A History Of The Union Cause
His troubles began on a festive holiday. Christmas Eve in the year of 1883 was cold and rainy, and by late evening the sidewalk was frozen in front of Ulysses S. Grant's house on 3 East 66th Street in New York City, not far from Central Park. Stepping out of a rented carriage, Grant slipped on the ice and sustained a painful inj ury. As the formerly robust general struggled to regain his health, another blow struck. In May of 1884, he learned that Grant and Ward, an investment firm that held his fortune, had failed. Aged 62, Grant was penniless.
Friends and supporters rallied around Ulysses and his wife, Julia. He was able to keep his residence, but little else. In desperation, he agreed to write an account of the battle of Shiloh for the Century Magazine. He did it for the money at first, but found that he liked the task. He decided to write more articles. One thing led to another, and before he knew it he had signed a book contract. A brief period of happiness ensued, but fate once again intervened. In the summer of 1884 Grant bit into a peach and was immediately seized with a terrible pain in his throat. A few months later, his doctors confirmed the worst: he had a fatal throat cancer. Most men might have abandoned an ambitious writing project at such a time. Not Grant. Famed for his quiet determination on the battlefield, he decided to finish the manuscript before he died.