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The Baldwin Library
(When General Grant entered the McLean house at Appomattox to receive the surrender of General Lee's army, his main wish was not
to play the conqueror. His desire was to spare the feelings of his opponent, and he peinitted no military
display nor did he wear his own sword or demand that of General Lee.) [See page 2281
THE TRUE STORY OF
THE AMERICAN SOLDIER
TOLD FOR BOYS AND GIRLS
ELBRIDGE S. BROOKS
AUTHOR OF "THE STORY OF OUR WAR WITH SPAIN," "THE AMERICAN SOLDIER,"
"THE AMERICAN SAILOR," "THE TRUE STORY OF THE UNITED STATES,"
"THE TRUE STORY OF COLUMBUS," WASHINGTON," LINCOLN,"
FRANKLIN," LAFAYETTE," AND MANY OTHERS
ILL USTRA TED
LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.
LOTHROP PUBLISHING COMPANY.
aorbaoo tires :
Berwick & Smith, Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
THE life-story of every great American contains much that is startling,
much that is marvellous, and much that is inspiring, as, looking back, we
read it from .its starting point.
The true story of America's greatest soldier, Ulysses S. Grant, is not lack-
ing in the elements that give to the stories of Washington, Lincoln and Franklin
the flavor of moral and romance.
The son of a western tanner became the leader of the world's mightiest
armies; the Ohio school boy became the ruler of the greatest of modern repub-
lics; the modest and retiring gentleman became the victorious general; the
broken and discouraged farmer and clerk became the foremost man of his day
in all the world.
As an example of persistence, of determination and of will, of a -clear head
in emergencies and a great heart in victory, of modesty, patience, simplicity,
strength and zeal, the record of the struggles and successes of U. S. Grant is a
lesson to young and old alike, and his story is one most fitting to be included
in this series of "Children's Lives of Great Men."
The words of the president of the republic, spoken above the brave general's
last resting-place, in the grand mausoleum beside the Hudson, are eminently
appropriate in this connection. They serve as the best possible preface to this
life of the greatest American soldier.
"With Washington and Lincoln," said President McKinley, "Grant had
an exalted place in history and the affections of the people. To-day his
memory is held in equal esteem by those whom he led to victory and by those
who accepted his generous terms of peace."
To which may be added this portrait of our great general from the same
poet-patriot who said grand words of Washington and Lincoln -I mean James
"He came grim, silent; saw and did the deed
That was to do; in his master grip
Our sword flashed joy; no skill of words could breed
Such sure convictions as those close-clamped lips;
He slew our dragon, nor, so seemed it, knew
He had done more than any simplest man might do."
E. S. B.
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA
HOW THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE"
HOW HE HEARD THE CALL TO DUTY
HOW THE GENERAL UNLOOSED THE MISSISSIPPI
S .. 73
HOW HE FOUGHT IT OUT
HOW THE-REPUBLIC GAVE ITS VERDICT .
HOW THE TANNER'S SON SERVED THE SECOND TIME
HOW ULYSSES SAW THE WORLD .
THE OLD GENERAL'S LAST FIGHT .
WHAT THE WORLD SAYS ,
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
At Appomattox. Fro.
The house in which Grant was born .. .. .
Grant's first election-day .
The Birthplace of U. S. Grant .
Where the United States will make a park ..
The Birthplace as it looks to-day
The Memorial Building in which the Birthplace stands .
" Stumping at the swimming hole. .. .
John Quincy Adams. .
Blindfolding the balky colt. .
" So he went along through a happy boyhood ". .
"That's jest the very lowest I can sell the critter for, Lyss," said the farmer
The country schoolmarm of Grant's boyhood days
" Might just as well send this little fellow of yours, Squire."
Ulysses sees the sights ..
In camp at West Point .
Cadet Grant's famous horseback leap .
Cadet life out-of-doors .
Kosciusko's monument at West Point .
General Zachary Taylor.. .
Grant rides for ammunition at Monterey .
Chepultepec the West Point of Mexico .
Grant said, we're coming in I and they did .
The battery in the steeple. .
The Cathedral in the City of Mexico .. .
Bull fight in Mexico .
The dangerous trip overland in the fifties."
Target practice in U. S. A. barracks .
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
The march across the Isthmus . .
He cared for the sitk and fought the plague
Grant in the plague camp at Panama . .
Cold weather sentry duty, in barracks
A hard road to travel . .
" Captain Grant found out what work really was."
Grant as a wood-peddler
With the Gray and the Bay
" Hardscrabble," the cottage that Grant built for himself in Missouri
Grant's home in dalena, in i861. . .
A "new recruit," in i86 . .
The Court House at Galena
"Men go to your quarters," said Colonel Grant
" Iprefer to do my first marching in a friendly country," he said
Grant at Belmont
Grant at Shiloh......
Grant's charge at Shiloh
Major-General U. S. Grant . .
Spot where Grant met Pemberton to arrange for the surrender of Vicksburg
A Confederate sharpshooter at Lookout Mountain
President Lincoln handing Grant his commission as Lieutenant-General
Grant and his Generals
" I shall fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."
The ninth of April, 1865
They saluted like gentlemen and soldiers. . .
At the Grand Review in Washington . .
"' Grant was the hero of the hour . .
Grant and his family . .
A boy's first view of General Grant. .
Grant and Johnson
At the inauguration
The new Washington as Grant made it
The city of Geneva in Switzerland where the Court of Arbitration met
Charles Sumner .
Horace Greeley .
President Grant delivering his second inaugural address
William T. Sherman .
" Let no guilty man escape"
Memorial Hall, Philadelphia
S .. X90
LIST OF ILL USTRATIONS.
The Norman Gate
Grant and Bismarck .
Windsor Castle, the home of the Queen of England .
Grant addressing the workingmen at Newcastle, Eng.
General Grant landing at Nagasaki, in Japan
The Gate at Lucknow, 'India
The Golden Gate, San Francisco Harbor .
Grant's home in East Sixty-sixth Street, New York City. .
The harbor of New York .
The old General's last fight
The cottage on Mount McGregor, near Saratoga, in which General Grant died
The outlook at Mount McGregor
The temporary tomb of General Grant, Riverside Drive, New York City
The view across the river from Grant's tomb at Riverside. .
Hancock and Grant .
At Spottsylvania. .
The Grant monument at Chicago
Where our hero sleeps at Riverside. .
The second funeral of Grant .
THE TRUE STORY OF
ULYSSES S. GRANT
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
SHIS is a story for the boys and girls of America.
It is a true story. It is the story of an Ameri-
can. It is a story of adventure, of fighting
and of glory. It is the story of the greatest
soldier of the Republic-the story of Ulysses
I do not wish to tell you the story of this remarkable
man simply because he fought and won great battles, nor
because, for fully twenty years, he was the foremost man
and the chief citizen of the United States of America, nor
because I delight to write of war and bloodshed and victory.
I do 'not. I abominate war. I hate bloodshed. I know
that there are two sides to every victory. But the story of
General Grant seems to me one that all the boys and girls of
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT N IO A BOX.
America can take to heart. It is one that should help and
strengthen and inspire them. For as they read in these
pages, how, out of obscurity came honor, out of failure
fame, out of hindrances perseverance, out of indifference
patriotism, out of dullness genius, out of silence success,
and, out of all these combined, a glorious renown, they may
see, in this man's advance into greatness, a reason for their
own doing their best -patiently, unhesitatingly, persistently.
For it was thus that Grant rose to honor and renown; it
was thus that the tanner's son of Georgetown became the
general of the armies of the Republic, that the horse-boy
of the Ohio farm became the President of the United States.
Let me tell you his story.
In the year 1821 there stood on the banks of the Ohio
river, in Clermont County in southwestern Ohio, twenty-five
miles to the east of Cincinnati, a small frame house, with
one story and an ell. It was the home of Jesse Root Grant
and Hannah, his wife. Jesse Grant was a smart and indus-
trious young tanner who had settled at this spot on the
Ohio River. It was known as Point Pleasant. Here he
had gone into the business of tanning hides into leather,
*being backed up with money by a man who wished to have
his son learn the tanner's trade.
Point Pleasant was a little settlement of some fifteen or
twenty families. It has not grown much in all these years;
for, to-day it is a little village of but one hundred and
THE HOUSE IN WHTCH GRANT WAS BORN.
At Point Pleasant, Ohio. From a photograph taken in 1880. The old gentleman at the gate was the doctor
who tended Ulysses as a baby.
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
Stwenty-five people; but it is more famous than many larger
and more pushing places just because it was the birthplace
of a great American.
The house of Jesse Grant, the tanner, stood back from
the broad river some three hundred feet. A small creek
flowed past the door and tumbled into the Ohio river; back
of the house rose a little hill; close at hand was the tanyard
where the bark of trees, brought from the woodland near by,
was ground into the reddish bark-dust called tan the stuff
that helps turn calf-skin and cowhide into leather.
Into this pleasant but simple little home beside the beau-
tiful Ohio, on the twenty-seventh day of April in the year
1822, a baby boy was born. He was a strong, promising-
looking little fellow and weighed just ten and three quarters
The young tanner and his wife were very proud of their
first baby, of course, and did not think he should be named
without talking over such an important matter with their
folks. So, when the baby was about a month old, Jesse
'Grant hitched up his horse and wagon and took his wife
and baby over to grandpa's, ten miles away.
There they held a family council over the baby's name.
Everyone had a different name to propose, and it was finally
decided to vote for a name by ballot.
So the father and mother, the grandfather and grand-
mother and the two aunts wrote, each on a slip of paper, the
name he or she liked best; the slips were put into a hat,
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
and then one of the aunts drew out a slip. The name on
the first slip drawn out was to be the baby's name. And
the name drawn out was Ulysses.
Thus you see, almost the first thing that happened to this
little Ohio baby was a decision by ballot. Do you suppose
it was, what we call, prophetic? It may not have been, but
don't you see, just forty-six years afterwards, almost to a
day, the representatives of the American people met in con-
vention and the
S-~-: first ballot they
S took declared that
"w Ulysses S. Grant
Should be their
e s President of the
So the baby
GRANT'S FIRST ELECTION-DAY.
was called Ulys-
ses -and Ulysses, you know, was a great soldier of the old,
old days. But this baby's grandfather so much liked the
name he had written it was Hiram that the baby's
father and mother said that should be a part of their boy's
name, too. And Hiram, you know, was a very wise and
brave ruler in Bible times. There again, you see, the baby's
name was just a bit prophetic, for they gave him the names
of a great soldier and a wise ruler; and as Hiram Ulysses
Grant the baby was christened.
