Although Ulysses S. Grant is best remembered as Civil War commander and as president, documents included here demonstrate his importance in the intervening years. Grant interpreted Reconstruction as the means to preserve battlefield victories. He avoided taking a public stand in the bitter dispute between President Andrew Johnson and Congress because he believed that military men served the country, not partisan interests. Nevertheless, he recognized that presidential Reconstruction had failed and privately supported passage of the First Reconstruction Act.Grant's public silence on political issues led to lively newspaper speculation, and individuals from unreconstructed rebels to ardent Unionists wrote to him offering support and advice. Circumstances were forcing him inexorably onto the political battlefield.