Born in Ohio, Ulysses Simpson Grant distinguished himself in the American Civil War. In 1863, Grant captured the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi, giving the Union forces control of the Mississippi River. In 1863 due to his western success, Lieutenant General Grant assumed command of all the Union armies. Grant relentlessly attacked the Confederate forces. His plan to divide and destroy brought the Civil War to an end in 1865. General Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
A grateful U.S. Congress appointed Grant a full general in 1866. He was the first man to hold this rank since George Washington. In 1868, as Republican candidate, the Civil War hero was elected to his first term as president of the United States.