The Civil War Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant

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9780765302434: The Civil War Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
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From the Western frontier to the battlefields of Vicksburg, Chattanooga, Franklin, Petersburg, and Richmond, Grant saw the war from the front lines and made the decisions that affected lives on a day-to-day basis. His writings provide a revealing look into the life of the commander in chief of the Union army as well as the seminal eyewitness account of the War between the States.

The Civil War Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant is a popular abridgment of his two-volume Personal Memoirs, which he arranged to have published to provide for his family after his death. (It was a huge bestseller and broke all records in American publishing at the time.) He died less than one week after completing its writing.

This abridgment covers Grant's experiences in the Civil War, from the first shot at Sumter to Appomattox, giving the reader a front-line seat next to the greatest Union general of the war.

Highlights Include:

- General William Tecumseh Sherman on his infamous march through Georgia- General George B. McClellan on the battle of Antietam and the legendary lost order that should have tipped him off to Lee's plans
- General George Armstrong Custer's experience of going straight from studying at West Point to the battlefield
- General (CSA) James Longstreet on serving under Robert E. Lee
- General (CSA) G. Moxley Sorrel on serving under James Longstreet
- Major (CSA) J.S.Mosby on the South's Guerilla campaign
- General (CSA) Jubal Earley's memoir of the last year of the war.

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Review:

In the wake of a scandal-ridden presidency and sick with cancer, Ulysses S. Grant took up the pen at the urging of his friend and editor Mark Twain, and set down his self-effacing Personal Memoirs. The result is one of the finest--and most closely studied--first-person accounts of warfare ever written.

As commander of federal forces in the west, and later of the entire Union army, Grant oversaw some of the bloodiest actions of the war, among them the battles and sieges of Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Richmond. In his recollections of these fights, Grant praises his officers and men, who, he writes, "knew what they were fighting for." Quick, as well, to praise the gallantry of the enemy, Grant insists that the Civil War was fought not over states' rights, but over slavery, pure and simple, and he reckons that, considering postwar political and economic progress, "It is probably well that we had the war when we did."

To this abridged version--which would have benefited greatly from the addition of explanatory notes and a more useful introduction--historian Thomas Fleming adds an essay on the role of West Pointers on both sides of the conflict. Students of military history will find that essay worthy, and Grant's memoirs essential. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Ulysses S. Grant was the commander-in-chief of the Union forces during the climactic late years of the Civil War and later served as the 18th President of the United States. He died in 1885. His remains currently reside in Grant's Tomb in New York City.

Brian M. Thomsen is the editor of Shadows of Blue and Gray-the Civil War Writings of Ambrose Pierce, Alternate Gettysburgs, The American Fantasy Tradition, and The Man in the Arena: Selected Writings of Theodore Roosevelt. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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