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ILLUSTRATED LIFE, CAMPAIGNS,
AND PUBLIC SERVICES OF
LIEUT. GENERAL U. S. GRANT.
LIEUTENANT-GENERAL ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT was born at Point Pleasant, Clermont county, Ohio, a small village on the Ohio river, about twenty-five miles above Cincinnati, on the twenty-seventh day of April, 1822. His ancestors were Scotch; two of whom, brothers, emigrated to this country in the early part of the sixteenth century, one settling in Connecticut and the other in New Jersey, and from the former sprung the family of which Ulysses is such an illustrious scion. His father, Jesse R. Grant, was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, in the year 1794, and his mother was a Miss Hannah Simpson, daughter of John Simpson, of Montgomery county, in the same State. In 1818, she removed with her father's family to Clermont county, Ohio, where, in June, 1821, she was married to Mr. Grant, who had removed to that State some years before, and was engaged in carrying on a tannery. In 1823, the year after their first child was born, the young couple removed to Georgetown, the capital of Brown county, the county adjoining to the eastward the one in which they had resided.
HIS EARLY YOUTH AND EDUCATION-
Here Ulysses obtained his early education, and although, as we are told, he was not noted during his years of schooling for any particular acuteness, he evinced that determination and perseverance for which he has been remarkable since he attained the age of manhood. The pecuniary condition of his father necessarily limited the son's opportunities for acquiring knowledge, and attendance at the daily sessions of the winter term at an inferior school was the extent of the facilities offered to the young student.
Numerous anecdotes are related of him during his boyhood, and from the number we give the following:
On one occasion his teacher had given him a task to perform, in mastering which he experienced more than usual difficulty. A schoolmate, noticing his trouble, remarked: "You can't master that task." The persevering lad replied that he did not know the meaning of the word "can't," and would refer to the dictionary and ascertain its signification. Not finding it in the book he referred the matter to the teacher, who explained the origin of the word, and was so much pleased with his pupil's action in the matter, that he related the anecdote to the entire school, and impressed upon them the importance of accomplishing whatever they might undertake, and always to remember that there was no such word as can't.
It is also stated that when he was about twelve years of age, his father sent him to purchase a horse from a man named Ralston, telling him to offer the owner at first fifty dollars. If he wouldn't take that, to offer fifty-five dollars, and to go on as high as sixty dollars, if no less would make the purchase. Ulysses started off with these instructions fully impressed upon his mind. He called upon Mr. Ralston and told him he wished to buy the horse.
"How much did your father tell you to give for him?" was the very natural inquiry from the owner of the steed.
"Why," said Ulysses, "he told me to offer you fifty dollars; and if that wouldn't do to give you fifty-five dollars; and if you wouldn't take less than sixty dollars, to give you that."
Of course sixty dollars was the price.
"But," added the boy, "although father said sixty, I have made up my mind to give you only fifty, so you may take that or nothing."
Of course he secured the animal.
About the same period of his life he had among his school-fellows his own cousin, whose parents had settled in Canada, and who had become imbued with the strong prejudices of the people of that province against the Americans. This cousin, whose name was John, had the same feelings as his parents, although he was being educated in America.
On one occasion the cousins were engaged in a discussion on the subject of love of country and the duty owed to rulers.
"Ulysses," said John, "you talk a great deal about Washington. He was nothing better than a Rebel. He fought against his king."
"Now look here, Jack," said Ulysses, "you must stop that, or I'll give you a thrashing. Mother says I must not fight, but must forgive my enemies. You may abuse me as much as you please; but if you abuse Washington I'll off coat and let into you if you were ten times my cousin, and then mother may afterwards whip me as much as she likes."
Jack stood his ground, and so did his cousin, until they came to hard blows, when the former got the worst of it. When Ulysses reached home his face betrayed evidence of the struggle.
"So you have been fighting," said the mother.
Ulysses explained the whole of the circumstances, without addition or detraction, but notwithstanding the explanation, his mother began making preparations to give him the promised castigation, when the father interposed and saved him.
'Wife," said the old gentleman, "he does not deserve to be punished. He has only stood up for his country, and the boy who will fight in defence of the honor and integrity of the name of Washington will rise, if God spares his life, to be a man, and a Christian, too."
Some years afterwards the cousins met, and John reminded him of the affair, when he laughingly replied: "Yes! I remember the event, and under the same circumstances would do it again."
ENTERS WEST POINT-HIS TERM AT THAT INSTITUTION.
When he was seventeen years of age, at the suggestion of his father, he determined if possible to enter West Point, and Senator Morris of Ohio was applied to, to secure the position. Mr. Morris replied that he had disposed of his right to recommend a cadet, but that there was a vacancy in the district occasioned by the failure of a young man to pass an examination, and advised him to write to Representative Hon. Thomas L. Hamer on the subject. Mr. Grant did so, and was successful in his application, and on the first of July, 1839, he entered the Academy in a class containing about one hundred cadets. After his admission he applied himself closely to his studies, more especially to the mathematical branches, and rarely failed at the different examinations, severe and intricate as many of them were, to respond promptly to the questions propounded.
While in the fourth class he gave an illustration of cour