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|Death||137 years ago|
|Date of birth||April 27,1822|
|Date of died||July 23,1885|
|Died||Ulysses S. Grant Cottage National Historic Landmark|
|Full name||Hiram Ulysses Grant|
|Presidential term||March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal|
|Legion of Merit|
|World War I Victory Medal|
|American Defense Service Medal|
|American Campaign Medal|
|Mexican Service Medal|
|Philippine Campaign Medal|
|Full name||Hiram Ulysses Grant|
|Spouse||Julia Dent Grant|
|Presidential term||March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877|
|Education||United States Military Academy|
|Nickname||"Unconditional Surrender" Grant, Hero of Appomattox, Sam, Uncle Sam|
|Date of Reg.|
|Date of Upd.|
Ulysses S. Grant was an American military officer and politician who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877.
Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant HY-rəm yoo-LISS-eez; April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) was an American military officer and politician who served as the 18th president of the United States from 1869 to 1877. As president, Grant was an effective civil rights executive who created the Justice Department and worked with the Radical Republicans to protect African Americans during Reconstruction. Previously, as Commanding General, he led the Union Army to victory in the American Civil War in 1865 and thereafter briefly served as Secretary of War.
Raised in Ohio, Grant possessed an exceptional ability with horses. Admitted to West Point, Grant graduated 21st in the class of 1843 and served with distinction in the Mexican–American War. In 1848, he married Julia Dent, and together they had four children. Grant resigned from the army in 1854 and returned to his family but lived in poverty. He joined the Union Army after the American Civil War broke out in 1861 and rose to prominence after winning several early Union victories on the Western Theater. In 1863 he led the Vicksburg campaign, which gained control of the Mississippi River, dealing a serious strategic blow to the Confederacy, splitting it in two. President Abraham Lincoln promoted him to lieutenant general after his victory at Chattanooga. For thirteen months, Grant fought Robert E. Lee during the high-casualty Overland Campaign and at Petersburg. After Lee fled Petersburg, Grant defeated him at Appomattox. On April 9, 1865, Lee formally surrendered to Grant. A week later, Lincoln was assassinated and was succeeded by President Andrew Johnson, who promoted Grant to General of the Army in 1866. Later Grant openly broke with Johnson over Reconstruction policies; Grant used the Reconstruction Acts, which had been passed over Johnson's veto, to enforce civil rights for recently freed African Americans.
A war hero, drawn in by his sense of duty, Grant was unanimously nominated by the Republican Party and was elected president in 1868. As president, Grant stabilized the post-war national economy, supported Congressional Reconstruction, ratification of the 15th Amendment, and crushed the Ku Klux Klan. Under Grant, the Union was completely restored. He appointed African Americans and Jewish Americans to prominent federal offices. In 1871, Grant created the first Civil Service Commission, advancing civil service more than any prior president. The Liberal Republicans and Democrats united behind Grant's opponent in the presidential election of 1872, but Grant was handily re-elected. Grant's Native American policy was to assimilate Indians into the White culture; the Great Sioux War was fought during his term. Grant's foreign policy was mostly peaceful, without war, the Alabama Claims against Great Britain skillfully resolved, but his prized Caribbean Dominican Republic annexation was rejected by the Senate.
The Grant administration is traditionally known for prevalent scandals including the Gold Ring and the Whiskey Ring. However, modern scholarship has better appreciated Grant's appointed reformers and prosecutions. Grant appointed John Brooks Henderson and David Dyer, who prosecuted the Whiskey Ring. Grant appointed Benjamin Bristow and Edwards Pierrepont, who served as Grant's anti-corruption team. Grant appointed Zachariah Chandler, who cleaned up corruption in the Interior. Grant's administration prosecuted Mormon polygamists (1871), pornographers, and abortionists (1873–1877). The Panic of 1873 plunged the nation into a severe economic depression that allowed the Democrats to win the House majority. In the intensely disputed presidential election of 1876, Grant facilitated the approval by Congress of a peaceful compromise.
In his retirement, Grant was the first president to circumnavigate the world on his tour, dining with Queen Victoria and meeting many prominent foreign leaders. In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. In the final year of his life, facing severe financial reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major critical and financial success. At the time of his death, he was memorialized as a symbol of national unity. Grant was a modern general and "a skillful leader who had a natural grasp of tactics and strategy". Historical assessments of his presidency have ranked him low, 38th in 1994 and 1996, but Grant has moved up in recent years, to 21st in 2018 and 20th in 2021. Although critical of scandals, modern historians have emphasized his two-term presidential accomplishments. These included the prosecution of the Klan, treatment of Black people as both human and American, an innovative Native American policy, and the peaceful settlements of the Alabama Claims and controversial 1876 presidential election.
Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, on April 27, 1822, to Jesse Root Grant, a tanner and merchant, and Hannah Simpson Grant. His ancestors Matthew and Priscilla Grant arrived aboard the ship Mary and John at Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. Grant's great-grandfather fought in the French and Indian War, and his grandfather, Noah, served in the American Revolution at Bunker Hill. Afterward, Noah settled in Pennsylvania and married Rachel Kelley, the daughter of an Irish pioneer. Their son Jesse (Ulysses's father) was a Whig Party supporter and a fervent abolitionist. Jesse Grant moved to Point Pleasant in 1820 and found work as a foreman in a tannery. He soon met his future wife, Hannah, and the two were married on June 24, 1821. Hannah descended from Presbyterian immigrants from Ballygawley in County Tyrone, Ireland. Ten months after she was married, Hannah gave birth to Ulysses, her and Jesse's first child. The boy's name, Ulysses, was drawn from ballots placed in a hat. To honor his father-in-law, Jesse declared the boy named Hiram Ulysses, though he would always refer to him as Ulysses.In 1823, the family moved to Georgetown, Ohio, where five more siblings were born: Simpson, Clara, Orvil, Jennie, and Mary. At the age of five, Ulysses began his formal education, starting at a subscription school and later in two private schools. In the winter of 1836–1837, Grant was a student at Maysville Seminary, and in the autumn of 1838, he attended John Rankin's academy. In his youth, Grant developed an unusual ability to ride and manage horses. Grant disliked the tannery, so his father put his ability with horses to use by giving him work driving wagon loads of supplies and transporting people. Unlike his siblings, Grant was not forced to attend church by his Methodist parents. For the rest of his life, he prayed privately and never officially joined any denomination. To others, including his own son, Grant appeared to be an agnostic. He inherited some of Hannah's Methodist piety and quiet nature. Grant was largely apolitical before the war but wrote, "If I had ever had any political sympathies they would have been with the Whigs. I was raised in that school."
