General Grant’s First Battle (Belmont, 7 November 1861)

Grant, a West Point-trained, former Army captain and veteran of the Mexican War, was working in his father’s tannery at the outbreak of the Civil War. Returning to the Army first as a regimental commander, and then as a district commander, his superior was the famous explorer and politician, MG John C. Frémont, commander of the Department of the West. Grant’s headquarters was situated in an old bank building in Cairo, Illinois’ most southern city.