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
When this baby, however, grew to be a big boy and
went away to school he lost the name of Hiram by a very
funny mistake, of which I will tell you later. By this mis-
take the boy's name became Ulysses Simpson Grant, and
thus it came to pass that, as U. S. Grant, this Ohio boy
finally became great and famous.
The baby Ulysses did not live long in the little frame
cottage beside the Ohio; for, when he was but ten months
old, his father Jesse had a good chance to go into the tan-
ning and leather business in a much larger place, and so
the family moved away from the little village with its attrac-
tive name of Point Pleasant.
But the birthplace of a great man is always a notable spot,
no matter how short a time it was his home. So, of course,
that little frame house at Point Pleasant became quite a
show place when the little baby who had been born there in
1822 became, forty years after, a very famous man.
The cottage stood for a long time on the banks of the
great river; but, at last, in the year 1888, a river boatman
named Captain Powers bought the old house and loaded it
on a flat-boat and floated it up the river to Cincinnati.
Then it was taken off the flat-boat and twenty-four horses
were hitched to it and dragged it to the corner of Elm
and Canal streets in the city of Cincinnati. There it was
exhibited to thousands of visitors, as one of the great sights
of the Ohio Centennial Exposition of 1888.
After a few months, the house was bought by a rich
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
Ohio man named Chittenden, who carried it off to Columbus,
the capital of Ohio; he set it up on the State Fair Grounds
and there it staid until the year 1896, when Mr. Chittenden
presented the famous house to the State of Ohio and moved
it to another part of the Fair Grounds. And there a
THE BIRTHPLACE OF U. S. GRANT.
memorial building was built around it, to protect and pre-
serve the little cottage in which our. greatest soldier first saw
So, to-day, if you go to the beautiful city of Columbus
in the State of Ohio, and ride out to the Fair Grounds you
can see the birthplace of General Grant packed carefully
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
away for safe keeping in a great house-box of brick and
glass and iron. This is called the Grant Memorial Building.
When you have read his story you will understand why
the birthplace of General Grant is so interesting an object
to all the world, and why it has been put into a box for peo-
ple to look at; though it does seem a pity that the little old
house could not have been kept on the very spot where it
stood when, on the twenty-seventh of April, 1822, Ulysses
Simpson Grant was ushered into the great world that was,
in after years, to so respect-and honor him.
But the site of that great little house is still a notable
spot -even though the house itself has been carted away,
and, even as I write, the Congress of the United States is
considering a plan to buy all the land round about the spot
where Grant was born and to lay it out and beautify it into a
National Park, thus preserving for the people of the United
States -the place where General Grant was born.
As I have told you, the baby Ulysses, when he was ten
months old, moved away from Point Pleasant. His father
set up a tannery at Georgetown in Brown County, ten miles
back from the Ohio River, twenty miles east of Point Pleas-
ant, and almost fifty miles from Cincinnati.
I think you will be able to find the town on any good
map of Ohio, for it is. quite a place now. It is a town of fif-
teen hundred people, quite a city you see in comparison to
the little hamlet of Point Pleasant where the great American
soldier was born.
20 WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
Here, at Georgetown, Ulysses lived as a boy until he
was seventeen years old. His father made quite a suc-
cess of his tannery and leather
business and became very well-
known in his own neighbor-
hood. Jesse Grant, the father
of. Ulysses, was never what
,L 4 we call a rich man, but he
was a prosper-
ous one. He
was always, as
himself tells us,
in what is called
after he moved
to Georgetown he built a'neat and
convenient, small brick house.and,
in addition to his tannery, had a
-.good-sized and productive farm.
I-WHERE THE UNITED STATES WILL MAKE That brick house is still stand-
A PARK. 2-THE BIRTHPLACE AS IT
LOOKS TO-DAY. 3-THE MEMORIAL ing1on one of Georgetown's streets,
BUILDING IN WHICH THE BIRTHPLACE
STANDS. and though it has been changed
a little in appearance, any boy or girl who visits the busy
little Ohio town can see the places that were familiar to
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
young Ulysses in and about the house where his boyhood
They will still show you the family sitting-room with its
big fire-place and its old-fashioned mantel, the front hall, and
the odd-looking staircase-just the same to-day as when Ulys-
ses climbed sleepily up to bed-the little hall bedroom which
was Ulysses' room," the old building in which he learned,
much against his will, his father's trade of a tanner, the
tumble-down building where he first went to school, and,
just back of the tanyard, the Town Run," a little brook
along which lay the favorite play-ground of the Grant boys.
A mile out of town you could find that deep still spot in White
Oak Creek familiar to generations of Georgetown boys as
their "swimming hole "- and where, no doubt, Ulysses often
"stumped" his companions with many a difficult or fancy
water-act, for the boy was an excellent swimmer.
Young Ulysses Grant never took kindly to the trade of
a tanner. He liked the farm best, especially the horses.
Before he was six years old he could ride horseback or hold
the reins as well as many an older boy, in town or country.
Before he was ten years old his father took him to a circus,
and let him ride a pony around the ring, and as he grew
through boyhood he became famous, in all the Georgetown
region, as the best horseman and horse-trainer thereabouts.
Indeed, he loved horses all his life, and he owned some very
fast and beautiful ones when he became a man.
It was because he liked horses and farm-life so much
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
that his father did not make him do much work about the
tannery, but, instead, let him do about as he pleased on the
farm out of school hours.
For Jesse Grant believed in boys going to school. He
himself, had not had many such advantages, but he deter-
mined that his boys should have just as good an education
as he could get for them in the farming section in which
From all I can hear I don't think the boy Ulysses really
STUMPING AT THE SWIMMING HOLE.
enjoyed going to school, much better than any healthy
active boy who is fond of out-door life. But all such boys
are very glad in later years that their fathers or mothers
insisted on their going to school regularly, and we are
assured by General Grant that from the time he was old
enough to go to school to the year that he left home he
never missed a quarter from school. This was quite differ-
ent from that other great American, Abraham Lincoln, was
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
it not? For he, you know, never got more than a year's
schooling in all his wonderful life.
A boy who does go to school, however, isn't much of- a
boy if he cannot find some time to play. So you may be
sure that" Lyss Grant," as the Georgetown boys called him,
made the most of his spare time.
He tells us himself, in his sketch of his boyhood, that he
had as many privileges as any boy in the village and prob-
ably more than most of them.
Chief among these privileges was permission to go any-
where or do anything allowable in a boy, after his chores "
were done. And this meant all sorts of boyish sports -
fishing, hunting, swimming, skating, horseback riding, doing
"stunts at jumping and wrestling in the tanyard along the
Town Run and in the "Swimming Hole," and all the other
jolly out-door and in-door good times that belong to the vil-
lage boy even more than to the country or city boy.
But it was by no means a case of all play and no work
to this moderate, easy-going but fun-loving village boy. He
tells us that when he was a boy everyone worked in his
region -"except the very poor;" and Jesse Grant, while
allowing his boys all possible liberty, gave them also plenty of
work to do.
Ulysses, as we know, hated the tannery work. But he
loved farm-life; so his father set him at work, after school
hours or in vacation time, "doing chores on the farm.
While yet a little fellow the boy would drive the horses
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
S hauling cord-wood or logs from the wood-lot to the farm.
At eleven, he could hold a plough and turn a furrow almost
as well as a man, and until he was seventeen he did all the
horse-work on the farm breaking up the .14nd, furrow-
ing, ploughing, bringing in the loads of hay and grain, haul-
ing the wood and taking care of the live stock.
He confesses to us, in the story of his life, that he did
not like to work; but he says that, like it or not, he did do
as much work when he was a boy, as any hired man will do
to-day and attended school besides.
And yet, as I have told you, he managed to find time to
play. The home rule was never severe. He was never
punished, and rarely scolded by his parents; so he must
have been a pretty.good boy, mustn't. he? He tells us that
they never objected to his enjoying himself when he could,
for they let him go fishing, or swimming, or skating; they
even allowed him to take the horses and go away on a visit
with one of his boy friends.
Once, he went off in this way to Cincinnati, fifty miles
away ; another time, he took a carriage trip to Louisville,
with his father-a big journey for a boy in those. days.
Once he went, with a two-horse carriage, a seventy-mile ride
to Chillicothe, and again, with a boy of his own age, on the
same kind of a seventy-mile ride to. Flat Rock in Kentucky,
to visit a friend. What a good time those two fifteen-year-
old boys must have had. on that trip! And you may be
sure, Ulysses did the driving.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
President of the United States when Grant was a boy.
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
But he had a tussle driving home. Let me tell you about
it. He saw a horse he liked, and he "swapped off" one of
his carriage horses for it, getting ten dollars to boot. But
the new horse had never been driven in harness, and the
two boys had a fearful time getting an unbroken, balky,
kicking, nervous horse to go in a span. In fact, the boy
who was with Ulysses got frightened and after one very
risky runaway adventure with the new horse, he deserted
and went home in a freight wagon. But Ulysses was bound
to get that new horse home and would not give in .to its
pranks. At one time it really looked as if he would have to
give up the job; but, as a last resort, he got out of the car-
riage, blindfolded the balky colt with his big red bandanna
handkerchief, and so drove the funny-looking team to an
uncle's, not far from his home.
It was such things as this in the boy that worked out
into equally pronounced qualities in the man. Ulysses S.
