Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant was a junior officer during the U.S.-Mexican War, but it made a life-long impression on him. Born in Ohio in 1822, he attended West Point, graduating in 1842 before serving as a junior officer with the 4th United States Infantry in Missouri.
As tensions mounted between the United States and Mexico, Grant and his regiment participated in the battles of Palo Alto, and Resaca de la Palma as part of the army of Zachary Taylor, an officer he greatly admired. In these fights, Grant learned to not fear combat as well as the importance of sound logistics and adequate supply. Grant and his regiment accompanied the army of General Winfield Scott all the way to Mexico City, where Grant distinguished himself in the battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec.
After the U.S.-Mexican War, Grant served in a series of mundane assignments around the Great Lakes before being posted to California in 1853. Homesick and increasingly dependent on alcohol, he resigned from the army a year later.
The outbreak of the American Civil War produced the conditions by which Grant re-entered the army and, proving to be a good organizer, a fearless soldier, and a master of logistics, he advanced rapidly until ultimately commanding the entire army of the United States. In that capacity, he forced the surrender of General Robert E. Lee’s army at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, in 1865. Grant rode his acclaim from the Civil War into the White House, and served as president from 1868 to 1876. He died in 1885.