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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.

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

Battle Summary, Fort Henry, from

First of two battles to open the Tennessee River to Union transportation of men and supplies.  

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

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.

Was Grant Drinking at Shiloh? Absolutely not!

William R. Rowley


William R. Rowley, on Grant's staff and in the field with him at Shiloh had this to say about Grant's presumed inebriation during the first day's battle. This letter was subsequently forwarded to Representative Elihu B. Washburne.

Head Quarters Army in the Field

Near Pittsburg Tenn, April 19th 1862

E Hempstead Esqr

... I pronounce it an unmitigated slander. I have been on his Staff ever since the Donelson affair (and saw him frequently during that) and necessarily in close contact with him every day, and I have never seen him take even a glass of liquor more than two or three times in my life and then only a single at a time. And I have never seen him intoxicated or even approximate to it. As to the story that he was intoxicated at the Battle of Pittsburg, I have only to say that the man who fabricated the story is an infamous liar, and you are at liberty to say to him that I say so. ...

Yours &c W R ROWLEY

Marker at Shiloh

  Battle of Shiloh Marker

5. Vicksburg, December 1862-July 1863

Battles Preceding the Siege of Vicksburg

Grant Monument at Vicksburg

Grant Monument at Vicksburg


       Ulysses S. Grant

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.