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Ulysses S. Grant Information Center: Battles in the West

Information about General and President Ulysses S. Grant and resources for doing research. Includes material suitable for the K-12 audience.

The Civil War in the West

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Chronological List of Grant's Battles in the West

1. Battle of Belmont, Missouri, November 7, 1861.
2. Battle of Fort Henry, Tennessee, February 6, 1862.
3. Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, February 11-16, 1862.
4. Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee, April 6-7, 1862.
5. Campaign and Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, December 1862-July 4, 1863.
6. The Chattanooga Campaign, Tennessee, October-November, 1863.
Grant writes about each of these battles here in his Personal Memoirs.

1. Battle of Belmont, Missouri - November 7, 1861

Battle Summary, Belmont, November 7, 1861, from
Historians say it did not accomplish much, but Grant believed the experience gave his troops confidence in their fighting ability. 
Julia and Ulysses Psychic Connection
Grant had a narrow escape from enemy bullets while supervising departure of his troops at Belmont. Julia, back home in Galena, at this very moment experienced a distinct and startling vision of her husband. Later Grant told her he had been thinking intensely of her at the same time. Julia writes of this in her Memoirs.

2. Battle of Fort Henry, Tennessee, February 6, 1862

Union Army Organization

For information on Grant's progressively higher ranks as he achieved victory after victory, see the link below on his ranks and promotions. 

How many soldiers make up a Company, a Regiment, a Brigade, a Division and a Corps? How did Grant serve at each level? See the Union Army Organization link below.


       Ulysses S. Grant

Buttons and Stars

The military attire of Grant during the Civil War tells you something about his rank.

1861 June Colonel 21st Illinois volunteers. Eagle on his shoulder. Buttons in groups of 2.? Not sure.

Single Star on his shoulders, August, 1861, Brigadier General of Volunteer Soldiers. Buttons in groups of 2.

Two Stars on his shoulders, February, 1862, Major General of Volunteer Soldiers. Buttons in groups of 3.

Two Stars on his shoulders, Post-Vicksburg Victory, Major General, Regular Army. Buttons in groups of 3.

Three Stars on his shoulders, March 9, 1863, Lieutenant General all Union Armies. Buttons in groups of 3.

Four Stars on his shoulders, July, 1866, General of all the Armies. Buttons in groups of 4.

Colorized Portrait on U. S. Postage Stamp

       Grant on U. S. Postage Stamp

3. Battle of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, February 16-17, 1862

Battle Summary, Fort Donelson, from

Followup battle to Fort Henry, this victory electrified the North, making Grant a hero and earned him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender."

 Battle of Fort Donelson from Wikipedia

  The Surrender Letter Grant was promoted to Brigadier General of Volunteers after receiving General Buckner's "Unconditional Surrender."

 Article from Civil War Times (undated) on the American Battlefield Trust website. Grant at Ft. Donelson and how he came to be called "Unconditional Surrender Grant."

4. Shiloh, Tennessee, April 6-7, 1862

Brief summary of the battle. The highly controversial first day's battle Sherman called "The devil's own day." Grant responded, "Lick 'em tomorrow though." And indeed he did.

Battle of Shiloh from Wikipedia

Battle of Shiloh from the American Battlefield Trust
Many resources. Click on the blue right pointing arrow that says Visit the Battlefield for a great video with animated maps.

Battle of Shiloh from Civil War Wiki

Battle of Shiloh from the Essential Civil War Curriculum by Timothy B. Smith, leading tour guide at Shiloh National Military Park.

Grant at Cherry mansion, Savannah, Tennessee, a dwelling that served as his headquarters before the Battle of Shiloh. 

Testimony as to Grant's sobriety on opening day of the Battle of Shiloh by Mrs. W. H. Cherry, mistress of Cherry mansion. From the magazine Confederate Veteran, its first issue, February 1893.

The South suffered a major loss in this battle with the death of Confederate General Albert Sydney Johnston. Johnston was the highest-ranking casualty of the war on either side and his death was a strong blow to the morale of the Confederacy.

Marker at Shiloh

  Battle of Shiloh Marker

Grant at Chattanooga

Cracker Line at Chattanooga

Grant arrived at Chattanooga on Oct. 23, 1863 to find his army starving. On October 29, 1863 the first supplies along thCracker Line reached Chattanooga. At first, the line transported mostly vegetables and small rations, but the shorter days and cold nights required other supplies such as blankets and firewood. Medicine was also coming into Chattanooga in large quantities. The somber attitude that had prevailed for the previous five weeks was gone overnight, although the men would not receive full rations for a week.


5. Vicksburg, December 1862-July 1863

Battle Summary, Vicksburg Siege, May 18-July4, from
Pdf document, 240 pages. Everything you could ever want to know. From the Combat Studies Institute, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Siege of Vicksburg, from Wikipedia


Siege of Vicksburg, from Civil War Wiki

Vicksburg, from the American Battlefield Trust

The thrust of this website is the siege, May 18-July 4, 1863, but there is information on the other battles as well. See the dropdown box on the right side of the screen, below the illustration that says More Battles in this Campaign. See the blue arrow box that says Visit the Battlefield, for an animated map and of the siege.

 Discovery Tour of the Vicksburg Campaign.

Scroll down to find a marked tour with descriptions of each stop.

  A Boy's Experience at Vicksburg, by Frederick Dent Grant.