Grant and Buckner: Three Conversations

Presidential History Blog

The quintessential General Grant

U.S. Grant and S.B. Buckner were cadets at West Point.

Cadets Grant and Buckner

Ulysses S. Grant, class of 1843, and Simon Bolivar Buckner, class of 1844, were both midwesterners of middle-class standing both financially and academically.

West Point classes were small prior to the Civil War, perhaps 40 or 50 cadets. Most students had at least a passing acquaintance with their upper and lower academy mates.

Grant, an Ohioan, was a year ahead of Buckner, unremarkable except for his “U.S.” initials and his superb horsemanship. He graduated mid-class.

Simon Bolivar Buckner, a Kentuckian was likewise unremarkable, except for his “namesake” monicker and his good looks. He also graduated in the middle of his class.

Confederate General Simon Bolivar Buckner

The acquaintanceship between them was pleasant, but casual.

Lts. Grant and Buckner renewed their cordial old-school-ties during the War with Mexico. Then they went…

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