1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free! If you aren't ready for that, try posting your question or comment as a guest!

The Reluctant Cavalryman: Benjamin Grierson

Discussion in 'The South & Western Theaters' started by Nathanb1, Jul 18, 2012.

  1. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    Paper from CW history class taken under Dr. Susannah Ural, 2004. My first "look" at the guy and what he accomplished!


    The Reluctant Cavalryman: The Mississippi Raids of Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson​

    A man who disliked horses led one of the most important and successful raids carried out by Union cavalry in the Civil War. By moving almost at will through the heart of the Confederacy, Colonel Benjamin Henry Grierson was able to distract troops from the defense of Vicksburg, disrupt communications and transportation networks behind enemy lines, as well as destroy food and supplies desperately needed by the South. Most importantly, he created a sense of vulnerability within the Confederacy and raised the morale of the Union.

    Grierson, who James Johnson and Alfred Bill characterized as “an amateur soldier,” was both uniquely qualified to conduct the raids and a most unusual choice. D. Alexander Brown reports after a horse kicked Grierson as a child, he went into a coma, was temporarily blinded, and scarred for life. Afterward, he studiously avoided horses. Unfortunately for Grierson, when he volunteered for service in 1861, the horse-hater was placed in the cavalry and refused transfer to the infantry by General Henry Halleck. “General Halleck jocularly remarked that I looked active,” Grierson wrote, “and wiry enough to make a good cavalryman.”[ii]

    He was a natural musician who, claims Stephen Starr, taught himself to play seven instruments. Grierson tried to support his family by teaching music and leading community bands around his hometown of Jackonville, Illinois, but music paid poorly—even though he wrote popular songs for Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 campaign.[iii]

    His skills as a businessman were questionable; however, the future Brigadier General was a natural leader of men. William and Shirley Leckie note his “strong tendency to be temperate and fair in his judgement of others,”[iv] which must have been appealing to the men serving under him. Grierson was appointed a major of the Sixth Illinois regiment over more experienced military men, says Starr, and was soon promoted to the colonelcy after the first colonel was “compelled to resign.”[v]

    He was stationed in the west, where fellow Illinois native Ulysses S. Grant was gaining recognition. Bruce Dinges declares when Grierson and his men distinguished themselves in a number of smaller actions in Tennessee in 1862,[vi] Grant noticed his aggression and diligence. Sherman characterized Grierson as “the best cavalry commander I have yet had,” according to Dinges, [vii] an din 1863, when Grant needed someone for a dangerous mission deep in Mississippi, he asked for Grierson.

    Grant was bogged down in the siege of Vicksburg, a campaign initiated by Lincoln’s earlier comment, Brown says, to Admiral David D. Porter. “Let us get Vicksburg and all that country is ours.”[viii] As Johnson and Bill note in a contemporary comment about Grant’s tenaciousness,

    “The old fool has tried this….five times already, but he’s got thirty-seven more plans.”[ix] Grant, contends Archer Jones, previously made “two unsuccessful efforts to float an army in bayous…and two efforts to find or dig a water route around Vicksburg.”[x] Unable to overcome Pemberton’s defenses from the Mississippi River side, Grant realized his troops would have to travel down the western shore, away from the Vicksburg batteries, “ferry troops across,” then sweep northeast to attack from the rear.[xi]

    Herman Hattaway emphasizes there were 32,000 troops under Pemberton’s command in Mississippi, plus a still-intact system of rail lines to move men and supplies. Pemberton also had General Joseph E. Johnston to defend his eastern perimeter. Moreover, one of the South’s most effective weapons, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was under Bragg in Tennessee, too close for Grant’s comfort.[xii]

    However, Brown notes Grant’s advantage: he served with Pemberton in the Mexican War and understood the Confederate general could be easily distracted by too many details, such as a cavalry unit or two loose behind enemy lines in Mississippi and Alabama.[xiii] Grant decided upon a multi-pronged diversionary attack, sending Steele’s division over water to Greenville and using Sherman to feint from Tennessee. As Dinges notes, “Colonel Abel Streight and 1,000 mounted infantrymen were sent to disrupt Confederate communications in northern Alabama.”[xiv] Finally, Hattaway observes, Grierson was to be unleashed from La Grange, Tennessee, to attack Newton Station and return to safety as best he could.[xv]

