Cancer and Bitterness: Ulysses S. Grant Nurses His Sickness

Emerging Civil War

Grant-LastPhoto The last photo of Grant ever taken: July 20, 1885.

As Ulysses S. Grant’s throat cancer continued to eat away at him through the spring of 1885, he continued to struggle with pain of another sort, too. He was, at the time, in a race to complete his memoirs before the cancer struck him down, but his backwards glance wasn’t cast toward the Civil War only. He could not forget the events of the previous May that had nearly ruined him. His business partners, Ferdinand Ward and James Fish, had swindled him, leaving him and his entire family destitute.

It was, said Grant’s editorial assistant, Adam Badeau, a “shameful story of craft and guile in all its horrible proportions. . . . The shock of battle was less tremendous, the mortal agony was less acute.”

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