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General Ulysses S. Grant

St. Louis played an important part in Ulysses S. Grant's early life, and he in turn helped St. Louis in a significant way when he was president.

Ulysses S. Grant

U.S. Grant : American hero, American myth
Joan Waugh.
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
At the time of his death, Ulysses S. Grant was the most famous person in America, considered by most citizens to be equal in stature to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Yet today his monuments are rarely visited, his military reputation is overshadowed by that of Robert E. Lee, and his presidency is permanently mired at the bottom of historical rankings. In an insightful blend of biography and cultural history, Joan Waugh traces Grant's shifting national and international reputation, illuminating the role of memory in our understanding of American history. She captures a sense of what led nineteenth-century Americans to overlook Grant's obvious faults and hold him up as a critically important symbol of national reconciliation and unity. Waugh further shows that Grant's reputation and place in public memory closely parallel the rise and fall of the northern version of the Civil War story ó in which the United States was the clear, morally superior victor and Grant was the emblem of that victory. After the failure of Reconstruction, the dominant Union myths about the war gave way to a southern version that emphasized a more sentimental remembrance of the honor and courage of both sides and ennobled the "Lost Cause." By the 1920s, Grant's reputation had plummeted. Most Americans today are unaware of how revered Grant was in his lifetime. Joan Waugh uncovers the reasons behind the rise and fall of his renown, underscoring as well the fluctuating memory of the Civil War itself.
     
Vicksburg, 1863
Winston Groom.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
     
Grant and Lee : victorious American and vanquished Virginian
Edward H. Bonekemper, III.
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2008.
"Grant and Lee: Victorious American and Vanquished Virginian is a comprehensive, multi-theater, war-long comparison of the command skills of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Unlike most analyses, Bonekemper's work clarifies the impact both generals had on the outcome of the Civil War - namely, the assistance that Lee provided to Grant by Lee's excessive casualties in Virginia, the consequent drain of Confederate resources from Grant's battlefronts, and Lee's refusal and delay of reinforcements to the combat areas where Grant was operating." "Building on detailed accounts of both generals' major campaigns and battles, this book provides a detailed comparison of the primary military and personal traits of the two men. That analysis supports the preface discussion and the chapter-by-chapter conclusions that Grant did what the North needed to do to win the war: be aggressive, eliminate enemy armies, and do so with minimal casualties (154,000), while Lee was too offensive for the undermanned Confederacy, suffered intolerable casualties (209,000), and allowed his obsession with the Commonwealth of Virginia to obscure the broader interests of the Confederacy. In addition, readers will find interest in the 18 highly detailed and revealing battle maps, as well as in a comprehensive set of appendices that describes the casualties incurred by each army, battle by battle."--BOOK JACKET.
     
The training ground : Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846-1848
Martin Dugard.
New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2008.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 421-430) and index.
     
Lee and Grant
William M.S. Rasmussen and Robert S. Tilton.
London : Giles, 2007.
"Generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant are without a doubt two of the most important, and heavily published about, figures in nineteenth-century American history. Their often controversial characters, lives and careers are intrinsically linked with the American Civil War, and subsequent written histories on both individuals have frequently been shaped by the positions and roles both took up during that conflict." "However, curiously, despite the enormous amount of published material on the Civil War, including individual biographies of Lee and Grant, there is almost nothing that has been published which looks at these two figures together and which compares them over an extended period of time. This new, illustrated book is the first to combine fascinating images and written narrative text. Together with the accompanying touring exhibition, it provides a major re-assessment of the lives, careers, and historical impact of Lee and Grant. It also charts the development of historical thought and popular attitudes towards both figures in the years since the outbreak of the Civil War."--BOOK JACKET.
     
Trench warfare under Grant & Lee : field fortifications in the Overland Campaign
Earl J. Hess.
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2007.
In the study of field fortifications in the Civil War that began withField Armies and Fortifications in the Civil War, Hess turns to the 1864 Overland campaign to cover battles from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor. Drawing on meticulous research in primary sources and careful examination of trench remnants at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, and Bermuda Hundred, Hess describes Union and Confederate earthworks and how Grant and Lee used them in this new era of field entrenchments.
     
