Hannibal and Hudson railroad. On July 31 he was placed in command of the troops at Mexico, forming a part of Gen. Pope's force. On Aug. 3 he was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers, the commission being dated back to May 17, and assumed command of the troops at Cairo, which were soon increased by the addition of Gen. McClernand's brigade. He seized Paducah, at the mouth of the Tennessee, on Sept. 6, and Smithland, at the mouth of the Cumberland, on the 25th. In a proclamation to the citizens of Paducah he said: “I have nothing to do with opinions, and shall deal only with armed rebellion and its aiders and abettors.” On Oct. 16 he sent out a detachment under Col. Plummer to check the advance of the confederate forces under Gen. Jeff Thompson, which was accomplished by a battle at Fredericktown, Mo., on the 21st. On Nov. 7, with two brigades, Grant fought the battle of Belmont, where he commanded in person and had a horse shot under him. Gen. Halleck, on assuming command of the department of Missouri, gave Gen. Grant the command of the district of Cairo (Dec. 21), which was so extended as to form one of the largest military divisions in the country, including the southern part of Illinois, that portion of Kentucky west of the Cumberland river, and the southern counties of Missouri. After a reconnoissance in force toward Columbus in January, 1862, Grant started on Feb. 3 from Paducah, with a force of 15,000 men, aided by Commodore Foote with a fleet of gunboats, for the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, the former of which commanded the Tennessee river, and the latter the Cumberland, near the dividing line between Kentucky and Tennessee. Fort Henry, commanded by the confederate Gen. Tilghman, surrendered on Feb. 6, and Fort Donelson, commanded by Gen. Buckner, on the 16th. The reduction of Fort Henry was mainly the work of the gunboats; Fort Donelson was only captured after a severe battle (Feb. 15), in which the federal forces, which had been increased to 30,000 or more, sustained a loss of 2,300. In answer to Buckner's proposal that commissioners be appointed to arrange the terms of capitulation, Grant wrote: “No terms other than an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.” The capture of Fort Donelson with all its defenders except Gen. Floyd's brigade was the first brilliant and substantial victory that had crowned the federal arms. To the gratification at so great a military success was added a popular admiration of the terse and soldierly declaration in which the surrender had been demanded; and the hero of the affair sprang at once into national celebrity. He was immediately commissioned major general of volunteers, to date from Feb. 16. Gen. C. F. Smith had been directed by Gen. Halleck to make an expedition up the Tennessee with about 40,000 men; but he died soon after it started, and the command devolved upon Gen. Grant. A large portion of the force, after lying three weeks at Pittsburgh Landing, in preparation for an attack on Corinth, was surprised at daybreak of April 6 by an overwhelming confederate force under Gen. A. S. Johnston, driven from its camp, and routed with heavy loss. Gen. Grant arrived on the field of battle at 8 A. M., and reformed the lines. Heavy reënforcements, under Gen. Buell, having arrived in the night, the battle was renewed on the 7th, and the enemy, defeated, withdrew to Corinth. The loss on each side was about 12,000. Gen. Grant was slightly wounded. Gen. Halleck, arriving at the front two or three days afterward, began siege operations against Corinth; but the confederates evacuated the place on the last days of May. Halleck was called to Washington on July 11, and Grant became commander of the department of West Tennessee, with headquarters at Corinth. The most serious problem that demanded his immediate attention was the disposal of guerillas, spies, and traders, who were crossing the lines on all sorts of pretexts, carrying information and stores to the enemy. He issued several severe orders against them, took possession of all unoccupied buildings in Memphis and rented them for the benefit of the United States government, and gave the Memphis “Avalanche” the alternative of suspending publication or dismissing an editor who had written an “incendiary and treasonable” article. On Sept. 17 Grant ordered an advance from Corinth, to stop the progress of the confederate Gen. Price, who had a large force concentrated at Iuka. A battle was fought at this place, Sept. 19, and a complete victory gained. As Gen. Bragg's force was pushing toward the Ohio river, Grant now removed his headquarters to Jackson, Tenn. The confederates under Price and Van Dorn, 40,000 strong, attacked his position at Corinth, which was held by Rosecrans with about 20,000 (Oct. 3 and 4). After a desperate fight, the assailants were repulsed with heavy loss and pursued beyond the Hatchie river. Buell moved out to intercept Bragg, and defeated him at Perryville, Oct. 