Saturday, May 25, 2024

“Yes, Sir, General President!”--Part 2

By Jennifer Uhlarik


Last month, I shared some brief details about the first five United States Presidents who had achieved the rank of General in our U.S. Armed Forces before winning their presidential elections.  This month, I wanted to share the other five with you. But before I begin, I wanted to announce the winner of last month’s drawing—and to apologize for the delay. Between some pressing family matters and bothersome technology glitches, I was unable to post the winner sooner.


Without further ado—last month’s winner of the “Go Away, I’m Reading!” sign is:




Connie, please leave me your email address in a comment below, and I’ll contact you privately.


Now, without further delay—here is part two of our list of ten American presidents who reached the rank of General before serving as President of the United States.


Ulysses S. Grant

Born Hiram Ulysses Grant, he became known as “Ulysses S.” because of a mistake made in his nomination to West Point, an appointment Grant’s father finagled on his behalf. At first, Grant wasn’t fond of the military life and considered quitting the prestigious military academy. But he stuck it out, graduated 21st in his 39-member class in June 1843. His plan was to fulfill his required four years of service, then go on to a private life beyond the military. However, the Mexican-American war began during that span, and studying both Major General Zachary Taylor’s and Major General Winifred Scott’s styles during the conflict, he proved himself an innovative and capable leader. It was during this time he rose to the rank of brevet captain and decided that he could make a good life in the military. But once that war ended, he served in the military only a brief few years before resigning due to a developing issue with alcohol. It was after the first shots of the Civil War were fired that he again joined the ranks of the military, this time as a Colonel in charge of the 21stIllinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Over and over, he proved his military acumen, although not always without controversy. But for his loyalty, shrewdness, and skill, he eventually rose to the rank of Commanding General of the U.S. Army in 1864, and it was he who negotiated the surrender of the Confederate Army to end the Civil War in April 1865. He served as Commanding General of the U.S. Army until 1869, at which point he was elected President and served two terms fraught with problems and scandals.


Rutherford B. Hayes

Hayes attended Harvard Law School and became a lawyer of meager-to-moderate success. But when Fort Sumter was fired upon, beginning the Civil War, Hayes resolved any issues he had in his own mind about the coming war and, instead, joined a volunteer company, where he was promoted to rank of major. He distinguished himself in battle during the length of the war, suffering more than one injury and also having a horse shot out from under him. By October 1864, he’d reached the rank of brevet major general, and at the war’s end the following April, he mustered out of the army. Ulysses S. Grant said of Hayes, “his conduct on the field was marked by conspicuous gallantry as well as the display of qualities of a higher order than that of mere personal daring.” Hayes went on to a career in politics, serving as a U.S. Representative for Ohio, governor of the same state, and eventually President after a very disputed election. One of his first acts as President in 1877 was to end the Reconstruction Era.


James A. Garfield

After his father’s death, poverty defined James Garfield’s early days. By age 16, he left home to work on a canal boat, but only a short time later, he was forced to return home due to illness. It was during this time that his mother elicited his promise that he would attend one year of school, which he fulfilled—then went on to pursue college, read for the law, and serve a year in Ohio’s senate. Once the Civil War broke out, he remained in the senate long enough to help muster troops and procure weapons, then received a commission in the 42nd Ohio Infantry at the rank of colonel. He distinguished himself in January 1862 at the Battle of Middle Creek, and for his valor there, was promoted to brigadier general. Illness struck soon after, sending him home to recuperate, and when he returned, it was to the position of chief of staff to Major General William H. Rosencrans. By late 1863, he’d been elected to the United States Congress, a position he was reluctant to take until President Abraham Lincoln convinced him it was the right move. He remained there for some years and eventually ran for a won the presidency in 1881. Unfortunately, his term was cut short when Charles J. Guiteau shot him on July 2, 1881. Though he lingered until September 18 of the same year, he ultimately died of infection.


Benjamin Harrison

The second oldest of ten children, Benjamin Harrison was born in Ohio—the grandson of Former President William Henry Harrison. He graduated Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1852, married, and moved to Indiana, where he practiced law until 1862. At that point, he heard a call from President Lincoln for more Union Army recruits, and he answered by agreeing to help recruit a regiment. He was commissioned as a colonel in said regiment after turning down the command, since he had no military background. He earned a reputation as a strong leader and was well respected by his men. Because of his success in Resaca and Peachtree Creek, President Lincoln nominated him for the rank of brevet brigadier general, and Congress confirmed that nomination shortly before the war’s end. After the war’s end, Harrison returned to practicing law, as well as won election to the position of reporter of the Indiana Supreme Court—a position he'd held before the war, as well. He served in the U.S. Senate from 1881 to 1887, and won the presidency in 1888. He served for four years


Dwight D. Eisenhower

Known affectionately as “Ike”, Dwight D. Eisenhower is the only U.S. President who was also a general since the Civil War era. Eisenhower was a West Point graduate in 1915, and despite requesting to serve in Europe during World War I, ended up commanding a unit that trained tank crews. After that war, he achieved the rank of brigadier general, and went on to serve in the second World War. During his time in World War II, he oversaw the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, France, and Germany. After the war’s end, he served as military governor of American-occupied Germany, served as Army Chief of Staff for three years, and was the very first Supreme Commander of NATO. He won the 1952 and 1956 elections, both in landslides.


Award-winning, best-selling novelist Jennifer Uhlarik has loved the western genre since she read her first Louis L’Amour novel. She penned her first western while earning a writing degree from University of Tampa. Jennifer lives near Tampa with her husband and two furbabies.





Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik


A Friendship From the Past Brings Closure to Dani’s Fractured Family


When Dani Sango’s art forger father passes away, Dani inherits his home. There, she finds a book of Native American drawings, which leads her to seek museum curator Brad Osgood’s help to decipher the ledger art. Why would her father have this book? Is it another forgery?


Brad Osgood longs to provide his four-year-old niece, Brynn, the safe home she desperately deserves. The last thing he needs is more drama, especially from a forger’s daughter. But when the two meet “accidentally” at St. Augustine’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, he can’t refuse the intriguing woman.


Broken Bow is among seventy-three Plains Indians transported to Florida in 1875 for incarceration at ancient Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris and Luke Worthing dream of serving on a foreign mission field, but when the Indians reach St. Augustine, God changes their plans. However, when Sally Jo’s friendship with Broken Bow leads to false accusations, it could cost them their lives.


Can Dani discover how Broken Bow and Sally Jo’s story ends and how it impacted her father’s life?



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting! I enjoyed the summaries of these presidents. And if I'm the Connie R. who won the sign I will pm you on FB!!! I love that sign!!