ULYSSES S. GRANT
One of the Union’s most effective generals and one of America’s least effective presidents, Ulysses Simpson Grant was rumored to get through a bottle of whiskey a night when there wasn’t anything important going on. At a time when men typically drank hard liquor at the rate of over six gallons a year, Grant’s casual drinking was so noteworthy that it was felt necessary to bring it to Lincoln’s attention.
The president’s response? “I wish some of you would tell me what brand of whiskey Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.” As a two-term president (who campaigned unsuccessfully for a third), Grant was popular but scandal-prone, and while he fought hard for African-American rights and American foreign policy, his economic policies and ridiculously corrupt associates stained the image of the early Republican party and he is generally recommended as a mediocre leader.