Ulysses S. Grant, born Hiram Ulysses Grant (1822- 1885), was an American general and the eighteenth President of the United States (1869-1877). He achieved international fame as the leading Union general in the American Civil War. Grant first reached national prominence by taking Forts Henry and Donelson in 1862 in the first Union victories of the war. The following year, his brilliant campaign ending in the surrender of Vicksburg secured Union control of the Mississippi and-with the simultaneous Union victory at Gettysburg-turned the tide of the war in the North's favor. Named commanding general of the Federal armies in 1864, he implemented a coordinated strategy of simultaneous attacks aimed at destroying the South's ability to carry on the war. In 1865, after conducting a costly war of attrition in the East, he accepted the surrender of his Confederate opponent Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.