Grant had, as boy and man, determination, grit, tenacity-
what you boys call stick-to-it-iveness or sand." When
he really set out to do a thing he did it whether it were
to drive home a skittish colt or fight a great war to the
Would you like to know what sort of looking boy
"Lyss Grant" was in his early teens? He was a short,
sturdy little fellow, with a careless way of walking, and
inclined to be round-shouldered. He was a freckle-faced,
"sober-sided" lad, with straight sandy hair and blue eyes, who
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
got out of things when he could, but did them uncomplainingly
if he felt it to be his duty. He was quiet, no bragger, just a
bit shy, but when roused to action he was quick and deter-
mined. He was generally the successful leader in the snow-
ball fights, no one in the county could outride him, and
though never quarrelsome he was no coward. Above all
else, like Washington and Lincoln, he hated a lie, and his
word could always be
One other trait he
had that helped make
his success later in
life. I have told you
that he was persistent
and stuck to anything
S he had made up his
mind to do. He was
BLINDFOLDING THE BALKY COLT.
also a planner. If he
had a hard piece of work in hand, he did not just go at it
thoughtlessly; he sat down and planned it out.
They still tell the story in Georgetown of the cute
way in which the twelve-year-old Ulysses beat the men of
the town on a peculiar job of stone-lifting. It seems that
while a new building was going up in the town, the boy
" Lyss," as everyone called him, drove the ox-team that
hauled the stone for the foundation from White Oak Creek.
One big stone was 'selected for the doorstep, but after the
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
men had tugged away at it for hours they concluded it was
too big to lift and that they must give it up.
Here, let me try it," said Ulysses; "if you'll help me,
I'll load it."
They all laughed at him, but promised to give him a lift.
Then the boy asked the men to prop up one end of the
stone. They did so, and chocked it. Then Ulysses backed
"SO HE WENT ALONG THROUGH A HAPPY BOYHOOD."
the wagon over the stone, slung it underneath the wagon by
chains, hoisted up the other end of the stone the same way
and then hauled it in triumph into town.
And to-day, if you are in Georgetown, they will show you
in front of that same building, now an engine house, the
very stone, picked out as a doorstep and now set in the side-
WHY A HOUSE WAS PUT INTO A BOX.
walk, which the twelve-year-old Ulysses engineered out of
White Oak Creek and hauled into town.
They tell much the same story of the boy and his big black
horse, Dave, and how he loaded up and hauled off a load of
great logs, cut out for building beams. This time, he was
quite alone in the woods; but with a fallen tree-trunk as a
lever and slide, and with the help of Dave and a strong rope,
he lifted the heavy logs to the truck and brought them home
in triumph, much to the surprise of his father.
This, you see, was planning to some advantage; but it
was this same-patience and invention that helped him to win
victories later, and that men then called strategy.
So he went along, through a pleasant, happy boyhood,
full of its trials and its crosses, no doubt -even the best-
reared boy has these, and they help to make a man of him
-but learning gradually those lessons of integrity, honesty,
patience, self-dependance and self-help, which served him so
well in the worries and disappointments, the failures and
disasters, the endeavors and successes that made up the his-
tory of this later leader of men.
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC. 31
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
THERE was nothing really remarkable about the boy-
hood of Grant. That you have found out already.
But then, not many boys do have remarkable boyhoods or
do great things at a time when their chief business should be
growing and learning. The world's historic boys are few
and far between; but it is from the sturdy, active, healthy,
hearty, wide-awake, honest, honorable and commonplace boys
that the world's best men have been made.
Young Ulysses Grant was just one of these healthy,
commonplace boys. He did well whatever he deliberately
set out to do, and he could ride and drive a horse better
than any other boy in all that country round.
In fact, the most of his own business enterprises while
he was a boy all boys do have certain business enterprises
in which they engage, you know, with more or less success
-were connected with horses. He did not like to be called
a horse-jockey, for horse-jockies in those days were not con-
sidered altogether respectable; but he did dearly love a
horse-trade, and he was generally so bright and shrewd at
this business as to get the best of the bargain.
To be sure, one of his earliest attempts at horse-trading
UL YSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
was not a brilliant success though he did get the horse he
wanted! It seems, when he was about ten years old he fell
quite in love with a certain colt that belonged to a farmer
near by. He begged his father to buy the colt, and at last
Jesse Grant commissioned the boy to see the farmer and
make the bargain.
"Offer him twenty dollars for the colt, Ulysses," he said;
"if he won't take that, try him with twenty-two and a half,
and if he won't 'take that, offer him twenty-five. But you
mustn't go over twenty-five dollars. It's all the colt's
So Ulysses, proud of his mission, werit to the farmer.
What did your father say you might pay ?" asked the
farmer, and Ulysses, truthful always, and recalling his fath-
er's instructions replied, He told me to offer you twenty
dollars, and if that wouldn't do, twenty-two fifty, and if that
wasn't enough, twenty-five; but not a cent more."
"Well, now, that's jest the very lowest I can sell the crit-
ter for, Lyss," the farmer declared. You can have the colt
for twenty five dollars, but not a cent less."
Ulysses drove the colt home, delighted with his business
ability. But, as his father questioned him, the truth came
out, and it was very long before the poor boy heard the last
of the "good joke on Lyss Grant," as the boys called it.
But that first attempt at a horse trade, as the saying is,
"cut the boy's eye-teeth." That is, he learned wisdom by
experience, and after that he became one of the best judges
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
of horses and prices in the neighborhood, so that his father
let him do about as he pleased in horse trades, for he knew
he could rely on the boy's judgment.
In this business, and by doing odd jobs" of hauling
and trucking, Ulysses made quite a .bit of money for a boy
"THAT'S JEST THE VERY LOWEST I CAN SELL THE CRITTER FOR, LYSS," SAID THE FARMER.
of those days, and, in all this, he won no little reputation
as a business boy.
I don't imagine he had a very clear idea as to what he
wished to do when he became a man. Not many boys
really do know what they desire or are fitted for, until they
learn by experience, in what direction their tastes lie. One
thing, however, Ulysses did feel certain about. He did not
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
mean to be.a tanner, if he could help it. He was like many
another boy, you see, who, though he does not exactly know
what he wishes to do, is quite sure that he doesn't intend
following his father's line of business. And that decision
has led to many a mistake and many a failure in the career
of men though not always.
I have told you that Ulysses was kept pretty steadily at
school from the day when he was old enough to learn his
A B C's. That old Georgetown schoolhouse, as I have said, is
standing to-day, though it is quite dilapidated. But there the
boy went from his primer to the three R's--"'readin', 'ritin'
and'rithmetic," for so folks used to call them. Sometimes a
man was his teacher, sometimes a woman, and while as he
says they could none of them teach much nor very well, still
that country school marm of his boyhood days, laid the
foundation of an education that led finally to the production
of one of the world's remarkable books.
Twice, during his boyhood at Georgetown, Ulysses was
sent away to school in the hope of getting a better education
than the village school of Georgetown afforded. Once he
went to Maysville in Kentucky, and, after that, to a private
school at Ripley in Ohio. But he was never much of a stu-
dent; indeed, as he assures us, he did not take kindly to any of
his books or studies, except his arithmetic. And I shouldn't
be surprised if he helped wear out the bunches of switches
that were gathered very often, from a beech-wood near the
schoolhouse, for the teacher's use and the children's correc-
THE "COUNTRY SCHOOLMARM OF GRANT'S BOYHOOD DAYS.
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC. 37
tion. Those were the days of hard whippings at school,
you know when Grant was a boy.
It was while at home for his Christmas vacation, from
his school at Ripley, that Ulysses had a great surprise.
Ulysses," said his father, one day, as he finished read-
ing a letter he had just received, I believe you're going to
get that appointment."
What appointment ?" the boy inquired in surprise.
"Why, to West Point," replied his father." I applied to
Senator Morris for one, and I reckon you'll get it."
To West Point," repeated Ulysses, still a bit dazed by
the news, why, I don't want to go there."
But I want you to," his father said. I reckon you'll
go if I say so."
Well, if you say so, I suppose I'll have to go," said the
boy slowly. ." But I don't want to I know that."
The appointment did come in good time, through Mr.
Hamer, the congressman from that section, and much to the
surprise of the neighbors. For to their minds, young Ulys-
ses Grant seemed the last boy in the world to go to West
Point. Four boys had already gone to the famous Military
Academy from that village of Georgetown, but then they
were smart," folks said, and only a smart boy could pass the
examination for entrance. Slow little chap, Lyss is," said
one of the townsfolk, "might just as well send this little
fellow of yours, squire, as that boy of Jesse Grant's." The
Georgetown people all supposed that going to West Point
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
depended on influence or ability, and they never imagined
that Jesse Grant had enough of the first, or Ulysses enough
of the second. You know the old Bible saying, don't you:
MIGHT JUST AS WELL SEND THIS LITTLE FELLOW OF YOURS, SQUIRE."
A prophet is not without honor save in his own country
and among his own kin.
To tell the truth, Ulysses rather shared the opinion of
the Georgetown gossips; but when the documents came, he
knew he must "face the music," as he declared, and try to
pass those dreaded examinations the bane and bugbear of
every boy and girl who goes to school.
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
But Jesse Grant was determined that his boy should go
to West Point, and when the appointment did come he put
Ulysses in charge of a special, tutor who coached" the
slow scholar so well that his teacher felt that the boy would
pass the examination, if he did not get rattled," as the say-
ing is to-day.
As the day of departure approached, Ulysses found him-
self looking forward to this journey to the East, even though
he knew that the dreaded examination came at the end of
the trip. This western boy, of course, longed to see the
world, as all boys do, and a trip to New York was some-
thing to talk about in those days.
Ulysses thought he was quite a traveller. He had been
east as far as Wheeling in Virginia; he had been into
northern Ohio; he had, as you know, visited Cincinnati and
Louisville and esteemed himself, as he says "the best trav-
elled boy in Georgetown." But this trip to West Point was
indeed a journey. It was almost as much to the Ohio boy
of sixty years ago as a trip to Europe or around the world
is to the American boy of to-day. It meant to him, the
chance of seeing and inspecting the two great eastern cities,
Philadelphia and New York. That was enough. To have
that chance he would willingly risk the examinations that
were sure to come; but he tells us frankly in his Memoirs "
that he was in no hurry to reach West Point and, boy-like,
would not have minded a steamboat explosion or a rail-
road collision or any other accident of travel, if it would
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
only hurt him just enough to keep him from going into West
Point. Boys are all alike, aren't they ? I remember when I
used to wish I could have some pleasant little happening on
examination days a stroke of harmless paralysis, or a tem-
porary loss of speech, just long enough to excuse me from
that most dreaded school ordeal. But to Ulysses Grant, as
to all other boys and girls in a similar situation, nothing of
the kind," he tells us, "occurred, and I had to face the music."
