At the age of nine young Ulysses Grant decided that he wanted a horse of his own, so he went to the circus in his home town in Ohio and won five dollars by riding a trick pony. By the next summer, after carefully saving his money, he was able to buy his own horse and start up a hauling business. His father, however, was determined that his son should have a good education, especially after a phrenologist declared that young Ulysses would one day be President. So, at eighteen, Ulysses entered West Point.
He graduated from West Point with moderate success and was stationed for a time in Missouri, where he met Julia Dent, whom he later married. After several years of army life, during which he became captain in the Mexican War, he decided to return to private life. He tried a number of lines of work without success until his father rescued him by making him the manager of one of his leather stores in Galena, Illinois, and here Ulysses remained until the outbreak of the Civil War.
He immediately joined the Union Army but he spent the early months of the war training volunteers. At last he was made the colonel of a regiment and almost immediately began to win battles. With his first important victory, at Fort Donelson, he caught public attention in the North and after the capture of Vicksburg he was made Lieutenant General of all the Union armies, a rank no one but Washington had ever held before. In the following spring he brought the war to an end with the defeat of General Lee at Richmond, accepting his surrender at Appomattox.
In The Story of Ulysses S. Grant, Jeanette Nolan brings to boys and girls the dramatic life of one of our most colorful generals and Presidents.
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