Ulysses S. Grant...The Making Of a Diamond in the Rough!

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Ulysses S. Grant...The Making Of a Diamond in the Rough!

Postby CliffMickelson » 23 May 2005, 15:33

Greetings, Nattering Nabobs of Negativity!

I don't want to be the first to bum your trip. However, perhaps the following story can put that old bounce back in your step?

In our often "less than positive" modern age, it sometimes pays us to seek a little bit of inspiration in the lives of yesterday.

And...I have a hot one for you!.....It can truly be said of Ulysses S. Grant that:

"Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined to."

The life story of Ulysses S. Grant, the first American four-star general and the 18th President of the United States, serves his country to this very day as an inspiration to all Americans.

His story reminds us that the most humble of origins are no bar to greatness.

Ulysses S. Grant was born in the frontier State of Ohio in 1822. His Father was a leather tanner and times in the leather business were hard. The family struggled constantly to make ends meet. As a result, Grant's parents were determined to see that their quiet and somewhat shy child received the opportunities necessary to live a better life than that of a tanner. As a result, (And mostly against his will) young Ulysses was sent to the famous American military academy at West Point.

Grant's scholastic performance as a future Army officer was less than spectacular but sufficiently strong enough that America's future four-star General graduated in the middle of his class.

While in attendance at West Point as a young cadet, Ulysses would meet many of the future great names in American history. Grant's personal presence was so uninspiring that few of his more flamboyant and outgoing classmates would remember him from those days.

Shortly after graduation from "The Point" the three way border dispute between the United States, Mexico, and the new State of Texas, escalated into a full scale war.

As a recently commissioned First Lieutenant, Grant found immediate employment in the American march to Mexico City under the already famous Zachary Taylor and then under the legandary American hero who's fame he would someday exceed, General Winfield Scott.

While serving in Mexico, Grant was afforded the opportunity to meet a young captain of Engineers named Robert E. Lee. Many years later, at the famous surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to the Army of the Potomac at Appomatox Court house, Grant reminded Lee of their original encounter. True to form, the young lieutenant Grant had failed to impress the much more polished Captain Lee.

The South's equally famous champion was forced to confess that he did not recall the meeting!

Following his service in Mexico and Texas, Grant found himself posted to California. Homesick and desperately missing his new wife, Grant resigned his commission and returned home to Galina, Ohio.

It is interesting to note that his letter of resignation was accepted without comment by the future President of the Confederacy, the then US Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis.

After unsuccessfully trying his hand at a variety of professions, Ulysses hired on under his brothers who now ran their father's leather business.

He spent a short but peaceful time with his loved ones while working once again in the family leather shop.

It was at this point in Grant's life that external events conspired to turn a lump of coal into a diamond.

In 1861, the War between the States began at Ft. Sumpter, South Carolina.

In the fever of the moment, there was no shortage of enthusiastic recruits in frontier towns like Galina, Ohio. However, there was a definite shortage of officers who could train and instill the needed military disciple in the raw and uncouth volunteers. Being a graduate of West Point, Ulysses Grant was soon asked to take charge of the local militia.

Upon first laying eyes upon his new charges, Grant was heard to compare them unfavorably to a band of brigands and thieves!

But service in Mexico had stood Ulysses well.

He quickly and without hesitation proceeded to lay down the Gospel according to Grant. In short order he had whipped the nondescript local levy into an outstanding force of fighting men. This success did not go unnoticed. The Northern armies had sustained an unbroken chain of disasters and defeats in the early days of the war and the successes of Grant's men in their encounters with Confederate irregulars were welcome news. The former West Point lieutenant soon found himself a Brigadier General of Volunteers!

With the increase in resources and responsibilities of his new command, Grant felt that the time had come to capture the vital waterways and strategic choke-points of the Mississippi Valley.

In February 1862 he attacked and overwhelmed Fort Henry. Immediately afterwards he attacked Fort Donelson. The Confederate commander, realizing his predicament, soon asked for terms of surrender. Grant replied; “No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted.”

