Ulysses S. Grant


I was watching an old movie with Errol Flynn and they had a character Ulysses S. Grant and I decided to check on the real one well to my surprise the Obama White House characterized him as a failure while wiki was more balanced.

Ulysses S. Grant - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ulysses S. Grant | The White House

No bias from the Whitehouse account/sarcasm


I don’t think EITHER article is “Fair and Balanced”. Not defending BHO, but I don’t see any outright lies in the Whitehouse version, but I DO see some significant omissions.

Grant was a good military commander, and though some disagree with that, saying that all he did was drive his own troops to slaughter, the consensus of historians is that he was close to an excellent military commander.

The Whitehouse version doesn’t completely deny this, although they don’t emphasize it either.

The Whitehouse version is more focused on his tenure as president, and in that regard he didn’t necessarily perform as he did as a military commander. Grant was never especially good as an administrator (McClellan was the administrator, but he was a poor fighter), even in his military days, but he was good at leading troops and fighting.

Unfortunately, the job of president requires a fair amount of skill as an administrator and also a fair amount of skepticism in appointing Cabinet members (neither skill is held by BHO of course.) Grant didn’t have much skill in either area either (though compared to BHO, he was “brilliant” in those areas.)

Eisenhower is a good example of a military man who WAS an excellent administrator and well suited for the presidency. In fact, his skill as an administrator was one of the reasons he was appointed as Supreme Allied Commander. He used that skill to hold together the shaky and sometimes fractious relationship between the Brit and American military. He also gained experience in administration when he was MacArthur’s XO in the 30’s.

Back to the Whitehouse characterization of Grant’s presidency, which was the major focus of the Whitehouse article, while the Wiki article treated his military career equally with their treatment of his presidency. But then I wouldn’t expect a Whitehouse article on a president to give a president’s military record equal billing.

PLUS, the Wiki article mentioned, several times, the more favorable evaluation of recent historians on Grant’s presidency. The Whitehouse version either leaves this out (in which case it was an omission), didn’t consider it credible because it hasn’t withstood the test of time (in which case they should have at least mentioned it, with a footnote that they didn’t deem it credible), or just flat out didn’t know about it (in which case they SHOULD have.)

The traditional view is that while Grant was a good military commander, he was not a good president, and that’s what the Whitehouse version communicates. Indeed, one does not necessarily guarantee the other . . . Eisenhower being a notable exception.

Grant was not only a poor administrator, he was a little too trusting of his subordinates. That may have come from his relationship with Sherman and Sheridan. When he told those two to do something, they did it almost as though they could read his mind. Consequently, he became accustomed in his military career to giving an order and having it carried out as intended.

Not so with Cabinet officials. Grant was naive in that arena, and thought they were just as honorable as him. That’s why he got caught up in several scandals. It’s revealing that Grant himself was never personally implicated in wrongdoing, but his subordinates WERE. Hence, his administration had a shadow cast over it.

The wiki version emphasizes all the “good” accomplishments of his administration, of which there were many, and treats lightly the “bad” things . . . of course, the Whitehouse version does just the opposite. Which is why I say NEITHER is “Fair and Balanced”.

But, as I said, I didn’t see any outright lies in either one . . . it was just a matter of emphasis, but BOTH showed some bias.


White House appointees are not comparable to troops under command of a military officer. Apparently, he expected it to be the same.


Grant was a West Point graduate where HONOR is everything. In the military he was surounded by honorable men, in politics he was surounded by scalawags and scoundrels. He was personally devestated by the conduct of his Cabinet. His greatest fault was to trust his fellow man.


I left this out of my post.

There is no HONOR in politics.


An honorable man is out of his league in politics.
Politics is ALL about lying, that’s why honorable men usually fail in politics.


“I can’t spare this man, he fights”__Abe Lincoln

"Grant applies for and receives a Colonel’s commission in the 21st Illinois Infantry regiment. He is quickly promoted to brigadier general. His regiment is assigned to Missouri, where it experiences its first action.

A succession of victories over the Confederates ensues: Belmont, Missouri; Forts Donelson and Henry; Shiloh; Nashville. Grant gains a reputation as a fighter, and the admiration of President Lincoln. He is a hero to a Union public hungry for victory.

Then, suddenly and mysteriously: he is relieved of command. Rumors of drunkenness and dereliction of duty are heard and acted upon by Henry Halleck, the Army’s Chief of Staff. Grant challenges Halleck to prove the allegations; ** Lincoln says “I can’t spare this man; he fights;” ** Halleck restores Grant to command."

“…I can’t spare this man. He fights.” - Ulysses S. Grant and James M. McPherson - The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant - Epinions.com

Grant had the stomach for the fight, but his M.O. as a battlefield general would not have been tolerated today with live real-time television going 24/7/365.

** Grant often said, “The enemy has not got army enough” and he used that fact as the bases for his battlefiend “strategy” ~~ I mean he simply traded the man-power-short Confederates 2 for 1 … 2 for 1 … 2 for 1 … in a series of head-on frontal clashes that left tens of thousands dead on the battlefield or ghastly wounded. **

I’m not being hard on Grant here, that was the battlefield M.O. of that time period. The slaughter and maim of tens of thousands of soldiers was thought to be “par for the course”, so to speak.

It was said of General William Tecumseh Sherman, that he came to regard the death or maim of a couple hundred men as a kind of “early morning dash” as he gave orders for early morning frontal assaults against entrenched Confererates. (Note:That was another’s man opinion of the General. It may not have been true, but it does characterize the general attitude connected to head-on frontal assault warfare of the 19th century in Europe and America.)

Picket’s charge at Gettysberg was one example, anong hundreds, of this deadly head-on frontal method of fighting wars.

After Picket’s Charge.

General Lee: You must take care of your Division, General Picket.

General Picket: General Lee, have no Division.

This clip demonstrates the headon frontal M.O. of the time.
Picket’s Charge at Gettysberg:
Gettysburg the great battle part 3 - YouTube

I’d have to look it up to be sure, but I seem to recall reading that Picket lost 2000 men per minute during that charge.

Moments pass…

"The infantry assault was preceded by a massive artillery bombardment that was meant to soften up the Union defense and silence its artillery, but was largely ineffective. Approximately 12,500 men in nine infantry brigades advanced over open fields for three-quarters of a mile under heavy Union artillery and rifle fire. Although some Confederates were able to breach the low stone wall that shielded many of the Union defenders, they could not maintain their hold and were repulsed with over 50% casualties"
Pickett’s Charge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


I much prefer America’s present battlefield philosophy that says: Do everything possible to reduce American dead and wounded.
(They don’t always do that, but at least they hold it as a battlefield philosophy)



Isn’t hindsight wonderful?


[quote=“njc17, post:8, topic:38624”]
Isn’t hindsight wonderful?
[/quote]“Hindsight” IS the business of historians, particularly of revisionist historians.


I have enjoyed reading regularly in books about the American Civil War, and I always come across passages that say the good General Grant loved his cigars and smoked several every day. I have read quite often, that during certain stressful periods of the war, Grant smoked 20 cigars per day and later on cut back to 10 or 12 per day. Who knows? (I have also read that William Jefferson Airplane was a top rate U.S. President /Grin… and that “Barry is a good Christian.” /hysterical laughter)

The historians say the good General loved his whiskey too. Its reported quite often that Abe Lincoln said something along this line: “Find out what kind of whiskey General Grant drinks and give some to my other generals, so I can get them to fight the Confederates as hard as General Grant fights them.”

We do know that the good General died from throat cancer, and that he wrote his autobiography while struggling with looming death. I read somewhere Grant was the only U.S. president to die from cancer.



By today’s standards most of the Union Generals would have been charged with “War Crimes” and hung. Some Confederates, but not as many.