#18: Ulysses S. Grant

August 23, 2013

President Ulysses Grant www.PresidentialFactsandTrivia.com

Facts:

Born: April 27, 1822, Died July 23, 1885

Presidential Terms (2): March 4, 1869 to March 4, 1877

President Ulysses S. Grant Trivia:

Grant claimed to know only two songs. In his own words, he said: “One of them is Yankee Doodle Dandy. The other isn’t.”

Grant finished his autobiography just four days before he died in July, 1885.

When Grant died, there was much discussion as to where he would be buried. He had suggested to his children either a site in Galena, Illinois, a site near his birthplace in Ohio, or New York City. Galena was Grant’s home when he joined the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. Upon his return to the town in 1867, he was presented with a brand new home, built and donated by the town and citizens of Galena.

New York City was chosen as a possible site by Grant because the people in the city had been extraordinarily good to him after he left the presidency and experienced several years of financial distress. Ultimately a site was chosen, on the west side of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River. It was officially dedicated in 1897, twelve years after Grant’s death, and for the next decade it was the most visited tourist attraction in New York City, drawing even more visitors than the Statue of Liberty.

Sadly, the Grant’s Tomb site suffered through several decades of neglect. Before rehabilitation efforts were undertaken in the 1990′s, it was quite literally a national disgrace. While there is still much work to be done, the site is in much better condition than it has been in many years.

The answer to the popular trivia question “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” is no one. Both the former president and his wife are interred in above ground crypts within the monument site. Therefore, no one is actually “buried” there.

Grant’s given name was Hiram Ulysses Grant. He did not want to be known by the acronym of that name (H.U.G.) so he reversed his first and middle name. Later, upon admittance to West Point, his name was listed as Ulysses S. Grant, probably because his mother’s maiden name was Simpson. while it is generally assumed and accepted that Simpson was Grant’s middle name, Grant himself stated the “S” didn’t stand for anything …

Grant’s portrait adorns the $50 bill … for now at least. There is a move afoot in Congress to change the $50 bill to a portrait of President Reagan …

Early in the Civil War, critics of Grant brought to President Lincoln’s attention Grant’s drinking habit … often, it was said, Grant drank to excess. Lincoln rebuffed any thought of replacing Grant, stating, “I can’t spare this man … he fights!”. Grant, of course, would become the commander of the entire Union army later in the war …

Grant’s nickname was “Unconditional Surrender Grant”, which coincided with his listed initials U.S.S. He acquired the nickname by virtue of the terms he offered defeated Confederate armies … unconditional surrender. Interestingly though, Grant’s terms of surrender offered to Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army at Appomatox (ending the Civil War) were generous. He allowed Confederate soldiers a chance to return home peacefully and prevented Confederate officers from being tried for treason …

Even though Grant’s two terms as president were rocked by political scandal, he was extremely popular and regarded as a hero, not only in the United States but abroad as well. He and his wife embarked on a lengthy two year world tour after his presidency ended in early 1877. After visiting his pre Civil War home of Galena one last time, he settled into New York City, where some bad business dealings left him in debt in the last years of his life. His autobiography, finished just before his death as mentioned above, sold very well and provided financial security for his wife and family …

General Grant and his wife were invited to attend the theater performance with President Lincoln on April 14th, 1865, during which Lincoln was assassinated. Grant had declined the invitation because he wanted to spend time visiting his children. It was later revealed that Grant was also a target of John Wilkes Booth’s assassination plot …

Grant did not see eye to eye with President Andrew Johnson, his immediate predecessor. Grant declined to ride in the same carriage with outgoing President Johnson for Grant’s inaugural parade. Johnson responded in kind … he refused to attend the inauguration.

However, when former President Johnson died in 1875, Grant, as president, ordered all Washington governmental business to be suspended for a day as a gesture of respect …

Grant’s presidential campaign slogan was short and to the point … “Let us Have Peace”.

Grant had a strong preference for meat to be served well done. It was said he had an aversion to seeing blood …

Julia Grant, President Grant’s wife, was noticeably cross eyed …

Grant rarely if ever drank in the company of his wife. While serving in the army, Grant became known as somewhat of a binge drinker, imbibing when he was bored or lonely …

President Lincoln’s wife Mary was not fond of Grant for some reason. She once remarked, “I could lead an army as well myself”. It should be noted that later in life, Mary Lincoln was for a time declared clinically insane …

President Ulysses Grant Literary Resources

Click on the titles to see more details …

“Ulysses S. Grant: Soldier and President” (acclaimed recent biography of Grant)

“Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant” (completed by Grant himself just before he died)

“Ulysses S. Grant: A Biography” (highly regarded bio of the 18th President)

President Ulysses Grant Historic Sites

There are four historic sites dedicated to President Grant … his birthplace in Ohio, his home in Galena, Illinois, his farm in St. Louis, and his memorial tomb in New York City …

Grant’s Birthplace Historical Site is located in southeast Ohio in the rural community of Point Pleasant. It is about an hour southeast of Cincinnati …

The Grant Home, located in picturesque and historic Galena, Illinois. This is the home given to General Grant when he returned home to this bustling small river city after the Civil War. Grant left this home when he won his first term as president in 1869. Galena is now a town known for it’s scenic bluffs, specialty shopping, and beautiful autumn colors. It’s about three hours northwest of Chicago and is a very popular weekend destination. Here’s a brief video that provides a nice overview of the home and adjacent grounds:

The Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, more commonly known as “Grant’s Farm” is the homestead Grant worked and owned as a farmer before embarking on his military career. The site is in St. Louis, Missouri and is located about 20 minutes southwest of downtown …

General Grant National Memorial, also known as Grant’s Tomb, is the final resting place of President Grant and his wife Julia. It is located in New York City, on the western edge of Manhattan on Riverside Drive. This site has been the subject of much embarrassment due to a shocking lack of maintenance attention in prior decades, but thankfully things have turned around although there is still much work to be done …

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Category: U.S. Presidents Facts and Trivia

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