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Ulysses S. Grant took over the Union Army in March 1864

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Ulysses S. Grant, newly promoted to Lieutenant General, was appointed General-in-Chief of the Union Army 150 years ago this month.

His strategy was to fight head on against General Robert E. Lee and in spite of heavy losses that might occur of Union forces, Grant wanted to deprive Lee of men and supplies. His plan eventually wore the Confederates down and led to the eventual Confederate surrender the following April. Grant also suspended the prisoner of war exchanges early in 1864. This was another way to deprive Lee of fighting men, while at the same time, caused great hardship of Union soldiers languishing in Confederate prisons.

Lt. General Grant’s plan was controversial. Members of Congress had mostly believed that grabbing territory was the way to win the war. They were astounded by the number of Union men lost in battles that General Grant was reporting as victories. They pressured Abraham Lincoln frequently, but the President stood firmly behind Grant and his plan.

After the war he was elected as the 18th President of the United States.

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