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When Fort Sumter fell in 1861, Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) was an obscure clerk in Galena, Illinois, without influential friends and lacking a reputation for success. Yet within three years this man rose to command the Union armies, and just over a year later secured the defeat of the Confederacy. How can this emergence be explained? What were the characteristics of such a man and by what means did he acquire his knowledge? Did he earn his honors or did he owe them to chance and luck?The Rise of U. S. Grant focuses on the widely ignored first two years of his career in the West. Colonel Conger eschewed the general's justly acclaimed but inaccurate memoirs, relying instead on contemporaneous messages, dispatches, and reports undimmed by time and undistorted by later reflection. From the raid on Belmont through Grant's capture of Forts Henry and Donelson to his near defeat at Shiloh and the triumphant siege of Vicksburg, this book is a brilliant, penetrating exploration that goes a long way toward explaining the phenomenon of Grant, while letting the readers experience with gripping immediacy how he mastered the crises that confronted him.
Colonel Arthur L. Conger, a graduate of Harvard University, taught at the Army Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.