Grierson's Raid, 17 April- 2 May 1863

Grierson's Raid, 17 April- 2 May 1863


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Grierson's Raid

Grierson’s Raid was probably the most effective cavalry raid of the entire American Civil War.

While many of the most famous cavalry raids were launched by Confederate leaders such as JEB Stuart or Nathan Bedford Forrest, this was a Union raid. It was commanded by Benjamin Grierson, who despite pre-war dislike of horses quickly proved himself to be a brilliant cavalry commander.

His raid was part of U.S. Grant’s successful campaign against the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, on the Mississippi River. Grant’s infantry were marching down the west bank of the river, getting into a position from where they could cross over onto the east bank south of Vicksburg. Grierson was ordered to launch a raid through the heart of the state of Mississippi, to distract Confederate attention from Grant’s move, and force the Confederates to move troops away from the city.

Starting from La Grange, Tennessee, Grierson’s aim was to reach the Southern Railroad of Mississippi, and destroy as much of it as possible. From there he could either return to La Grange, or head south to the Union position at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He started with three regiments, some 1,700 men. One of the reasons for his success was that he was willing to split this force. He began on 20 April, sending 175 men (what he called the “least effective portion of the command”) back to La Grange, with orders to make it look at if the entire expedition had returned.

After that he continued south, fighting a series of minor skirmishes (the Official Records list eleven), and avoiding any of the larger Confederate force chasing him. On 24 April the expedition reached the South Railroad, and did some considerable damage. Grierson now learnt that some large Confederate detachments were behind him, and decided to continue south to Baton Rouge. The journey continues as before. Small detachments confused Confederate attempts to find the main expedition, and on 2 May Greirson’s men reached safety at Baton Rouge.

Grierson’s men had marched 600 miles in 16 days. They had only lost three dead and seven wounded, as well as eight men who had to be left behind sick, and nine men missing. In his report Greirson claims to have killed and wounded 100 Confederates, captured 500, destroyed between 50 and 60 miles of railroad, destroyed over 3,000 stand of arms, and captured 1,000 horses and mules. At the end of the raid, Grierson was aware of at least 5,000 men who had been sent out to capture him. That included a considerable amount of Pemberton’s cavalry from Vicksburg, detached at a crucial moment, when they would have been better used to watch Grant on the Mississippi.

Grierson’s Raid was the most successful cavalry raid of the war for two reasons. First, it played a direct role in the success of the main expedition against Vicksburg. Many of the Confederate raids had no more than nuisance value. Stuart’s ride around McClellan’s army on the Peninsula in the previous year could claim a similar significance, playing a part in the defeat of that army. However, Grierson’s second achievement was to take a large cavalry force through entirely hostile territory in the heart of the Confederacy. Stuart had been operating in Virginia, while other Confederate cavalry raids were made in friendly parts of Kentucky and Tennessee. Grierson’s raid was an early example of the Union’s ability to bring the war to the heart of the Confederacy, to be repeated on a larger scale by Sherman in Georgia and the Carolinas over the next two years.


Benjamin Grierson

Benjamin Henry Grierson (July 8, 1826 – August 31, 1911) was a music teacher, then a career officer in the United States Army. He was a cavalry general in the volunteer Union Army during the Civil War and later led troops in the American Old West.

He is most noted for Grierson's Raid, an 1863 expedition through Confederate-held territory that severed enemy communication lines between Vicksburg, Mississippi and Confederate commanders in the Eastern Theater. After the war he organized and led the Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment from 1866 to 1890.


War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0519 Chapter XXXVI. GRIERSON'S RAID FROM LA GRANGE, TENN.

APRIL 17-MAY 2, 1863. -Grierson's Raid from LA Grange, Tenn., to Baton Rouge, La.

SUMMARY OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS.

April 18-19, 1863. -Skirmish at New Albany, MISS.

19, 1863. -Skirmish at Pontotoc, MISS.

21, 1863. -Skirmish at Palo Alto, MISS.

24, 1863. -Skirmishes at Garlandville and Birmingham, MISS.

28, 1863. -Skirmish at Union Church, MISS.

29, 1863. -Skirmish at Brookhaven, MISS.

May 1, 1863. -Skirmish at Walls Post-Office, MISS.

Skirmishes near Greensburg and at Williams' Bridge, La.

2, 1863. -Skirmish at Roberts' Ford, Comite River, La.

REPORTS.

Numbers 1. -Major General Stephen A. Hurlbut, U. S. Army, commanding SIXTEENTH Army Corps.

Numbers 2. -Brigadier General William Sooy Smith, U. S. Army, commanding at LA Grange.

Numbers 3. -Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson, sixth Illinois Cavalry, commanding expedition.

Numbers 4. -Colonel Edward Hatch, SECOND Iowa Cavalry.

Numbers 5. -Brigadier General John Adams, C. S. Army.

Numbers 6. -Colonel Wirt Adams, Mississippi Cavalry.

Numbers 7. -Lieutenant Colonel C. R. Barteau, SECOND Tennessee Cavalry.

Numbers 8. -Captain A. B. Biffle, commanding picket.

Numbers 9. -Colonel Alexander J. Brown, FIFTY-FIFTH Tennessee Infantry.

Number 10. -Captain B. F. Bryan, Stuart's cavalry, Miles' Legion.

Number 11. -Brigadier General A. Buford, C. S. Army.

Number 12. -Captain S. B. Cleveland, Wirt Adams' (Mississippi) regiment.

