The American General who led the North to Civil War victory, Ulysses Simpson Grant (1822-1885) was born on this day in Point Pleasant, Ohio and grew up with a love for horses and talent for mathematics. He graduated from West Point and served with distinction in the Mexican War.
"When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging," said Grant who was made a major Civil War general by Abraham Lincoln in 1864 after he captured the important city of Vicksburg, Mississippi and 30,000 Confederate troops.
Grant was a brilliant strategist who said, "I am terribly afraid, but the other fellow is afraid, too." After a long battle at Petersburg, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant in 1865.
"I felt like anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause," Grant wrote in his memoirs, published posthumously by Mark Twain.
After the war, Grant easily won election to the U.S. Presidency in 1868 and 1872. Although his administration was clouded by the scandals of Black Friday and the Panic of 1873, Grant oversaw the completion of the first transcontinental railroad (1869), the ratification of the 15th Amendment's right to vote regardless of race or color (1870), and the establishment of Yellowstone National Park (1872).
"There never was a time when, in my opinion, some way could not be found to prevent the drawing of the sword," he said.
A man's best friends are his ten fingers.