ULYSSES S. GRANT: The Unlikely Hero

By Hulse, Paul L. | Military Review, May/June 2005 | Go to article overview

ULYSSES S. GRANT: The Unlikely Hero


Hulse, Paul L., Military Review


ULYSSES S. GRANT: The Unlikely Hero, Michael Korda, Harper-Collins Publishers, Inc., New York, 2004,176 pages, $19.95.

Ulysses S. Grant: The Unlikely Hero, the first of several books published by HarperCollins and Atlas Books in the Eminent Lives Series, begins with the amusing anecdote of how Grant got his name. Because of a disagreement between his parents on what to name him, he was not named until 6 weeks after his birth on 27 April 1822. His parents compromised on the name Hiram Ulysses Grant. Because Grant detested working in his father's tannery, his father eventually obtained an appointment for him to West Point. On Grant's entry to West Point his name was inadvertently listed as Ulysses S. Grant, and Grant left it that way because his original initials spelled HUG.

At West Point, Grant ranked 21 in a class of 39, excelling only in horsemanship. His classmates included future Generals James Longstreet, William Rose-crans, Simon Bolivar Buckner, Richard Ewell, John Pope, and William Hardee.

Grant's baptism under fire came during the Mexican-American War at PaIo Alto, Mexico, on 8 May 1846. The next day he took temporary command of his company at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma. Grant did not like war, but he discovered soldiers would follow his orders during combat. …

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