8, whereupon he retreated to East Tennessee. On the 16th Gen. Grant's department was extended by the addition of a portion of Mississippi, as far as Vicksburg, and designated as the department of the Tennessee; the forces under his command were constituted the 13th army corps. The most stringent measures were taken to prevent plundering and illegal trading, as necessary to military discipline under the peculiar circumstances of an army so placed in a mingled community of friends and foes. After unsuccessful movements against Vicksburg, “the Gibraltar of the Mississippi,” from the north, and the loss of an immense quantity of stores which the confederates (Dec. 20) seized and destroyed at Holly Springs, Grant moved his army down the west bank of the river, crossed to the east side at a point below the city on the last day of April, 1863, defeated the enemy in the actions of Raymond, Jackson, Champion's Hill, and Big Black, preventing Gen. J. E. Johnston from joining Pemberton at Vicksburg, and laid siege to that place, May 18. The city was surrendered, with about 27,000 prisoners, on July 4, 1868. Thereupon Grant was promoted to the rank of major general in the regular array. In October he was placed in command of the military division of the Mississippi, comprising the departments commanded by Sherman, Thomas, Burnside, and Hooker. Immediately after the capture of Vicksburg he had sent heavy reenforcements to Gen. Sherman on the Big Black river, who was thereby enabled to drive the confederate force under Johnston out of Jackson. Grant concentrated his forces for the defence of Chattanooga, which was threatened by Bragg, and the latter's positions on Missionary ridge and Lookout mountain were carried by assault on Nov. 24 and 25. Bragg's forces retreated to Dalton, Ga., being followed as far as Ringgold. The pursuing columns were then sent to the relief of Knoxville, which, held by Burnside, was closely invested by Longstreet. Gen. Halleck, in his annual report, said: “Considering the strength of the rebel position and the difficulty of storming his intrenchments, the battle of Chattanooga must be considered the most remarkable in history. Not only did the officers and men exhibit great skill and daring in their operations on the field, but the highest praise is due to the commanding general for his admirable dispositions for dislodging the enemy from a position apparently impregnable. Moreover, by turning his right flank and throwing him back upon Ringgold and Dalton, Sherman's forces were interposed between Bragg and Longstreet, so as to prevent any possibility of their forming a junction.” The first measure passed in the congressional session of 1863-'4 was a resolution providing that a gold medal be struck for Gen. Grant, and returning thanks to him and his army. Resolutions of thanks were also passed by the legislatures of New York and Ohio. A bill reviving the grade of lieutenant general in the army was passed by congress, and on March 1, 1864, received the signature of President Lincoln, who at once nominated Gen. Grant for the position. The senate confirmed the nomination on the following day. On the eve of starting for Washington to receive the commission, Grant wrote a letter to Gen. Sherman, in which he said: “Whilst I have been eminently successful in this war, in at least gaining the confidence of the public, no one feels more than I how much of this success is due to the energy, skill, and the harmonious putting forth of that energy and skill, of those whom it has been my good fortune to have occupying subordinate positions under me. There are many officers to whom these remarks are applicable to a greater or less degree, proportionate to their ability as soldiers; but what I want is, to express my thanks to you and McPherson, as the men to whom, above all others, I feel indebted for whatever I have had of success.” Grant arrived in Washington on March 9, received his commission at the hands of the president, and on the 17th issued his first general order, dated at Nashville, assuming command of the armies of the United States, and announcing that headquarters would be in the field, and until further orders with the army of the Potomac. Not before during the civil war had any one general in the field commanded all the national armies. Grant, with nearly 700,000 men in the field, at once planned two campaigns, to be directed simultaneously against vital points of the confederacy by the two chief armies under his command: the one, under Gen. Meade, to operate against Richmond, defended by Lee; the other, under Gen. Sherman, against Atlanta, defended by Johnston. At midnight on May 3 Grant began the movement against Richmond, crossing the Rapidan with the army of the Potomac, which was joined two days later by the 9th corps under Burnside, and, with an aggregate force of 140,000 men, pushing through the Wilderness by the right of Lee's position, in the endeavor to place himself between the confederate army and the confederate