Grant versus Lee

Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, in 1822. He was a good soldier in battle during the U.S.-Mexican War, but he was an alcoholic. He left the army. When the Civil War began, Grant re-enlisted. His talents and experience drew attention and he became a commander.

Wins at Forts Henry, Donelson, and Vicksburg made Grant the Union’s leading commander. In March 1864, Lincoln named Grant general-in-chief of the Union armies. His campaigns in Virginia won the war.

In 1868, Grant was elected the 18th president of the United States. His administration was full of corruption and scandal. He died of cancer at age 63.

Robert Edward Lee was born in Stratford Hall, Virginia, in 1807. He graduated second in the class of 1829 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and was assigned to the Corps of Engineers. During the Mexican War, Lee earned three medals for bravery.

Abraham Lincoln offered Lee the command of Union forces in April 1861. But Lee declined because he could not fight against his home state of Virginia. Instead, he accepted a commission in the newly formed Confederate army.

In June 1862, Lee became commander of the Army of Northern Virginia. He showed he had military genius. His integrity earned him the respect and admiration of his men. On April 9, 1865, however, Lee was forced to surrender his weary army in what became known as the end of the Civil War.

Lee returned home and served as the president of Washington College (now known as Washington and Lee University) in Virginia.

Source: Grant versus Lee
© 2021 American Battlefield Trust

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