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Major General Ulysses S. Grant (USA)

Discussion in 'Colorized Period Photographs' started by ColorizedPast, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. ColorizedPast

    ColorizedPast Corporal

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    170317 Ulysses S Grant.jpg

    Major General Ulysses S. Grant (USA)


    Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, on 27 April 1822. His father Jesse had grown up with John Brown. In his youth, Grant developed an unusual ability to work with and control horses.

    Congressman Thomas L. Hamer nominated Grant to the United States Military Academy in 1839. However, Hamer mistakenly wrote Grant’s name as “Ulysses S. Grant”, and this became his adopted name. His colleagues nicknamed him “Sam” since his initials “U.S.” also stood for “Uncle Sam”. He was not inspired by military life. He graduated 21st of 39 cadets in 1843. He planned to resign his commission after his four-year term of duty.

    He was assigned to the 4th Infantry as quartermaster at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri. Grant was happy with his new commander, Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, but looked forward to the end of his military service and a possible teaching career. He became engaged to his friend Frederick T. Dent’s sister, Julia, in 1844. They married on 22 August 1848 after the Mexican-American War.

    Initially, Grant’s unit was part of Zachary Taylor’s Army of Observation. Although a quartermaster, Grant led a cavalry charge at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma. At Monterrey, he volunteered to carry a dispatch through sniper-lined streets while hanging off the side of his horse. President James Polk, wary of Taylor’s growing popularity, sent many of his troops to form a new army under Major General Winfield Scott.

    Scott’s army landed at Veracruz and advanced toward Mexico City. Grant yearned for a combat role and finally took part in dangerous missions. At San Cosmé, men under Grant’s direction dragged a howitzer into a church steeple and bombarded nearby Mexican troops. He earned a brevet promotion to captain.

    Grant studied the tactics and strategies of Scott and others during the war. He later wrote that this was how he learned about military leadership. He believed the Mexican War was wrong and the territorial gains from the war were designed to expand slavery. He later opined that the Civil War was punishment for the nation’s aggression in Mexico.

    After the war, Grant was assigned to Detroit and then Sackets Harbor, New York. In 1852, Grant was ordered to the Pacific Northwest, travelling from New York, across Panama, and up to San Francisco. Julia was eight months pregnant and was wisely left behind as 150 fellow travelers died in Panama of cholera. He was assigned to Vancouver Barracks in Oregon, later Washington Territory. He tried and failed at several business ventures. He empathized with the plight of the Native Americans.

    Promoted to captain in 1853, Grant was assigned to command Company F, 4th Infantry, at Fort Humboldt in California. Lonely and bored, Grant began to drink. His commander gave him the chance to resign instead of facing a court-martial. He resigned without explanation effective 31 July 1854 and rumors of his drinking followed him through the Civil War.

    Grant started a farm called “Hardscrabble” using slaves owned by Julia’s father. He acquired a slave named William Jones in 1857 and freed him in 1858 despite Jone’s being valued at $1500 and Grant needing the money. In 1860, Grant’s father offered him a job in Galena, Illinois, working in leather goods. He was a Democrat and supported Stephen Douglas over Abraham Lincoln but preferred Lincoln over Southern Democrat, John C. Breckinridge.

    When the Civil War broke out, Grant quickly offered his services as a West Pointer. He tried to call on George McClellan in Cincinnati but was ignored. He held recruit a company of volunteers and took them to Springfield, Illinois. Governor Richard Yates offered Grant a militia commission to recruit and train volunteer units. With the aid of Congressman Elihu B. Washburne, Grant was promoted to Colonel on 14 June 1861 and put in charge of disciplining the unruly 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

    Grant was transferred to northern Missouri and promoted to brigadier general. By the end of August, Major General John C. Fremont assigned Grant command of troops near Cairo, Illinois. He advanced into Paducah, Kentucky and took the town without a fight.

    On 7 November 1861, Grant crossed the Mississippi and attacked Confederates encamped in Belmont, Missouri. His men captured the camp but were forced to retreat by Brig. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow. A tactical defeat, the battle nonetheless gave Grant and his volunteers confidence and experience.

    Grant asked his new commanded Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck for permission to move against Fort Henry in Tennessee to open the Tennessee River to Union gunboats. Halleck agreed on the condition that the attack be conducted in close cooperation with navy Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote. Foote and Grant got along splendidly. After Foote’s gunboats silenced most of the guns at Fort Henry, Grant’s troops moved in a captured it on 6 February 1862.

    Grant immediately assaulted nearby Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River (without Halleck’s permission). He met stiff resistance from Pillow on 15 February. Confederate forces nearly broke out and escaped, but Pillow missed the opportunity. Pillow and John B. Floyd turned command of the fort over to Brig. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner. Nathan Bedford Forrest escaped the fort with several units of cavalry. On 16 February, Buckner agreed to Grant’s demand for “unconditional and immediate surrender.” Lincoln promoted Grant to major general and the press took to calling him “Unconditional Surrender Grant”.

