Ulysses S. Grant [born Hiram Ulysses Grant] (b. April 27, 1822, currently age 50) was general-in-chief of the Union Army from 1864 to 1865 during the American Civil War and is currently the 18th President of the United States (elected in 1869).
The son of an Appalachian Ohio tanner, Grant entered the United States Military Academy at age 17. In 1846, three years after graduating, Grant served as a lieutenant in the [[Mexican-American War]] under Winfield Scott and future president Zachary Taylor. After the [[Mexican-American War]] concluded in 1848, Grant remained in the Army, but abruptly resigned in 1854. Struggling through the coming years as a real estate agent, a laborer, and a county engineer, Grant decided to join the Northern effort in the Civil War.
Appointed brigadier general of volunteers in 1861 by President Abraham Lincoln, Grant claimed the first major Union victories of the war in 1862, capturing Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee. He was surprised by a Confederate attack at the Battle of Shiloh, and although he emerged victorious, the severe casualties on both sides prompted a public outcry and he was temporarily removed from army command. Grant’s 1863 victory at Vicksburg, following a long campaign with many initial setbacks, and his rescue of the besieged Union army at Chattanooga, established his reputation as Lincoln’s most aggressive and successful general. Named lieutenant general and general-in-chief of the Army in 1864, Grant implemented a coordinated strategy of simultaneous attacks aimed at destroying the South’s armies and its economy’s ability to sustain its forces. In 1865, after mounting a successful war of attrition against his Confederate opponents, he accepted the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.
Popular due to the Union victory in the Civil War, Grant was elected President of the United States as a Republican in 1868 and is on track to be re-elected this November, and would be the first President to serve for two full terms since Andrew Jackson forty years before. As President, Grant led Reconstruction and built a powerful patronage-based Republican Party in the South, straining relations between the North and former Confederates. His administration is often marred by scandal, sometimes the product of nepotism, and the neologism “Grantism” was coined to describe political corruption.