Search Menu


Important Terms, Events and People


Galena -   · The Illinois town where Grant worked from 1859–1861, the closest thing he ever had to a 'hometown.'
Georgetown -   · The Ohio town where Grant grew up and his family owned a tannery.
Hardscrabble -   · The home that Grant built on his father-in-law's land in Missouri after resigning from the Army in 1854. He unsuccessfully tried to farm the land and eventually hard to sell firewood.
Thirteenth Amendment -   · This Constitutional amendment abolished slavery in all of the United States.
Fourteenth Amendment -   · This Constitutional amendment granted the rights of due process and equal protection to all United States citizens.
Fifteenth Amendment -   · This Constitutional amendment gave every American citizen the right to vote regardless of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
Reconstruction -   · The period under Presidents Andrew Johnson and Grant where the South was readmitted to the Union.


Simon B. Buckner -  The commander of Fort Donelson and a former West Point friend of Grant.
James Buchanan -  President of the United States from 1857–1861. His weak leadership only delayed the Civil War and under him South Carolina seceded.
Jim Fisk and Jay Gould  -  Two New York financiers who tried, with Grant's unknowing assistance, to corner the market on gold in 1869. They succeeded for a while but Grant caught on and ordered the Treasury to release enough gold to break the market, causing Black Friday, when small investors suffered from the drop in gold prices.
Jesse R. Grant  -  Grant's father, owned a tannery and supported his son's ambitions. He did not believe Grant could be a businessman and urged him to stay in the military.
Julia Dent Grant  -  Grant's wife and the daughter of a wealthy Missouri slaveholder. Julia's brother was Grant's roommate at West Point.
Horace Greeley -  A fiery New York abolitionist who ran unsuccessfully against Grant for President in 1872.
Henry W. Halleck -  The commanding Union general of the western theater and Grant's superior for the beginning of the war.
Rutherford B. Hayes -  Reform-minded Republican president who succeeded Grant in 1877. Won the office after a disputed election where he beat Samuel Tilden in the electoral college by a single vote and lost the popular vote.
Andrew Johnson -  Vice president of the U.S. for Lincoln's second term, who ascended to the office upon Lincoln's assassination. Grant was always wary of the former wartime governor of Tennessee, although Johnson did ask Grant to fill in as interim Secretary of War. Johnson was saved from impeachment by the House by a single vote.
Robert E. Lee  -  The West Point-educated Confederate commander, son of an aristocratic Virginia family. Eventually surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at Appomattox.
Abraham Lincoln -  The Republican president throughout the Civil War. His election prompted the southern states to secede over his abolitionist sentiments.
James Longstreet  -  One of Grant's closest friends, attended Grant's wedding, served with him in Mexico, eventually rose to be second-in-command of the Confederate Army.
George B. McClellan -  Repeated timid commander of the Union Army and Democratic candidate for president against Lincoln in 1864.
George Meade -  The commander at Gettysburg. Meade remained as commander of the Army of the Potomac under Grant for the duration of the war.
Winfield Scott -  Much revered commander of the U.S. Army at the outbreak of the Civil War, but considered too old to retain the post. Grant served under him in the Mexican War. Grant used Scott's tactics during his Vicksburg campaign.
Philip Sheridan -  The major cavalry leader of the Union Army.
William T. Sherman -  General under Grant in the western theater, eventually became one of his closest friends in the Army. Sherman led the now infamous "March to the Sea" across Georgia in 1864.
Hannah Simpson -  Grant's mother.
Zachary Taylor -  Taylor became president of the U.S. based on his fame in the Mexican War. He was Grant's first commander, and under Taylor's command Grant fought in his first battle.


Appomattox -  The scene of the surrender of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to Grant's Army of the Potomac–for all intents and purposes the end of the Civil War.
Black Friday -  The day Grant finally broke the corner on the gold market by James Fisk and Jay Gould. Many smaller investors were hurt by the sudden drop in gold prices as Grant ordered the treasury to dump millions of dollars of gold on the market.
Cold Harbor -  One of two battles Grant ever regretted. He lost six thousand men in an hour during assaults on the Confederate Army in May 1864.
Fort Donelson and Fort Henry  -  Two forts Grant captured during a campaign through Tennessee in 1862. Simon B. Buckner surrendered an army of about 12,000 men to Grant. Grant declared he would only accept "unconditional surrender," helping to earn U.S. Grant the nickname "Unconditional Surrender Grant."
Fort Sumter  -  The site of the first battle of the Civil War, when Confederate batteries opened fire on the federally-occupied fort in Charlestown harbor.
Gettysburg -  A critical three-day battle in southern Pennsylvania, often called the "High Tide of the Confederacy." George Meade defeated an invading Confederate Army in the last time the Confederates were able to mount an invasion of the North.
Petersburg -  The site of a nearly year-long siege to the end the Civil War. When the Confederates evacuated on April two, 1865, the Confederacy lasted only about two weeks.
Richmond -  The Confederate capital. Retaken by Federal troops soon after Petersburg fell. Confederate troops burned the city as they left.
Shiloh -  A bloody battle in 1862 where Confederate troops surprised Grant's army at breakfast.
Spotsylvania Court House -  The second battle in a nine-day string of battles that broke the back of the Confederate Army. During the first two weeks in May 1864, Grant's armies hammered away at the Confederates in The Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor.
The Wilderness  -  The name given an area where a multi-day battle was fought in the beginning of May 1864. The Confederates surprised Grant's massive Union army in thick underbrush, and hand-to-hand combat claimed thousands. However, brush fires lit by explosions killed a nd injured as many men as the bullets did.
Vicksburg -  A small Mississippi town on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and the site of a long siege by the western armies under Grant's command in 1863. The fall of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, reopened the River to Union naval forces for its entire length , splitting the Confederacy in two. Grant, of course, asked for and got "unconditional surrender."

More Help

Previous Next

Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!