    Encamped on the western bank of the Tennessee River, Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, numbering 45,000 men, prepared to attack Corinth, Mississippi. Confederates, led by Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard, surprised Grant’s army on 6 April at Pittsburg Landing. One Union division was captured during the fighting, but Grant held the Landing. The Confederates missed the chance to destroy Grant. Johnston had been killed during the fight, the men were exhausted, confused, and lacked reinforcements. The next day, Grant, reinforced by 18,000 men from the divisions of Maj. Gens. Don Carlos Buell and Lew Wallace, counterattacked and regained the field.

    Grant was accused of drunkenness following the Battle of Shiloh where he had suffered 23,800 casualties. Halleck arrived on 9 April and removed him from field command. Grant considered resigning, but Brig. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman convinced him to stay. Lincoln also supported Grant, “I can’t spare this man; he fights.” On 11 July, Grant was reinstated to command of the Army of the Tennessee. On 19 September, Grant defeated Sterling Price and Earl Van Dorn at the Battle of Iuka. He successfully defended Corinth, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. On 25 October, Grant assumed command of the District of the Tennessee.

    Grant was aggravated to learn that Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand had been authorized to raise a separate army to capture Vicksburg. McClernand was a political general and Grant had to deal with the situation delicately. McClernand was ordered to Memphis, however, his troops took off down the Mississippi with Sherman before he could arrive. Sherman would attack from the river, while Grant attacked overland. However, Confederate cavalry raids in December captured Grant’s supply base at Holly Springs, Mississippi, and broke his line of communication. On 29 December, Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton repulsed Sherman at Chickasaw Bayou. McClernand assumed command of Sherman’s army and led a campaign into Arkansas to capture Fort Hindman.

    Grant also had to deal with the expanding illicit cotton trade in his district. On 17 December 1862, he issued General Order No. 11, expelling “Jews, as a class,” from the district, saying that Jewish merchants were violating trade regulations. Lincoln demanded the order revoked and Grant quickly rescinded it.

    In the early months of 1863, Grant made several attempts to bypass Vicksburg’s guns, failing but giving his men valuable experience. On 16 April, Admiral David Porter’s gunboats ran the guns to get south of Vicksburg to meet up with Grant’s men who had marched south down the west side of the Mississippi River. Grant crossed the river, captured Jackson, Mississippi, prevented Joseph Johnston from reinforcing Pemberton at Vicksburg, and bottled up Pemberton by May. After a seven-week siege, Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg on 4 July 1863.

    Grant was promoted to major general in the regular army and assigned command of the Division of the Mississippi on 16 October 1863, including the Armies of the Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland. After the Battle of Chickamauga, the Army of the Cumberland was trapped in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Grant put Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas in command of the besieged troops. Sherman’s army was ordered to Chattanooga’s relief. Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker and two corps from the Army of the Potomac were sent to assist. A supply line was opened to Thomas’ men and on 23 November, Grant organized three armies to attack Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain.

    On 25 November, Hooker successfully took Lookout Mountain. Sherman failed to take Missionary Ridge from the northeast, so Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland, led by Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan and Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Wood, charged uphill and captured the Confederate entrenchments on top of the ridge. The Union controlled Tennessee and opened Georgia to Union invasion.

    On 2 March 1864, Lincoln promoted to Grant to lieutenant general and command of all Union Armies. Grant assigned Sherman the Division of the Mississippi and traveled to Washington, D.C. He met with Lincoln to devise a strategy of total war against the Confederacy. He established his headquarters with Maj. Gen. George Meade’s Army of the Potomac. He devised a strategy of coordinated Union offensives, attack the rebel armies at the same time to keep the Confederates from shifting reinforcements within their interior lines. Sherman was to pursue Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee, Meade would attack Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, and Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler would advance towards Richmond from the south up the James River. Maj. Gen. Franz Sigel was to capture the railroad line at Lynchburg, move east, and attack from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas was to attack into East Tennessee. Maj. Gen. Nathaniel Banks was to move on Mobile, Alabama.

    Thomas was slow to get moving, Sigel’s and Butler’s efforts sputtered, and Banks’ became distracted with the ill-fated Red River Campaign. Grant and Meade crossed the Rapidan River on 4 May 1864, and attacked Lee in the Battle of the Wilderness. Rather than retreat, Grant flanked Lee’s army to the southeast and attempted to wedge his forces between Lee and Richmond at Spotsylvania Court House. Lee’s army got there first and the battle raged for thirteen days. Grant again attempted to flank Lee, meeting at North Anna, where another battle lasted three days. Grant ordered an ill-advised and costly frontal assault at Cold Harbor.

