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The Warrior Who Hated War - Ulysses S. Grant

Published September 15, 2000
Countries: USA, USA (Civil War)
Age Levels: 9 and up

A warrior with a warrior's name - yet he hated fighting and hated war!  Yet, he was one of America's greatest generals.  His name was Grant.  One of American's greatest generals was a man of peace.

His legal name was Hiram Ulysses Grant.  "Ulysses" was the name of a great warrior from the time of the Trojan Was.  School friends called him "Hug" from his initials H.U.G.  Some called him "Useless."

Grant was NOT useless.  He was a worker.  He trained horses to help his father who owned a tannery. He taught his horses to lift heavy loads that made his father's work more profitable.  Grant loved horses.  He could stand on the back of a galloping horse.  He could leap from the back of a horse running in one direction onto the back of a horse running in the other way.  Still, despite his work and play with horses. Grant did not want to keep working at the tannery.  He decided to get an education.

Grant studied very hard.  He received an appointment at West Point.  West Point was a military school that trained professional soldiers.  How strange!  Grant hated fighting.  He got sick at the sight of blood.  He thought that anyone who fought a duel was a fool.  He thought that all arguments should be able to be talked out.  Despite this, he accepted the enrollment to West Point where men were taught to become military officers and to lead men in war.

It was West Point where Grant's name changed.  He name was accidentally recorded as Ulysses S. Grant.  He liked the name and kept it.  His mother's maiden name had been Simpson.  So, he called himself Ulysses Simpson Grant.  His fellow soldiers called him U.S. Grant and Uncle Sam.  They all called him incredible when it came to riding horses.  Still there were soldiers who wondered about an officer who hated the sight of blood.

During the Mexican War, Grant proved to himself and everyone else that he was a good soldier.  He made a daring ride on his horse in front of enemy fire to get ammunition and reinforcements to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.  He was a hero.  He had the courage to fight when he had to.

Grant left the army after the War with Mexico.  He taught school for a time.  He also worked in his father's tannery.  When the Civil War started, Grant enlisted right away.  He was given a command that took him to Missouri.  He helped keep weapons and ammunition from falling into the hands of the south.  Later, he led his men into battle.  His troops won victories at Fort Donelson and Fort Henry in Tennessee.  There, he earned another nickname, Unconditional Surrender Grant!

President Lincoln called on Grant to lead the Union's war effort against the South.  Lincoln placed him in charge of all the Union troops.  He was successful in his efforts.  But, Grant always hated sending men into battle.  Then when the fighting was done and the Union had won the war, Grant treated his former enemies with respect.

The grateful nation elected General Grant to the highest office in the land.  He became President of the United States.  After his time as President, Grant and his wife traveled the world as peacekeepers.  Wherever he went, Grant encourages nations to solve their problems with words instead of fighting.  Grant always said it takes real heroism to face someone who wants to fight and say, "That is not right, and I will not do it."  He truly was  man of peace.

Dr. Mike Lockett is a lover of history.  He tells many Strange-But-True Civil War Stories.  His stories include true stories of Civil War leaders, like Ulysses S. Grant.  Lockett is a professional storyteller and a children's author.  You can learn more about Mike and his work by going to