At last the time came, and on the fifteenth of May, 1839,
with a new outfit of clothes and over a hundred 'dollars
in his pocket, the seventeen-year-old Ulysses bade "his
folks" good-bye and started for Ripley, the river town ten
miles away, where he was to take the steamer for Pitts-
Of course he enjoyed the journey. Every boy likes to
see the sights, even if he must face the music at the end of
the journey. But you may be sure he was in no hurry to
get to the music. He took things leisurely. Railroads in
that day were few and far between, and, to reach West Point,
Ulysses "changed off," on steamboat, canal boat and rail-
road. .He was fifteen days making the trip. To-day it can
be made in almost as many hours.
The canal boat on which he journeyed from Pittsburg to
Harrisburg had to be hauled over the Alleghany mountains;
this was interesting, but the boy thought the railway ride
from Harrisburg to Philadelphia about the finest, smoothest,
fastest going he had ever made.
ULYSSES SEES THE SIGHTS.
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
"Why," he wrote home, at full speed our train made as
much as eighteen miles an hour! Think of that "
And to-day the Empire State Express easily makes, at
full speed, sixty miles an hour!
Ulysses paid a five days' visit to his relations in Phila-
delphia-and was called to account by letters from home
for dallying so long by the way, when he should be at West
Point. But he did Philadelphia pretty thoroughly and
managed to see a good deal of New York -though there
was not as much of that great city to see then as there is
At last he sailed up the river to West Point. On the
thirty-first of May he saw the quaint old buildings on the
heights, climbed the long road from the steamboat dock,
known to so many visitors, reported at the barracks as an
applicant for admission and then faced the music and took
the examinations for entrance.
This was the time when his name was changed. You
see, when his application was put in, the Congressman who
filled out the papers forgot Ulysses Grant's full name. He
mixed him up with his younger brother, Simpson, and
thinking that Simpson was Ulysses's middle name, he filled
in the application for Ulysses Simpson Grant instead of
Hiram Ulysses Grant.
Now, when a thing gets down in black and white on the
books of the government, it takes almost an Act of Congress
to get it off. Ulysses was very much "put out" when his
44 ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC
papers came to him with the wrong name, for no one likes
to have a mistake made in his name, you know; although
"they do say that young Ulysses always did object to his
initials, H-U--G. The boys used to make fun of them, you
see. Nevertheless, as soon as he reported at West Point,
he tried to convince the authorities that he was not U. S.
Grant, but H. U. Grant.
It was no use, however. The boy's name was down on
the appointment as Ulysses Simpson Grant; it was so on
the books of the Academy. It would make a great fuss to
get it changed and rather than bother about it he let it go.
So it came to pass that he was U. S. Grant forever.
The U. S." made so suggestive a pair of initials that,
at once, the West Point boys caught them up as the George-
town boys had his other initials. They nicknamed the new
boy Uncle Sam ;" and as Sam Grant he was known all
through his cadet days.
Very much to his surprise, so he ss,ures us, Ulysses
passed his examination and, without difficulty 1" He was
now a West Point cadet.
That sounds all very fine to you, I suppose. There has
always been something attractive to American boys and
girls about West Point cadets. But young Ulysses did not
think it fine, although of course he was glad to get through
his exams all right.
You see, he did not like the idea of being a soldier. He
did not like the discipline nor the hard work. And as he
IN CAMP AT WEST POINT
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
had not, at that time, the least idea that he would ever be in
the army, he did not like anything about the place, at first
-not even the camping out, which he thought very tire-
some and stupid.
Indeed, during that first winter at West Point, when
Congress met, Ulysses used to run for the newspaper and
read the debates in Congress, eagerly. The reason was this.
There were in those days, many people who did not believe
at all in a school for the training of soldiers, like West Point,
even though George Washington had founded it. They
wished to do away with the Academy altogether and that
very year of 1839, a bill was really introduced into Congress
proposing to abolish the Military Academy at West Point."
It was the talk,'or debate, on this matter that so interested
Ulysses Grant, for, so he tells us, he hoped to hear that the
school had been abolished, so that he could go home again.
But, fortunately, the bill did not pass. West Point remained
and Grant was trained into a soldier.
So far as his lessons were concerned, I am afraid this
training did not occupy any more of his time than just
enough to let him squeeze through the school. This was
not because he was a slow or stupid scholar. He was not.
He hardly ever needed to read a lesson through the second
time, but trusted to luck to come off without a failure. His
son tells us that his low standing at school was due to the
West Point library. There was a good one there and this
boy had come from a place where books were scarce. So
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
he used the library at the Academy for story books and not
for works on tactics or his other studies. They were pretty
good story books however; for he read, while there, Scott and
Irving and Marryatt and Cooper and Lever- authors dear
to the boys of sixty years ago. He often told his son that
that library at West Point was like a new world to him.
But, you see, at West Point, mathematics were the great
thing, and Ulysses Grant had a good head for figures. So,
as he got along easily with that tough study," it did not
make so much difference about the others.
He did not tell us in his Memoirs just where he stood in
his class, but he does say that if the class had been turned
the other end foremost he should have been near the head.
So it is not so hard to tell just about where he stood, is it?
His lowest marks seem to have been in French; his
highest were in cavalry tactics. That is where his boyish
training as a horseman came in, you see. II fame as a splen.
did horseman even yet exists at West Point. There was
nothing he could not ride, and his famous high jump on
the big sorrel "York over a bar six feet from the ground, is
still marked and shown at West Point as "Grant's upon
Would you like to know what sort of a looking boy was
Cadet Grant? He was a plump, fair-faced, almost under-
sized little fellow in fact, he came just within the West
Point entrance limit of five feet; he was quiet in manner,
careless in dress, able to take care of himself, giving and tak-
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
ing jokes good-naturedly; determined, if he undertook any-
thing that he really wished to do; a bit lazy, perhaps; never
fond of study, but never stupid; slow to take offense, but
ready to fight back when cornered or imposed upon.
"It is a long time ago," writes one of his West Point
associates, but when I recall old scenes, I can still see
' Sam' Grant, with his over-
alls strapped down to his
boots, standing in front of
his quarters. It seems but
yesterday since I saw the
little fellow going to the
riding-hall, with his spurs
clanking on the ground and
his great cavalry sword
dangling by his side."
There was nothing about
his West Point life out of
the common. He was just r,
an ordinary, every-day cadet, ;
going through the training P" "
that taught him obedience, CADET GRANT'S FAMOUS HORSEBACK LEAP.
attention, order, health,
good manners and simple living. It is a hard life for some
boys, with its routine work, its strict rules, its absolute
obedience to orders, and all the worries and trials that
make school-life by rule hard to bear; but Ulysses got
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
over his first dislike to it, and, after awhile, was glad that
Congress had not "abolished" West Point. He thought
that by the time he got through there he might teach mathe-
matics in some school
or college. The one
thing he was certain
about was that he
would not be a sol-
So his four years
at West Point went
on-broken only by
one vacation, when he
had been two years at
graduate onthe school. Except
for his famous horse-
CADET LIFE OUT-OF-DOORS.
back leap of six feet,
three inches -that was on his last examination day, by the
way, and in the presence of the high dignitaries called the
" Board of Directors "- he left no reputation at the Acad-
emy, either for high scholarship or great pranks nothing,
in fact, to make a boy remember him after he had left the
school, or to put him at the head of his mates.
Certainly he was not at the head of his class. -He
graduated on the thirteenth of June, 1843, number twenty-
one in a class of thirty-nine--just about half way, you
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
He left West Point thinking pretty well of himself, as
most cadets- in fact as most college boys do. But there
is no harm in that, you know. I wouldn't give much for a
boy who didn't have a pretty fair opinion of himself. It
helps a fellow on, in a way. So Ulysses thought himself
" the observed of all observers," as he went on his homeward
He considered that the two greatest men in America
were General Scott, the head of the army, and Captain
Smith, the commandant of cadets at West Point. And
though he did not intend to be an army officer, still he did
have a dream of some day reviewing the cadets just as Gen-
eral Scott had done- to his mind, at that time, the highest
honor in the world. But, as he tells us, he remembered that
horse-trade of his when he was a boy, and so for fear the
boys would make fun of him, he kept quiet about his ever
being like General Scott.
While Ulysses was at West Point, his father had
removed his tannery and leather business to a little place
called Bethel, about twelve miles away, in Clarmont County.
Here the Grant family lived; here Ulysses had spent the one
vacation granted him when at West Point, and here he went
after graduation- brevet second lieutenant Ulysses Simp-
son Grant, Fourth U. S. Infantry.
The "brevet" meant that he wasn't really a second
lieutenant yet, but he would be soon if he was a good
boy and joined his regiment.
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
When his new uniform came out to him he felt very big.
This was natural enough, We all feel fine in new clothes,
and there is .always a fascination to boys about "soldier
clothes "- especially if they have been fairly earned, as his
But you know the old saying that pride goeth before a
a fall." Our young
brevet second lieuten-
ant soon had proof of
When his fine "sol-
dier clothes" came
home he put them on
and rode away on
horseback to Cincin-
nati, to "show off."
He was riding along
one of the city streets,
KOSCTUSKO'S MONUMENT AT WEST POINT.
thinking, he says, thaf
everyone was looking at him and feeling himself to be quite
as big a man as General Scott, when a ragged, dirty, bare-
footed little street boy -what we call a muckerr" here-
abouts called out shrilly:
"Yah, soldier Will you work ? You bet he won't. He'd
sell his shirt first."
Then everybody laughed. Well! You canimagine what
a terrible shock this was to the spruce and dignified brevet
ULYSSES FACES THE MUSIC.
second lieutenant. But when, soon after, he was home
again at Bethel, he had just such another shock.
At the old stage tavern across the way, from Grant's
home worked a drunken wag of a stableman. When the
trim-looking soldier boy had been home a few days, what
should this stableman do but come into the street rigged
out in a pair of sky-blue nankeen pantaloons with a white
stripe along the seams. This was just the color of Ulysses's
fine military trousers. Barefooted and bareheaded, but
making the most of the sky-blue pantaloons, the stableman
paraded up and down the street before the Grant house,
with an absurdly dignified military walk, imitating the
brevet second lieutenant of infantry.
