Ulysses S. Grant 1822–1885
Born Point Pleasant, Ohio
Urged by critics to relieve Ulysses S. Grant of his command in April 1862, following the costly Union victory at Shiloh, President Lincoln refused, saying, “I can’t spare this man—he fights.” Fifteen months later, Lincoln’s faith in Grant was justified when the major general engineered the stunning victory at Vicksburg, cutting the Confederacy in two and marking a turning point in the war. With subsequent victories at Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge, Grant firmly established his preeminence among Union commanders. Appointed general-in-chief of the Union army by President Lincoln in March 1864, Grant mapped out the multi-theater war strategy that relied upon simultaneous, coordinated attacks by all northern armies to batter the Confederates on every front and compel their surrender. The cost in casualties was staggering, but the soundness of Grant’s strategy was confirmed a little more than a year after its implementation, when Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox.