Monday, April 30, 2007

This Week in Guard History

April 27, 1822: Point Pleasant, Ohio—Ulysses S. Grant, who would become the 18th U.S. president, is born on this day. He graduated from West Point in 1846, served in the Mexican War and later in California as an Army officer. He resigned his commission, and after several failed business attempts, by 1861 was working for his father-in-law in Illinois.

After the Civil War began, he was appointed by the governor of Illinois to command the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Quickly showing great battlefield and strategic abilities, he was by 1862 commanding the Union armies out west. After his successful capture of Vicksburg, Miss., on July 4, 1863, he was appointed commander of all Union forces and moved to face Gen. Robert E. Lee in Virginia.

After several bloody engagements and the grueling siege of Petersburg, Va., in 1864 and 1865 he finally compelled Lee’s army to surrender at Appomattox Courthouse on April 9, 1865, effectively ending the war. He was elected president in 1868 and again in 1872.

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