    In February, according to Lalicki, Grant wrote, “It seems to me that Grierson, with about 500 picked men, might succeed…..The undertaking would be a hazardous one, but it would pay well if carried out. I do not direct that this shall be done, but leave it for a volunteer enterprise.”[xvi] Brown reports in a letter written to General Hurlbut on March 9th that Grant specifically eliminated two other commanders from consideration while again suggesting Grierson.[xvii] Johnson and Bill say Grierson’s men were primarily charged with cutting rail and telegraph communications. In addition, they were to destroy Confederate supplies and arms.[xviii] Grant was implementing the strategy of total war to demoralize and physically weaken the South. The heart of the Confederacy, Grierson concluded by the end of the raid, “was but a hollow shell, strong on the surface by reason of organized armies, but hollow within, and destitute.”[xix]
    Another benefit of this raid was its status as a rare Union cavalry success at that point in the war.

    Until then, as Christopher Dwyer points out: Confederate cavalry…possessed the potential for decisive impact on the war. Slashing deep behind enemy lines, the superb western cavalry….provided successful counterattacks against Union invasions, boosted Southern morale, allowed Confederate commanders to take the initiative, and decided several campaigns as decisively as if a great battle had been won.[xx]

    Shelby Foote suggests, “Stuart and Morgan and Forrest had literally ridden rings around the awkward blue squadrons and the armies in their charge. Now, perhaps, the time had come for them to emulate the example set by the exuberant gray riders.”[xxi] Grant, says Dwyer, “brought the use of cavalry to a logical conclusion—a large, independent invasion force that utilized mobility for strategic surprise, dismounted fighting, and superior firepower for powerful lightning attacks against the rear areas of the enemy.[xxii]

    D. Alexander Brown, Grierson’s Raid (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1954), 25.
    [ii]Stephen Z. Starr, The Union Cavalry in the Civil War, vol. 3 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985), 145.
    [iii] William H. Leckie and Shirley A. Leckie, Unlikely Warriors: General Benjamin Grierson and His Family (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984), 11.
    [iv] Starr, “Union Cavalry,” 145
    [v] Bruce J. Dinges, “Running Down Rebels,” Civil War Times Illustrated 19, (1980), 14.
    [vi] Bruce J. Dinges, “Grierson’s Raid,” Civil War Times Illustrated 34, no. 6 (1996), 50.
    [vii]Brown, Grierson’s Raid, 7.
    [viii] Johnson and Bill, Horsemen, 85.
    [ix] Archer Jones, Civil War Command and Strategy: The Process of Victory and Defeat (New York: The Free Press, 1992), 159.
    [x] Ibid., 160.
    [xi] Ibid., 160
    [xii] Herman Hattaway, Shades of Blue and Gray: An Introductory Military History of the Civil War (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1997), 131.
    [xiii] Brown, Grierson’s Raid, 106.
    [xiv] Dinges, “Raid,” 50.
    [xv] Hattaway, Shades of Blue and Gray, 131.
    [xvi]Tom Lalicki, Grierson’s Raid (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2004), 8-9.
    [xvii] Brown, Grierson’s Raid, 8.
    [xviii] Johnson and Bill, Horsemen, 86.
    [xix] Ibid., 87.
    [xx] Christopher S. Dwyer, “Raiding Strategy: As applied by the Western Confederate Cavalry in the American Civil War,” The Journal of Military History 63, no. 2 (1999): 263.
    [xxi] Shelby Foote, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fredericksburg to Meridian (New York: Vintage Books, 1986), 334.
    [xxii] Dwyer, “Raiding Strategy,” 276.