Of course it set every one to laughing, and of course it
annoyed Ulysses dreadfully. Indeed, as he says, it quite
"knocked the conceit" out of him, and it gave him a dislike
for military bluster and military uniforms that he never got
over in all his life.
Thus the schooling at West Point came to an end. It
had done much for this homespun, awkward country boy
from the Ohio valley. It had developed his qualities of
manliness, persistence and endurance; it had disciplined and
trained him into habits of obedience and had securely laid
the foundation of that military knowledge and leadership
which, thirty years later, was to do such mighty service to
the republic which had educated and developed him.
54 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER.
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED. OVER THE BORDER.
W E look at things quite differently when we are boys or
girls and when we are men or women. Sometimes,
however, opinions do not change. This seems to have been
Grant's case as to the justice of the war with Mexico.
Forty years after that war, General Grant wrote in his
"Memoirs that he regarded it as one of the most unjust
ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation.
He tells us, in the same sentence, that as a young soldier
he was bitterly opposed to it; but, you know, the first duty
a soldier must learn is obedience; and, being a soldier in the
United States army, owing to the republic his education and
his training, Lieutenant Grant felt that obedience to orders
was his supreme duty and, even against his will, he marched
to the southeast with the troops that were first known as the
Army of Occupation and, later, as the Army of Invasion.
I do not propose to tell you here the story of the Mexi-
can War, which was fought in the years 1846 to 1848.
That story you can read in history, and I hope in time that
you will read enough about it to decide for yourself that it
was an unjust and a tyrannical-war-just the same kind of
a fight as when a big bully of a boy doesn't take one of his
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER. 55
size," but pitches into a little fellow who couldn't possibly
stand up against him.
From one side, the war with Mexico is nothing to be
proud of; but from another it is full of spirit and interest.
I shall simply tell you here of Grant's connection with it,
and how it helped to make him and other officers brave sol-
diers, fitting them for the great and terrible war that came
thirteen years later, largely because of this war against
When Ulysses Grant graduated from the Military
Academy at West Point in 1843, the regular army of the
United States was a small affair. It had only 7500 men in
all, and there were more than enough officers to go around.
But the young lieutenant was given a place in the
Fourth regiment of the United States Infantry and, after
ninety days furlough or vacation, was ordered to report at
an army post at the Mississippi river six or seven miles
below St. Louis.
This army post was called Jefferson Barracks and was
then one of the largest in the country, being garrisoned by
sixteen companies of infantry, or foot soldiers.
Grant had wished to belong to a cavalry regiment, as
was natural in so fine a horseman; but when his turn to
choose came, there were no places left in either an artillery
or a cavalry regiment. So it was, for him, what we call
" Hobson's choice," and he became a lieutenant of infantry.
Jefferson Barracks is a very pleasant place. It is still a
56 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER.
military post, you know, finely situated at the great river.
Lieutenant Grant had a good deal of spare time there and
he spent a part of this in visiting the home of one of his
West Point classmates not far off. This farm was called
Whitehaven, and was about five miles from Jefferson Bar-
racks. There he fell in love with the girl who afterwards
became his devoted wife. She was the sister of his class-
mate and her name was Julia Dent.
At that time young Lieutenant Grant had some idea of
becoming a teacher of mathematics either at West Point or
some other good school. He even wrote to his former pro-
fessor at West Point to look out for some such chance for
. him. But, before the opening could be found, the United
States and Mexico got into trouble; the little regular army
was ordered into Texas; the President declared war against
the republic of Mexico; volunteers were called for, because
there were not enough regular troops; the Mexicans at
Matamoras were angry because the Americans were build-
ing a fort opposite their town; they fired the first shot; that
opened the war; and so it came to pass that, with his little
American army of three thousand men, General Zachary
Taylor, whom people called Old Rough and Ready,"
invaded Mexico, and young Second Lieutenant Ulysses S.
Grant marched over the border and engaged in actual war.
The first taste of real war that he had, was in the little
skirmish known as the Battle of Palo Alto--that is, the
battle of the high trees or woods.
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER. 57
When, a little before the battle, the young lieutenant
heard the first guns of conflict, he did not like the prospect
before him. He wrote about this years afterwards, that he
didn't know how General Taylor felt, but as for himself, a
young second lieu-
tenant who had
never heard the
boom of a hostile
gun, he felt sorry
he had enlisted.
However he may
have felt at first,
he certainly did not
let his feelings in-
terfere with his ac-
tions, for he did his
duty when really in
the fight. His com-
pany protected the
which the Mexicans
GENERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR.
tried to capture; he Afte-rwards President of the United States.
helped to drive back the Mexican lancers, who came charg-
ing against them; and the stars and stripes went forward.
Then they marched on, and the next day fought another
little battle at the palm grove," or as the Mexicans call it,
" Resaca de'la Palma."
58 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER.
Here Grant was again one of the fighters in a sharp,
short battle; but he seems to have recalled it when he
became a famous man, only for the fact that, his captain
being sent off somewhere on a special mission, the young
lieutenant was for a time in actual command of his com-
pany and felt correspondingly elated, of course. He
also mentions that he led his men in a fiery charge across a
piece of ground that had already been charged over and cap-
tured by the Americans, so that, he says, he had come to the
conclusion that, so far as he was concerned, the Battle of
Resaca de la Palma would have been won just as it was,
even if he had not been there.
But this, I imagine, was what you boys call "only fun-
ning," as it was just the modesty of the man -for General
Grant was never a man to put himself forward or brag
about what he had done. It is certain that, through those
two years'of war, he made quite a record for himself as a
brave and valiant young soldier; his name was mentioned
in reports and despatches; he was promoted several times
and he did a great deal of hard work as the quartermaster
and adjutant of his regiment. The quartermaster, you know,
is the officer whose duty it is to look after the food and
comfort of the men of his regiment; the adjutant is the
colonel's chief helper. So you see both these positions are
busy and responsible parts.
The quartermaster need not go into battle if he does not
wish to. His chief duty is in and about the "camp. But
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER. 59
Lieutenant Grant was never one to shirk. He felt that his
duty was in the field quite as much as in the camp and he
was always ready to take his part in battle and on bivouac.
So, as I have told you, he made a record for bravery and
GRANT RIDES FOR AMMUNITION AT MONTEREY.
daring that would have been remembered even if his future
had not been so great and glorious.
It was Lieutenant Grant who, when the fight was raging
hotly in the streets of Monterey, volunteered to ride back to
General Taylor's headquarters and order up fresh ammu-
nition for the American soldiers who were holding the town.
He did so. Flinging himself, Indian fashion, or rather in
60 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER 2HE BORDER.
circus style, upon his horse, with one heel in the cantle of
his saddle and one hand grasping the horse's mane, the
young lieutenant rushed his horse toward the gate of the
town, and swinging against the horse's side, rode the gaunt-
let of fire and shot that blazed out from house-top and street
corner, helping some wounded men on the way, leaping a
four-foot wall so as to gain a short cut, and kept on until
he gained the general's tent with his message. Yet all he
finds to say in his Memoirs of that daring gallop was, "my
ride was an exposed one."
It was Lieutenant Grant who, when his regiment was
detached from General Taylor's command and joined to the
little army of General Scott, marched and fought under that
victorious leader from the sea-fortress of Vera Cruz to the
capital city of Mexico, never missing a battle and yet always
faithful to his duty as care-taker for his regiment.
He chased the flying Mexicans outofthe bewildering
ditches of the farm of San Antonio; he was in the rush that
stormed and carried the church-fortress of Cherubusco; he
left his commissary-wagons to take part in the fierce fight at
Chepultepec, the "West Point of Mexico, so gallantly de-
fended by the Mexican cadets; he was one of the leaders of
the gallant band that burst into the long low stone building
of Molino del Rey-" the king's mill "-and won his pro-
motion to a first lieutenant's commission, first by brevet for
bravery and, later, to full rank, by the death of his senior.
Then came the final attack on the capital and the cap-
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER. 61
ture of the city of Mexico. In this struggle Lieutenant
Grant bore an active part; for it was largely due to his
good judgment and coolness that a speedy entrance into the
city was gained by the Americans.
It seems that while he was marching with one part of
General Scott's army to attack the northern entrance to the
CHEPULTEPEC- THE WEST POINT OF MEXICO.
city, called the San Cosme Gate, he thought he saw a way
by which he could get behind -or, as it is called, flank,
the Mexican soldiers who were drawn up to oppose the
Leaving the ranks by permission, of course he
jumped behind a stone wall, and going cautiously, got to a
62 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER.
point where he could see just how the land lay and just how
the enemy was placed. Then he ran back again without
being seen, called for volunteers, and leading a dozen plucky
soldiers, who were ready to risk the danger, he and his
men trailed arms under cover of the wall and thus getting
behind the Mexicans drove them away from their battery
and the house-tops from which they were firing at the
Soon after this success, Lieutenant Grant, while looking
for another chance to get the best of the Mexicans came
upon a little church standing by itself back from the road.
This church, he noticed, stood not far from the city walls;
its belfry, he believed, was just in line with the space behind
the city gate. If I could only get a cannon into that bel-
fry," he said, I could send some shot in among the Mexican
soldiers behind the gate and scatter them."
It was a bright idea. "I'll try it," he said to himself.
No sooner said than done. Hurrying back to the
American ranks, Lieutenant Grant got hold of a small light
cannon, called a mountain howitzer, and some men who
knew how to work it. They dodged the enemy, cut across
a field and made a bee-line for the little church.
There were several wide and deep ditches in this field;
but the men took the howitzer apart, and each one carrying a
piece of it they waded the ditches until, at last, they reached
the church without being seen by the enemy. The priest who
was in charge of the church was not going to let the Ameri-
GRANT SAID "WE'RE COMING IN I" AND THEY DID.
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER. 65
can soldiers come in, but young Grant told him, I think
you will. We're coming in." And they did.
Piece by piece the cannon was carried up into the belfry,
put together again, loaded and aimed directly at the Mexi-
cans who were guarding the San Cosme gate, less than a
thousand feet away.