Men of fire : Grant, Forrest, and the campaign that decided the Civil War
Jack Hurst.
New York : Basic Books, 2007.
"Prior to the battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, Union Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant had yet to win a battle and barely clung to command of his army. His commander was already seeking to replace him when, just days before this campaign, Grant was officially charged with chronic drunkenness. Grant's Confederate opponent, an obscure lieutenant colonel named Nathan Bedford Forrest, was similarly untested in battle. Politically, the two men could not have been more different. Forrest had made himself rich before the war trading slaves, while Grant had freed the only slave he ever owned. But the two had something in common: a desperate, unrelenting desire for victory at any cost." "Ill-clad Union and Confederate soldiers endured horrific combat in rain, snow, and sleet. Blood ran thick on both sides; wounded soldiers froze to death on the battlefields. After ten days, Grant won the victory he needed to keep his army and, ultimately, to save the Union itself. It was a turning point for Forrest as well. He had fought bravely but was undone by his superiors: a quarter of history's most flawed generals led the Confederate command. Nonetheless, Forrest emerged from these battles with fifteen bullet marks on his coat and an aura of iron. Forrest was beginning to win the renown that would later account him the continent's greatest horse soldier and one of its most wily, ruthless raiders." "The Fort Henry and Fort Donelson battles forever changed the course of the Civil War - and American history. Grant's dogged aggressiveness opened Tennessee to the Union armies and gashed a wound in Dixie from which the Confederacy would never recover. And, most importantly, Grant saved and launched the career of the individual on whom Federal triumph in the Civil War most depended: himself."--BOOK JACKET.
     
The doom of Reconstruction : the liberal Republicans in the Civil War era
Andrew L. Slap.
New York : Fordham University Press, 2006.
"Based on close readings of newspapers, a wide range of party documents, and other primary sources, Slap analyzes the election to confront one of the major questions in American political history: how, and why, did Reconstruction come to an end? His focus on the unintended consequences of Liberal Republican politics is a provocative contribution to this important debate."--BOOK JACKET.
     

Grant came to St. Louis when he was posted to Jefferson Barracks after graduating from West Point. 

Grant soon met and fell in love with Julia Dent, who lived at White Haven on Gravois Road.  The couple were married in St. Louis in 1848, and Grant continued in the army until 1854. 

Grant's father-in-law gave him farmland on Rock Hill Road, and Grant built a house, called Hardscrabble, which still stands.  But the farm was not successful, and the family moved back to the Dent's White Haven. 

Hardscrabble
Grant's log cabin, 1868

Grant still struggled, working first in real estate, then trying to become a teacher at Washington University.  At last, in 1860, the Grants moved to Illinois.

Grant kept his farm, though, and planned to retire to it after the Civil War.  In fact, he only sold the farm in 1885, shortly before his death.  After several owners, August Busch Sr. acquired the cabin and had it restored.  Today visitors can tour the home at Grant's Farm.

Rising tide : the great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America
John M. Barry.
New York : Simon & Schuster, 1998, c1997.
An American epic of science, politics, race, honor, high society, and the Mississippi River, Rising Tide tells the riveting and nearly forgotten story of the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known -- the Mississippi flood of 1927. The river inundated the homes of nearly one million people, helped elect Huey Long governor and made Herbert Hoover president, drove hundreds of thousands of blacks north, and transformed American society and politics forever. A New York Times Notable Book of the Year, winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award and the Lillian Smith Award.
     
Rising tide : the great Mississippi flood of 1927 and how it changed America
John M. Barry.
New York : Simon & Schuster, c1997.
"In 1927, the Mississippi River swept across an area roughly equal in size to Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont combined, leaving water as deep as thirty feet on the land stretching from Illinois and Missouri south to the Gulf of Mexico. Close to a million people - in a nation of 120 million - were forced out of their homes. Some estimates place the death toll in the thousands. The Red Cross fed nearly 700,000 refugees for months." "Rising Tide is the story of this forgotten event, the greatest natural disaster this country has ever known. But it is not simply a tale of disaster. The flood transformed part of the nation and had a major cultural and political impact on the rest. Rising Tide is an American epic about science, race, honor, politics, and society." "Rising Tide begins in the nineteenth century, when the first serious attempts to control the river began. The story focuses on engineers James Eads and Andrew Humphreys, who hated each other. Out of the collision of their personalities and their theories came a compromise river policy that would lead to the disaster of the 1927 flood yet would also allow the cultivation of the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta and create wealth and aristocracy, as well as a whole culture." "In the end, the flood had indeed changed the face of America, leading to the most comprehensive legislation the government had ever enacted, touching the entire Mississippi valley from Pennsylvania to Montana. In its aftermath was laid the foundation for the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
     

Grant was able to help St. Louis when he was president.  While James B. Eads was building his bridge across the Mississippi, steamboat operators objected because it would cut into their transportation revenues.  They banded together to have the bridge removed, and had supporters on a government commission declare the bridge a threat to navigation. 

But Eads, who had built the Union's gunboats, was a friend of Grant.  Grant intervened in the dispute, and the bridge was completed.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff