Robert E. Lee & Ulysses S. Grant
by Nate McLeod




INTRODUCTION:


Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant were two of the most famous generals during the Civil War. They came from different backgrounds and had different perspectives about war and life, but they both commanded the entire army of their side. They fought on different sides and for different reasons, but they fought all the way through until they would end it together. They rose through the military ranks and persevered through many battles fighting valiantly until the end when the two enemies would agree. These two generals individually lead their armies to decide the fate of their country making them some of the most respected and adored men in our nation's history.


BIOGRAPHY:


Robert E Lee
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General Robert Edward Lee

Janruary 16, 1807: Robert Edward Lee is born in Stratford Hall, Virginia.

Early Life: He was the son of Henry Richard Lee and Ann Hill Carter Lee.His father was a Revolutionary War hero and left the family when Robert was six. With increasing financial problems, Robert pursued a career in the military. After graduating highschool, he went to the United States Military Academy at Westpoint when he was 18. In 1892 he graduated second in his class with no demerits. He was very popular and handsome and therefore liked by students and professors. Due to his popularity and well developed leadership qualities he was appointed as second luitenant of the Engineer Corps on July 1, 1820. He was later appointed to first luitenant, but it was a time of peace and he fought no battles.

Military Life: In 1830 he married Mary Anna Randolph Curtis, the great-grandaughter of Martha Washington. In 1847 he fought in the Mexican-American War impressing everyone, especially Winfield Scott, with his clever battlefield tactics. From 1852-1855 he became the superintendent of his alma mater, the United State Military Academy at Westpoint. He soon was promoted as the second luitenant of the second calvary in Texas. As the Civil War loomed, he was sent by the forming Union Army to stop John Brown's Slave Rebellion in October of 1859 in Harper's Fairy Virginia. With further separation between the two opposing forces he was promoted to first colonel of the first calvary in 1861 by the time 7 states had seceded from the Union.

Civil War: On April 18 Robert E. Lee was asked by Abraham Lincoln to take control of the Union after the Confederates attacked Fort Sumter. He declined the opportunity saying he would not take up arms against his native state, Virginia. Later, he accepted a role as the leading officer of the Virginia state army and was then promoted to a full general of the Confederate army on August 31, 1861. He did not recieve much action on the battlefield until he took command of the Confederate army defending Richmond and fought the Seven Days Battle against McCllelan. He suffered many casualties but gained support by defending Richmond. He then beat John Pope at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Lee tried to bring the battles out of Virginia and into the Union, but after suffering from desertion of a ragged army faced McCllelan's army of 80,000 with 35,000 of his own at the bloodiest battle of Antietam. Lee upset Burnside's army of 125,000 with his own 75,000 at the Battle of Fickersburg gaining the optimisim from Southern citizens. His greatest upset was when he upset Hooker's 120,000 men with only 60,000 men through daring and ingenious war tactics in the battle of Chancellorsville in April of 1863. His greatest challenge took place on July 1 when his army of 75,000 marched into Pennsylvania and fought the Federals at the Battle of Gettysburg. He took full responsibility for the defeat.



Ulysses S Grant

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General Ulysses S. Grant
April 27, 1822:
Ulysses Simpson Grantwas born in Point Pleasant, Ohio. He was the son of Jesse and Hannah Simpson Grant.

Early Life: He had a hard time living up to his father's expectations and was moody and sensetive, but well-educated. He was also sent to the United States Military Academy at Westpoint from 1839-1843. He was an average student, but an excellent horsemen.

Military/Home Life: He also fought in the Mexican-American War receiving praise for his courage, skill, and experience. Despite his impressive action in the war, his luck in the military did not continue from 1840-1850 during peacetime. Despite his talent and a solid marriage, he turned to drinking and eventually resigned from the army. He could not support his family, farm, or live as a buisnessman. He lived on his faher-in-law's land, and then moved to Illinois to work for his father.

Civil War: Due to his failing at life outside of the military he was eager to join the Union Army after the firing on Fort Sumter. He quickly rose through the ranks from luitenant colonel to brigader general. He strategically captured Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, and refused surrender when offered. He came in command of armies and began to win battles for the North including Shiloh in April of 1862, Vicksburg in July of 1863, and Chatanooga in November of 1863. These victories made him the leading Union general of the Civil War. Finally, in 1864, Luitenant General Grant was given command of all the Union army.