Bang went the howitzer Bang! bang! it went again.
You may well believe that those Mexicans were a surprised
lot, when the cannon balls began dropping down among
them. At first, they could not imagine where the shots
came from, and when they did they were so confused, that
instead of sending soldiers to surround and capture this
battery in a belfry, they simply made haste to get out
of the way of those dropping cannon-balls as quickly as
Of course, the Americans noticed this embattled church-
That's a bright, idea," said General Worth, and he sent
a young lieutenant named Pemberton who had something
special to do with General Grant later in life to bring the
man with the bright idea before him.
So Lieutenant Grant reported what he had done to Gen-
eral Worth and the general told him to keep at it and take
*another gun up into the steeple, too. But as there was only
room for one gun in that steeple, Grant could not use
another, even if he wished to. But, as he explained, years
after, he couldn't tell General Worth that, because it wasn't
66 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER.
proper for a young lieutenant to contradict the commanding
general when he said put two guns in the steeple."
Well, it was a very bright idea-that battery in a steeple,
was it not? And, as it helped open the way for the capture
of the Mexican capital, it
also brought to the young
S lieutenant fame and promo-
-j He really did not care
Very much about the first;
." for, as you know, Ulysses
Grant was a quiet and mod-
SI- est young fellow who did
not care a rap for show, and
S' was never one to push him-
S- self forward. But his good
work in that church steeple
had been noticed by his
> ~superior officers, and in three
-- different reports of the cap-
THE BATTERY IN THE STEEPLE.
ture of Mexico, Lieutenant
Grant's share received honorable mention.
This, in due time, brought him promotion something
that everyone likes-boy or girl, scholar, clerk or soldier.
But things always went a bit slow with this slow-going
young man, and while he had plenty of work to do as com-
missary and adjutant of his regiment, the war did not push
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER. 67
him rapidly on towards General Scott's position -about
which, you remember, he had a presentiment or dream when
he was a West Point cadet. He went into the battle of
Palo Alto, which opened the war, a second lieutenant; six-
teen months later when he marched into the city of Mexico
as one of the victorious Americans, he was still a second
lieutenant, although he had been in almost every battle and
belonged to a regiment that lost many officers. Somehow,
success was always slow in coming, or missed altogether in
Grant's early days. But this, you know, teaches a boy
patience, especially if a young fellow is determined, conscien-
tious and persistent. U. S. Grant was all of these, even as
a boy, you know; so delay schooled him and brought him
experience, cautiousness, firmness and that other quality
which some folks call stubbornness, but which we know
was, in his case, persistence.
Promotion did come however, soon after the American
soldiers were in possession of the city of Mexico. His gal-
antry in the church steeple and the way in which he always
did his duty were not forgotten, and when a vacancy was
made by the death of one of his superior officers, Grant went
up a step and was made "first lieutenant of his regiment -
the Fourth U. S. Infantry.
There was not much more fighting after that, but the
American soldiers held possession of the city of Mexico sev-
eral months longer, remaining in the land until the treaty of
peace between Mexico and the United States was signed,
68 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER.
on the second of February, 1848. This is known as the
" Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo," from the name of the place
where the treaty was drawn up. By it, the United States
obtained complete possession of Texas, New Mexico and
Lieutenant Grant had nothing to do with this treaty--
THE CATHEDRAL IN THE CITY OF MEXICU.
his day for being the central figure in great events and in a
greater treaty had not yet come but he found plenty to
do as care-taker of his regiment. He was still quartermaster
and he had his hands full. It is no small thing to look after
the food and clothes of several hundred men, as the young
lieutenant had long since discovered.
This question of clothes was a serious one. The soldiers
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER. 69
were getting ragged after their months of service. No
clothing was sent them by the government and something
had to be done. So cloth was purchased of the Mexican
merchants, and Mexican tailors were employed to make it
up into "Yankee uniforms." Lieutenant Grant had to see
to getting these new suits for all the men of his regiment,
and as there were always more soldiers needing clothes than
there were clothes ready for the soldiers, you can see that he
was kept pretty busy "tailoring."
Then the money gave out which was needed for the pay-
ment of the military band. Now music is almost as neces-
sary for keeping up the spirits and discipline of the soldiers
as food and clothing. The musicians in the United States
army at the time of the Mexican war, were paid but a little
by the government; the rest of their pay came from a sort
of soldiers' savings bank known as the regimental fund.
This fund had got pretty low down; it needed to be in-
creased if the soldiers were to have good music, so Grant -set
himself to thinking things over.
As a result he went to work bread-making.
You see a hundred pounds of flour will make one hun-
dred and forty pounds of bread. Grant was allowed to draw
flour for his men and this left quite an amount on his hands
--forty pounds out of every one hundred and forty. He
rented a bakery, hired Mexican bakers, bought fuel and
other bake-shop needs and ran a bread-bakery to supply the
army with bread. He did this so well that, out of the
70 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER.
profits of that extra forty pounds in every one hundred and
forty, he paid the musicians of the Fourth Infantry and
increased the slender regimental fund--which meant com-
forts and even luxuries for his soldiers.
All this of course kept him pretty busy. But he found
time to climb up the volcano of Popocatapetl, that is "the
You can find this in your geography, on the map of
Mexico. It is a great volcano, you know, nearly eighteen
thousand feet high, and the party of climbers were almost
lost in a dreadful storm of wind and snow that came down
on them. One of that party of volcano-climbers was to
bring fame to Grant later in life -Captain Buckner, who in
the Civil War commanded Fort Donelson and brought from
Grant the famous words unconditional surrender." Later
still, Buckner was one of the pall-bearers at the funeral of
the great soldier whom he helped to fame and who was his
companion in that fearful climb up the smoking mountain.
So the time passed pleasantly enough in Mexico with
this young lieutenant, because he was kept busy. To do
nothing, you know, is the hardest kind of work, and U. S.
Grant was never a do-nothing.
He looked after all his regimental duties, and enjoyed
his spare time in poking about seeing sights. Twice on
these sight-seeing trips he was made prisoner by the Mexi-
cans, but was allowed to go free because there was then no
fighting-or what is called a truce between the two republics.
HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER. 71
Besides climbing Popocatapetl, he explored tombs and.
ruins of the old Aztecs, the Mexicans whom Cortez the Span-
iard conquered, you remember, in the days after Columbus;
he visited the wonderful "great caves of Mexico, and went
BULL FIGHT IN MEXICO.
to see a bull fight. This, you know, is the favorite national
sport of Mexico, just as baseball and football are with us.
But Grant didn't like it. He only went to one -and one
72 HOW THE LIEUTENANT MARCHED OVER THE BORDER.
was enough. It made him sick, he said. For Grant, I
must tell you, although the greatest of American soldiers,
could not bear the sight of blood, and hated anything like
brutality. Other great soldiers have been like him in this.
So the bull-fighting disgusted him, and he said he could not
see how human beings could enjoy the sufferings of beasts
and often of men, as they seemed to do on these occasions.
But more than in sight-seeing, fighting and care-taking,
the Mexican war was for Ulysses S. Grant a splendid
school and a most helpful experience. In it, he learned to
be a soldier, to endure privation, to have patience, to know
men and, especially, to become acquainted with those who, a
few years after, were to play a prominent part upon a stage
on which he was to be chief actor.
Grant never failed to acknowledge the great advantage
that his experience in the Mexican war brought him. He
learned to know by name or in person almost all the officers
who rose to positions of leadership, on one side or the other,
in the great Civil War. He was an observing man, he
studied people and saw their good points and their weak ones
and he knew just what sort of men were his old comrades
of the Mexican war, when, in after years, he was either
associated with them as commander or opposed to them as
There is no better school, boys and girls, than the school
of experience; and in that school Ulysses S. Grant was an
apt, if a slow and often a worried pupil.
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA. 73
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
T HE first thing that Lieutenant Grant did when he went
marching home from the war with Mexico was to get
a four months' leave of absence, or vacation, hurry to St.
Louis and be married. This important date in his life-
his wedding day-was the twenty-second of August, 1848.
He married Julia Dent, the St. Louis girl of whom I
have already spoken, and a splendid wife she made him.
The wedding took place at the farmhouse, in which lived
the parents of Julia Dent. It was"ten miles below St. Louis
and was a big, roomy, hospitable old Southern mansion with
great rooms, ample fireplaces, broad verandas and pleasant
grounds, and as it stood then it stands to-day, only slightly
The young couple did not go to housekeeping in St.
Louis, nor could they make their home in the big and breezy
Dent mansion. Julia Dent was a soldier's bride," and a
soldier is never his own master. His home is in barracks"
or "quarters" at whatever point or place he is ordered to
go. So his wife, too, had to live with him in barracks -
that is, you know, in the soldier's quarters at some fort or
garrison, or military post.
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
So, after the honeymoon had been spent in visiting the
Grant family or the Grant relatives in Ohio, the young
lieutenant and his wife, when his vacation days were over,
went back to duty. He joined his regiment, and his wife
went with him.
At the close of the Mexican war, Grant's regiment the
Fourth U. S. Infantry, you know went into camp at Pas-
cagoula in Mississippi. There the lieutenant left it when
he went off to St. Louis to be married; but, before his four
months' vacation was- over, the Fourth U. S. Infantry was
ordered to the military post of Sackett's Harbor on the
shores of Lake Ontario. Quite a change from the Gulf of
Mexico, was it not?
There, in the Madison Barracks at Sackett's Harbor,
Lieutenant Grant and his wife began their married life. In
their rooms in the officers' quarters they spent their first
In the spring of the next year, however, 1849, orders
came to move. The regiment was transferred to Detroit in
Michigan. In this beautiful northern city -not as attractive
then as it is to-day, I imagine-they lived for nearly two
years, when again came the order to move.
This time, in the spring of 1851, they went back once
more to their first home, the Madison Barracks at Sackett's
Harbor, following their regiment.,
You see, by this, that a soldier and his wife can never
hope to make their home long in one place. A small army,
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
like that of the United States, is shuffled and shifted about
almost as much as you shuffle the cards when playing your
game of Authors." Uncle Sam's blue-coats of the regular
army never know how long they are going to stay fixed."