This exchange was quickly noted in the newspapers of the North. U.S. "Unconditional Surrender" Grant was the new instant hero of the West!

Following the Confederate surrender of fort Donelson President Lincoln Promoted Grant to Major General of Volunteers.

Shortly after his latest promotion, Grant encountered the armies of the South at a little church called "Shiloh." Shiloh was one of the bloodiest battles in American history. It was also a battle that provided neither side with a clear cut victory. The horrific loss of life shocked many in the Northern government and some went as far as to urge President Lincoln to remove Grant from Command.

"I cannot spare this man" said Lincoln. "He fights"!

As if to make up for his folly at Shiloh, Grant executed his next campaign with precision and skill. His forces captured Vicksburg and then broke the Confederates hold on Chattanooga.

The capture of Vicksburg was very important because it effectively cut the confederation of Southern States in half. As a result of Grant's successful efforts in the Mississippi Valley, Lincoln appointed him General-in-Chief.

At this point, the important military action in the war shifted to the East along with the relocated General Grant.

In a series of relentless campaigns Grant utilized the huge Union advantage in men and supplies made available to him by proceeding to dominate and overwhelm via brute force, the meager and shrinking resources of men and material available to the rural Southern States. Union reverses such as the one suffered at Fredricksburg did little to slow the inexaustable Northern industrial monolith under the command of Grant.

It was truly the first modern war and one that Grant correctly realized would eventually be determined by logistics and industrial production.

The end of the struggle for self determination came in 1865. Grant overwhelmed Petersburg and entered Richmond. Wheeling to the west, he sent General Sheridan's cavalry to the south and west in a rapid bid to prevent Lee from linking up with the retreating armies of Joe Johnston. The gambit was successful. But just barely. Grant cornered General Lee and the exhausted and starving Army of Northern Virginia only a scant few miles from safty.

The surrender of the Southern Nation came at a small country courthouse named Appomatox.

Implacable in War, Ulysses was generous in peace. Grant wrote the surrender in such a way as to spare his friend from West Point of being accused of treason. He ordered his men to present arms as a salute to the gallantry of the defeated Confederates and he instructed his quartermaster to issue the hungry men sufficient clothes and rations to see them home. He also took the unusual step of allowing the defeated men to keep their horses. "It is Springtime" Grant remarked. "They will be needed for plowing."

Grant was now a hero and idol among the northern States. Before long it became apparent to the backroom power brokers that he was the obvious choice for the Presidential nomination.

The election vote was a landslide for the beloved "Unconditional Surrender" Grant!

Ulysses Grant, former Country boy and leather worker from the frontier country of Ohio became the 18th President of the United States in 1868.

Grant presided over the White House in much the same way as he had his army. Above all, Ulysses was a man of personal integrity and honesty. However, the same could not be said of members of his cabinet. In the reelection campaign of 1872 Grant was viciously attacked by liberal Republicans. As a result of the unfairness of these attacks, the General's friends in the Republican Party took up the name "Old Guard" and bore it with much pride.

President Grants terms of office were generally remarkable for the lack of important events that occurred when compared to the prior decade of war.

The only real excitement of note was caused by Jay Gould and James Fisk. These two financial manipulators hatched a plan to corner the market on gold. They nearly succeeded and their success would have done great damage to the financial markets and the country as a whole. However Grant caught wind of their plans and took the necessary measures to stop them.

Life after the Presidency was a long downhill slide for Grant. He became a partner in a doomed financial firm and soon after the firm went bankrupt, he discovered that he had cancer of the throat.

Financially bankrupt and knowing that the end was near, Ulysses began writing his memoirs to pay off his debts and to ensure future support for his family. The Recollections of U.S. Grant became an instant best seller. The book quickly earned nearly half a million dollars!

But ironically Grant was never to know that his final personal venture in life was a success.

