R. Holiday tells a story of Ulysses S. Grant once sitting for a memorable photo shoot with the famous Civil War photographer, Matthew Brady. The studio was too dark so Brady’s assistant was sent up the roof to uncover a skylight. He suddenly slipped and shattered the window, sending dagger-like shards of glass crashing down on those below.
As lethal as the mishap could have been, everyone but Grant had hid for cover. After the last of the shards hit the floor, Brady looked over and saw that Grant had not moved – Grant looked up at the hole in the ceiling, then back at the camera as if nothing had happened. He was unhurt and ready to get on taking his picture.
Another story tells of Grant during the Overland Campaign. As he was surveying the scene through field binoculars, an enemy shell suddenly exploded killing the horse immediately next to him. Those close to him at the time say his eyes stayed fixed on the front, never leaving the glasses.
Yet there’s another story about Grant at City Point, the Union’s headquarters in Richmond. As troops were unloading a steamboat, it suddenly exploded. Everyone hit the dirt except for Grant, who was seen running toward the explosion scene, even as debris, shells and even bodies rained down.