So it came about that, before the Fourth United States
Infantry had been in the Madison Barracks at Sackett's Har-
bor a year, orders again came to the soldier to move.
This time it fairly took their breath away; the regiment
was ordered to Cal-
ifornia. That would
not sound so very
remarkable in these
days when we can
rush across the con-
tinent from the At-
lantic to the Pacific THE DANGEROUS TRTP "OVERLAND" IN "THE FIFIES."
in six days. But in I851 very few people went by land
across the continent. There were no railroads; people had
to ride in slow, lumbering wagons, or on horseback -or
walk! and the journey of three thousand miles took weeks
and months, that were slow, tiresome and dangerous. There
were mountains to climb, deserts to cross, rivers to wade,
Indians to face and wild beasts to fight. Hunger and thirst,
heat and cold, rain and snow and all the discomforts of life
were a part of the daily experience of the traveller and the
emigrant. It was a terrible journey to go overland to the
Pacific in the days before the railroads.
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
So, people preferred going by water. This was not always
agreeable, either; but, you see, it was a case of the longest
way round being the shortest way home. Travellers to Cali-
fornia went by steamboat from New York to Aspinwall on
the Isthmus of Panama; then they crossed the Isthmus by
boat and mule, went on board another steamer at Panama
and sailed up the Pacific to San Francisco. It was a long,
TARGET PRACTICE IN U. S. A. BARRACKS.
hard, tedious and often dangerous journey; but it was not
nearly so difficult nor dangerous as the way overland.
But when the orders to go to California came to the sol-
diers at Sackett's Harbor, Lieutenant Grant decided that he
would not take his young wife on such a .long, hard and
uncertain journey. He did not intend to live in California,
and who could tell how long the regiment would be quar-
tered there ? Orders might come sending him somewhere
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
else, even before he and his wife had really "got settled,"
and the long journey would be all for nothing.
So he arranged to have his wife visit his people in Ohio
and her people in St. Louis, promising that when he had been
in California long enough to see how he liked it, he would
arrange either to send for her or get leave of absence and
come east for her.
So it was arranged; the good-byes were said; and on the
fifth of July, 1851, the Fourth Infantry, with such of the
soldiers' wives and children as could not or would not stay
behind, sailed out of the harbor of New York and steamed
southward for their first port on the Isthmus of Panama.
In eight days they sailed into the harbor of Aspinwall on
the Atlantic side of the Isthmus and prepared to go ashore.
July on the Isthmus of Panama is wet, hot and sickly.
The passengers from the north felt the changes from drench-
ing rain to burning sun and suffered from them greatly.
They were very anxious to be on their way north again to a
But the Isthmus had to be crossed. It looks small and
narrow enough on the map, does it not ? In one part it is
only thirty miles from ocean 'to ocean. But it is altogether
too wide if one feels sick and has no way to get across except
to ride horseback or walk.
To-day, a railroad, forty-eight miles long, runs across the
Isthmts from Aspinwall on the Atlantic to Panama on the
Pacific. But, when Lieutenant Grant and his infantrymen
78 HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
crossed the Isthmus in 1851, this railroad had but just been
commenced and only ran a few miles, to the banks of the.
Chagres river. This is the stream, you know, which engi-
neers for more than three hundred years have been trying
to turn into a ship canal that should join the Atlantic and
the Pacific-the famous ditch known as the Panama canal.
When Lieutenant Grant and his seven hundred compan-
ions of the Fourth Infantry started to cross the Isthmus they
had a fearful time.
Grant was quarter-
master or "care-taker"
of his regiment, you
know, and had to look
South for the comfort
Sand transportation of
the men. This Isth-
mus journey put his
THE MARCH ACROSS THE ISTHMUS.
ability to the test.
First, he saw them all on board the cars for the thirty
mile ride by railway. When the road ended, at the Chagres
river, they changed for Gorgona and went on board cer-
tain flat-bottomed boats that would carry between thirty and
forty passengers apiece. These boats were poled along the
river, against the current six polemen to a boat- at the
rapid rate of a mile an hour!
In this way, they pushed on to a place called Gor-
gona'where they had to get out again for a ride on mule-
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA. 79
back to Panama on the Pacific, some twenty-five miles
Did you ever hear of a harder fifty-mile trip ? To-day,
in the comfortable cars of the Panama railroad, you can
make the trip across the Isthmus in three hours. It took
Lieutenant Grant and his company nearly two weeks to do
that fifty miles. I will tell you why.
The United States government had arranged with the
steamship company for the connected and comfortable trans-
portation of the Fourth Infantry and its baggage from
New York to San Francisco, including the trip across the
The officers and soldiers, with the. families of a few of
the latter, made up a company of seven hundred people.
But, in 1851, crowds of adventurers were going to California
to dig for gold. So the seven hundred, instead of having
comfortable quarters, were crowded upon a steamer already
fully occupied. And when Aspinwall was reached everyone
was in a hurry to get across the Isthmus to Panama and
the Pacific. The passengers on the steamer had first chance
and the soldiers simply had to wait for second turn."
A part of the regiment did, after a few days' delay, get
across to Panama; but Grant, as regimental quartermaster,
was left at a place called Cruces on the banks of the sickly
Chagres river with all the baggage and camp equipage, one
company of soldiers and those men of the regiment who
had brought their wives and children with them.
8o HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
There at Cruces they waited. The transportation prom-
ised by the steamship company did not come; a man with
whom a new contract had been made by the agents of the
steamship company kept promising mules and horses, but
after a day or two Grant discovered that this man had been
supplying them to passengers who could pay higher than the
contract price, and the young quartermaster found out that
if he were ever to get his people and baggage to Panama, he
would have to, find the means himself.
Then came the climax. The dreadful cholera--that
plague of hot countries -broke out in the camp. Lieutenant
Grant had sickness and death to struggle with, in addition to
his other worries. For cholera in July, in the Isthmus of
Panama, with sultry, rainy weather and insufficient shelter
for the sick, means death.
Did you ever read Dickens's story of Martin Chuzzle-
wit ? Do you remember Mark Tapley who always came
out strong when things were at their worst ? There was a
good deal of this spirit in the quartermaster of the Fourth
U. S. Infantry.
With a company of plague-stricken men and women to
care for, with no means of removing them to a place of
safety, with insufficient accommodation for either the sick or
the well, with disappointment as to unkept promises delaying
and worrying him, with half-hostile Indians all about his
camp, and with food growing scarce and distress staring
him in the face, Quartermaster Grant had certainly a hard
IHOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA. 81
problem to solve. But he coolly looked at all the chances,
set his teeth together, and made .up his mind to work the
thing out himself.
He sent his last company of soldiers and the doctors on,
by foot, to Panama. Then he took entire charge of the
cholera camp and, for over a week, he fought the plague des-
perately and un-
cared for the sick,
buried the dead,
kept one eye on /
the half-hostile n
Indians, tried in
every way to
arrange for some
kind of transpor-
tation to Pana- HE CARED FOR THE SICK AND FOUGHT THE PLAGUE.
ma, and kept things going as briskly and as cheerfully
as he could, stubbornly resolved not to give in. He was
busy all the time. For a week he did not take off his clothes
and scarcely allowed himself any rest -working, nursing,
striving, in the midst of the plague that brought weakness
and death from the forest and the swamp.
Of one hundred and fifty men, women and children in
that cholera-stricken camp on the Chagres river, fully one
third died before that week of terror came to an end. But
Grant never gave up.
82 HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
Finding that the agents and promises of the steamship
.company were not to be relied upon, and that if his sick and
his baggage were ever to get to the Pacific he must get
them there himself, he took all the responsibility and set to
work on his own hook. He hired mules and litters at twice
the price offered by the steamship company, engaged Indians
to bury the dead and pack on the mules the camp belong-
ings, and at last took up his march to the Pacific, bringing
everything with him, excepting alas.! the victims whom the
cholera had claimed as its own in that plague-spot in the
I have lingered over this brief happening in the life of
U. S. Grant because it has always seemed to me a key to
his character; it prepares us to see in this quiet, determined,
self-reliant young quartermaster, sending all his available
help away and grimly remaining to fight the plague and
care for the people and property under his charge, the pre-
face to that soldier and ruler of later years, whom the poet
Lowell described as,
One of those still, plain men that do the world's rough work."
There is no doubt, is there, about that work in the
Panama cholera-camp being rough indeed?
Early in September the Fourth Infantry sailed through
the Golden Gate and entered upon its garrison life in
Those were exciting days in the great Western state.
It was only a territory then a vast track of land, stretch-
~I- .-"''' *.
GRANT IN THE PLAGUE CAMP AT PANAMA.
SHe took all the responsibility and set to work on his own hook."
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
ing along the Pacific and recently acquired from Mexico.
But it was fast filling up. The word had gone abroad that
gold was to be had just for the digging or the washing in
the land and streams of California. People from all parts
of the world, in a hurry to get rich, rushed to California to
There were all sorts and conditions of men among them,
and while most of them did not get rich, they did make
things lively for a while on that far Pacific coast. For men
who failed to find gold had to find work or starve. They
had to do something. It was "hard lines" for many a
stout-hearted young fellow, and that mining life in Cali-
fornia was full of temptation, danger, risk and struggle.
But these are the things which, bravely faced, help to make
men. Only the plucky and strong ones did win the fight;
but their labors and exertions, their defeats and successes
helped to build mighty states in that far western land and
to lay the foundations upon which the republic rose to
It was in such a school as this that U. S. Grant learned
anew the lessons of foresight, determination and watchful-
ness that guided him so well in later times of need. Those
were days, he himself tells us, that brought out character,"
and, in his case, each new experience strengthened a charac-
ter that was to mean great things for his native land.
He lived in barracks with his regiment--at Benicia,
not far from San Francisco; at Fort Vancouver on the
1HOW HE FOUGHT YHE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
Columbia river, in the southern part of what is now the
state of Washington; and at Humboldt Bay, near to
the town of.Eureka, in northern California.
He found a soldier's. life in times of peace, even in that
new and unsettled land of gold, lazy, unprofitable and
unpromising. He never really did like a soldier's life, you
know. "I never liked service in the army- not as a young
officer," he said, years
after; he always declared
that he was more a farm-
er than a fighter. So,
when he came to look
carefully at his chances he
could not see any future
-- or prosperity for him if
.z "he remained in the army.
