Before the war, Ulysses S. Grant of Illinois considered himself a failure. After a West Point education, he tried army life, left that to try business, and ended up impoverished. But his military training won him the rank of Union army colonel in the war's first days. Early success earned him promotions. After his victory in April, 1862, at the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee, he was given greater responsibilities. He was later named general in chief of all Union armies and defeated Robert E. Lee's army in April, 1865. His fame helped win him the U.S. presidency in 1868. Today he is honored with a portrait on the $50 bill.
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