Daily Bread for 12.5.22: General Grant’s Promotion

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 39. Sunrise is 7:10 AM and sunset 4:20 PM for 9h 10m 14s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 93.7% of its visible disk illuminated.

 On this day in 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified (to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had mandated nationwide prohibition on alcohol).

Commanding General Grant at the Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1864. This work is from the Brady-Handy collection at the Library of Congress.

 Anne Marshall, associate professor of history at Mississippi State University writes about a pending promotion in Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s pending promotion sheds new light on his overlooked fight for equal rights after the Civil War:

Tucked away in an amendment to the FY2023 U.S. defense authorization bill is a rare instance of congressional bipartisanship and a tribute to U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.

If approved, the measure would posthumously promote Grant to the rank of General of the Armies of the U.S., making him only the third person – along with John J. Pershing and George Washington – to be awarded the nation’s highest military honor.

As Executive Director of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, I believe that the promotion would be much more than a symbolic nod to a great military general. Rather, it would highlight the overlooked legacy of a man who fought to end the last vestiges of slavery.

During the Civil War, Grant rose to fame as a decisive leader who was willing to doggedly pursue Confederate armies and avoid retreat at all costs. He first gained his reputation for tenacity with Union victories at Shiloh, the Battles for Chattanooga and the Siege of Vicksburg.


A year before President Abraham Lincoln signed in 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation that freed enslaved people in the Confederate states, Grant oversaw the establishment of refugee, or contraband camps, throughout the Mississippi Valley. Those camps provided basic housing, food and work for Black men and women who had fled from slavery.

Grant also administered the enlistment of African American men into United States Colored Troops units during the Vicksburg campaign.

In March 1864, Lincoln appointed Grant to the rank of lieutenant general and ordered him to take on the Confederate Army in Virginia, a task at which numerous other Union leaders had failed.

At this point during the war, Grant assumed the role of chief strategist for the entire Union war effort. It took the next 13 months of fighting during the Overland campaign before Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

Gen. Grant’s promotion is long overdue. 

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