« PreviousContinue »
LIFE OF ULYSSES S. GRANT.
"C. S.” was too suggestive for his comrades to of. He was nick-named Uncle Sam, and the ilation has been ringing among army comrades He never regarded the “S” as any legal part of
dll'est Point, July 1st, 1839, at the age of seventeen. s previous education had been limited, he passed the 7 readily. He never rose to a high position in his at in mathematics, engineering and military science. elled in all military exercises, horsemanship and Hl. a quietly good-humored, patient, determined stuiven to boisterous pranks, nor to bad habits. He Ji liquor, and, strange as it may seem in view of his
from these very qualities; indeed, he was a very uncle-like sort of youth. He was then and always an excellent horseman, and his picture rises before me as I write, in the old, torn coat, obsolescent leather gig-top, loose riding-pantaloons with spurs buckled over them, going with his clanging saber to the drillhall. He exhibited but little enthusiasm in anything. His best standing was in the mathematical branches and their application to tactics and military engineering."
Nothing is better known than that the highest stations and first honors of life are not necessarily carried by those who rank first in colleges and academies. Yet it seldom happens that boyhood and schooldays are passed by any one without evidence of the qualities which bring success and distinction. Scholarship is one thing, tenacity and purpose another. Fortune sometimes favors the former, she seldom refuses to yield to the latter. Judged by his rank in class, by the schedule of learned professors, by the grades and standards of a literary institution, young Grant was bound to be eclipsed in the race of life by those who started under the auspices of higher scholastic honors. But what was there in them to ascertain, and establish moral or manhood qualities? They only showed the power of brain acquisition, and may never have reflected for a moment the sterling force of character and truly inherent worth which shape fortune against adverse currents and hew success out of the rough logs of circumstance.
More is to be learned of the future Grant from a study of his quiet, inner life and habitude than from the roll books of West Point
ng propensity, he neither smoked nor chewed when JemyHe respected all discipline and was never linton violation of rules and regulations. s classmates Franklin, Ingalls, Reynolds, Augur
, Gardner, and as cotemporaries Sherman, Thomas, huphreys, Smith and others who afterward became h war. Out of his class of over one hundred, only ucceeded in graduating. Among these thirty-nine lated with the rank of number twenty-one. His
commission both bore the entering name of
frant. pee, of Lehigh University, who was at West Point hus speaks of the cadet: “I remember him as a In sense, straightforward youth, quiet, rather of on the young shoulders order, shunning notoontented while others were grumbling; taking to duties in a very business-like manner; not a fan in the corps, but respected by all and very his friends. The sobriquet of ‘Uncle Sam' was
here every good fellow has a nick-name
IN MEXICO AND ON THE FRONTIERS.
N point of education, young Grant was equipped for military
service, and presumably for the business of a lifetime. A
West Point education has always been regarded as sufficiently liberal for every useful purpose. With full collegiate equipment, but with an endowment far beyond the gift of learned
institution, the young graduate was appointed brevet second lieutenant in U. S. Army, July 1st, 1843, and assigned to temporary duty with the Fourth Regiment of Infantry. After a three months' vacation, spent at home, he reported to his regiment at Jefferson Barracks, near St. Louis. In
1844, he moved with the regiment to Camp Salubrity, at Natchitoches, La. This was among the first moves made by the government in support of that policy which ended in the acquisition of Texas and the Mexican War. Here he had a life of the usual routine, and here he smoked his first cigar,
the beginning of a habit which grew to be almost a characteristic.
The next year, 1845, his regiment became part of the army of observation, under General Taylor, at Corpus Christi. In that year, Sept. 30th, he was promoted to the full rank of second lieutenant to fill a vacancy in the Seventh Infantry, but asked the privilege of remaining with the Fourth.
This request was granted. Soon afterward, May 8th, 1846,
he participated in the battle of Palo Alto, and on May 9th in that of Resaca de la Palma. The army of observation had become one of occupation, and the Mexican War was on in earnest. Palo Alto and Resaca completed the discomfiture of the Mexican army, and sent it back over the river in confusion. It brought long-sought and welcome relief to the little garrison beleagued at Fort Brown, which hailed with shouts their
American rescuers. The young soldier had received his first baptism of fire and was fully introduced to the realities of his profession.
Taylor, the old veteran, who never looked on war as a scientific pastime, and who never let an enemy have any rest, pushed in hot haste after the Mexican forces. He found them
at the stronghold of Monterey. It was a place which for strategic reasons the Mexicans could not afford to lose. For similar reasons, as well as for the moral effect of victory, the Americans must have it. There, therefore, occurred here, on Sept. 23d, 1846, one of the most closely contested and bloodiest battles of the war, in which Lieutenant Grant behaved with