Friday, January 31, 2020

Ulysses S Grant one of the Greatest Battlefield Leaders Essay Example for Free

Ulysses S Grant one of the Greatest Battlefield Leaders Essay Ulysses S Grant, the Eighteenth President of the United States of America, and often credited as the man who was single handedly responsible for ending the Civil War served his country during the years from 1869 to 1877. He was born the son of a poor tanner from Ohio, in the year 1822. He was a rather average student, and apparently, he went to West Point against his will, where he managed to graduate at the middle of his class. After graduation, the young Ulysses Grant started to work at his father’s leather store in the state of Illinois, and this is where he was working still when the Civil War in which he was to play a major role in his future broke out. It is said that it was this work in his father’s tannery that Ulysses Grant developed a great proficiency and ability in handling equestrians, a trait that was to help him in his later endeavors and battles. It was in the years immediately after his graduation that Grant served in the Mexican War. The young soldier would win two brevets for his meritorious conduct during the War, but all the same, he absolutely detested the war, and wanted no part of it at the time. In 1848, Grant married Julia Dent, the daughter of a rich plantation owner, and immediately afterwards, he was sent on garrison duty to the Central Northeast of the United States of America, where he served until 1854 when he chose to retire under a cloud of rumors about his drinking habits. The young man was thereafter appointed by the then Governor to act as the Commander to a disorderly and unruly volunteer regiment, also known as ‘Governor Gate’s Hellions’. Experts say that it was Ulysses Grant’s expertise and command and presence that managed to bring this regiment of volunteers into some sort of shape, so that at the end of 1861, the brigade was much better organized, and Ulysses rose to the rank of Brigadier General of Volunteers. (Ulysses S Grant n. d) The young tanner Ulysses Grant soon rose to the rank of General, and he was one of the people of the world who was considered to be a ‘true world leader,’ viewed by the people of the world at the time as the ‘Hero of Freedom’ or even as the â€Å"King of America. † In the words of Lord Provost in 1877 when he was addressing a crowd of fifty thousand people or more, â€Å"Grant had proved himself the Wellington of America†¦the great and good Lincoln struck down the poisonous tree of slavery; but Grant tore it up by the roots†¦Ã¢â‚¬  (Grant the World Leader n. d) In the year 1861, Ulysses Grant a completely unprepared attack on Missouri as the Brigadier of his regiment, and he was forced to retreat with severe losses. Not allowing this to deter him in any way, the brave and resolute man engaged the help of the navy and took Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. Hugely successful in these attacks, the pleased Governor accorded him the title of Major General. (About Grant n. d) When Abraham Lincoln was transferred to Washington, there was in fact no single General who would be able to control the West. This was the time when Grant and John McClernand began their struggle for control, and McClernand obtained permission to launch an attack on Vicksburg in Mississippi, even though it appeared that Vicksburg was an unlikely target for the Union attack. The Confederates had however already fortified their position on a bluff over the Mississippi river, and this fact made it almost impossible for the Union forces in New Orleans to join forces with Grant’s army in the state of Tennessee. In 1862, Grant became aware of the plan that McClernand had created, and that he was now planning to make his move. As a result, he appointed William T Sherman in charge of a second prong of attack on Vicksburg, hoping that Sherman would be able to beat McClernand at his own game. Sherman failed however, and the armies set up camp near the Louisiana borders, and Abraham Lincoln sent spies to find out whether or not Ulysses Grant was in reality worthy of command. Interestingly enough, this spy soon became one of Grant’s staunchest supporters and loyal fans, impressed as he was by the man’s integrity and uprightness, complimented by his total lack of interest in the politics of his time, and a desire to get involved in them. This was the time when Ulysses Grant made up his mind that he would try to take Vicksburg from the North, and he soon set about digging trenches and started the effort of moving his troops up from the city. He organized a troop of Navy gunboats to run past the blockade that had been set up at Vicksburg, so that they could help him in his efforts. Now, both Sherman and McClernand were under Grant’s steady control and able leadership, and they led their troops to a strong rout of Confederate troops and managed to isolate them. However, this effort proved to be a disaster, because Grant lost almost 3,200 men. Nevertheless, this gave Grant an opportunity to develop a brand new strategy, a strategy that had ever been attempted before, cushioned by the fact that Grant was aware that he had many more men to lose than his enemy had. This prompted him to launch attack after brutal attack on Vicksburg, until he finally agreed to settle for a siege. It was in July 1863 that John Bowen, an old West Point friend of Grant’s, arrived at the camp so that he could begin the process of negotiations for surrender of the city. Ulysses Grant was stubborn that he would only entertain a complete and an ‘unconditional surrender’ and it was the next day when the Battle of Gettysburg ended that Vicksburg capitulated and surrendered. Grant became a hero. (Ulysses S Grant n. d) One must bring to mind certain important points, facts that would show Ulysses Grant as a man full of character and also as a man with flaws, flaws that he made concerted efforts to overcome, only to move on to become one of the most respected men of all time in America, and to become known as one of the ‘Greatest Battlefield Heroes’ of the world. Vicksburg in Mississippi was an extremely well protected fortress for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. In 1863 Ulysses Grant as the Union General attacked Vicksburg with the primary intention of eventually taking over the entire city. Although he was prevented from doing so, Grant had made up his mind to launch the attack, and this he did, and he settled himself down to a six week siege, displaying to all his tremendous patience and intelligence in waiting for what he thought he would eventually obtain. Grant cut off all supply lines to the city, and fired upon Vicksburg constantly. At this point, several of the city’s residents moved out of the city to escape the firing taking place, and into caves in the nearby hills. Ulysses Grant also moved too close for comfort at times, so close that, as historians state, at several points in time, both Union and confederate soldiers were so close that they could shout across at each other and be heard clearly. By the time it was the month of June, Grant had brought in eighty thousand Union troops for the capture of Vicksburg. On the forty fourth day after Grant had launched his attack on Vicksburg, things had gone out of control there were no supplies to the town, and the city newspaper ‘Daily Citizen’ was forced to print its news on wallpapers. It was reported that the General Ulysses S Grant probably wished to celebrate the Fourth of July â€Å"dining in Vicksburg†. On July 4th, in reality, Pemberton surrendered to the Union General, and Grant’s men added a paragraph to the newspaper article that Grant had indeed managed to dine in Vicksburg on July Fourth! (General Ulysses S Grant attempted to take Vicksburg n. d) Grant’s military leadership during the Vicksburg assault is one of the most talked about events in American history. One of the reasons may be that Vicksburg was a city of tremendous importance, strategically, to the Union. The final campaign in Vicksburg under the able leadership of Ulysses S Grant is also one of the most remembered events in American history. This was the campaign in which Grant marched some forty five thousand of his men across Milliken’s Bend in Louisiana in March 1863. Grant had divided his troops into three main corps under the leaderships of Sherman, McPherson and McClernand and marched them across to Hard Times Landing in Louisiana. From this point forward, the troops were ferried across the river to Bruinsburg by boats, no small feat at the time. The first battle was therefore fought at Fort Gibson, a battle that ended in an easy victory for Grant and his men. In the aftermath of this victory, Grant became supremely confident, and also became victorious in campaign after campaign. However, despite all his victories and his by now good reputation, own after plenty of hard work and effort, Ulysses Grant was gradually becoming known as a ‘drinker’. It was this drinking habit that caused him to lose, rather quickly, the hard won respect of his fellow men and his fellow campaigners at battle. It was in all probability this same drinking habit that may have caused Grant to choose inept leaders for his constituency in later years when he was to become the President of the United States of America. Ulysses Grant was also to prove to be absolutely inept at statecraft. This led him to choose and appoint four judges to the Supreme Court in a completely inefficient manner; in the words of biographer McFeely, â€Å"He chose them with about the same discernment that went into his selection of consuls and postmasters. † (Kammler, Dan n. d) Abraham Lincoln himself acknowledged personally the spirit of courage and bravery and fortitude that Ulysses Grant had displayed during the Vicksburg campaign, and as a token of his gratitude and indebtedness to the soldier, he appointed him the ‘Commander of all the US Armies’ with the rank of Lieutenant General. One must remember that this was perhaps the very first time in history that a soldier after George Washington had held a rank of such great importance. After this appointment as Commander, Ulysses Grant worked tirelessly to occupy Robert Lee’s rebel army situated towards the East, while the Union troops worked in the South, destroying homes, farms and factories. This was one of grant’s cleverer campaigns, and it worked; Lee surrendered in 1865, bringing to a final end the four bloodiest years of the ongoing Civil War. Grant was of course commended for being a Hero of the Civil War, for it was his plan that brought in the much sought after victory. (Ulysses S Grant 2007) Ulysses Grant went on to accept the Republican nomination and to being appointed as the President of the United States of America, even though he despised politics, and wanted no part of it. The brave hero worked hard at trying to bring the North and the South together, and contributed his might to solving the several problems if the American government at the time. However, Grant was never acknowledged as an able political leader, and becoming better known for his financial scandals, he retired and started to write his own wartime memoirs for a price to support his family. He died in July 1885, and he was honored with a solemn and large funeral procession in New York, with several hundreds of people personally acknowledging him for the great and brave soldier and military leader he had been during his lifetime. References Ulysses S Grant (n. d) The White House Retrieved December 9 2008, http://www. whitehouse. gov/history/presidents/ug18. html Grant the World Leader (n. d) Ulysses S Grant Homepage Retrieved December 9 2008, http://www. granthomepage. com/grantleader. htm About Grant (n. d) Ulysses S Grant Thinkquest Retrieved December 9 2008, http://library. thinkquest. org/3055/netscape/people/grant. html Ulysses S Grant The Vicksburg Campaign (n. d) Retrieved December 9 2008, http://www. sparknotes. com/biography/grant/section7. rhtml General Ulysses S Grant attempted to take Vicksburg (n. d) America’s Story Retrieved December 9 2008, http://www. americaslibrary. gov/cgi-bin/page. cgi/jb/civil/vicksburg_1 Kammler, Dan (n. d) Ulysses S Grant Retrieved December 9 2008, http://www. lib. niu. edu/1993/ihy930228. html Ulysses S Grant (2007) People and events Retrieved December 9 2008, http://www. pbs. org/wgbh/amex/grant/peopleevents/p_ugrant. html

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