10 Interesting Facts About Ulysses S. Grant

10. Grant narrowly missed Lincoln’s assassination

Grant had been invited to go to Ford theater with President Lincoln but he and his wife Julia decided to travel to New Jersey to visit their children instead. Had he attended, he may have been a target as well.

9. Both of Grant’s parents witnessed his presidency

It may not seem like a big deal today, but Ulysses Grant was the first president to have both his parents living as he entered office.

8. Grant couldn’t stand the sight of blood

Although he witnessed some of the bloodiest battles in history, Grant could not stand the sight of blood. Rare steak nauseated him and he was known to cook his meat to the point of charring.

7. Grant graduated from West Point

Grant was one of only three presidents to graduate from a military academy. He graduated from West Point in 1843.

6. Grant was a cigar lover

Grant used around seven to ten cigars a day, although many of them he did not smoke, chewing on them instead. After a reporter wrote that Grant liked cigars, people began to send them to him as gifts. He received over 20,000, which may have contributed to his throat cancer.

5. Grant made a deal with Mark Twain

After his presidency, Grant lost all his savings to a shady investment partner, leaving his family with nearly nothing. At the time, presidents were not given pensions and Grant had already forfeited his military pension when he became president. Mark Twain offered Grant a generous deal to write his memoirs and while terminally ill with cancer, Grant finished just days before his death. The memoirs sold over 300,000 copies and earned his family over $450,000. In 1958, Congress passed legislation establishing a pension for presidents.

4. Grant’s Tomb is record setting

The body of Ulysses S. Grant lies in Riverside Park in New York City. He is buried beside his wife in Grant’s Tomb, the largest mausoleum in North America.

3. Ulysses S. Grant is not his real name

President Grant’s real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant. At the age of 17, he secured a nomination to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point through his Congressman, Thomas Hamer. Apparently confused with Grant’s mothers maiden name of Simpson,  Hamer mistakenly nominated him as Ulysses S. Grant. The academy would not accept any name other than what was on the nomination form so Grant adopted the new name as his own. Contrary to what some may believe, the S. does not stand for anything at all.

2. Grant was a compassionate man

When Grant accepted the surrender of Confederate forces by his rival Robert E. Lee in April 1865, he generously allowed Confederate soldiers to retain their weapons and horses and return to their homes.

Grant’s wife’s family were slave owners and Grant himself owned a slave named William Jones, given to him by his father-in-law. At a time when Grant could have badly used the money from selling Jones, he signed a document that freed him instead.

1. Grant liked life in the fast lane

As president, Grant received a speeding ticket by a police officer who failed to recognize him. He was fined for driving his horse too fast through the streets of D.C.

22 thoughts on “10 Interesting Facts About Ulysses S. Grant”

  1. Your article makes the claim that Grant was one of three US presidents to have graduated from West Point Military Academy. However, according to various other sources that I have cross checked,I have only been able to find a single other president who was a West Point graduate, Dwight Eisenhower. Was there in fact a third? And if so, who?

    1. What the article says is “Grant was one of only three presidents to graduate from a military academy”. Grant and Eisenhower graduated from West Point and Carter graduated from the Naval Academy.

  2. wow, i didnt know half these facts about our president thank you for supplying this for many of us to see, I appreciate it! (I think ill link this site from my website!)

  3. 3. Ulysses S. Grant is not his real name:
    “Contrary to what some may believe, the S. does not stand for anything at all.”

    That is false, I have found several biographies in books that say the S. later stood for Sam- given to him by his friends and acquaintances at West Point. Some even called him “Uncle Sam”

    1. Actually, it is true. He was born Hiram Ulysses Grant so the S. does not stand for a middle name as most would assume. The S. came to be when he was nominated by Congressman Thomas L. Hamer for a position at West Point. Congressman Hamer mistakenly nominated him as Ulysses S. Grant. Because of this mistake, Ulysses adopted the initial S. and was given the nickname “Sam” by some of his classmates. The S. was never part of his real name and was completely made up due to an error.

        1. Jarryd, please provide a source for your information. All reputable sources on Grant indicate the S. was not adopted until he attended West Point. The fact that his mother’s maiden name started with a S is likely just a coincidence.

    1. We do our best to corroborate the information before placing them on the website using information from official government resources, presidential biographies and other historical data but you are welcome to research other sources and corroborate them for yourself.

  4. I cant believe he actually smoked and chewed on the cigars and its like people didn’t care about his health and actually sent him more

  5. As a school teacher teaching about the U.S. Presidents, I found this information very helpful! I love giving my students little-known facts about these great men! Thanks for the info!!

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