Death claimed the Leather worker from Galina, Ohio in 1885. The ink was still wet on the last page of his memoirs when he passed away.

In many ways, U.S. Grant lived the archetype American life of the 19th Century. He had lived a full measure and had accomplished the stuff of dreams.

The life of Ulysses S. Grant is proof to all Americans living in this highly negative modern age that:

"Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined to."


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Postby linn » 23 May 2005, 21:13

"Nattering nabobs," eh? :lol:

Good ol' Spiro could definitely turn a phrase (with the assistance of Safire and Buchanen, of course). Lest we forget:

"impudent corps of effete snobs"

"pusillanimous pussyfoots"

and my personal favorite (utterly masterful alliteration),

"hopeless, hysterical hypochondriacs of history"


Postby CliffMickelson » 01 Jun 2005, 03:01

Hi Linn:

Thanks for pulling those up! I had forgotten about them! They are one of a kind, eh?

Can't help but bring a smile to your face!


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Postby linn » 01 Jun 2005, 20:07

Yup, back in the day, there were actually politicians who'd bother to come across as erudite, rather than appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Forgot to mention how much I enjoyed this piece! :clap:

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Postby Paulo » 02 Jun 2005, 15:03

Agree! There was one in particular which said:
"My father would'nt even piss on lawyers even if they where on fire." :clap:

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Postby linn » 04 Jun 2005, 00:03

Paulo wrote:Agree! There was one in particular which said:
"My father would'nt even piss on lawyers even if they where on fire." :clap:
I'm going through a difficult divorce, and can only WISH it hadn't been necessary for me to resort to hiring an attorner.


Postby CliffMickelson » 04 Jun 2005, 00:11

Hi Linn:

Yes, that kind of stuff is a real head twister! I know the feeling.

As usual the only ones ending up with the cash are the attorneys.

A necessary evil, I suppose, but a plague nonetheless!

Especially when they get to have their own little monopoly kingdom!


poster boy

Postby poster boy » 06 Jun 2005, 19:08

Yeap, haven't you seen how fools fall into the attorney traps by even holding their doggy-mascots hostage?

'Life ain't nothing but a funny funny riddle.... thank God I'm a country boy"...

Oh linn, don't forget to put a padlock on your purse, these lieyers are known pick-pockets!

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Postby Paulo » 11 Jun 2005, 14:30

Washington State Attorney Season and Bag Limits

1300.01 GENERAL

Any person with a valid Washington State hunting license may harvest attorneys. :anxious:

Taking of attorneys with traps or deadfalls is permitted. The use of currency as bait is prohibited. :anxious:

Killing of attorneys with a vehicle is prohibited. If accidentally struck, remove dead attorney to roadside and proceed to nearest car wash. :?:
It is unlawful to chase, herd, or harvest attorneys from a snow machine, helicopter, or aircraft. :sad:

It shall be unlawful to shout "whiplash", "ambulance", or "free Perrier" for the purpose of trapping attorneys. :shock:

It shall be unlawful to hunt attorneys within 100 yards of BMW dealerships. :wink:

It shall be unlawful to use cocaine, young boys, $100 bills, prostitutes, or vehicle accidents to attract attorneys. :cry:

It shall be unlawful to hunt attorneys within 200 yards of courtrooms, law libraries, whorehouses, health spas, gay bars, ambulances, or hospitals. :shock:

If an attorney is elected to government office, it shall be a felony to hunt, trap, or possess it. :8ball:

Stuffed or mounted attorneys must have a state health department inspection for AIDS, rabies, and vermin. :clap:

It shall be illegal for a hunter to disguise himself as a reporter, drug dealer, pimp, female legal clerk, sheep, accident victim, bookie, or tax accountant for the purpose of hunting attorneys. :cool:


Yellow Bellied Sidewinder 2
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Honest Attorney EXTINCT
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Silver-tongued Drug Defender $100 BOUNTY
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