April 21, 2006

Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM)

This is the anniversary of Grierson's Raid in 1863.

Huh, you say?

Between April 17 and May 2, 1863, Union Col. Benjamin Grierson led a 1700 man cavalry raid from La Grange, Tennessee to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The purpose of the raid was to tie up Confederate units to keep them from reenforcing the defense of Vickburg against Grant's onslaught, as well as to do as much physical and psychological damage as possible. Here is Col. Grierson's report on the raid. It was quite the success, despite extremely trying circumstances:

During the expedition we killed and wounded about 100 of the enemy, captured and paroled over 500 prisoners, many of them officers, destroyed between 50 and 60 miles of railroad and telegraph, captured and destroyed over 3,000 stand of arms, and other army stores and Government property to an immense amount; we also captured 1,000 horses and mules.

Our loss during the entire journey was 3 killed, 7 wounded, 5 left on the route sick; the sergeant-major and surgeon of the Seventh Illinois left with Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn, and 9 men missing, supposed to have straggled. We marched over 600 miles in less than sixteen days. 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 or rest.

Much of the country through which we passed was almost entirely destitute of forage and provisions, and it was but seldom that we obtained over one meal per day. Many of the inhabitants must undoubtedly suffer for want of the necessaries of life, which have reached most fabulous prices.

Two thousand cavalry and mounted infantry were sent from the vicinity of Greenwood and Grenada northeast to intercept us; 1,300 cavalry and several regiments of infantry with artillery were sent from Mobile to Macon, Meridian, and other points on the Mobile and Ohio road; a force was sent from Canton northeast to prevent our crossing Pearl, River, and another force of infantry and cavalry was sent from Brookhaven to Monticello, thinking we would cross Pearl River at that point instead of Georgetown. Expeditions were also sent from Vicksburg, Port Gibson, and Port Hudson to intercept us. Many detachments were sent out from my command and at various places to mislead the enemy, all of which rejoined us in safety. Colton's pocket map of Mississippi, which, though small, is very correct, 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.

If you're looking for a pretty good movie this weekend, might I suggest John Ford's The Horse Soldiers, starring John Wayne, which is loosely based on Grierson's Raid.

Posted by Robert at April 21, 2006 04:35 PM | TrackBack