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"Lightning Mule Brigade"

Discussion in 'The South & Western Theaters' started by Drew, May 5, 2013.

  1. Drew

    Drew 2nd Lieutenant

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    U.S. Army Colonel Abel Streight in March, 1863 convinced General James Garfield to allow him to organize a cavalry brigade for the purpose of carrying out operations from Tennessee deep into the South. Streight had dealt with northern Alabama Unionists, and felt they could be encouraged and protected, by emulating the operations of Confederate General N. B. Forrest. Thus was born the so-called Union “Lightning Mule Brigade.”

    "Streight's plan was risky, but the decision to mount the raiders on mules, and not horses, was a grave mistake. The Union command believed mules would be more sure-footed in the rugged northern Alabama hill country and better able to withstand the rigors of a two hundred mile raid. And, the thinking went, while mules were slower than horses, the raiders had little need for swift mounts, as they were not likely to see any opposition."

    As soon as the Lightning Mule Brigade disembarked from transports at Eastport, MS, some 400 mules dashed off into the countryside. Some of the escapees were retrieved, others replaced through forage.
     

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  3. Drew

    Drew 2nd Lieutenant

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  4. Drew

    Drew 2nd Lieutenant

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    “The endurance contest ended near Galesville, GA where the raiders destroyed the Round Mountain Iron Works-the mission’s only tangible achievement.”

    “Forrest’s cavalrymen pounced on the exhausted Yankees when they stopped for breakfast after marching all night. Some were sleeping so soundly they could not be rousted to fight, and other dozed off on the skirmish line.”

    “Rather than attack, Forrest’s men repeatedly circled Streight’s raiders to create the impression of overwhelming numbers. The ruse worked. Convinced that he was outnumbered and that his men were in no condition to fight, Streight surrendered. Just 20 foot-sore mules survived.”
     
  5. James N.

    James N. 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Of course this was the expedition we were recently discussing that was thwarted and captured near the Alabama-Georgia border by Forrest, with the aid of "Alabama Heroine" Emma Sansom.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew 2nd Lieutenant

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    "After Streight handed Forrest his sword and his men stacked their arms, Streight learned the depth of Forrest’s deception. With just 500 men, Forrest had captured Steight’s brigade which was three times larger. Streight demanded that his arms be returned so that he could fight it out, a proposition that amused Forrest, but that he rejected."

    “In his after-battle report, Streight altered the facts: “We were confronted by fully three times our number.”

    -taken from the work of Joseph Wheelan, Libby Prison Breakout.

    Sorry if this has been done before - had to share it!
     
  7. Drew

    Drew 2nd Lieutenant

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    Ack! Sorry if I'm repeating this. Just learning about it, remarkable.
     
  8. diane

    diane Colonel Forum Host

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    Ah, the Streight Raid! One of my favorites. Forrest didn't happen to be in the vicinity, nor did Streight. This raid was part of a coordinated operation to protect Grierson's raid through Mississippi, one of the war's epic achievements. Forrest had the choice of going after Grierson and leaving northern Alabama and Georgia to Streight, or protecting much valued foundries - he chose the latter. He darn near ran his horses into the ground, but he stopped Streight! And the surrender is classic Forrest. He not only had his men circling around but his guns, too. He'd lost two of the Bull Pups and only had the other two, but he kept trotting them behind him so that Streight could see them over Forrest's shoulder. "My God!" exclaimed Streight. "How many cannon have you got? I've counted 15 so far!" "Oh," said Forrest, "I reckon that's all that has kept up." And, according to Forrest, when Streight learned of the handful he'd surrendered to "he did rare up!" Forrest just laughed and laid his hand on Streight's shoulder. "Ah, General! All's fair in love and war."
     
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