Grant's father wrote to Representative Thomas L. Hamer requesting that he nominate Ulysses to the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York. Despite political differences with Jesse Root Grant, Hamer, a Democrat, nominated his 17-year-old son to West Point in spring 1839. Grant was accepted on July 1, although he doubted his academic abilities. Hamer, unfamiliar with Grant, submitted an incorrect name to West Point. On September 14 Grant was enlisted Cadet "U.S. Grant" at the national academy. His nickname at West Point became "Sam" among army colleagues since the initials "U.S." also stood for "Uncle Sam".Initially, Grant was indifferent to military life, but within a year he reexamined his desire to leave the academy and later wrote that "on the whole I like this place very much". While at the academy, his greatest interest was horses, and he earned a reputation as the "most proficient" horseman. During the graduation ceremony, while riding York, a large and powerful horse that only Grant could manage, he set a high-jump record that stood for 25 years. Seeking relief from military routine, he studied under Romantic artist Robert Walter Weir, producing nine surviving artworks. He spent more time reading books from the library than his academic texts, including works by James Fenimore Cooper and others. On Sundays, cadets were required to march to and attend services at the academy's church, a requirement that Grant disliked. Quiet by nature, Grant established a few intimate friends among fellow cadets, including Frederick Tracy Dent and James Longstreet. He was inspired both by the Commandant, Captain Charles F. Smith, and by General Winfield Scott, who visited the academy to review the cadets. Grant later wrote of the military life, "there is much to dislike, but more to like."Grant graduated on June 30, 1843, ranked 21st out of 39 in his class and was promoted the next day to the rank brevet second lieutenant. Small for his age at 17, he had entered the academy weighing only 117 pounds (53 kg) at 5 feet 2 inches (1.57 m) tall; upon graduation four years later he had grown to a height of 5 feet 7 inches (1.70 m). Grant planned to resign his commission after his four-year term of duty. He would later write to a friend that among the happiest days of his life were the day he left the presidency and the day he left the academy. Despite his excellent horsemanship, he was not assigned to the cavalry, but to the 4th Infantry Regiment. Grant's first assignment took him to the Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis, Missouri. Lt. Col. Robert C. Buchanan fined Grant wine bottles for Grant's late returns from White Haven. Commanded by Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, the barracks was the nation's largest military base in the West. Grant was happy with his new commander but looked forward to the end of his military service and a possible teaching career.
In Missouri, Grant visited Dent's family and became engaged to his sister, Julia, in 1844. Four years later on August 22, 1848, they were married at Julia's home in St. Louis. Grant's abolitionist father disapproved of the Dents' owning slaves, and neither of Grant's parents attended the wedding. Grant was flanked by three fellow West Point graduates, all dressed in their blue uniforms, including Longstreet, Julia's cousin. At the end of the month, Julia was warmly received by Grant's family in Bethel, Ohio. They had four children: Frederick, Ulysses Jr. ("Buck"), Ellen ("Nellie"), and Jesse. After the wedding, Grant obtained a two-month extension to his leave and returned to St. Louis when he decided, with a wife to support, that he would remain in the army.
After rising tensions with Mexico following the United States annexation of Texas, war broke out in 1846. During the conflict, Grant distinguished himself as a daring and competent soldier. Before the war President John Tyler had ordered Grant's unit to Louisiana as part of the Army of Observation under Major General Zachary Taylor. In September 1846, Tyler's successor, James K. Polk, unable to provoke Mexico into war at Corpus Christi, Texas, ordered Taylor to march 150 miles south to the Rio Grande. Marching south to Fort Texas, to prevent a Mexican siege, Grant experienced combat for the first time on May 8, 1846, at the Battle of Palo Alto.Grant served as regimental quartermaster, but yearned for a combat role; when finally allowed, he led a charge at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma. He demonstrated his equestrian ability at the Battle of Monterrey by volunteering to carry a dispatch past snipers, where he hung off the side of his horse, keeping the animal between him and the enemy. Before leaving the city he assured some wounded Americans he would send for help. Polk, wary of Taylor's growing popularity, divided his forces, sending some troops (including Grant's unit) to form a new army under Major General Winfield Scott. Traveling by sea, Scott's army landed at Veracruz and advanced toward Mexico City. The army met the Mexican forces at the battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec outside Mexico City. For his bravery at Molino del Rey, Grant was brevetted first lieutenant on September 30. At San Cosmé, Grant directed his men to drag a disassembled howitzer into a church steeple, then reassembled it and bombarded nearby Mexican troops. His bravery and initiative earned him his brevet promotion to captain. On September 14, 1847, Scott's army marched into the city; Mexico ceded the vast territory, including California, to the U.S. on February 2, 1848.During the war, Grant established a commendable record, studied the tactics and strategies of Scott and Taylor, and emerged as a seasoned officer, writing in his memoirs that this is how he learned much about military leadership. In retrospect, although he respected Scott, he identified his leadership style with Taylor's. However, Grant also wrote that the Mexican war was morally unjust and that the territorial gains were designed to expand slavery, stating, "I was bitterly opposed to the measure ... and to this day, regard the war which resulted as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation." He opined that the Civil War was divine punishment on the U.S. for its aggression against Mexico. During the war, Grant discovered his "moral courage" and began to consider a career in the army.Historians increasingly have pointed to the importance of Grant's experience as an assistant quartermaster during the war. Although he was initially averse to the position, it prepared Grant in understanding military supply routes, transportation systems, and logistics, particularly with regard to "provisioning a large, mobile army operating in hostile territory," according to biographer Ronald White. Grant came to recognize how wars could be won or lost by crucial factors that lay beyond the tactical battlefield. Serving as assistant quartermaster made Grant a complete soldier, and learning how to supply an entire army gave Grant the training to sustain large armies.
Grant's first post-war assignments took him and Julia to Detroit on November 17, 1848, but he was soon transferred to Madison Barracks, a desolate outpost in upstate New York, in bad need of supplies and repair. After four months, Grant was sent back to his quartermaster job in Detroit. When the discovery of gold in California brought droves of prospectors and settlers to the territory, Grant and the 4th infantry were ordered to reinforce the small garrison there. Grant was charged with bringing the soldiers and a few hundred civilians from New York City to Panama, overland to the Pacific and then north to California. Julia, eight months pregnant with Ulysses Jr., did not accompany him. While Grant was in Panama, a cholera epidemic broke out and claimed the lives of many soldiers, civilians, and children. Grant established and organized a field hospital in Panama City, and moved the worst cases to a hospital barge one mile offshore. When orderlies protested having to attend to the sick, Grant did much of the nursing himself, earning high praise from observers. In August, Grant arrived in San Francisco. His next assignment sent him north to Vancouver Barracks in the Oregon Territory.Grant tried several business ventures but failed, and in one instance his business partner absconded with $800 of Grant's investment. Concerning local Indians, Grant assured Julia, by letter, they were harmless, and he developed empathy for their plight. Grant witnessed white agents cheating Indians of their supplies, and the devastation of smallpox and measles, transferred by white settlers.Promoted to captain on August 5, 1853, Grant was assigned to command Company F, 4th Infantry, at the newly constructed Fort Humboldt in California. Grant arrived at Fort Humboldt on January 5, 1854, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. Buchanan, a martinet officer, with whom Grant had earlier crossed paths at Jefferson Barracks. Separated from his wife and family, Grant began to drink. Colonel Buchanan reprimanded Grant for one drinking episode and told Grant to "resign or reform." Grant told Buchanan he would "resign if I don't reform." On Sunday, Grant was found influenced by alcohol, but not incapacitated, at his company's paytable. Keeping his pledge to Buchanan, Grant resigned, effective July 31, 1854. Buchanan endorsed Grant's letter of resignation but did not submit any report that verified the incident. Grant did not face court-martial, and the War Department said: "Nothing stands against his good name." Grant said years later, "the vice of intemperance (drunkenness) had not a little to do with my decision to resign." With no means of support, Grant returned to St. Louis and reunited with his family, uncertain about his future.
In 1854, at age 32, Grant entered civilian life, without any money-making vocation to support his growing family. It was the beginning of seven years of financial struggles, poverty, and instability. Grant's father offered him a place in the Galena, Illinois, branch of the family's leather business, but demanded Julia and the children stay in Missouri, with the Dents, or with the Grants in Kentucky. Grant and Julia declined the offer. Grant farmed (for the next four years), using Julia's slave Dan, on his brother-in-law's property, Wish-ton-wish, near St. Louis. The farm was not successful and to earn an alternate living he sold firewood on St. Louis street corners.In 1856, the Grants moved to land on Julia's father's farm, and built a home called "Hardscrabble" on Grant's Farm. Julia described the rustic house as an "unattractive cabin", but made the dwelling as homelike as possible with the family's keepsakes and other belongings. Grant's family had little money, clothes, and furniture, but always had enough food. During the Panic of 1857, which devastated Grant as it did many farmers, Grant had to pawn his gold watch in order to buy Christmas gifts for his family. In 1858, Grant rented out Hardscrabble and moved his family to Julia's father's 850-acre plantation. That fall, after suffering from malaria, Grant finally gave up farming.The same year, Grant acquired a slave from his father-in-law, a thirty-five-year-old man named William Jones. Although Grant was not an abolitionist, he was not considered a "slavery man", and could not bring himself to force a slave to do work. In March 1859, Grant freed William by a manumission deed, potentially worth at least $1,000, when Grant needed the money. Grant moved to St. Louis, taking on a partnership with Julia's cousin Harry Boggs working in the real estate business as a bill collector, again without success and with Julia's prompting ended the partnership. In August, Grant applied for a position as county engineer, believing his education qualified him for the job. He had thirty-five notable recommendations, but the position was given on the basis of political affiliation and Grant was passed over by the Free Soil and Republican county commissioners because he was believed to share his father-in-law's Democratic sentiments. In the 1856 presidential election, Grant cast his first presidential vote for Democrat James Buchanan, later saying he was really voting against Republican John C. Frémont over concern that his anti-slavery position would lead to southern secession and war and because he considered Frémont to be a shameless self-promoter.In April 1860, Grant and his family moved north to Galena, accepting a position in his father's leather goods business run by his younger brothers Simpson and Orvil. In a few months, Grant paid off his debts. The family attended the local Methodist church and he soon established himself as a reputable citizen of Galena. For the 1860 election, he could not vote because he was not yet a legal resident of Illinois, but he favored Democrat Stephen A. Douglas over the eventual winner, Abraham Lincoln, and Lincoln over the Southern Democrat, John C. Breckinridge. He was torn between his increasingly anti-slavery views and the fact that his wife remained a staunch Democrat.
On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began when Confederate troops attacked Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The news came as a shock in Galena, and Grant shared his neighbors' concern about the war. On April 15, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers. The next day, Grant attended a mass meeting to assess the crisis and encourage recruitment, and a speech by his father's attorney, John Aaron Rawlins, stirred Grant's patriotism. Ready to fight, Grant recalled with satisfaction, "I never went into our leather store again." On April 18, Grant chaired a second recruitment meeting, but turned down a captain's position as commander of the newly formed militia company, hoping his previous experience would aid him to obtain a more senior military rank.
Grant's early efforts to be recommissioned were rejected by Major General George B. McClellan and Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon. On April 29, supported by Congressman Elihu B. Washburne of Illinois, Grant was appointed military aide to Governor Richard Yates and mustered ten regiments into the Illinois militia. On June 14, again aided by Washburne, Grant was promoted to Colonel and put in charge of the unruly 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which he soon restored to good order and discipline. Colonel Grant and his 21st Regiment were transferred to Missouri to dislodge Confederate forces.On August 5, with Washburne's aid, Grant was appointed Brigadier General of volunteers. Major General John C. Frémont, Union commander of the West, passed over senior generals and appointed Grant commander of the District of Southeastern Missouri. On September 2, Grant arrived at Cairo, Illinois, assumed command by replacing Colonel Oglesby, and set up his headquarters to plan a campaign down the Mississippi, and up the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers. After the Confederates moved into western Kentucky, taking Columbus, with designs on southern Illinois, Grant, after notifying Frémont, and without waiting further for his reply, strategically advanced on Paducah, Kentucky, taking it without a fight on September 6. Having understood the importance to Lincoln about Kentucky's neutrality, Grant assured its citizens, "I have come among you not as your enemy, but as your friend." On November 1, Frémont ordered Grant to "make demonstrations" against the Confederates on both sides of the Mississippi, but prohibited him from attacking the enemy.
On November 2, 1861, Lincoln removed Frémont from command, freeing Grant to attack Confederate soldiers encamped in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. On November 5, Grant, along with Brigadier General John A. McClernand, landed 2,500 men at Hunter's Point, and on November 7 engaged the Confederates at the Battle of Belmont. The Union army took the camp, but the reinforced Confederates under Brigadier Generals Frank Cheatham and Gideon J. Pillow forced a chaotic Union retreat. Grant had wanted to destroy Confederate strongholds at both Belmont, Missouri and Columbus, Kentucky, but was not given enough troops and was only able to disrupt their positions. Grant's troops fought their way back to their Union boats and escaped back to Cairo under fire from the fortified stronghold at Columbus. Although Grant and his army retreated, the battle gave his volunteers much-needed confidence and experience. It also showed Lincoln that Grant was a general willing to fight.Columbus blocked Union access to the lower Mississippi. Grant and lieutenant colonel James B. McPherson planned to bypass Columbus and with a force of 25,000 troops, move against Fort Henry on the Tennessee River. They would then march ten miles east to Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River, with the aid of gunboats, opening both rivers and allowing the Union access further south. Grant presented his plan to Henry Halleck, his new commander in the newly created Department of Missouri. Halleck was considering the same strategy, but rebuffed Grant, believing he needed twice the number of troops. However, after Halleck telegraphed and consulted McClellan about the plan, he finally agreed on the condition that the attack would be conducted in close cooperation with the navy Flag Officer, Andrew H. Foote. Foote's gunboats bombarded Fort Henry, leading to its surrender on February 6, 1862, before Grant's infantry even arrived.Grant then ordered an immediate assault on Fort Donelson, which dominated the Cumberland River. Fort Donelson, unlike Fort Henry, had a force equal to Grant's army. Unaware of the garrison's strength, Grant, McClernand, and Smith positioned their divisions around the fort. The next day McClernand and Smith independently launched probing attacks on apparent weak spots but were forced to retreat by the Confederates. On February 14, Foote's gunboats began bombarding the fort, only to be repulsed by its heavy guns. Seizing the initiative, the next day, Pillow fiercely attacked and routed one of Grant's divisions, McClernand's. Union reinforcements arrived, giving Grant a total force of over 40,000 men. Grant was with Foote, four miles away when the Confederates attacked. Hearing the battle noise, Grant rode back and rallied his troop commanders, riding over seven miles of freezing roads and trenches, exchanging reports. When Grant blocked the Nashville Road, the Confederates retreated back into Fort Donelson. On February 16, Foote resumed his bombardment, which signaled a general attack. Confederate generals John B. Floyd and Pillow fled, leaving the fort in command of Simon Bolivar Buckner, who submitted to Grant's demand for "unconditional and immediate surrender".Grant had won the first major victory for the Union, capturing Floyd's entire rebel army of more than 12,000. Halleck was angry that Grant had acted without his authorization and complained to McClellan, accusing Grant of "neglect and inefficiency". On March 3, Halleck sent a telegram to Washington complaining that he had no communication with Grant for a week. Three days later, Halleck followed up with a postscript claiming "word has just reached me that ... Grant has resumed his bad habits (of drinking)." Lincoln, regardless, promoted Grant to major general of volunteers and the Northern press treated Grant as a hero. Playing off his initials, they took to calling him "Unconditional Surrender Grant".
With great armies now massing, it was widely thought in the North that another western battle might end the war. Grant, reinstated by Halleck at the urging of Lincoln and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, left Fort Henry and traveled by boat up the Tennessee River to rejoin his army with orders to advance with the Army of the Tennessee into Tennessee. Grant's main army was located at Pittsburg Landing, while 40,000 Confederate troops converged at Corinth, Mississippi. Brigadier General William Tecumseh Sherman assured Grant that his green troops were ready for an attack. Grant agreed and wired Halleck with their assessment. Grant wanted to attack the Confederates at Corinth, but Halleck ordered him not to attack until Major General Don Carlos Buell arrived with his division of 25,000. Meanwhile, Grant prepared for an attack on the Confederate army of roughly equal strength. Instead of preparing defensive fortifications between the Tennessee River and Owl Creek, and clearing fields of fire, they spent most of their time drilling the largely inexperienced troops while Sherman dismissed reports of nearby Confederates.Union inaction created the opportunity for the Confederates to attack first before Buell arrived. On the morning of April 6, 1862, Grant's troops were taken by surprise when the Confederates, led by Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard, struck first "like an Alpine avalanche" near Shiloh church, attacking five divisions of Grant's army and forcing a confused retreat toward the Tennessee River. Johnston was killed and command fell upon Beauregard. One Union line held the Confederate attack off for several hours at a place later called the "Hornet's Nest", giving Grant time to assemble artillery and 20,000 troops near Pittsburg Landing. The Confederates finally broke through the Hornet's Nest to capture a Union division, but "Grant's Last Line" held the landing, while the exhausted Confederates, lacking reinforcements, halted their advance. The day's fighting had been costly, with thousands of casualties. That evening, heavy rain set in. Sherman found Grant standing alone under a tree in the rain. "Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day of it, haven't we?" Sherman said. "Yes," replied Grant. "Lick 'em tomorrow, though."Bolstered by 18,000 fresh troops from the divisions of Major Generals Buell and Lew Wallace, Grant counterattacked at dawn the next day and regained the field, forcing the disorganized and demoralized rebels to retreat back to Corinth. Halleck ordered Grant not to advance more than one day's march from Pittsburg Landing, stopping the pursuit of the Confederate Army. Although Grant had won the battle the situation was little changed, with the Union in possession of Pittsburg Landing and the Confederates once again holed up in Corinth. Grant, now realizing that the South was determined to fight and that the war would not be won with one battle, would later write, "Then, indeed, I gave up all idea of saving the Union except by complete conquest."Shiloh was the costliest battle in American history to that point and the staggering 23,746 total casualties stunned the nation. Briefly hailed a hero for routing the Confederates, Grant was soon mired in controversy. The Northern press castigated Grant for shockingly high casualties, and accused him of drunkenness during the battle, contrary to the accounts of officers and others with him at the time. Discouraged, Grant considered resigning but Sherman convinced him to stay. Lincoln dismissed Grant's critics, saying "I can't spare this man; he fights." However, Grant's victory at Shiloh ended any chance for the Confederates to prevail in the Mississippi valley or regain its strategic advantage in the West.Halleck arrived from St. Louis on April 11, took command, and assembled a combined army of about 120,000 men. On April 29, he relieved Grant of field command and replaced him with Major General George Henry Thomas. Halleck slowly marched his army to take Corinth, entrenching each night. Meanwhile, Beauregard pretended to be reinforcing, sent "deserters" to the Union Army with that story, and moved his army out during the night, to Halleck's surprise when he finally arrived at Corinth on May 30.Halleck divided his combined army and reinstated Grant as field commander of the Army of the Tennessee on July 11.Later that year, on September 19, Grant's army defeated Confederates at the Battle of Iuka, then successfully defended Corinth, inflicting heavy casualties. On October 25, Grant assumed command of the District of the Tennessee. In November, after Lincoln's preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Grant ordered units under his command to incorporate former slaves into the Union Army, giving them clothes, shelter, and wages for their services. Grant held western Tennessee with almost 40,000 men.
The Union capture of Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, was vital, and would split the Confederacy in two. Lincoln, however, appointed McClernand for the job, rather than Grant or Sherman. Halleck, who retained power over troop displacement, ordered McClernand to Memphis, and placed him and his troops under Grant's authority. On November 13, 1862, Grant captured Holly Springs and advanced to Corinth. Grant's plan was to march south to Jackson, and attack Vicksburg overland, while Sherman would attack Vicksburg from Chickasaw Bayou. However, Confederate cavalry raids on December 11 and 20, 1862, broke Union communications and recaptured Holly Springs, preventing Grant and Sherman from converging on Vicksburg. Grant observed sabotage by civilians who had feigned loyalty and complained: "Guerrillas are hovering around in every direction." On December 29, a Confederate army led by Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton repulsed Sherman's direct approach ascending the bluffs to Vicksburg at Chickasaw Bayou. McClernand reached Sherman's army, assumed command, and independently of Grant led a campaign that captured Confederate Fort Hindman.Contraband fugitive African-American slaves poured into Grant's district, whom he sent north to Cairo, to be integrated into white society as domestic servants in Chicago. However, Lincoln ended this move when Illinois political leaders complained. On his own initiative, Grant set up a pragmatic program and hired a young Presbyterian Chaplain John Eaton to administer slave refuge work camps. Compensated contraband freed slaves would be used to pick cotton that would be shipped north and sent to aid the Union war effort. Lincoln approved and Grant's camp program was successful. Grant also worked freed black labor on the bypass canal and other points on the river, incorporating them into the Union Army and Navy.
Grant's war responsibilities included combating an illegal Northern cotton trade and civilian obstruction. Smuggling of cotton was rampant, while the price of cotton skyrocketed. Grant believed the smuggling funded the Confederacy and provided them with military intelligence, while Union soldiers were dying in the fields. He had received numerous dispatches with complaints about Jewish speculators in his district. He also feared the trading corrupted many of his officers who were also eager to make a profit on a bale of cotton, while the majority of those involved in illegal trading was not Jewish. Outraged that gold paid for southern cotton, Grant required two permits, one from the Treasury and one from the Union Army, to purchase cotton.On December 17, 1862, Grant issued a controversial General Order No. 11, expelling "Jews, as a class", from his Union Army military district. The order was fully enforced at Holly Springs (December 17) and Paducah (December 28). Confederate General Van Dorn's raid on Holly Springs (December 20), prevented many Jewish people from potential expulsion. After complaints, Lincoln rescinded the order on January 3, 1863. Grant finally stopped the order within three weeks on January 17.On January 29, 1863, Grant assumed overall command. Eventually, he attempted to advance his army through water-logged terrain to bypass Vicksburg's guns. The plan of attacking Vicksburg from downriver carried great risk because upon crossing the Mississippi River, his army would be beyond the reach of most of its supply lines. On April 16, Grant ordered Admiral David Dixon Porter's gunboats south under fire from the Vicksburg batteries to meet up with troops who had marched south down the west side of the river. Grant ordered diversionary battles, confusing Pemberton and allowing Grant's army to move east across the Mississippi, landing troops at Bruinsburg. Grant's army captured Jackson, the state capital. Advancing west, Grant defeated Pemberton's army at the Battle of Champion Hill on May 16, forcing their retreat into Vicksburg. After Grant's men assaulted the entrenchments twice, suffering severe losses, they settled in for a siege lasting seven weeks. During quiet periods of the campaign, Grant would take to drinking on occasion. The personal rivalry between McClernand and Grant continued until Grant removed him from command when he contravened Grant by publishing an order without permission. Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to Grant on July 4, 1863.
Vicksburg's fall gave Union forces control of the Mississippi River and split the Confederacy. By that time, Grant's political sympathies fully coincided with the Radical Republicans' aggressive prosecution of the war and emancipation of the slaves. The success at Vicksburg was a morale boost for the Union war effort. When Stanton suggested Grant be brought east to run the Army of the Potomac, Grant demurred, writing that he knew the geography and resources of the West better and he did not want to upset the chain of command in the East.
Lincoln promoted Grant to major general in the regular army (as opposed to the volunteers) and assigned him command of the newly formed Division of the Mississippi on October 16, 1863, comprising the Armies of the Ohio, the Tennessee, and the Cumberland. After the Battle of Chickamauga, the Army of the Cumberland retreated into Chattanooga where they were partially besieged. Grant arrived in Chattanooga on horseback, after a journey by boat from Vicksburg to Cairo, and then by train to Bridgeport, Alabama. Plans to resupply the city and break the partial siege had already been set on foot before his arrival. Forces commanded by Major General Joseph Hooker, which had been sent from the Army of the Potomac, approached from the west and linked up with other units moving east from inside the city, capturing Brown's Ferry and opening a supply line to the railroad at Bridgeport.Grant planned to have Sherman's Army of the Tennessee, assisted by the Army of the Cumberland, assault the northern end of Missionary Ridge, preparatory to rolling down it on the enemy's right flank. On November 23, Major General George Henry Thomas surprised the enemy in open daylight, advancing the Union lines and taking Orchard Knob, between Chattanooga and the ridge. The next day, Sherman failed to achieve his mission of getting atop Missionary Ridge, which was the key to Grant's plan of battle. Hooker's forces took Lookout Mountain using an ingenious maneuver to flank the enemy, in unexpected success. On the 25th, Grant ordered Major General George Henry Thomas to advance to the rifle-pits at the case of Missionary in an effort to help Sherman, after Sherman's army failed to take Missionary Ridge from the northeast. Four divisions of the Army of the Cumberland, with the center two led by Major General Philip Sheridan and Brigadier General Thomas J. Wood, chased the Confederates out of the rifle-pits at the base and, against orders, continued the charge up the 45-degree slope and captured the Confederate entrenchments along the crest, forcing a hurried retreat. The decisive battle gave the Union control of Tennessee and opened Georgia, the Confederate heartland, to Union invasion. Grant was given an enormous thoroughbred horse, Cincinnati, by a thankful admirer in St. Louis.On March 2, 1864, Lincoln promoted Grant to lieutenant general, giving him command of all Union Armies. Grant's new rank had only previously been held by George Washington. Grant arrived in Washington on March 8, and he was formally commissioned by Lincoln the next day at a Cabinet meeting. Grant developed a good working relationship with Lincoln, who allowed Grant to devise his own strategy. Grant established his headquarters with General George Meade's Army of the Potomac in Culpeper, north-west of Richmond, and met weekly with Lincoln and Stanton in Washington. After protest from Halleck, Grant scrapped a risky invasion plan of North Carolina, and adopted a plan of five coordinated Union offensives on five fronts, so Confederate armies could not shift troops along interior lines. Grant and Meade would make a direct frontal attack on Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, while Sherman—now chief of the western armies—was to destroy Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee and take Atlanta. Major General Benjamin Butler would advance on Lee from the southeast, up the James River, while Major General Nathaniel Banks would capture Mobile. Major General Franz Sigel was to capture granaries and rail lines in the fertile Shenandoah Valley.Grant now commanded in total 533,000 battle-ready troops spread out over an eighteen-mile front, while the Confederates had lost many officers in battle and had great difficulty finding replacements. He was popular, and there was talk that a Union victory early in the year could lead to his candidacy for the presidency. Grant was aware of the rumors, but had ruled out a political candidacy; the possibility would soon vanish with delays on the battlefield.
