Updated: May 29, 2020
One of the most influential Americans of the 19th century, Grant led the Union Army to victory during the Civil War and later helped steer the nation through Reconstruction during two terms as president.
1822-1885 | Artist: Oliver Ingraham Lay (1845-1890); painted by 1890
Impact & Accomplishments
Ulysses S. Grant was born in Point Pleasant, Ohio, and attended boarding school for a short time in Maysville, Kentucky, before being appointed to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point.
He served under General Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War and then led the Union Army to many significant victories during the Civil War. Lincoln appointed him General-in-Chief of the Army in 1864.
Grant was elected the eighteenth President of the United States in 1869; he served two terms. His administration was charged with helping to stabilize the nation after the war. He enforced civil rights and fought against the Ku Klux Klan during the Reconstruction period.
According to a metal plate on the back of the frame, this painting, by New York artist Oliver Ingraham Lay, was presented to the U. S. Grant Post No. 327 of the Grand Army of the Republic in Brooklyn in 1911, many years after the artist’s death. How the work came to the Saddle & Sirloin collection is unknown.
Did You Know?
Although he was always known as “Ulysses” during his youth in Ohio, Grant’s given name was actually Hiram Ulysses Grant. His phantom middle initial is the result of an error from Ohio Congressman Thomas Hamer, who accidentally wrote the future general’s name as “Ulysses S. Grant” when he nominated him to attend West Point. Despite Grant’s best efforts to correct the record, the name stuck, and he eventually accepted it as his own. “Find some name beginning with “S” for me,” he joked in an 1844 letter to his future wife, Julia Dent. “You know I have an “S” in my name and don’t know what it stands for.”
Grant: The Legacy of Ulysses S. Grant | History Channel 2020
In addition to Grant, Coolidge and Hoover, four other U.S. presidents were, at one time, represented in the Saddle & Sirloin Club Portrait Collection: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln were destroyed in the 1934 fire and not replaced. Franklin D. Roosevelt was added after the fire, but removed from the collection before the move to Louisville.