Hiram Ulysses Grant was born at Point Pleasant, Ohio on this day in 1822. When his congressman nominated him to West Point, the politician couldn't remember the full name, but remembering young Grant's mother's maiden name, he made up a new name for the enrollment forms: Ulysses Simpson Grant. His military career was average at best, his business efforts were mostly unsuccessful, and his early efforts in the Civil War were indifferent. He waged an unconventional battle for Vicksburg and returned to prominence, ending the war as the chief general of the Union Army. His own actions as president were reasonable but he chose too many subordinates of poor character, his administration was continually rocked by scandal. Out of office he invested in a brokerage firm and was fleeced by his partner but spent his last years writing his memoirs so he could pay his bills. Published by Mark Twain, this work is still regarded as the finest presidential memoir ever.
“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike at him as hard as you can and as often as you can, and keep moving on.”
“There are but few important events in the affairs of men brought about by their own choice.”
“Wars produce many stories of fiction, some of which are told until they are believed to be true.”
“Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it, except as a means of peace.”
“Everyone has his superstitions. One of mine has always been when I started to go anywhere, or to do anything, never to turn back or to stop until the thing intended was accomplished.”
“I don't underrate the value of military knowledge, but if men make war in slavish obedience to rules, they will fail.”
All from Ulysses S. Grant, 1822 – 1885