Ulysses S. Grant was born to a family of humble means. Though initially reluctant to do so, he attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. After serving with distinction during the Mexican War, Grant found that postwar army life would not earn him enough money to care for his family. Seven years later, Grant returned to uniform with the outbreak of the Civil War. His willingness to fight, his organizational skills, and his bravery won him rapid promotion. He led several crucial campaigns in the West, culminating in the decisive capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, 1863. President Lincoln then appointed him as the army's supreme commander. After months of bitter fighting, Grant accepted Confederate general Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Grant was elected president in 1868 and served two terms. After leaving office, Grant died in 1885, just days after finishing his memoir. Ulysses S. Grant: Defender of the Union explores his life and his complex time for a new generation of readers. Book jacket.