Grant, Ulysses S.: Meaningful

We are discussing Ulysses S. Grant today. He began serving in 1869. But it wasn’t his presidency that brought him notoriety. The main reason that people remember Grant is that he led the Union soldiers at the close of the Civil War. In his leadership, the US defeated the Confederate States of America. The peculiar anecdote surrounding Grant’s middle initial has helped many Americans recall him as well. The future eighteenth president’s parents gave him the name Hiram Ulysses Grant at birth. However, the young man went by Ulysses. A congressman sent Grant to one of the best universities in the country when he was a young man: the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.

The representative was not acquainted with Grant directly. He believed Grant took the Simpson last name of his mother as his middle name. The congressman thus gave him the name Ulysses S. Grant. The “S” in the middle was officially adopted. Grant joked years later that it was meaningless. However, Grant’s middle name did come to be associated with something during the Civil War. In a well-known Tennessee engagement, Grant’s army decisively defeated the opposition. In a note, the Confederate commander requested the terms of surrender, or what would be expected of them should they leave the fight. “No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender,” General Grant retorted. The general of the Confederacy was not pleased with the response, but he consented.

People in the North rejoiced over the win. They started stating that “Unconditional Surrender” was what Grant’s first two initials stood for. Ohio is the state in which Grant was born. Out of six children, he was the eldest. Grant’s father was a tanner, a person who uses animal skin to manufacture leather. Grant helped his father when he was a boy. He disliked the task, though. When he was an adult, he vowed not to do it. Therefore, when Grant was a young man, his father applied for admission to West Point as a student. The boy’s college tuition was out of the Grants’ limited financial means. However, they were aware of his intelligence, talent, and freedom at West Point. Graduates from West Point enlist in the military as payment for their training.

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