Online Encyclopedia

ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT (1822-1885)

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Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 356 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT (1822-1885), American soldier, and eighteenth president of the United States, was born at Point Pleasant, Ohio, on the 27th of April 1822. He was a descendant of Matthew Grant, a Scotchman, who settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 163o. His earlier years were spent in helping his father, Jesse R. Grant, upon his farm in Ohio. In 1839 he was appointed to a place in the military academy at West Point, and it was then that his name assumed the form by which it is generally known. He was christened Hiram, after an ancestor, with Ulysses for a middle name. As he was usually called by his middle name, the congressman who recommended him for West Point supposed it to be his first name, and added thereto the name of his mother's family, Simpson. Grant was the best horseman of his class, and took a respectable place in mathematics, but at his graduation in 1843 he only ranked twenty-first in a class of thirty-nine. In September 1845 he went with his regiment to join the forces of General Taylor in Mexico; there he took part in the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma and Monterey, and, after his transfer to General Scott's army, which he joined in March 1847, served at Vera Cruz, Cerro Gordo, Churubusco, Molino del Rey and at the storming of Chapultepec. He was breveted first lieutenant for gallantry at Molino del Rey and captain for gallantry at Chapultepec. In August 1848, after the close of the war, he married Julia T. Dent (1826-1902), and was for a while stationed in California and Oregon, but in 1854 he resigned his commission. His reputation in the service had suffered from allegations of intemperate drinking, which, whether well founded or not,
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