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Ulysses S. Grant : Memoirs and Selected Letters : Personal Memoirs of U.S.…
At the age of thirty-nine, Ulysses Simpson Grant volunteered to command a regiment after the attack on Fort Sumter. His campaign in early 1862 against Forts Henry and Donelson resulted in the first major Union victory of the Civil War. Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chattanooga—the great battles in the West that followed—are stunningly described in Personal Memoirs. After Grant’s rise to commanding general of the Army of the Potomac in March 1864, the narrative reveals the pressure on him to produce victories and the gradual success of his overall strategy, leading to General Lee’s surrender of Confederate forces at Appomattox. Although Grant went on to become president of the United States, Personal Memoirs ends with his Civil War service. The memoirs were written in 1884–85 when Grant was deeply in debt and dying of throat cancer. Fighting pain with cocaine, composing in long hand because he could no longer dictate, the general completed his great work less than a week before his death. A huge commercial as well as critical success, Personal Memoirs redeemed his name and provided for his survivors.
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