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    10,120
    Location:
    Kentucky
    A very informative post. Thanks.
  4. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    Grierson, Part III


    Lalicki says Grierson began by traveling home to Illinois for what he felt might be a final visit to his beloved wife, Alice. The trip was carried out under the pretext of “delivering regimental dispatches.”[1] Grierson later characterized the visit in his autobiography as “one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life,” and an “oasis of love in the middle of a desert of doubt, darkness, and uncertainty.”[2] A telegram from Hurlbut included no reference to the mission but simply said, “Return Immediately!”[3]
    After three days’ travel, Brown says Grierson met with General W.S. Smith in LaGrange to receive verbal orders; nothing definite was consigned to paper before the raid.[4] “Smith told Grierson he would have discretionary powers when he passed to the rear of the enemy’s lines and lost communications with LaGrange. It would be his duty and privilege to use his own best judgment as to the course it would be safest and best to take.”[5] Foote says Hurlbut wrote apprehensively, “God speed him, for he has started gallantly on a long and perilous ride. I shall anxiously await intelligence of the result.”[6]
    According to eighteen year old First Sergeant Stephen A. Forbes of the Seventh Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, a participant in the raid, “The force which made the ride to Baton Rouge consisted wholly of Illinois men, under an Illinois leader, although the Second Iowa Cavalry, belonging to the same brigade, accompanied the column for the first four days.”[7] Grierson was finally in total command of a major raid, relying on his own judgment, initiative, and his own hand-picked troops.
    A diversion to Corinth pulled the Confederates away from Grierson’s line of march. “And now,” wrote Forbes, “with the thin Confederate line in northern Mississippi….completely pulled apart and piled up at its ends, there suddenly shot down through its abandoned center a slender column of 1,500 cavalry…into the very vitals of the Confederate position.”[8] Forbes noted there was “no baggage to encumber them save what was strapped to their saddles.”[9] In fact, each man carried only “forty rounds of ammunition, five days’ rations and a good supply of salt.”[10] Grierson’s men would essentially live off the land for sixteen days of hard riding and fighting.
    Grierson soon made two key decisions affecting the outcome of the raid. From south of Pontotoc he sent “An expedition, composed of the less effective portion of the command, to return by the most direct route to LaGrange,” with the 175-man “Quinine Brigade,” as it was dubbed, “marching by fours, obliterating our tracks, and producing the impression that we have all returned.”[11] He then detached the Second Iowa under Hatch to attack the Mobile and Ohio Railroad near West Point and return to La Grange “by the most practicable route.”[12] Brown reports these moves effectively confused Confederate forces in the vicinity and helped focus Pemberton’s attention on less-important forces at his rear instead of Grant.[13]
    Brown emphasizes the element enabling Grierson’s canter through the middle of Mississippi was the inspired creation of the “Butternut Guerrillas,” a group of volunteer scouts dressed in “confiscated”[14]clothing. Lieutenant-Colonel William A. Blackburn put the group together and contributed significantly to their success by his choice of leader: Richard Surby.[15] Surby had led an adventurous life working on railroads, traveling the country (including the South) and could “do a fair imitation of the Southern drawl.”[16]
    Blackburn and Surby hand-picked eight men from the Seventh Illinois, who Brown says were soon dressed appropriately for their work. “Partisan rangers, state troops and guerrillas wore an even more individualistic dress (than the regular Confederate army), and as the scouts hoped to pass for these…the necessary disguises were easy to come by.”[17] Brown noted one of John Hunt Morgan’s men once said “their clothing was uniform only in its variety.”[18] The disguises were effective, wrote Surby. “Riding up through the nooning bivouac of the Sixth Illinois, we excited some little curiosity and sold the boys completely.”[19] The danger to the scouts was more extreme than for the other troopers; if captured while impersonating a Confederate, the likely result would be execution.[20]




    [1] Lalicki, Grierson’s Raid, 8.
    [2] Ibid., 10.
    [3] Ibid., 8.
    [4] Brown, Grierson’s Raid, 7.
    [5] Ibid.
    [6] Foote, Civil War, 334.
    [7] Peter Cozzens, ed., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, vol. 6 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 198.
    [8] Ibid., 2002
    [9] Ibid.
    [10] Ibid.
    [11] War of the Rebellion: A Compliation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, series 1, vol. 24, Washington, D.C. (1889), http://ehistory.com/usew/library/or/036/0519.cfm, (2 June 2004)
    [12] Ibid., 523.
    [13] Brown, Grierson’s Raid, 49.
    [14] Ibid., 73.
    [15] Ibid.
    [16] Ibid., 64.
    [17] Ibid., 74.
    [18] Ibid., 73.
    [19] Richard W. Surby, Grierson Raids and Hatch’s Sixty-Four Days March, with Biographical Sketches, Also the Life and Adventures of Chickasaw, the Scout. (Chicago: Rounds and James, Steam Book and Job Printers, 1865)
    [20] Brown, Grierson’s Raid. 64.


