Happy Birthday, Ulysses
On this day in 1822, the regal (and rather woeful) face that stares you down from your fifty-dollar bills--Hiram (after his granddad) Ulysses Grant--was born in Point Pleasant, OH. The future Union powerhouse and 18th U.S president suffered the childhood nickname "Useless"--sloughing it off when he enrolled in West Point at seventeen, where he proved a peerless horseman (a skill that earned him some notoriety later in life when he was ticketed $20 for driving his horse too fast). After serving as a lieutenant in the Mexican-American War (1846-48), he remained in the Army until abruptly resigning in 1854...Rumors abounded that Brevet Colonel Robert C. Buchanan was riding him for his heavy drinking--Grant was a purported fan of Old Crow. Grant was also a cigar aficionado who loved to herald a new day by munching on pickles. If you want to spend the weekend reliving Grant's Vicksburg Campaign, it's likely there's a Civil War reenactment event near you, but if that tribute's too much of a schlep, you can always head up NYC's Riverside Drive to Grant's Tomb (admission's free). And if anyone quizzes you on who's "buried" there, remember: entombed, not buried, and it's Grant and his wife.