|Grant as a Brigadier General in 1861|
We have finally reached the beginning of the end of the Meet the Generals series. If you know anything about Galena, you know that this man Ulysses S. Grant has played a big role in the community's image. I have actually benefited from Mr. Grant living in Galena, because I am a tour guide at his post war home (which will be discussed in the next section)
|General Grant's Birthplace|
The influence of Grant's family brought about the appointment to West Point; he himself did not wish to become a soldier. Grant graduated from West Point in 1843, ranking 21st in a class of 39. Part of Grant's demerits were due to his refusal, at times, of compulsorily church attendance; then a West Point policy that Grant viewed as anti-republican. Grant openly stated that he was lax in his studies; however, he achieved above average grades in Mathematics and Geology. At West Point, Grant studied under artist Robert Walter Weir and produced nine surviving artworks. Trained under Prussian horse master, Herschberger, Grant established a reputation as a fearless and expert horseman, setting an equestrian high jump record that lasted almost 25 years. Although naturally suited for cavalry, he was assigned to duty as a regimental quartermaster in the 4th U.S. Infantry, achieving the rank of brevet second lieutenant. He helped to manage supplies and equipment.
|One of Grant's paintings he did at West Point in 1840, Grant gave this to his girlfriend Kate Lowe.|
Following his service in the Mexican War, Grant was stationed all over the nation, and due to a growing family he decided to retire from the military and take up husbandry. He struggled through seven financially lean years. From 1854-58, he labored on a family farm near St. Louis he named "Hardscrabble". Following the death of his mother-in-law in 1858, Ulysses had to operate two farms under one income. Grant's father, consistently telling him to quit farming and work in his leather business finally got his promise. Grant decided to move with his family to Galena in 1860. He and Julia rented a house on High Street where they would live during the war. His family would frequently attend the Methodist church in Galena, which sits right below his pre-war home, and right above his place of employment.
Grant worked as a clerk in his father's leather shop (present-day Coatsworth Apartments) which was run by his two brothers Sam and Orville. His brother Sam would die of tuberculosis in 1860, the only member of the Grant family buried in Galena.
|Grant's prewar home|
To be continued....