Today in History, July 25, 1866:
Congress creates the new rank of “General of the Army of the United States” specifically for the US Army’s commanding general, Ulysses S. Grant.
Typical of Grant’s unpretentious nature, he chose to signify the honor with a simple 4 star should board on his basic uniform.
Grant would hold the rank until elected President, at which time he was succeeded by William Tecumseh Sherman, who was succeeded by Phillip Sheridan. The rank died when Sheridan did in 1888, until WWII, when it was signified with 5 stars.