    Grant was castigated as “the Butcher” by the Northern press after taking 52,788 casualties in the month since crossing the Rapidan; Lee’s army suffered 32,907 casualties, but he was less able to replace them, though Grant was also having difficulty getting reinforcements to replace losses from battle and expiring enlistments. Undetected, Grant moved his army south of the James River, freed Butler from the Bermuda Hundred, and advanced toward Petersburg, Richmond’s central railroad hub.

    Beauregard defended Petersburg against initial Union assaults and Lee and Grant were forced to settle into a nine-month siege. Grant ordered Sheridan to command the Army of the Shenandoah and destroy Confederate forces, supplies, and farms in the Shenandoah Valley. Grant continued to extend his lines south and west of Petersburg. On 2 September, Sherman captured Atlanta and convinced Grant and Lincoln to send his army to march on Savannah, Georgia devastating the Confederate heartland. Sherman presented Savannah to the re-elected Lincoln as a Christmas present.

    In late March 1865, Grant’s forces finally took Petersburg, then captured Richmond in April. Grant, Sherman, Admiral Porter, and Lincoln held a conference on the River Queen to discuss the surrender of Confederate armies and Reconstruction of the South. Lee’s army disintegrated while attempting to link up with remnants of Johnston’s army, but Sheridan’s cavalry prevented the armies from converging. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House on 9 April 1865. Johnston surrendered to Sherman later in April, and on 26 May, Kirby Smith’s western army surrendered and the Civil War was over.

    Lincoln invited Grant and his wife to Ford’s Theater on 14 April, but they declined as they had plans to travel to their home in Philadelphia. Lincoln was shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth, and Grant was summoned back to Washington. At Lincoln’s funeral, Grant stood alone and wept openly.

    On 25 July 1866, Grant was promoted to the newly created rank of General of the Army of the United States. During President Andrew Johnson’s battle with Congress over the Tenure of Office Act, Grant replaced Secretary of War Edwin Stanton for four months. Grant believed Johnson was in the wrong and their relationship was damaged beyond repair, while Grant’s popularity with Radical Republicans soared.

    Grant was elected President in 1868 over Democrat Horatio Seymour. He, at the age of 46, was (at the time) the youngest president ever elected. Sherman became commanding general of the army. Grant’s administration had to deal with the difficult Reconstruction of the South. His Presidency was riddled with corruption, though Grant himself wasn’t corrupt. He apologized to the nation in November 1876 as his second term was ending, admitting his mistakes, saying, “[f]ailures have been errors of judgement, not of intent.” Grant declined to run for a third term in 1876.

    Grant his family toured the world. In 1880, Stalwarts, led by Grant’s old political ally, Roscoe Conkling, saw the ex-president’s renewed popularity as a way for their faction to regain power. Grant said nothing publicly, but he wanted to be President again. He led the vote total at the Republican Convention in Chicago, but after 36 ballots, he did not have enough votes to secure nomination. Ultimately, James A. Garfield of Ohio accepted the nomination. Grant supported Garfield but refused to criticize the Democratic nominee, Winfield Scott Hancock, a general who had served under him in the Army of the Potomac.

    Grant was essentially penniless as his health began to fail him. During the war, he had developed a cigar smoking habit, and he developed throat cancer. Congress restored him to the rank of General of the Army with full retirement pay; Grant had had to resign his commission and forfeit his pension when he became President. Despite his illness, Grant raced to complete his memoirs accepting a book offer from his friend, Mark Twain, who proposed a 75% royalty. The Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant was a critical and commercial success, and Julia Grant received about $450,000 in royalties.

    Ulysses S. Grant died on 23 July 1885 in Wilton, New York. Sherman ordered a day-long tribute to Grant on all military posts, and President Grover Cleveland ordered a thirty-day nationwide period of mourning. After private services, the honor guard placed Grant’s body on a special funeral train, which traveled to West Point and New York City. A quarter of a million people viewed it in the two days before the funeral. Tens of thousands of men, many of them veterans from the Grand Army of the Republic marched with Grant’s casket drawn by two dozen horses to Riverside Park in Upper Manhattan. His pallbearers included Union general Sherman and Sheridan, Confederate generals Buckner and Johnston, Admiral David D. Porter, and Senator (and Union general) John A. Logan. Following the casket in the seven-mile-long procession were President Cleveland, the two living former presidents Rutherford B. Hayes and Chester A. Arthur, Cleveland’s cabinet, and the justices of the Supreme Court. On 17 April 1897, Grant’s body was reinterred in the General Grant National Memorial “Grant’s Tomb”, the largest mausoleum in North America.

    170317 Ulysses S Grant comparison.jpg
     

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  3. Saruman

    Saruman Corporal

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    Great photo! Grant only suffered 13,047 casualties at Shiloh - maybe you are thinking total Union and Confederate casualties for the battle?
     
  4. ColorizedPast

    ColorizedPast Corporal

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    Yeah, you're right, thinking about it that does seem pretty high.
     

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