Wasn't General Grant a leader of the south first and then switched to the north in the Civil War?

I thought that that was what I had read but I wasn't sure.

That General grant was originally part of the south but then switched to the north-


Is that correct?


6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No. General Grant was a clerk in his father's store in the town within which he was raised, Geneva, Illinois. He was named General of the Union Army after a succession of inept predecessors refused to advance the war at a pace to Abraham Lincoln's satisfaction. Although he had problems with alcohol, he had none with leadership. One example of which many people are unfamiliar. After completing a law degree in New York State, Eli Parker, head man of the Iroquois Nation and respected member of its storied council, was not allowed to practice law because he was an Indian. He persevered, and went back to school to become an Engineer. His Engineering experience eventually took him to Geneva, IL to build some classic federal buildings that still stand there today. As fortune would have it, he and Ulysses S. Grant became aquaintances and enjoyed each other's company over a drink or two at the end of the day. Parker made a big impression on Grant. To make a long story short, Parker ended up as a Brigadier General reporting to Grant, and, as a matter of record, composed the articles of surrender for use at Appamattox. As a matter of further record, Robert E. Lee, himself of Native American ancestry, stated to Parker upon entering the court house ceremony, "You, among all, have a right to be here" (understanding his first nations heritage). Parker later served in Grant's cabinet.

    Robert E. Lee was to receive an appointment to head up West Point, as one of their more remarkable students. He had to rescind this appointment at the outbreak of the war, as he had stated that he would serve his State of Virginia in the direction that they chose. He was a brilliant commander of the Confederate Army, and outmaneuvered the North's superior numbers with his superior leadership. His reward for honorable service was to have his family's hereditary estate, Arlington, appropriated by the Federal Government at the end of the war and turned into the Federal Military Cemetery it is to this day. He was an incredible individual, and in many ways mirrors the nobility of Field Marshal Rommel in World War II, who not only disagreed with his leader while executing his duty to the max, but even attempted, in league with others, to assassinate Hitler for the good of Germany, Europe and mankind. He paid even more dearly, with his life, at the hands of Nazi henchmen - in an agreement that his family be spared. Patton respected him more than anyone he faced in combat. Germans have the highest regard for his memory, and his family, to this day.

  • Molly
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    Historians mostly from from the South have totally distorted the reputations of these two men. Lee has been elevated to almost mythological heights while Grant was a drunkard butcher who only won because of overwhelming superiority in numbers. The facts tell a different story. Lee never won a battle outside of his home state. That means he had the luxury of in-depth knowledge of the land, roads and rivers. He enjoyed the support of partisan citizens and his troops fought with that extra fervor that comes when fighting on your own soil. Also, he was lucky to initially fight against inferior generals. Lee was defeated every time he fought on union soil. Contrast that with Grant who fought every battle in hostile territory sometimes hundreds of miles from friendly soil. Grant never lost a battle. Grant was considered a butcher but Lee lost a larger percentage of men per battle when compared to Grant. Remember, that Grant was usually on the offense while Lee primarily fought defensively. Typically the offensive side will lose more troops than the defense. We hear how Grant allowed his troops to be slaughtered at Cold Harbor but Lee lost 3 times that number in the misguided Pickett's charge. Even in Lee's much heralded victories in the 7 days and Chancellorsville battles he lost more troops than the North did. There was no way the South could prevail with these kind of results. Lee had absolutely no strategic skills with regard to the war. As a commander of an army it is expected that they should provide some kind of strategy for victory. It appears that Lee's only strategy was to defend VA and hopefully win a few major battles that would bring Lincoln to the bargaining table. Here he terribly misjudged Lincoln. Conversely, Grant understood that victory would come by controlling the west which included the Mississippi and the major railways. Then he could surround the remaining Rebels and tighten the noose while starving them. In my opinion Lee's tactics only hastened the end of the war. He neglected to defend the places that were strategically vital while squandering his forces in meaningless battles.. Generals Beauregard and Joe Johnston were much more conscious of a proper strategy which in my opinion was to drag the war on by denying the North any major victories while conserving troop strength and resources until hopefully the North would tire of the sacrifice and concede to Confederate demands. But Lee's fame grew with his dramatic victories and so he was encouraged to continue that path to defeat.

  • aida
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Absolutely not! You may be thinking of the fact that Grant first served in the western theater of the war and oversaw the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, before being called east to take command of the Army of the Potomac; but he was a Union officer from the beginning. The only person I know of (although there were probably others in similar circumstances) who served on both sides (and deserted both) was Mark Twain.

    Source(s): Married to a Civil War scholar
  • 1 decade ago

    Many,but not all, of the Confederate officers were former members of the U.S. military. A few were even northerners who decided to fight for the Confederacy,although many more officers from southern states remained in the U.S. military. Lee was actively courted to stay with the U.S. Army, largely because of his pre-war leadership at West Point.

    Grant, originally from Ohio but who lived in Illinois at the beginning of the war, would have attracted very little attention from southern leadership. He had no affinity for southern interests, and had not served in the military for a number of years after his graduation from West Point. Indeed, at the beginning of the war he was posted in what was perceived as a backwater theater of the war in Cairo, Illinois.

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  • I do believe that you are thinking of Gen Robert E. Lee.

    Both Lee and Grant attended West Point.

    The Union first asked Lee to command the Union Army, not Grant.

    Grant was actually the low man on the ol' commanding totem pole.

    (He graduated from West Point in 1843, ranking 21st in a class of 39. Lee, on the other hand, was THE top graduate of West Point 1846, Lee distinguished himself as an exceptional soldier in the U.S. Army for thirty-two years.)

    In early 1861, President Abraham Lincoln invited Lee to take command of the entire Union Army. Lee declined because his home state of Virginia was seceding from the Union, despite Lee's wishes. When Virginia seceded from the Union in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state.

  • Timo
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    No. You might be thinking of Robert E. Lee who resigned from the US Army and became General of the Confederate Army.

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