    [21] Christopher S. Dwyer, “Raiding Strategy: As applied by the Western Confederate Cavalry in the American Civil War,” The Journal of Military History 63, no. 2 (1999): 263.
    [22] Shelby Foote, The Civil War, A Narrative: Fredericksburg to Meridian (New York: Vintage Books, 1986), 334.
    [23] Dwyer, “Raiding Strategy,” 276.
    [24] Lalicki, Grierson’s Raid, 8.
    [25] Ibid., 10.
    [26] Ibid., 8.
    [27] Brown, Grierson’s Raid, 7.
    [28] Ibid.
    [29] Foote, Civil War, 334.
    [30 Peter Cozzens, ed., Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, vol. 6 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), 198.
    [31] Ibid., 2002
    [32] Ibid.
    [33] Ibid.
    [34] War of the Rebellion: A Compliation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, series 1, vol. 24, Washington, D.C. (1889), http://ehistory.com/usew/library/or/036/0519.cfm, (2 June 2004)
    [35] Ibid., 523.
    [36] Brown, Grierson’s Raid, 49.
    [37] Ibid., 73.
    [38 Ibid.
    [39] Ibid., 64.
    [40] Ibid., 74.
    [41] Ibid., 73.
    [42] Richard W. Surby, Grierson Raids and Hatch’s Sixty-Four Days March, with Biographical Sketches, Also the Life and Adventures of Chickasaw, the Scout. (Chicago: Rounds and James, Steam Book and Job Printers, 1865)
    [43] Brown, Grierson’s Raid. 64.
  5. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    Part 4, -- Don't have the footnote attributions typed in yet but will get them. Footnotes and formatting are a bear to transfer on here!

    The weather often hampered Grierson’s travel through swampy land covered with creeks and rivers. “We moved out on the road about 4 miles, through a dismal swamp nearly belly-deep in mud…swimming our horses to cross streams, when we encamped for the night in the midst of a violent rain,” wrote Grierson.[xxi] However, nature also assisted Grierson in his quest. By this time, writes Brown, the populace “accepted the mud-camouflaged main column as a rebel troop. Isolated by the floods, they had heard nothing of a Yankee raid. Once when the column passed a schoolhouse, the teacher called recess and thechildren raced out to the roadside, cheering the muddy horsemen for loyal Confederates.”[xxii]

    On the sixth day, Brown reports, Grierson located and destroyed a valuable “tannery and shoe manufactory,” using information “from Negroes who had attached themselves to the brigade at Starkville,”[xxiii] thereby eliminating Confederate resources estimated at a value of $50,000.[xxiv] Grierson, writes Brown, detached Co. B of the 7th Regiment, led by Captain Henry Forbes, to make a feint toward Macon, MS and convince the Rebels the real purpose of the raid was to attack the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.[xxv] By the morning of April 22, Forbes and Grierson were heading in “directions almost opposite.”[xxvi] On the same day, Hatch attacked the rail line at Okolona and burned “thirty barracks filled with Confederate British-stamped cotton.”[xxvii]
    On April 23, Grierson had another piece of luck, finding the only bridge over the flooded Pearl River untouched. He later learned the citizens of Philadelphia had intended to burn it, “But hearing of our near approach, their hearts failed, and they fled to the woods.”[xxviii] Of course, Brown notes, the Union raiders had sporadic skirmishes since La Grange. Some of them were significant enough to make Pemberton “genuinely alarmed,”[xxix] and to feverishly dispatch troops meant to reinforce Vicksburg.[xxx] Fortunately for Grierson, Pemberton had no idea of the real objective of the raid, and thereby overlooked the defense of the Vicksburg railroad to save the “much less important Mobile and Ohio road,” according to Brown, who adds, “Perhaps because of the very audacity of the action, neither Pemberton nor any of his field officers could admit the possibility…that two regiments of Union cavalry were then only a long day’s march from Vicksburg’s lifeline.”[xxxi]