CROSSROADS:


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Lee surrends to Grant in the Appomattox Court House
In the Spring of 1864 the paths of these to legendary generals crossed. The North thought that they finally had a general who could defeat Robert E. Lee, but the South was confident in their longtime savior. With the support of Lincoln, Grant took all of the Union armies into the South to defeat them quickly to start the showdown between Lee and Grant, later called the Overland Campaign. Northern Virginia mustered only 60,000 troops to battle the North's 120,000. A series of battles including the Battle of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania tolled many deaths for both generals, although Lee only suffered a suprising 1,500 casualties compared to Grant's 7,500 casualties in the battle of Cold Harbor. Finally, on June 18, the Overland Campaign ended when Grant made a move that caught Lee by surprise, they stormed across the rivers and tried to capture Petersburg, about 20 miles from Richmond. Lee's forces quickly came to the defense, but Grants army held a seige on the city. The siege lasted nine months until Lee tried to break hold of the seige, but Grant easily broke through the lines protecting Petersburg and Richmond in the Battle of Five Forks, forcing Lee's army to flee on April 3rd. Lee hoped to meet up with Johnston's army in North Carolina, but the end was near, and Grant was too strong. All Lee had left to do was give up, so April 9, 1865 the war's two most famous generals met peacefully in the parlor of Wilmer McLean's home in Appomattox Court House to negotiate. Grant offered generous terms, Lee accepted them, and they both signed a contract of surrender.

TYPES OF GENERALS:

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Young Robert E. Lee
The two generals had very different styles when it came to commanding armies. Their habits and tactics were visibily centered around their background and their early lives. Robert E. Lee was raised by a Revolutionary War hero "Light Horse Harry" whom he wanted to please even though his dad left his family when he squandered all of thier money. This could have had a posative affect of his development as a war leader since he had a passion for what he was doing. Ulysses S. Grant however was raised by a father who heavily pressured him to be a great man of the military. Young Ulysses was known to be feisty and did not like war, but was forced to do it by his father. This could have negatively affected him because it is hard to excell at something that one does not enjoy or have passion for. These mindsets affected thier behaviors and success in school. They both attended the United States Military Academt at Westpoint, but with very different results. Lee, due to enthusiasm for his work, graduated second in his class receiving no demerits. Grant, however, recieved many demerits and graduated with sloppy grades in the middle of his class. They both fought in the Mexican-American War and both recieved praise, but on returning, Lee was appointed to a much higher position than Grant, due to his success in school. Grant was in charge of a small regiment and therefore fell into bad habits like drinking because he did not take his job too seriously, until he dropped out of the army. When the Civil War started Lee had already risen high in the ranks and was immediately offered to be a general. Grant joined the army again in a very low position, because of his bad record. Eventually Grant rose back up through what some think was luck.

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Young Ulysses S. Grant
Near the end of the War, they were both successful generals, but which one was the better general? If Lee was more dedicated to the military and was more successful than Grant, than why did Grant evenutally triumph? Lee was much more of a "textbook general" he followed all of the rules and all of the strategies, reflecting his education. Although this could be beneficial, it could have been the factor that brought his eventual downfall. Since he was so intent on following the exact strategies that he was taught, he would be taken by surprise if anything happened that he wasn't prepared. This is exactly what happened when Grant surprised him by seizing Petersburg. Grant was a more impulsive general. He was indifferent to the "rules", and did what he though was best. He based his decisions off of experience and therefore made some very unique and magnificent manuvers, but also made some very stupid mistakes. However, he took Lee by surprise in Petersburg and then finally ended the fued between these two generals. Another possible explanation for Grant's triumph was the motivations of each general. Grant was born in the North and strongly supported the President, the Union and its ideals. Lee was hesistant towards the war because he agreed with the North and had fought for them and had been aquainted with them, but only switched to the Confederate army because that was where he was raised. Therefore he was not as enthusiatic about winning or killing his "enemies" since he had been so close to some of them. Ed Ayers analyzes the differences between Lee and Grant

(FUN) FACTS:


  • Ulysses Simpson Grant's real name was originally Hiram Ulysses Grant
  • People of the Union were angry at the President when he gave Grant command of the entire Union army because they were convinced he was still a "drunk"
  • Ulysses S. Grant later became the 18th U.S. President serving two successful, consecutive terms in the Reconstruction period of the country
  • In retirment Grant went on a world tour, wrote a book that sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and attempted to become a stock broker
  • Ulysses S. Grant died July 23, 1885 as one of the country's most successful president and general, one week from finishing his book
  • Robert E. Lee owned slaved that he inherited from his father, but did not support slavery
  • Aftar the war, Robery E. Lee had to reapply for a citizenship since he had technically left the country
  • After the war, Robert E. Lee became the President of Washington College, he was a very successful educator
  • Due to postwar trauma Lee was stricken on September 27, 1870 with a stroke, he survived for two weeks hardly murmuring words until he died peacefully on October 12


BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  1. Gallagher, Gary W. "Lee, Robert E." In Waugh, Joan, and Gary B. Nash, eds. Encyclopedia of American History: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1856 to 1869, vol. 5. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2003. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp
  2. Morice, Elizabeth. "Grant v.s. Lee." Izzi Anne. 13 Oct. 2003. 20 May 2009 http://www.izzianne.com/notes/FALL2002/IAD125/Final/grantlee.html.
  3. Waugh, Joan. "Grant, Ulysses S." In Waugh, Joan, and Gary B. Nash, eds. Encyclopedia of American History: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1856 to 1869, vol. 5. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2003. American History Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp