I know only two tunes: one of them is "Yankee Doodle", and the other isn't.
— Grant's taste in music.
I rise only to say that I do not intend to say anything. I thank you for your hearty welcomes and good cheers.
— Grant's "perfect speech", which he used on several occasions.
No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.
— Grant's ultimatum to Fort Donelson, February 1862. This ultimatum (and his ultimate capture of the Fort) marks the beginning of the meteoric rise from an obscure Mexican War Veteran to the leader of all Union forces on land and later the Presidency.
It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot afterwards. From that event to the close of the war, I never experienced trepidation upon confronting an enemy, though I always felt more or less anxiety.
— Grant's account of his advance against Col. Thomas Harris in northern Missouri.
The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is, get at him as soon as you can, strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.
— Grant's maxim on war.
I was never an abolitionist, not even what could be called anti-slavery, but I try to judge fairly and honestly and it became patent in my mind early in the rebellion that the North and South could never live at peace with each other except as one nation, and that without slavery.
— Grant's opinion of slavery, from a letter to Elihu Washburne, August 1863.
Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault and land in our rear and on both our flanks at the same time! Go back to your command and try to think what we are going to do ourselves instead of what Lee is going to do.
— Grant's frustration with the defeatism in the Army of the Potomac.
I propose to fight it out on this line, if it takes all summer.
— Grant's dispatch to Washington during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, 11 May 1864.
I felt anything rather than rejoicing at the downfall of a foe who had fought so long and valiantly, and had suffered so much for a cause, though that cause was, I believe, one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse.
— Grant's opinion of Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
Although a soldier by profession, I have never felt any sort of fondness for war, and I have never advocated it except as a means of peace.
— U.S. Grant.
It is preposterous to suppose that the people of one generation can lay down the best and only rules of government for all who are to come after them, and under unforeseen contingencies.
— U.S. Grant.
"Let us have peace."
—Grant's campaign slogan.
Others on Grant
Sir, if you ever presume again to speak disrespectfully of General Grant in my presence, either you or I will sever his connection with this university.
—Robert E. Lee, after one of the faculty at Washington College insulted Grant.
I have seen many farmers, but I have never saw one that worked harder than Mr. Grant. He plowed, split rails, and drove his own team... Grant was a very kind man to those who worked for him, and he always said he wanted to give his wife's slaves their freedom as soon as he was able.
— Mary Robinson, on Grant's antebellum attempt at farming.
Grant is my man and I am his the rest of the war.
—Abraham Lincoln on the success of Grant's Vicksburg Campaign.
I am a damned sight smarter than Grant. I know more about military history, strategy, and grand tactics than he does. I know more about supply, administration, and everything else than he does. I'll tell you where he beats me though and where he beats the world. He doesn't give a damn about what the enemy does out of his sight, but it scares me like hell.
-General William Tecumseh Sherman, in praise of Grant.
My confidence in General Grant was not entirely due to the brilliant military successes achieved by him, but there was a moral as well as a military basis for my faith in him. He had shown his single-mindedness and superiority to popular prejudice by his prompt cooperation with President Lincoln in his policy of employing colored troops, and his order commanding his soldiers to treat such troops with due respect. In this way he proved himself to be not only a wise general, but a great man.
"It will be a thousand years before Grant's character is fully appreciated. Grant is the greatest soldier of our time if not all time... he fixes in his mind what is the true objective and abandons all minor ones. He dismisses all possibility of defeat. He believes in himself and in victory. If his plans go wrong he is never disconcerted but promptly devises a new one and is sure to win in the end. Grant more nearly impersonated the American character of 1861-65 than any other living man. Therefore he will stand as the typical hero of the great Civil War in America."
— General William Tecumseh Sherman, on Grant's death
Yet as the generations slip away, as the dust of conflict settles, and as through the clearing air we look back with keener wisdom into the nation's past, mightiest among the mighty dead loom the three great figures of Washington, Lincoln, and Grant.
- Theodore Roosevelt
Ulysses Simpson Grant Who would scream and rave and rant While drinking whisky, although risky, 'cause he'd spill it on his pants!
"Grant is a man of a good deal of rough dignity; rather taciturn; quick an decided in speech. He habitually wears an expression as if he had determined to drive his head through a brick wall, and was about to do it. I have much confidence in him."
— - Letters from Col. Theodore Lyman to his wife, March and April, 1864.