President Lincoln had to look to the west to find qualified leadership for the Union Army. From Ohio he found both Grant and Sherman. Grant was Commission On March 9, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln officially commissioned Ulysses S. Grant the first Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army since George Washington. In the face of repeated defeats on the eastern front of the war, Grant had been a consistent source of good news -- and good generalship -- in the West. "I can't spare this man," Lincoln said, "he fights."