The Overland Campaign was a series of brutal battles fought in Virginia for seven weeks during May and June 1864. Sigel's and Butler's efforts failed, and Grant was left alone to fight Lee. On the morning of Wednesday, May 4, Grant dressed in full uniform, sword at his side, led the army out from his headquarters at Culpeper towards Germanna Ford. They crossed the Rapidan unopposed, while supplies were transported on four pontoon bridges. On May 5, the Union army attacked Lee in the Wilderness, a three-day battle with estimated casualties of 17,666 Union and 11,125 Confederate.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 to Spotsylvania first and a costly battle ensued, lasting thirteen days, with heavy casualties. On May 12, Grant attempted to break through Lee's Muleshoe salient guarded by Confederate artillery, resulting in one of the bloodiest assaults of the Civil War, known as the Bloody Angle. Unable to break Lee's lines, Grant again flanked the rebels to the southeast, meeting at North Anna, where a battle lasted three days.
Grant believed breaking through Lee's lines at its weakest point, Cold Harbor, a vital road hub that linked to Richmond, would mean the destruction of Lee's army, the capture of Richmond, and a quick end to the rebellion. Grant already had two corps in position at Cold Harbor with Hancock's corps on the way. The recent bloody Wilderness campaign had severely diminished Confederate morale and hence Grant was now willing to advance on Lee's army once again.Lee's lines were extended north and east of Richmond and Petersburg for approximately ten miles, but there were several points where there were no fortifications built yet, and Cold Harbor was one of them. On June 1 and 2 both Grant and Lee were still waiting for reinforcements to arrive. Hancock's men had marched all night and arrived too exhausted for an immediate attack that morning. Grant agreed to let the men rest and postponed the attack until 5 p.m., and then again until 4:30 a.m. on June 3. However, Grant and Meade did not give specific orders for the attack, leaving it up to the corps commanders to decide where they would coordinate and attack the Confederate lines, as no senior commander had yet reconnoitered the latest Confederate developments. Grant had not yet learned that overnight Lee had hastily constructed entrenchments to thwart any breach attempt at Cold Harbor. Grant had put off making an attack twice and was anxious to make his move before the rest of Lee's army arrived. On the morning of June 3, the third day of the thirteen-day battle, with a force of more than 100,000 men, against Lee's 59,000, Grant attacked not realizing that Lee's army was now well entrenched, much of it obscured by trees and bushes. Grant's army suffered 12,000–14,000 casualties, while Lee's army suffered 3,000–5,000 casualties, but Lee was less able to replace them.The unprecedented number of casualties was shocking by all accounts and heightened anti-war sentiment in the North. After the battle Grant wanted to appeal to Lee under the white flag for each side to gather up their wounded, most of them Union soldiers, but Lee insisted that a total truce be enacted and while they were deliberating all but a few of the wounded died in the field. Without giving an apology for the disastrous defeat in his official military report, Grant confided in his staff after the battle and years later wrote in his memoirs that he "regretted that the last assault at Cold Harbor was ever made. I might say the same thing of the assault ... at Vicksburg."
Undetected by Lee, Grant moved his army south of the James River, freed Butler from the Bermuda Hundred, and advanced toward Petersburg, Virginia's central railroad hub. Beauregard defended Petersburg, and Lee's veteran reinforcements arrived on June 18, resulting in a nine-month siege. Northern resentment grew. Sheridan was assigned command of the Union Army of the Shenandoah and Grant directed him to "follow the enemy to their death" in the Shenandoah Valley. When Sheridan suffered attacks by John S. Mosby's irregular Confederate cavalry, Grant recommended rounding up their families for imprisonment at Fort McHenry. After Grant's abortive attempt to capture Petersburg, Lincoln supported Grant in his decision to continue and visited Grant's headquarters at City Point on June 21 to assess the state of the army and meet with Grant and Admiral Porter. By the time Lincoln departed his appreciation for Grant had grown.To strike at Lee in a timely capacity Grant was forced to use what resources were immediately available, and they were diminishing by the day. Grant had to commit badly needed troops to check Confederate General Jubal Early's raids in the Shenandoah Valley and who was getting dangerously close to the Potomac River, and Washington. By late July, at Petersburg, Grant reluctantly approved a plan to blow up part of the enemy trenches from a tunnel filled with many tons of gunpowder. The massive explosion created a crater, 170 feet across and 30 feet deep, killing an entire Confederate regiment in an instant. The poorly led Union troops under Major General Burnside and Brigadier General Ledlie, rather than encircling the crater, rushed forward and poured directly into it, which was widely deemed a mistake. Recovering from the surprise, Confederates, led by Major General William Mahone, surrounded the crater and easily picked off Union troops within it. The Union's 3,500 casualties outnumbered the Confederates' by three-to-one. The battle marked the first time that Union black troops, who endured a large proportion of the casualties, engaged in any major battle in the east. Grant admitted that the overall mining tactic had been a "stupendous failure".
Grant would later meet with Lincoln and testify at a court of inquiry against Generals Burnside and Ledlie for their incompetence. In his memoirs he blamed both of them for that disastrous Union defeat. Rather than fight Lee in a full-frontal attack as he had done at Cold Harbor, Grant continued to force Lee to extend his defenses south and west of Petersburg, better allowing him to capture essential railroad links.Union forces soon captured Mobile Bay and Atlanta and now controlled the Shenandoah Valley, ensuring Lincoln's reelection in November. Sherman convinced Grant and Lincoln to send his army to march on Savannah. Sherman cut a 60-mile path of destruction unopposed, reached the Atlantic Ocean, and captured Savannah on December 22. On December 16, after much prodding by Grant, the Union Army under Thomas smashed John Bell Hood's Confederate Army at Nashville. These campaigns left Lee's forces at Petersburg as the only significant obstacle remaining to Union victory.By March 1865, Lee was trapped, Grant had severely weakened Lee's strength, having extended his lines to 35 miles. Confederate troops no longer confident of their commander, deserted Lee by the thousands, starving and under the duress of trench warfare. On March 25, in a desperate effort, Lee sacrificed his remaining troops (4,000 CSA casualties) at Fort Stedman, a Union victory, and considered the last Petersburg line battle. Grant, Sherman, Porter, and Lincoln held a conference to discuss the surrender of Lee's Confederate depleted armies and Reconstruction of the South on March 28.
