General Ulysses Grant at City Point
Levin Corbin Handy
Gelatin silver print from glass negative
Image: 24.1 x 33 cm (9 1/2 x 13 in.)
Frame: 47 x 57.2 cm (18 1/2 x 22 1/2 in.)
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-115886)
Not on view
Handy began his photographic career as an apprentice in the studio of his uncle Mathew B. Brady. Upon Brady’s death in 1896, Handy inherited his uncle’s stock of Civil War negatives, which he mined as a steady source of income, producing new prints from the negatives and licensing images to numerous publications. To satisfy the steady demand for heroic images of the war, he also invented new pictures that casually blurred the line between historical fact and fiction. This photograph, which purports to show General Ulysses S. Grant on horseback at the Union Army headquarters at City Point, Virginia, is a composite of three negatives, all dating to 1864: the head was lopped off an informal portrait of Grant; the rider’s body belongs to Union Army General Alexander McDowell McCook; and the background shows an internment camp for Confederate soldiers.