And yet, as you all know,
it was the army that was
COLD WEATHER SENTRY DUTY, IN BARRACKS.
to make him great!
But, as he thought it all over, there in California, he
longed to see the wife and children he had left in "the
states," as.folks then called the East; he knew that his pay
as a soldier was too small to support a family, and he dared
not take the risk of bringing them so far from home. So
he concluded to resign, leave the army and go into some
good business in which he could hope to make money and
A HARD ROAD TO TRAVEL.
Over the mountains in gold.miining days in California.
HOW HE FOUGHT THE PLAGUE AT PANAMA.
He liked California, and, for many years after he left it,
he hoped some day to go back and make that splendid state
his home. But he felt that he must first get a good start in
life; so, in March, 1854, he resigned from the army and
went home again.
Ever since the day when, in the belfry of the Mexican
church, he had bombarded the city of Mexico with his bat-
tery of one gun, he had been a captain by brevet, but not in
rank or pay. In July, 1853, the death of an officer left a
vacant place, and as the other officers moved up towards the
head the lieutenant became a captain. So, when he resigned
from the army and went home, he was Captain Grant. You
see how slowly things went in times of peace. He had to
wait six years for the promised promotion to captain.
For eleven years had U. S. Grant been a soldier of the
republic. Slow in speech and action, except when action
was absolutely necessary, more brave than brilliant, and a
worker rather than a "show soldier, he was always to be
depended upon if anything needed to be done. He never
shirked his duty because it was not a pleasant one, and if he
saw that a thing must be done he stuck to it until it was
The same strategy that, as a boy, he displayed in lifting
and loading the great stone in Georgetown, he exhibited as
a lieutenant in the church tower in Mexico; the same pluck
and grit that helped the boy drive home the balky horse he
had purchased, served the man in his daring ride for ammu-
90 HOW THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE."
nition through the streets of Monterey and in the grim grap-
ple with the plague in the forests of Panama. These, and
such experiences as these, were the foundation of that stern,
silent, determined, unyielding effort that made this quiet
soldier the great captain the future hero and victor in the
republic's desperate struggle for life.
HOW THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE."
SO Ulysses gave up fighting for farming. It was not
altogether a successful exchange, so far as results
went. Captain Grant had never been able to save much
out of his pay as a soldier-never very large; and eleven
years of soldiering are not a very good preparation for farm-
ing. He would have to get his living out of the ground
now, and he knew that, like Adam the first farmer, "in the
sweat of his face he must eat bread."
That means hard work, of course; and hard work indeed
our ex-soldier found it to make both ends meet. He was
never afraid of hard work either as boy or man, and what he
set his hand to do, he did with his might," as the Bible
HOW THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE." 91
says. But even the hardest worker does not always make a
success of things, and this was to be the experience of the
soldier from the Pacific.
When he landed in New York, on his homeward trip
from San Francisco by the way of Panama, he had little or
no money, and a man whom he had once helped and upon
whom he depended for a return not only refused to pay him
but ran off altogether. So the poor captain had to write to
his father in Ohio for help to get home.
His people were of course delighted to see him again;
but when, at last, late in the summer of 1854, he was once
more with his wife and children at St. Louis, he found that
he must face the world sturdily if he were to get his own
living and that, at thirty-two, he had actually to begin life
over again; "a new struggle for our support," he calls it,
and a struggle indeed it was.
Mrs. Grant's father had given her part of his Whitehaven
acres as a farm. On this, Captain Grant decided to build a
house and go to farming.
He had no house to live in and no money with which to
stock the farm; but he set about building the house and
hoped to raise enough on his farm to gradually pay for live-
stock and farm-tools.
He did most of the house-building himself. All he could
do was to put up a log cabin, and he carted the stones for
the cellar, hauled the logs for the walls and split the shingles
for the roof. He had a few negroes to help him, but he was
92 HOW THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE."
his own mason and carpenter, except when it. came to the
" raising," and at this the neighbors helped.
It was not very much of a house, I imagine; but then
nobody expects all the conveniences in a log cabin and,
humble as it was, his home-made log house was home and
"CAPTAIN GRANT FOUND OUT WHAT WORK REALLY WAS."
you know, as John Howard Payne's beautiful song tells us,
" Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home."
But long before he and his family were settled in their
log-built home, Captain Grant had found out what work
really was. He had learned how hard it was to squeeze a
living out of the ground. He discovered that raising pota-
HO W THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE." 93
toes and corn and wheat and cutting cord-wood on a sixty-
acre farm always meant hard work, but does not always
mean money enough to live on as one would like.
As I told you, however, iri my story of how Grant fought
the plague at Panama, he had a good deal of the Mark Tap-
ley spirit about him, and so, even while he saw what a hard
row he had to hoe on his little farm, he saw the funny side
of it too, and named his little place Hardscrabble," because,
he said, he was certain to find life there "a hard scrabble."
His sixty acres, as I have said, were good ground for corn
and wheat and potatoes, and in its forest land he could cut a
good many cords of wood. The log house at" Hardscrabble"
was set on a rise of ground and shaded by a grove of young
oaks. It was a pleasant spot, and Grant would have been
very happy there with his wife and children if he had not
been worried over money matters and often been sick with
the fever and ague. That will make anyone feel mean and
out-of-sorts, you know, and Grant had been a sufferer from
that hot and shivery complaint ever since he had been a boy
There was one thing he always managed to have at
" Hardscrabble and that was good horses. To have had poor
ones would not have been like Grant; for he, you know,
was always a horse-lover. And, at Hardscrabble," he used
to declare that, with his pet team of a gray and a bay, he
could plough a deeper furrow and haul a heavier load of
wheat or cord-wood than any other farmer around.
94 HOW 7HE CAPT4IN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE."
For, you see, he was his own teamster. And when
times were especially hard and money was slow in coming,
he would load up his wood team and driving into town
would peddle his fire-wood from door to door.
From this, you can be certain that there was about Cap-
tain Grant no such thing as false pride. He was ready to
GRANT AS A WOOD-PEDDLER.
do anything that was honest work, no matter how humble.
But not the most tempting opportunity could ever induce
him to do a dishonorable action. He hated meanness as he
did lying and swearing; and it is a splendid record for a
man who has gone through as much and had as many ups
and downs as he that, in all his eventful life, he never did a
mean action, never swore and never lied. Yet that is the
record of U. S. Grant.
He himself has said in no spirit of boasting -for Grant
WITH THE GRAY AND THE BAY.
HOW THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE." 97
was never a boaster-but just to illustrate a point he was
making, "I am not aware of ever having used a profane
expletive in all my life." He told his boys so, too, and his
eldest son declares that his father did not even use the sim-
plest kind of boyish "swear words." When his father was
a young man, so this eldest son tells us, he did hear him say
once on a time thunder and lightning!" But he says that
is about the only strong expression his father ever did use,
and the fact that the soldier's son remembered it shows how
unusual a thing it was.
His record for honesty and truthfulness is known .to all
men and is dwelt upon by all persons who had anything to
do with him in business or pleasure.
0, Sam Grant said it, did he?" they would say at
West Point. Well, that settles it. If he said so, it's so."
And meanness, which is very close to ungentlemanliness,
is also pretty near to coarseness in talk or act. Not one of
these found place in the character of U. S. Grant. He
never said anything that approached coarseness, his son
tells us. He never used vulgar words nor would he tell or
listen to bad stories. He would get up and leave the room
rather than hear them. And to do that, let me tell you,
takes real courage.
Do you wonder that, through all his life, men trusted him
and respected him, even when things went hardest with
him? Do you wonder that, when the son from whom I
have quoted grew to be a man, he said his father was his
98 HOW THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A "HARD SCRABBLE."
ideal of all that is true and good ? Do you wonder that he
says to his own boy that the best he can wish for him is to
be as good a man as his grandfather ?
My father's character," he says, was what I believe a
good Christian teacher would consider the ideal one. He
was pure in thought and deed. He was careful of the feel-
ings of others -so much so, in fact, that when he had to
do anything to hurt them, I believe he felt more pained
than the people whom he hurt."
This is an excellent reputation to have, is it not? And
in the case of Ulysses Grant it is one that all men acknowl-
edge' as truly merited. It began with him even as a boy in
the Ohio tanyard; under the hard experience of life at Hard-
scrabble and the years that followed it was tested by adver-
sity and became at last the calm, self-controlled, fearless, yet
at the same time tender and sympathetic nature that won,
by unbending will and by equally determined clemency, in
the terrible warfare that closed at Appomattox.
There is no fire of adversity," as we call it, that is so
trying and tormenting as not being able to get along."
Failure is a terrible blow to a man's good opinion of him-
self- indeed, it is so to a boy's, too.
Captain Grant had a severe schooling in failure after he
left the army. Somehow, as we say, things did not seem to
go his way.
He could not make farming pay; few men can, when
along comes sickness to take all the strength and ambition
HOW THE CAPTAIN FOUND LIFE A HARD SCRABBLE." 99
out of them-as did the fever and ague with Captain Grant.
Hauling fire-wood ten miles to town and peddling it from
door to door at four dollars a cord will not put much money
in a man's pocket, especially when he has a growing family
So, after three year's trial at farming, when he saw that
he was running behind each year, when he found himself
weakened by continuous fever and ague, two thousand dol-
lars in debt to his father, and, though steadily industrious,
still as steadily unsuccessful, he came to the conclusion that
he was not cut out for a farmer and must try his hand at
* Although he called Hardscrabble" his home he had
not lived there all the time. Once he left the cabin to take
charge of the house of his brother-in-law on the Gravois
road. It was a neat Gothic cottage and was called Wish-
ton-wish,"-I wonder if that name was given it because of a
certain tale by a great American story-teller ? Do you know
In 1856 the Grants moved into Whitehaven the man-
sion belonging to Mrs. Grant's father. Captain Grant was
to look after the place; but he still called Hardscrabble his
home, and when at last the fever and ague would not let
him continue as a farmer and he determined to make a
change, he was obliged to sell "Hardscrabble" and its
belongings so as to raise a little money.
Life had been a struggle there, certainly. But even up-