capital. Lee was apprised of the movement on the morning of the 4th, and boldly took the offensive, pushing eastward to strike the federal columns on the march. The immediate result was the bloody battle of the Wilderness, which foiled Grant's first attempt to interpose his army between Lee's and Richmond. Making another advance by the left flank, he was again confronted by Lee at Spottsylvania; and after partial success and a bloody repulse, he repeated the movement again, only to find Lee in a strong position on the North Anna river; and still a fourth advance brought the army of the Potomac before the absolutely impregnable rifle pits of Cold Harbor. After a costly assault on these, Grant once more moved his army by the left flank and crossed the James. The day after the success of Spottsylvania he had sent a despatch to the government, which closed with these words: “I propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer.” His losses in the campaign from the Rapidan to the James (May 3 to June 15) were 54,551, killed, wounded, and missing. Lee's losses were about 32,000. Sherman opened his campaign toward Atlanta as soon as Grant telegraphed to him that the army of the Potomac had crossed the Rapidan. At the same time Grant had directed Sigel to advance from Winchester up the Shenandoah toward Staunton, and Crook to advance from Charleston up the Kanawha toward Lynchburg. But Sigel was defeated at Newmarket by Breckinridge, and Crook, after considerable fighting, was compelled to retreat. Meanwhile Gen. Butler, with the army of the James, had been directed to capture and hold Petersburg, and if possible to invest Richmond closely from the south side, but had totally failed to do so. All these flanking movements being foiled, and Lee being neither defeated in the open field nor cut off from Richmond, the great problem of the war instantly narrowed itself down to a siege of Petersburg, which Grant now began. Lee's attempt to create a diversion by an invasion of Maryland and an attack on Washington failed, Sheridan ultimately driving back the invaders up the valley of the Shenandoah; while, in Georgia, Johnston was unable to check the advance of Sherman, and his successor in command, Hood, was forced to evacuate Atlanta, and lost his army before Nashville. The siege of Petersburg ended, after the victory at Five Forks, in the beginning of April, 1865, when Richmond was evacuated and Lee retreated westward toward Danville, followed closely by Grant, who finally forced the surrender of his remaining force, which took place at Appomattox Court House, April 9. — After the war Grant fixed his headquarters at Washington; and on July 25, 1866, he was commissioned general of the United States army, the rank having been created for him. On Aug. 12, 1867, when President Johnson suspended Secretary Stanton from office, Gen. Grant was made secretary of war ad interim, and held the position until Jan. 14, 1868, when he returned it to Mr. Stanton, whose removal the senate had refused to sanction. The president wished Grant to retain the office notwithstanding the action of congress, and Grant, in a letter to him dated Feb. 3, closing a somewhat tangled correspondence, said : “I can but regard this whole matter, from the beginning to the end, as an attempt to involve me in the resistance of law for which you hesitated to assume the responsibility in orders, and thus to destroy my character before the country. I am, in a measure, confirmed in this conclusion by your recent orders directing me to disobey orders from the secretary of war, my superior and your subordinate, without having countermanded his authority to issue the orders I am to disobey.” At the republican national convention held in Chicago May 21, 1868, Gen. Grant on the first ballot was unanimously nominated for president, with Schuyler Colfax for vice president. Their democratic competitors were Horatio Seymour and Francis P. Blair. Grant and Colfax carried 26 states, and received 214 electoral votes, against 80 for Seymour and Blair. Grant was inaugurated president on March 4, 1869, and on the next day sent in to the senate the following nominations for cabinet officers: Elihu B. Washburne of Illinois, secretary of state; Alexander T. Stewart of New York, secretary of the treasury; Jacob D. Cox of Ohio, secretary of the interior; Adolph E. Borie of Pennsylvania, secretary of the navy; John M. Schofield of Illinois, secretary of war; John A. J. Creswell of Maryland, postmaster general; E. Rockwood Hoar of Massachusetts, attorney general. These nominations were at once confirmed, but it was discovered that Mr. Stewart was disqualified by an act of 1789, which provided that no person should hold the office of secretary of the treasury who was “directly or indirectly concerned or interested in carrying on the business of trade or commerce.” The president, in a brief message, thereupon suggested to congress that Mr. Stewart be exempted by joint resolution from the action of