Atthe outbreak of the Civil War, Grant was working in his father's store. He was appointed by the Governor to command an unruly volunteer regiment. Grant whipped it into shape and by September 1861 hehad risen to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers.
He sought to win control of the Mississippi Valley. In February 1862 he took Fort Henry and attacked Fort Donelson. When the Confederatecommander asked for terms, Grant replied, "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." The Confederates surrendered, and President Lincoln promoted Grant to major general ofvolunteers.
Lincoln appointed him General-in-Chief in March 1864. Grant directed Sherman to drive through the South while he himself, with the Army of the Potomac, pinned down Gen. Robert E. Lee'sArmy of Northern Virginia.
Grant was an extraordinarily responsible father and husband. He was extremely loving and kind towards his wife and children and was always considered a hero in the eyes ofhis family. Perhaps General Grant was the most ethical and moral family man and U. S. President that we ever had.
Grant was an uncommonly devoted parent and expressed his affection for his children inhis letters and in his actions. He particularly spoiled his two youngest children, Nellie and Jesse, and they were his special favorites. Horace Porter, one of Grant's staff officers, recalled, "thechildren often romped with him and he joined in their frolics as if they were all playmates together. The younger ones would hang around his neck while he was writing, make a terrible mess of thepapers, and turn everything in his tent into a toy.”
As President, Grant presided over the Government much as he had run the Army. Indeed he brought part of his Army staff to the White House.