Ulysses S. Grant and the Trials of Leadership Essay

Ulysses S. Grant and the Trials of Leadership Essay

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Ulysses S. Grant and the Trials of Leadership


On June 3, 1864, the Union and Confederate armies met on a battlefield in Cold Harbor, Virginia. The Confederates were well entrenched and prepared to mount a defensive stand. The Union soldiers on the other side of the lines were preparing for an attack that would prove to be disastrous. They knew what the outcome would be. In only 20 minutes of fighting, 7,000 Union soldiers were killed or wounded. As the Yankees prepared to go into action, many began sewing tags with their names on them into their clothes so their bodies could be identified after their deaths. One dead Union soldier was found with a small diary in his pocket. The final entry, dated June 3, 1864, read simply, "I was killed."

Many men like him knew they were going to die that day, and yet they went forward anyway, and met their fates. Many people, military and civilian, questioned the intelligence of the attack, and rightfully so. But the decision was made, and the men carried it out. They carried it out because it was given by General Ulysses S. Grant, the man who was the first to continually win battles against Robert E. Lee, and the man who finally won the war for the United States. They carried it out because Grant was perhaps the most respected general ever to serve in the U.S. Army to that point. They carried it out because Grant was a leader.

Grant was not always the leader that won the war and became president. He was first a failure in business, a quiet young soldier with little social life, a general whose peers criticized him and charged him with drunkenness, and later a president plagued by scandal and rumor.

Ulysses S. Grant was born to Jesse and Hannah Grant on April 27, 1822, in Point P...


... middle of paper ...


...y's mind. His logic in organizing supplies for the army was demonstrated early on in the Mexican War.
But it seems that his intelligences only served him in wartime, making almost another intelligence of their own, that of making war. As President, he severely lacked interpersonal skills in picking and managing his cabinet. He showed little knowledge of safe money handling strategies and lost most of his savings more than once. He was a great war leader and general, and seemingly not much else but a kind man.

Works Cited

1. Barber, James G. U.S. Grant: The Man and the Image. Southern Illinois University Press. Carbondale: 1985.

2. Carpenter, John A. Ulysses S. Grant. Twayne Publishers, Inc. New York: 1970.

3. Gardner, H. Creating minds. New York: Basic Books, 1993.

4. Goldhurst, Richard. Many are the Hearts. Reader's Digest Press. New York: 1975.

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