On April 2, Grant ordered a general assault on Lee's entrenched depleted forces. Lee abandoned Petersburg and Richmond, while Grant's conquering Union troops easily took Petersburg and captured Richmond the next day. A desperate Lee, and part of his army cut and ran, attempted to link up with the remnants of Joseph E. Johnston's defeated army. Sheridan's cavalry, however, stopped the two armies from converging, cutting them off from their supply trains. Grant was in communication with Lee before he entrusted his aide Orville Babcock to carry his last dispatch to Lee that demanded his surrender with instructions to escort him to a meeting place of Lee's choosing. Grant immediately rode west, bypassing Lee's army, to join Sheridan who had captured Appomattox Station, blocking Lee's escape route. On his way, Grant received a letter sent by Lee informing him Lee would surrender his army.On April 9, Grant and Lee met at Appomattox Court House. Upon receiving Lee's dispatch about the proposed meeting Grant had been jubilant. Although Grant felt depressed at the fall of "a foe who had fought so long and valiantly," he believed the Southern cause was "one of the worst for which a people ever fought." After briefly discussing their days of old in Mexico, Grant wrote out the terms of surrender. Men and officers were to be paroled, but in addition, there was amnesty: "Each officer and man will be allowed to return to his home, not to be disturbed by U.S. authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside." Lee immediately accepted Grant's terms and signed the surrender document, without any diplomatic recognition of the Confederacy. The vanquished Lee, afterward asked Grant that his former Confederate troops keep their horses. Grant generously allowed Lee's request. Grant ordered his troops to stop all celebration, saying the "war is over; the rebels are our countrymen again." Johnston's Tennessee army surrendered on April 26, 1865, Richard Taylor's Alabama army on May 4, and Kirby Smith's Texas army on May 26, ending the war.
On April 14, 1865, five days after Grant's victory at Appomattox, he attended a cabinet meeting in Washington. Lincoln invited him and his wife to Ford's Theater but they declined, for upon his wife Julia's urging, they had plans to travel to Philadelphia. In a conspiracy that also targeted top cabinet members in one last effort to topple the Union, Lincoln was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth at the theater and died the next morning. Many, including Grant himself, thought that he had been a target in the plot, and during the subsequent trial, the government tried to prove that Grant had been stalked by Booth's conspirator Michael O'Laughlen. Stanton notified Grant of the President's death and summoned him back to Washington. Vice President Andrew Johnson was sworn in as president on April 15. Attending Lincoln's funeral on April 19, Grant stood alone and wept openly; he later said Lincoln was "the greatest man I have ever known". Grant was determined to work with Johnson, while he privately expressed "every reason to hope" in the new president's ability to run the government "in its old channel".
At the war's end, Grant remained commander of the army, with duties that included dealing with Maximilian and French troops in Mexico, enforcement of Reconstruction in the former Confederate states, and supervision of Indian wars on the western Plains. After the Grand Review of the Armies, Lee and his generals were indicted for treason in Virginia. Johnson demanded they be put on trial, but Grant insisted that they should not be tried, citing his Appomatox amnesty. Johnson backed down, so charges against Lee were dropped. Grant secured a house for his family in Georgetown Heights in 1865 but instructed Elihu Washburne that for political purposes his legal residence remained in Galena, Illinois. That same year, Grant spoke at Cooper Union in New York in support of Johnson's presidency. Further travels that summer took the Grants to Albany, New York, back to Galena, and throughout Illinois and Ohio, with enthusiastic receptions. On July 25, 1866, Congress promoted Grant to the newly created rank of General of the Army of the United States.
On June 7, 1865, Robert E. Lee, and other former Confederate officers were indicted by a grand jury for the high crime of treason against the United States, a capital offense punished by imprisonment and hanging. Johnson wanted to punish Lee, and "make treason odious". When informed, Grant objected and went to the White House telling President Johnson that Lee was protected by Grant's surrender terms Grant had generously given Lee at Appomattox in April. When an angered Grant threatened to resign, President Johnson backed down, and on June 20, Johnson's Attorney General James Speed ordered the United States Attorney General in Norfolk, Virginia to drop treason proceedings against Lee, saving Lee from punishment and prosecution.
President Johnson's Reconstruction policy included a speedy return of the former Confederates to Congress, reinstating whites to office in the South, and relegating blacks to second-class citizenship. On November 27, 1865, General Grant left Washington, sent by Johnson on a fact-finding mission to the South, to counter a pending less favorable report by Senator Carl Schurz. Grant recommended continuation of the Freedmen's Bureau, which Johnson opposed, but advised against using black troops, which he believed encouraged an alternative to farm labor. Grant did not believe the people of the South were ready for self-rule, and that both whites and blacks in the South required protection by the federal government. Concerned that the war led to diminished respect for civil authorities, Grant continued using the Army to maintain order. Grant's report on the South, which he later recanted, sympathized with Johnson's conservative Reconstruction policies. Although Grant desired former Confederates be returned to Congress, he advocated eventual black citizenship. On December 19, the day after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment was announced in the Senate, Johnson's response used Grant's report, read aloud to the Senate, to undermine Schurz's final report and Radical opposition to Johnson's policies.
Grant was initially optimistic about Johnson, saying he was satisfied the nation had "nothing to fear" from the Johnson administration. Despite differing styles, Grant got along cordially with Johnson and attended cabinet meetings concerning Reconstruction. By February 1866, the relationship began to break down. Johnson opposed Grant's closure of the Richmond Examiner for disloyal editorials and his enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, passed over Johnson's veto. Needing Grant's popularity, Johnson took Grant on his "Swing Around the Circle" tour, a failed attempt to gain national support for lenient policies toward the South. Grant privately called Johnson's speeches a "national disgrace" and he left the tour early. On March 2, 1867, overriding Johnson's veto, Congress passed the first of three Reconstruction Acts, using military officers to enforce the policy. Protecting Grant, Congress passed the Command of the Army Act, preventing his removal or relocation, and forcing Johnson to pass orders through Grant.In August 1867, bypassing the Tenure of Office Act, Johnson discharged Secretary of War Stanton without Senate approval and appointed Grant ad interim Secretary of War. Stanton was the only remaining cabinet member friendly to the Radicals. Although Grant initially recommended against dismissing Stanton, Grant accepted the position, not wanting the Army to fall under a conservative appointee who would impede Reconstruction, and managed an uneasy partnership with Johnson. In December 1867, Congress voted to keep Stanton, who was reinstated by a Senate Committee on Friday, January 10, 1868. Grant told Johnson he was going to resign the office to avoid fines and imprisonment. Johnson, who believed the law would be overturned, said he would assume Grant's legal responsibility, and reminded Grant that he had promised him to delay his resignation until a suitable replacement was found. The following Monday, not willing to wait for the law to be overturned, Grant surrendered the office to Stanton, causing confusion with Johnson. With the complete backing of his cabinet, Johnson personally accused Grant of lying and "duplicity" at a stormy cabinet meeting, while a shocked and disappointed Grant felt it was Johnson who was lying. The publication of angry messages between Grant and Johnson led to a complete break between the two. The controversy led to Johnson's impeachment and trial in the Senate. Johnson was saved from removal from office by one vote. Grant's popularity rose among the Radical Republicans and his nomination for the presidency appeared certain.
When the Republican Party met at the 1868 Republican National Convention in Chicago, the delegates unanimously nominated Grant for president and Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax for vice president. Although Grant had preferred to remain in the army, he accepted the Republican nomination, believing that he was the only one who could unify the nation. The Republicans advocated "equal civil and political rights to all" and African American enfranchisement. The Democrats, having abandoned Johnson, nominated former governor Horatio Seymour of New York for president and Francis P. Blair of Missouri for vice president. The Democrats opposed suffrage for African Americans and advocated the immediate restoration of former Confederate states to the Union and amnesty from "all past political offenses".Grant played no overt role during the campaign and instead was joined by Sherman and Sheridan in a tour of the West that summer. However, the Republicans adopted his words "Let us have peace" as their campaign slogan. Grant's 1862 General Order No. 11 became an issue during the presidential campaign; he sought to distance himself from the order, saying "I have no prejudice against sect or race, but want each individual to be judged by his own merit." The Democrats and their Klan supporters focused mainly on ending Reconstruction, intimidating blacks and Republicans, and returning control of the South to the white Democrats and the planter class, alienating War Democrats in the North. An example was the murder of Republican Congressman James M. Hinds in Arkansas by a Klansman in October 1868, as Hinds campaigned for Grant. Grant won the popular vote by 300,000 votes out of 5,716,082 votes cast, receiving an Electoral College landslide of 214 votes to Seymour's 80. Seymour received a majority of white voters, but Grant was aided by 500,000 votes cast by blacks, winning him 52.7 percent of the popular vote. He lost Louisiana and Georgia, primarily due to Ku Klux Klan violence against African-American voters. At the age of 46, Grant was the youngest president yet elected, and the first president after the nation had outlawed slavery.
On March 4, 1869, Grant was sworn in as the eighteenth President of the United States by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase. In his inaugural address, Grant urged the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment, while large numbers of African Americans attended his inauguration. He also urged that bonds issued during the Civil War should be paid in gold and called for "proper treatment" of Native Americans and encouraged their "civilization and ultimate citizenship".Grant's cabinet appointments sparked both criticism and approval. He appointed Elihu B. Washburne Secretary of State and John A. Rawlins Secretary of War. Washburne resigned, and Grant appointed him Minister to France. Grant then appointed former New York Senator Hamilton Fish Secretary of State. Rawlins died in office, and Grant appointed William W. Belknap Secretary of War. Grant appointed New York businessman Alexander T. Stewart Secretary of Treasury, but Stewart was found legally ineligible to hold office by a 1789 law. Grant then appointed Massachusetts Representative George S. Boutwell Secretary of Treasury. Philadelphia businessman Adolph E. Borie was appointed Secretary of Navy, but found the job stressful and resigned. Grant then appointed New Jersey's attorney general, George M. Robeson, Secretary of Navy. Former Ohio Governor Jacob D. Cox (Interior), former Maryland Senator John Creswell (Postmaster-General), and Ebenezer Rockwood Hoar (Attorney General) rounded out the cabinet.
Grant nominated Sherman to succeed him as general-in-chief and gave him control over war bureau chiefs. When Rawlins took over the War Department he complained to Grant that Sherman was given too much authority. Grant reluctantly revoked his own order, upsetting Sherman and damaging their wartime friendship. James Longstreet, a former Confederate general who had endorsed Grant's nomination, was nominated for the position of Surveyor of Customs of the port of New Orleans; this was met with general amazement, and seen as a genuine effort to unite the North and South. In March 1872, Grant signed legislation that established Yellowstone National Park, the first national park. Grant was sympathetic to women's rights; including support of female suffrage, saying he wanted "equal rights to all citizens".To make up for his infamous General Order No. 11, Grant appointed more than fifty Jewish people to federal office, including consuls, district attorneys, and deputy postmasters. He appointed Edward S. Salomon territorial governor of Washington, the first time an American Jewish man occupied a governor's seat. Grant was sympathetic to the plight of persecuted Jewish people. In November 1869, reports surfaced of the Russian Tsar Alexander II punishing 2,000 Jewish families for smuggling by expelling them to the interior of the country. In response, Grant publicly supported the Jewish American B'nai B'rith petition against the Tsar. In December 1869, Grant appointed a Jewish journalist as Consul to Romania, to protect Jewish people from "severe oppression".
In 1875, Grant proposed a constitutional amendment that limited religious indoctrination in public schools. Instruction of "religious, atheistic, or pagan tenets", would be banned, while funding "for the benefit or in aid, directly or indirectly, of any religious sect or denomination", would be prohibited. Schools would be for all children "irrespective of sex, color, birthplace, or religions". Grant's views were incorporated into the Blaine Amendment, but it was defeated by the Senate.In October 1871, under the Morrill Act, Grant rounded up and prosecuted hundreds of Utah Mormon polygamists, using federal marshals, including Mormon leader Brigham Young, indicted for "lewd and lascivious cohabitation".: 301 Grant had called polygamy a "crime against decency and morality". In 1874, Grant signed into law the Poland Act, that put Mormon polygamists under the U.S. District Courts, and limited Mormons on juries. Beginning in March 1873, under the Comstock Act, Grant prosecuted, through the Postal Department, immoral and indecent pornographers, in addition to abortionists. To administer the prosecutions, Grant put in charge a vigorous moral leader and reformer Anthony Comstock. Comstock headed a federal commission and was empowered to seize and destroy obscene material and hand out arrest warrants to offenders of the law.
Grant was considered an effective civil rights president, concerned about the plight of African Americans. On March 18, 1869, Grant signed into law equal rights for blacks, to serve on juries and hold office, in Washington D.C., and in 1870 he signed into law the Naturalization Act that gave foreign blacks citizenship. During his first term, Reconstruction took precedence. Republicans controlled most Southern states, propped up by Republican-controlled Congress, northern money, and southern military occupation. Grant advocated the