On this day in 1885, Civil War hero and former President Ulysses S. Grant dies.
Grant graduated from West Point in 1843 and served in the Mexican-American War. Later, he re-enlisted in the Army in 1861 and led the Union army to victory at Vicksburg in 1863. Then President Abraham Lincoln gave Ulysses Grant the rank of lieutenant general in March 1864, which until that point had been exclusive to George Washington.
Of course, on April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, making Grant a national hero.
Then, in 1869 he began his first of two terms as president, and spent the last few years of his life writing his Civil War memoirs, and then died of throat cancer, likely due to his habit of chain cigar-smoking.
Precepts and Practice
In 1876, he wrote a message “To the Children and Youth of the U.S.:
“Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet-anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your heart, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization, and to this we must look as our guide in the future.
‘Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.’ ” (emphasis added)