Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Just and Righteous Cause: Benjamin H. Grierson’s Civil War Memoir Kindle Edition by Bruce J. Dinges (Editor), Shirley A. Leckie (Editor)(Southern Illinois University Press)

The movie "Horse Soldiers" is what first attracted my attention to Grierson's spectacular raid through Mississippi. Soon after that, I read a magazine story about the raid. Suitably impressed, I wanted more detail. Where else to get that but with Grierson's own words? The raid extended over 600 miles in sixteen days, through the heart of Confederate Mississippi. The intent of the raid was to draw Confederate forces away from U.S. Grant's siege of Vicksburg, so he could get behind that city's defenses without interference. Grierson's horse soldiers killed and wounded over 100 Confederates, captured and paroled nearly 1,000 more, destroyed over sixty miles of railroad and telegraph, captured and destroyed over 500 stands of arms and other Confederate arm stores and government property, amounting in value to millions of dollars. The raid also netted over 1,000 horses and mules. Grierson's losses were three killed, seven wounded, nine missing. By adroit intelligence and maneuver, Grierson misdirected and avoided most contacts with the enemy. This raid easily matches W.T. Sherman's march from Atlanta to the sea. There are seventeen chapters to Grierson's military autobiography, only one of which deals with the raid. If you can tolerate reading 1860's phrasing, it's a hard story to put down.

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