Their relationship had lasted 4 years before today in 1848. Julia Dent’s father warned her not to get involved with the man. He was a poor soldier that would never be able to provide for in the manner she had become accustomed to in the luxury of the White Haven plantation.
Her father, Colonel Frederick Dent, a slave owner and merchant in eastern Missouri, didn’t believe Ulysses Grant could provide for his beloved daughter the way that he felt she should be pampered. Outwardly, Colonel Dent admired the young man because he had been a West Point classmate of Julia’s brother. When the colonel found out that Grant had graduated in the lower 3rd of his class, his hopes for her daughter with the young man from Ohio faded.
Julia told her father the first time Grant proposed to her. He tried to dissuade his daughter that she could find someone better. The colonel told her he would probably never amount to anything and as a soldier he would be gone from home for long stretches at a time.
Grant proposed again, and again she deflected his proposal in such a way that it didn’t dampen his affection for the 16 year old girl who had captured his heart. Grant had written his father Jesse back in Ohio and told him about Julia and how beautiful and kind she was. He didn’t mention the colonel or the fact that he was a slave owner. That came in another letter when Jesse asked about her family. Jesse joined the colonel in being against the marriage, just for different reasons.
Finally, in 1844 Grant once again proposed to Julia while they were sitting on the front steps at White Haven. Julia agreed and when Grant spoke to her father, his father had a change of heart if not about Grant, but about his hope for his daughter’s happiness.
Not long after their engagement was announced, Grant was sent south. A war with Mexico seemed imminent and on April 25, 1846 war did erupt and Grant found himself in combat for the first time, but it didn’t last long. In February 2, 1848, the war was over and Grant eventually made his way back to St. Louis and his Julia.
On this day in August of 1848, Ulysses S. Grant and Julia Dent were married. It was a good day for both Ulysses and Julia. The rest of their lives together would not be as happy as this one day.