Clash of the Titans – Infographic Tracks the History of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia, 1865. (Image source: WikiCommons)

Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, Virginia, 1865. (Image source: WikiCommons)

“Despite their similarities, the two men could not have come from more different backgrounds.”

OF ALL THE military giants to emerge from the U.S. Civil War, none loom as large over American history as Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.

Both generals emerged from the war as living icons of their respective causes. To this day, each is remembered as much for his battlefield prowess and dogged determination as for his decency and humanity. Yet despite their similarities, the two men could not have come from more different backgrounds.

Lee was a product of the Old Virginia aristocracy and enjoyed an upbringing of wealth and privilege; Grant, who was raised in a tiny cottage in rural Ohio, was the son of an ordinary tanner and famously characterized his existence as “hardscrabble”.

Lee was a West Point graduate and career soldier; Grant, who also studied at the prestigious military academy, left the army at 32 to pursue a life in business only to fail miserably.

Lee was the embodiment of temperance and self-discipline; Grant battled alcoholism all his life.

This week, Norwich University’s Masters of Military History program has provided MilitaryHistoryNow.com with this fascinating infographic comparing the lives of these two Civil War titans.

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