Ulysses S. Grant could be posthumously appointed as General of the Armies of the United States, the Army’s highest rank

U.S. Representative Ann Wagner and U.S. Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri recently announced the introduction of legislation that would recognize Ulysses S. Grant’s 200th birthday in 2022 by authorizing and requesting the appointment of General Grant posthumously as General of the Armies of the United States, the United States Army’s highest rank.

General Ulysses S. Grant wearing civil war uniform.

The legislation, entitled the Ulysses S. Grant Bicentennial Recognition Act, would confer on Grant the same honor that was given to George Washington when he was posthumously promoted on the occasion of the nation’s bicentennial in 1976.

The grade of General of the Armies of the United States was first established by Congress in 1799 as the highest rank in the U.S. Army. However, then-President John Adams refused to appoint anyone to the position because the U.S. was not at war. The grade was dissolved in 1802, when Congress passed the Military Peace Establishment Act without reference to the grade. In 1866, Congress established the grade of “General of the Army of the United States” as the highest rank in the U.S. Army, and Grant was immediately appointed to the position.

In 1919, Congress authorized the president to appoint John Pershing to the grade of “General of the Armies of the United States” for his role in commanding military forces during World War I. Significant confusion arose between the previously established “General of the Army” (the position Grant held) and “General of the Armies” (the position created in 1799, then re-established in 1919).

In 1976, Congress clarified that “General of the Armies of the United States” is the highest rank in the U.S. Army when it posthumously promoted George Washington to the grade in honor of the nation’s bicentennial. The Ulysses S. Grant Bicentennial Recognition Act would promote Grant to the same rank as George Washington.

The full text of the House bill, H.J. Res. 58, is available here. The identical Senate bill, S.J. Res. 26, is available here.

U.S. Grant quotes:

“I know only two tunes. One of them is ‘Yankee Doodle’ the other isn’t.”

“In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten. Then he who continues the attack wins.”

“I have never advocated war except as means of peace, so seek peace, but prepare for war. Because war… War never changes. War is like winter and winter is coming.”

“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on.”

“The distant rear of an army engaged in battle is not the best place from which to judge correctly what is going on in front.”

U.S. Air Force veteran and tennis teaching professional. 4x Detroit Lions Retro Bowl champion coach.