Grant's military career began at West Point in 1843, where he graduated 21 of 39 in his class.
After this time he was commissioned Brevet 2nd Lieutenant assigned to the 4th U.S.Infantry at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis Mo.
He then was promoted to full 2nd Lieutenant on Sept.20,1845. Grant served in the Mexican War from 1846 to 1848. He was made 1st Lieutenant for his bravery in the battles that led to the capitulation of Mexico.
After the Mexicans surrended he was assigned to routine garrison duty serving 4 years at Sackets Harbor, N.Y. and Detroit, Michigan. These were pleasant years for Grant as he was able to have Julia along side of him. Then he was transferred to Vancover on the west coast on the Columbia River, and he had to leave his family behind as he started 2 years of barracks life.
His time served there was hard on him, his superior was always on his back, so he quarreled a lot with him. And he was forlorn and unhappy. He was promoted to Captain, but he had a big quarrel with Colonel Buchanan and that helped him make his decision to resign his commission. He went home and tried farming and real estate, then finally settled in 1860 to work in his father's leather shop.
The Civil War was just starting and he then helped to organize the first company of the Union Volunteers in Galena. Ill. On Aug. 7,1861 President Lincoln appointed Grant to Brigadier General of the Volunteers. While at Paducah Ky. he attacked the confederates at Belmont, Mo. in an assault that was not well thought out, he was losing ground and he had to retreat. The General was learning his trade still.
In February 1862, Grant's superior authorized him to move against Forts Henry and Donelson. These forts were guarding the Cumberland and the Tennessee Rivers. He captured Fort Henry first, then Fort Donelson surrendered shortly after that with over 14,000 of it's men. President Lincoln made him Major General of the Volunteers after that battle.
Grant's next battle was an important one at Shiloh, Tenn. It was one of the bloodiest battles in the west. It was at this time that the rumors started about his drinking, saying he was a drunkard and negligent in his duty. On Oct.25,1862, Grant was made Commander of the Department of Tennessee and then was charged with the taking of Vicksburg. On July 4,1863 Vicksburg finally surrendered it's 30,000 men. President Lincoln wrote Grant a personal letter of Thanks and nominated him Major General in the regular Army.
Ulysses' newest victory at Chickamuga and Chattanooga made him the man of the hour. He was called to Washington to receive the personal Thanks of the President, the gold medal from congress and the new rank of Lieutenant General of all Armies of the United States.
Starting on May 4,1864 the assault started from the union soldiers against the confederates. In one battle that lasted just an hour, Grant lost 6,000 of his own men. Yet he pushed on. People had started calling him "Grant the Butcher", on April 9,1865 at the Appomattox Court House, General Lee surrendered his men. 17 days later the Cival War was over. Ulysses was then given the rank of full General in 1866. The first ever 4 star General