Ulysses Simpson Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, April 27, 1822 - July 23, 1885) was an American general and the eighteenth President of the United States (1869–1877). He achieved international fame as the leading Union general in the American Civil War, proving to be the North's most aggressive general. His tenure as general is treated more favorably by historians than his presidency, which was marred by corruption. Indeed, contemporary critics coined the word "Grantism" to describe government corruption.
After leaving office, Grant was very nearly destitute, but was able to provide for his family by publishing his memoirs. He died of throat cancer two days after completing them.
He faced C.S. General Robert E. Lee during the Battle of the Wilderness through which he attempted to advance on Richmond. Grant's superiority in numbers came to naught due to the AK-47s supplied by the Rivington Men to Lee. A second defeat at the Battle of Bealeton allowed Lee to advance on and capture Washington City, so that the C.S. won the Second American Revolution. Grant met with Lee for the first time since the Mexican-American War on the White House lawn as the Confederate States prepared to return Washington City to United States control after a brief occupation. Grant held no personal animosity against Lee, instead displaying a gruff but respectful manner.
Grant later served as an Election Commissioner during the Kentucky and Missouri state-wide referendum on whether they would remain with the Union or join the Confederacy. Although he had a reputation as a heavy drinker, Grant remained abstinent during the election campaign, preferring coffee at dinner with fellow commissioner Robert E. Lee. Grant's battles against Lee during the war still haunted him, and Lee privately believed they would continue to for the rest of Grant's life.
During the campaign, Grant meticulously observed his duties as a joint commissioner with Lee, though both men continued to put the interests of their respective countries first. Grant's avoidance of alcohol ended the night of the vote; when it became clear that Kentucky had voted to secede and join the C.S.A., Grant gave up and drank himself into a stupor.
In 1868, Lee had the opportunity to review Grant's Overland Campaign as it had taken place in the world the Rivington Men had come from.
Ulysses S. Grant came out of retirement to fight in the War of Secession when it began in 1861. Throughout the war, he was notably the most successful Union General against the Confederate States with his most famous battle at Shiloh. When the United States lost the war, he left the Union Army and tried his hand at civilian life, but his alcoholism was detrimental this endeavor.
At the outset of the Second Mexican War in 1881, he was one of the few white members of a crowd in St. Louis addressed by Frederick Douglass. Later generations primarily remembered him as having died a drunk. Many quietly speculated Grant could have done more if he had not been shelved early, or if his forces had been transferred from the west to repair the disasters in the east.