    On April 23, Grierson also sent Blackburn on an overnight ride to Newton Station. “Here we rested (5 mi. SE of Philadelphia) until 10 o’clock at night, when I sent two battalions of the 7th Illinois Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn, to proceed immediately to Decatur, thence to the railroad at Newton Station.”[xxxii] The weather cooperated, and the advance Union force hit the railroad “about 6 a.m.” with Grierson about an hour behind.[xxxiii]
    Grierson explained Blackburn “dashed into the town, took possession of the railroad and telegraph, and succeeded in capturing two trains.”[xxxiv] Thirty-eight cars loaded with railroad ties, machinery, commissary stores and ammunition, together with “about five hundred stand of arms stored in the town, were destroyed.”[xxxv] The engines were demolished along with tracks and a bridge. Grierson reported his men and horses were worn out at this point, and he was forced to order food and rest.[xxxvi]

    The objective had been reached, but Grierson was 300 miles from LaGrange in enemy territory. The raiders were pursued constantly by multiple forces for the next eight days, but never really slowed down. Grierson considered escape through Alabama or Baton Rouge and began moving south, possibly to join Grant at Grand Gulf after attacking the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad at Hazlehurst.[xxxvii] Sending Colonel Edward Prince to attack the railroad resulted in the destruction of ammunition and stores meant for Grand Gulf and Port Gibson.[xxxviii] Grierson misdirected the enemy toward Port Gibson, “while I quietly took the opposite direction.”[xxxix] Moving rapidly, he continued to destroy Confederate property, and the only significant blow on the return trip was the loss of Blackburn and Surby to wounds during a skirmish on the Tickfaw River Bridge.[xl]

    Henry Forbes’ troops, by “marching 60 miles per day for several consecutive days,” reconnected at the Pearl River crossing.[xli] Grierson’s main force also moved with the speed usually attributed to Forrest or Stuart. “The last twenty-eight hours we marched 76 miles, had four engagements with the enemy, and forded the Comite River, which was deep enough to swim many of the horses. During this time the men and horses were without food and rest.”[xlii]
    Not only did Grierson march over 600 miles in sixteen days; he managed to pull thousands of troops away from Vicksburg’s defense. Amazingly, “Our loss….was 3 killed, 7 wounded, 5 left on the route sick; the sergeant-major of the 7th Illinois left with Lieutenanth-Colonel Blackburn (who later died), and 9 men missing, supposed to have straggled.”[xliii] Even Hatch, whose fate had been unknown until Grierson reached Baton Rouge, returned relatively unhurt to LaGrange, says Lalicki.[xliv]

    What were Confederate spies doing during Grierson’s raid? Two time-exposure photos were made by a Confederate Secret Service agent as the troops reached safety in Baton Rouge.[xlv] Unfortunately for the Confederacy, they were made too late. Grierson explained his success by saying, “Colton’s pocket map of Mississippi…was all I had to guide me; but by the capture of their couriers, dispatches and mails, and the invaluable aid of my scouts, we were always able by rapid marches to evade the enemy when they were too strong and whip them when not too large.”[xlvi]

    The raid was a terrible shock to the people of Mississippi. Lalicki reports one Mississippian said, “Grierson has knocked the heart out of the state.”[xlvii] In the Boston Traveller of May 19, 1863, “Cicerone” writes, “It is one of the most remarkable military events yet recorded in the annals of our Republic’s history.”[xlviii] In a February, 1865 Harper’s Magazine article, “Heroic Deeds of Heroic Men,” by John S.C. Abbott, the praise was effusive:
    Among all the thrilling stories of the war there is not one which can surpass, in wild and perilous adventure, the tale of Colonel Grierson’s cavalry raid into and through the State of Mississippi. Poetry in years to come will claim the chivalrous record as her own, and will sing to the children of future centuries of the bold raiders into the South, whose hearts were like the brave hearts of the three “who kept the bridge in the brave days of old.[xlix]

    Even the normally reserved Grierson “could not deny the obvious,” says Lalicki.[l] “My Dear Alice, I, like Byron, have had to wake up in the morning and find myself famous. Since I have been here (New Orleans) it has been one continuous ovation,” he wrote on the sixth of May.[li] Lalicki states the May 17 edition of the New York Times “devoted its front and back pages to the raid; other papers followed with equal coverage…he was the informal “Man of the Year.”[lii] Sherman called the raid, “the most brilliant expedition of the war,”[liii] and Grant wrote, “The expedition was skillfully conducted and reflects great credit on Colonel Grierson and all his command. The notice given this raid by the Southern press confirms our estimate of its importance. It has been one of the most brilliant cavalry exploits of the war, and will be handed down in history as an example to be imitated.”[liv]

    Unfortunately, irony once again reared its ugly equine head. Brown reports the Colonel was feted and presented with what must surely have been his last choice for a reward: “A noble bay, a very beauty of a horse,” according to a New Orleans newspaper.[lv] Unfortunately, Grierson was soon kicked in the knee by “my own New Orleans Gift Horse,”[lvi] and sustained an incapacitating injury which resulted his being put on leave just as his career was gaining momentum.[lvii]

    Generals Grant and Banks commenced a tug-of-war with Grierson as the prize, writes Brown. While Grant urgently requested the Colonel’s services, Banks was interested in keeping him in Louisiana.[lviii] During this time, a simmering rivalry between Grierson and Colonel Prince erupted after Grierson was appointed Brigadier-General on June 16th and Prince repeatedly and deliberately disobeyed orders.[lix] The disagreement resulted in Prince’s request “to have the 7th Illinois Cavalry regiment remain with the Department of the Gulf,”[lx] when Grierson was finally released by Banks to Grant. Grierson’s men wanted to remain with him; Prince was overruled, and the 7th went to Tennessee.[lxi]

    William and Shirley Leckie write, “At the height of his career in the latter part of 1863, Ben Grierson would fall victim to the nearly constant shuffling of troops and commanders and find his new and hard-earned star tarnished by agonizing defeat in campaigns over which he had little or no control.”[lxii] Fortunately, in December of 1864, he was given control of the division for a strike at the Mobile and Ohio,[lxiii] and was able to make a raid unencumbered with wagons, essentially living off the countryside and moving swiftly enough to surprise Forrest at Verona, Mississippi. Grierson’s men were able to create havoc and destroy over 100 total miles of railroads and 32 warehouses while effectively cutting Hood off from “desperately needed supplies.”[lxiv]

    As noted by the Leckies, “Ben Grierson ‘untrammeled’ was a fearsome antagonist…certainly Grierson was vindicated in his belief that swift movement, surprise, and the concentration of firepower at the point of attack were keys to success. He had also proved that Grant and Sherman had erred in assigning (his) cavalry to the likes of Sooey Smith and Samuel Sturgis.[lxv]
    Grierson was promoted to Major General of Volunteers before mustering out at the end of the war.[lxvi] However, he soon failed in business and was almost simultaneously appointed by Grant to lead the new Tenth Cavalry, an all-black regiment. Grierson “had no reluctance at serving with (black troops), a feeling not shared by many of his fellow officers.[lxvii]

    Partly because of this prejudice and partly because of his unpopular views regarding management of the Indians, plus a long campaign against him by General Phillip A. Sheridan,[lxviii] Grierson was overlooked for promotion time after time. However, after a long and distinguished career serving his country and taming thefrontier, he was finally given the rank of Brigadier General on April 5, 1890, three months before his intended retirement.[lxix]
    Grierson’s later years are characterized by the Leckies as a combination of vindication and disappointment; once out of the Army, his lack of business acumen and family tragedies kept him from fully enjoying his retirement. While visiting Pennsylvania and Ohio with his second wife in 1907, he “fell seriously ill with flu, suffered a stroke, and never fully recovered.”[lxx] His wife felt the strain of a business failure combined with the stroke, which confined him to his bed for the next four months. On August 31, he passed away and was buried in his hometown of Jacksonvillle, IL, beside his wife of 34 years, Alice.[lxxi]

    Benjamin Grierson’s raid on Mississippi in 1863 would be remembered as a high point for the Union and a key to Grant’s critical win at Vicksburg. He proved the North could utilize its cavalry to create as much havoc as the more storied riders from the South. His leadership and creativity enabled the Union to strike hard at the heart of the Confederacy, creating doubt and a sense of vulnerability from which the South would never fully recover. Reluctant in the beginning, in the end Grierson became the quintessential cavalryman.

    [21] Official Records, 523.

    [22] Brown, Grierson’s Raid, 86.
    [23] Ibid., 77.
    [24]
    [25]
    [26]
    [27]
    [28]
    [29]
    [30]
    [31]
    [32]
    [33]
    [34
    [35]
    [36]
    [37]
    [38]
    [39]
    [40]
    [41
    [42]
    [43]
    [44]
    [45]
    [46]
    [47]
    [48]
    [49]
    [50]
    [51]
    [52]
    [53]
    [54]
    [55]
    [56]
    [57]
    [58]
    [59]
    [60]
    [61]
    [62]
    [63]
    [64]
    [65]
    [66]
    [67]
    [68]
    [69]
    [70]
    [71]
  6. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    As I feared, my poor little footnotes are totally out of whack. I'm going to take all of them out into one separate post. It will make it more difficult to look up, but I have no idea what else to do without retyping the whole thing. Repairs to come. Having carpal tunnel problems today.
  7. Blessmag

    Blessmag 1st Lieutenant

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Messages:
    3,926
    Location:
    Minnesota
  8. Smokey theFireBear

    Smokey theFireBear Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,278
    Location:
    God's Country.
    I did not "task force" was a civil war term... Learn something knew everyday.

    Thanks for posting thread Nathanb1
  9. Smokey theFireBear

    Smokey theFireBear Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,278
    Location:
    God's Country.
    Also found it funny we now have 3 threads about Grierson on the front page.
    Samuel.Sohm likes this.
  10. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    He's a popular guy. Hey, the Horse Soldiers was on last night....it inspired me.
  11. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    9,274
    Location:
    Indiana
    Awesome, informative paper, Nate. Very nice job.
  12. Smokey theFireBear

    Smokey theFireBear Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,278
    Location:
    God's Country.
    I assume that is a movie? Darn my youth, darn it to darnation.
  13. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    [​IMG]
    Better with the map. :smile: It was better before those Writing Center folks got ahold of it. That was a requirement--and frankly, it was much better before--but I don't have that copy. Urk!
    diane and Glorybound like this.
  14. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    LOL. John Wayne. 1959. Filmed in Louisiana.
  15. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    Messages:
    9,274
    Location:
    Indiana
    Wow, ok, this really helps a lot in visualization, great map.
  16. Smokey theFireBear

    Smokey theFireBear Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,278
    Location:
    God's Country.
    Whose's John Wayne? Just kidding! So, could we compare Mr. Grierson to lets say...John Morgan?
  17. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    Huh?
  18. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    It's the same one I used in my paper. :smile: Went right by Grandpa Sanders there at Philadelphia!!!
  19. Smokey theFireBear

    Smokey theFireBear Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,278
    Location:
    God's Country.
    John Hunt Morgan? Morgan's Raiders?
  20. Nathanb1

    Nathanb1 Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2009
    Messages:
    26,095
    Location:
    Smack dab in the heart of Texas
    Oh. Duh. That energy drink hasn't kicked in yet. Stayed up late beading and watching Tombstone!

    Yes, absolutely. A tad less fond of horses, see. But he accomplished much the same thing.
  21. Smokey theFireBear

    Smokey theFireBear Brigadier General Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2012
    Messages:
    1,278
    Location:
    God's Country.
    I don't think Morgan really accomplished anything... But that is just my personal opinion!

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page