Photo the Ulysses give taken at the time of his appointment together Lieutenant basic of all the armies of the Republic in 1864. PR 52 Portrait File

You can expect come hear this sort of concern in a video game of Trivial Pursuit, and if you’re inclined come say “Simpson”, you’re ideal – type of.

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In truth, Simpson was not part of his name at all and that’s top top the government of the male himself. Top top June 23, 1864, grant wrote come Congressman E.B. Washburn with an explanation, politely noting, “In prize to your letter the a few days ago asking what ‘S’ represents in my name I have the right to only state nothing.” Yes, it’s mostly inconsequential minutia, and one marvels why a congressman queried the commander-in-chief the the military over it while polite war ruined the nation but it’s also a reminder that even the simplest historic questions are regularly not so simple.

Grant to E.B. Washburn, June 23, 1864. AHMC – Grant, Ulysses

Grant walk on to explain that the misnomer source from the congressman who assisted his applications to West Point. According to Grant, councilor Morris that Ohio had actually erroneously called him as “Ulysses S. Grant.” Simpson was Grant’s mummy maiden name and the surname of his brother, however had never been in his own. In fact, he was baptized Hiram Ulysses Grant, though well-known from the very beginning together “Ulysses.”

It seems the critical straw to be his diploma and commission native the academy, both of which were issued v the erroneous “S.” Apparently, grant tried come rectify the problem however his efforts to have actually the S excised from West suggest records confirmed fruitless, so he resigned self to signing his name that way.

Grant come Washburn, June 23, 1864. AHMC – Grant, Ulysses

With the advantage of historic hindsight, though, the “S” seems less mistake 보다 prophecy. After Grant’s spectacular victory at the 1862 battle of ft Donelson, his initials were claimed to stand for “Unconditional Surrender,” in honor of his need for the exact same from the confederate forces. The nickname stuck, and Grant continued to live up to it, till finally, ~ above April 9th, 1865 — 149 years back today — Lee surrendered to grant at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the civil war.



Noma says

January 8, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Thanks because that clarifying this. In fact, there space 2 added letters — come Julia — in which give re-asserts that “the ‘S’ represents nothing.”

But, it seems to it is in a hopeless battle. Here’s a popular tiny Quiz: “Which President’s name has all the collection in the alphabet? Answer: Ulysses Simpson Grant.”

And, of course, the error will be perpetuated in forever by the Library of conference cataloguing system, i m sorry lists him together “Ulysses Simpson Grant.”


However, i am wondering around one detail which is stated above: “In fact, the was baptized Hiram Ulysses Grant, though well-known from the really beginning as ‘Ulysses."” I know that Albert Dean Richardson claims that give was “baptized” Hiram Ulysses Grant, however other sources do not agree. And also therein, ns believe, lies component of the problem.

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Grant was never baptized in his early on years, and this was a good concern to Julia by the moment that grant lay reportedly dying in April 1885. The so happened that there was a charlatan ecumincal vulture, eager to boost his company by adding Grant come his repetoire. The male was the Reverend john Newman. At the minute when approve lay, apparently dying, that took benefit of Julia’s sentimental nature and baptized the sleeping man. Seizing a palmful the water from a basin, Newman dashed it end Grant’s head, proclaiming, “I baptize you Ulysses Simpson Grant!”

(You deserve to read this account in Jean Edward Smith’s terrific biography, “Grant.”)

So the man was reinforced through this one egotistical preacher. When provide awoke and also saw the basin, he establish what had actually been done. Jesse give recalls the Grant gave Julia the gentlest reprimand the this had actually been completed — in opposition to his expressed desires. He said to her, simply, “I to be surprised.”

Reverend Newman, needless to say, made the many of his conquest. But Grant’s sons and Grant’s friend mark Twain to be appalled in ~ Newman’s intrusive and also self-serving actions.