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[344] most of his officers were sent off, bearing orders, probably, to other quarters of the field. It was Grant under fire. The rattling musketry increased on our front, and grew louder, too, on the left flank. Grant had led his horse to the left, and thus kept near the company to which I belonged. He now stood leaning complacently against his favorite steed, smoking — as seemed habitual with him — the stump of a cigar. His was the only horse near the line, and must, naturally, have attracted some of the enemy's fire. What if he should be killed, I thought to myself, and the army be left without its commander? In front of us was an enemy; behind us, and about us, and liable to overcome and crush us, were his reinforcements. For days we had been away from our base of supplies, and marching inside the enemy's lines. What if Grant should be killed, and we be defeated here — in such a place, and at such a time? I am sure every one who recognized him wished him away; but there he stood-clear, calm, and immovable. I was close enough to see his features. Earnest they were; but sign of inward movement, there was none. It was the same cool, calculating face I had seen before at the bridge; the same careful, half-cynical face I afterward saw busied with affairs of State.

Whatever there may have been in his feelings there was no effort to conceal; there was no pretence, no trick; whatever that face was, it was natural. A man close by me had the bones of his leg shattered by a ball, and was being helped to the rear. His cries of pain attracted the attention of Grant, and I noticed the half-curious, though sympathizing shades, that crossed his quiet face as the bleeding soldier seemed to look toward him for help. Men have often asked if Grant were personally brave in battle. Bravery, like many other human qualities, is comparative. That Grant was fearless in battle would be hard to say. If he possessed true bravery, he also possessed fear. Brave men are not fearless men. The fools, the excited, and the drunken, are they who, fearless and unasked, run on to death. Where duty was, imposed or assumed, Grant feared not to stand, and his sang froid was as marked, and not more necessary, in the presence of bullets, as it afterward was in the presence of popular clamor and senseless political reproach. He was eminently and above all things a cool man, and that, I take it, was, in the exciting times in which he lived, the first great key to his success. He was not made hilarious by victory, nor was he depressed by defeat. His services had not been forced upon the country, nor was he oblivious to his country's claims. He recognized simple duty, and his worst enemies envied the ardor with which that duty

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Grant Ulysses Grant (7)
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