the law. This was objected to, and Mr. Stewart declined, and George S. Boutwell of Massachusetts was appointed in his stead. Soon afterward Mr. Washburne gave up the office of secretary of state, being appointed minister to France, and was succeeded by Hamilton Fish of New York; while Secretary Schofield retired from the war department, and was succeeded by John A. Rawlins of Illinois, who died in September, when the vacancy was filled by the appointment of William W. Belknap of Iowa. Mr. Borie resigned in June, and was succeeded by George M. Robeson of New Jersey. Mr. Hoar resigned in July, 1870, and was succeeded by A. T. Akerman of Georgia, who resigned in December, 1871, and was succeeded by George H. Williams of Oregon. Mr. Cox resigned in November, 1870, and was suc- ceeded by Columbus Delano of Ohio. As President Grant was in political harmony with the majority in congress, the reconstruction of the lately rebellious states, which had been delayed by the lack of such harmony during the previous administration, now went on. A proclamation by President Grant, dated May 19, directed that there should be no reduction of the wages paid to government employees in consequence of the reduction in the hours of labor which congress had enacted. In 1871 President Grant urged the annexation of Santo Domingo as a territory of the United States. A treaty to effect this, and also one by which the peninsula and bay of Samana were ceded to the United States for 50 years at an annual rental of $150,000 in gold, had been signed Nov. 29, 1869, on behalf of President Grant and President Baez. Early in 1870 these treaties were confirmed by a popular vote in Santo Domingo; but it was believed that a free election had not been held, and it was said that, in anticipation of annexation, the Dominican government had granted to private individuals every valuable franchise or piece of property in its possession. In conformity with a resolution of congress, President Grant appointed B. F. Wade of Ohio, A. D. White of New York, and S. G. Howe of Massachusetts, as commissioners to visit Santo Domingo, accompanied by several scientific men, and report upon the condition of the country, the government, and the people. Their report, submitted in April, 1871, was favorable to annexation; but the senate withheld its approval of the treaties. A “joint high commission” of five British and five American members met at Washington, Feb. 27, 1871, and on May 8 signed a treaty on the subject of the coast fisheries, river navigation, and the “Alabama claims.” The last named question was submitted to a court of arbitration to meet at Geneva, Switzerland, which on Sept. 14, 1872, awarded the gross sum of $15,500,000, to be paid by the British government to the United States for damages to American commerce by confederate cruisers fitted out in British ports. The act to enforce the provisions of the 14th amendment of the constitution, popularly known as the Ku-Klux bill, was followed by a presidential proclamation exhorting obedience to it; and on Oct. 17, 1871, the president suspended the privilege of habeas corpus in the northern counties of South Carolina. Under the provisions of an act of congress of March 3, 1871, President Grant appointed a board of seven commissioners to inquire into the condition of the civil service and devise a plan for rendering it more efficient. The chairman of the board, George William Curtis, resigned in March, 1873, because of essential differences between his views and the president's on the enforcement of the rules. At the national republican convention held in Philadelphia, June 5, 1872, President Grant was renominated by acclamation, and Henry Wilson of Massachusetts received the nomination for vice president; while Horace Greeley and B. Gratz Brown were the candidates of both the liberal republicans and the democrats. Grant and Wilson received 286 votes in the electoral college, against 80 for other candidates. Grant's popular majority over Greeley was 762,991. During the last session of the 42d congress the salary of the president was doubled, and those of the vice president, speaker of the house, justices of the supreme court, and heads of departments increased 25 per cent. William M. Richardson of Massachusetts became secretary of the treasury March 4, 1873, and was succeeded on June 2, 1874, by Benjamin H. Bristow of Kentucky. On the death of Chief Justice Chase in 1873, the president nominated successively George H. Williams, Caleb Gushing, and Morrison R. Waite of Ohio; the last named was confirmed. On April 22, 1874, he vetoed a bill to increase the currency. — Accounts of the battles fought by Gen. Grant will be found under their respective titles. See “Military History of Ulysses S. Grant,” by Adam Badeau (vol. i., New York, 1868); “Life of Ulysses S. Grant,” by C. A. Dana and J. H. Wilson (Springfield, 1868); and “Report of the Operations of the Union Army from March, 1862, to the Close of the Rebellion” (New York, 1866).