It’s June 2, 1864. Photographer Tim O’Sullivan has taken to the steeple of Bethesda Church in Virginia to capture this image of Ulysses S. Grant (between the trees), listening to a report by Colonel Bowers (reading at the far right, inside the circle). On Grant’s right is General Horace Porter (reading a newspaper), and on his left is General Rawlins, chief of staff. Here’s a closer look.
In the next image, Grant has risen, walked around the church pews, and is leaning over Meade’s shoulders, consulting a map. Shortly afterward, he will write out orders for the battle of Cold Harbor the next day.