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Ulysses S. Grant was born on April 22, 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. In 1839 Grant enrolled in West Point, where he graduated in the middle of his class. He served as a quartermaster during the Mexican War under later President Zachary Taylor. Unfortunately, in 1854 Grant developed a drinking problem that forced him to resign from the Army in 1854. He then participated in a variety of different jobs until the Civil War. Being seriously opposed to slavery all his life, Grant immediately volunteered his services to the Union.

In 1862, Grant lead forces on Fort Henry, which surrendered on February 6th. He then moved on to Fort Donelson, where they met more resistence, but the Confederates surrendered on February 16th. With these strategic victories Grant managed to isolate Kentucky and Tennessee from the rest of the Confederacy. With around 40,000 men Grant attempted to take crucial railroad lines from Confederate troops, but he was ambushed by Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard, resulting in the Battle of Shiloh, where the Union forces narrowly prevailed.

In 1863 Grant began the Vicksburg Campaign so the Union could complete its control of the Mississippi River. Their target was the city of Vicksburg, which had its heaviest defenses in the North. So, Grant and his men went around to the southern side of the city, cutting it off from receiving supplies or aid. Eventually, after six weeks of the siege the city surrendered on July 4, 1863. Later, Grant and his forces came to the aid of other Union forces in the Battle of Chattanooga, where they pushed the Confederates back to Georgia.

In March of 1864, Lincoln decided to put Grant in command of the Union war effort. Lincoln and Grant's shared beliefs on how the war should be dealt with, by making the armies and resources the target as opposed to territory, was a large factor in the power given to Grant. Grant had relative control on what his troops did, but always sent his plans through Lincoln. Though these tactics were undoubtedly a winning factor for the North, they were heavily questioned for the ruthlessness employed by northern troops. He was most known for his willingness to do whatever it took in battle, and going farther than other generals would in the war to win. Two large offensives were planned for 1864. First, the Potomac Army was to push Lee's troops into a decisive battle. However, Lee defeated Grant in the Battle of the Wilderness. Grant pressed on, losing mass amounts of troops, not gaining any real victories in the process. Seeing that taking Richmond would be unlikely, Grant then changed his target to Petersburg. Second, forces in the West were to advance towards Atlanta, destroying the Confederates in their path. Sherman's army met very little resistance as Johnson was avoiding all out combat. The confederates won one battle, but were unable to stop the advancing Union forces.

In April of 1865 the Potomac Army led by Grant finally made progress in their siege of Petersburg, gaining control of a piece of railroad that cut off contact between the Confederacy and Lee and his troops. Seeing little possibility for triumph Lee fled, but was blocked by Grant's army. Lee arranged a meeting between Grant and himself at Appomattox, a neutral location, for surrender. On April 9, Lee surrendered formally to Grant's Army.

In 1868 Grant was nominated by the Republican Party for president, and he narrowly won with a 52.7% majority vote. He became the youngest president to date at age 46. He was unpopular with Congress, but very popular with the people, which helped him gain his second term in office. However, it was plagued with scandal and corruption. After his presidency, Grant wrote a Memoir for himself, and then died of throat cancer on July 23, 1885.external image 9780765302434.jpg