Number 13. -Major J. De Baun, NINTH Louisiana Partisan Rangers.

Number 14. -Lieutenant Colonel George Gantt, NINTH Tennessee Cavalry Battalion.

Number 15. -Major General Franklin Gardner, C. S. Army.

Number 16. -Major W. H. Garland, Mississippi Cavalry.

Number 17. -Major General S. J. Gholson, Mississippi Militia.

Number 18. -Major General William W. Loring, C. S. Army.

Number 19. -Colonel W. R. Miles, Louisiana Legion.

Number 20. -Asst. Adjt. General Thomas J. Portis, C. S. Army.

Number 21. -Colonel R. V. Richardson, First Tennessee Partisan Rangers.

Number 22. -Brigadier General Daniel Ruggles, c. S. Army.

Number 23. -Colonel John M. Simonton, First Mississippi Infantry.

Number 24. -Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, C. S. Army.

Number 1. Reports of Major General Stephen A. Hurlbut, U. S. Army, commanding SIXTEENTH Army Corps. HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, April 29, 1863.

SIR: I have just received the inclosed telegram:*

Anticipating a gathering to oppose Grierson's return, I had mounted the Sixth Iowa Infantry, and sent them, with the SECOND Iowa Cavalry and Fourth Illinois, this morning toward Okolona to relieve Grierson.

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*See Number 2., p. 521.

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Grierson's Raid 1863

On the morning of April 30, 1963, Union Col. B.H. Grierson led the 6th and 7th Illinois Cavalry south on the New Orleans, Jackson and Greta Northern Railroad, burning the Bogue Chitto depot and a number of bridges, trestles, water towers, twenty-five freight cars, thirty barrels of rum and a large quantity of sugar at Summit. Grierson then led his cavalry southwest on the Liberty Road. This raid diverted Confederate attention from Gen. Grant's main effort to cross the Mississippi River.

Erected 2012 by Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Mississippi State Historical Marker Program series list. A significant historical date for this entry is April 30, 1863.

Location. 31° 17.031′ N, 90° 28.02′ W. Marker is in Summit, Mississippi, in Pike County. Marker is at the intersection of West Railroad Avenue and Robb Street, on the right when traveling north on West Railroad Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Summit MS 39666, United States of America. Touch for directions.

Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Peabody School (approx. half a mile away) Summit Street (approx. 2.1 miles away) Bo Diddley (approx. 2.9 miles away)

McComb (approx. 2.9 miles away) C.C. Bryant (approx. 4.1 miles away) Home Site 1812-1855 (approx. 6 miles away) Henry Quin Home (approx. 6.1 miles away) Pioneer Homesite (approx. 8.3 miles away).

Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.


Grierson’s Raid

After again watching the 1959 film The Horse Soldiers, I decided to revisit Grierson’s Raid. The movie starred John Wayne (as a stand-in for Col. Benjamin Grierson) and William Holden as the surgeon assigned to his brigade for the raid. John Ford directed. Unfortunately, the film veered considerably from the actual raid. It was based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Harold Sinclair. The film included: conflicts between Wayne and Holden over the latter’s medical practices, a love/hate relationship between Wayne (a self-described railroad builder) and a southern belle and plantation owner, a fictional battle at the Newton Station railhead, and another fictional battle based on a caricature of that of New Market, Virginia (May 15, 1864) involving young VMI cadets. (This battle is featured in the Summer 2010 issue of the Civil War Preservation Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine.) Presumably, these were included for audience appeal. The movie did contain at least some of the actual elements of the incredible Grierson raid.

Colonel Benjamin H. Grierson

Ben Grierson, antebellum, was actually a failed business owner and music teacher. He was born to Scotch-Irish immigrants near Pittsburgh. His family then moved to Youngstown, Ohio, where he met his future wife Alice (with whom he had seven children). Grierson and his family moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, where his friendship with the state’s wartime governor led to his being appointed colonel of the volunteer 6th Illinois Cavalry. Ironically, Grierson had been afraid of horses after a near fatal accident while he was eight years old. In 1862, he was promoted to a cavalry brigade commander attached to the XVI Corps of the Army of the Tennessee.

As Ulysses Grant planned his final attempt to capture Vicksburg, the Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, he needed a diversion to deflect attention to his risky crossing of the river below the city. He and William Tecumseh Sherman chose Grierson to lead a raid into the heart of Mississippi to destroy the key railhead at Newton Station that supplied John Pemberton’s army defending Vicksburg. Grierson led three regiments – his own and the 7th Illinois and 2nd Iowa comprising 1,700 troopers and a horse battery. In sixteen days (April 17-May 2, 1863), Grierson’s force marched 600 miles, disabled parts of two key railroads, captured and paroled around 600 Confederates, and destroyed many war supplies. Grierson lost only 3 killed, 7 wounded, and 16 captured during this epic raid. Despite being pursued on all fronts by thousands of Confederates, what makes this story truly amazing is that Grierson outwitted and outrode his pursuers to emerge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to the surprise of its occupying Federal garrison. Grierson’s ragged, weary force rode into the city, trailed by hundreds of fleeing slaves, to be greeted by the cheers of the residents and serenaded by music played by Union army bands.

How did Grierson achieve this amazing feat, which indeed diverted Pemberton’s attention from Grant’s army’s unopposed landing at Bruinsburg on day fourteen of the raid? He used deception and speed (averaging over 30 miles daily) to elude his pursuers. He first sent a couple of hundred unfit troopers (called the “Quinine Brigade”) back to his starting point at LaGrange, Tennessee (near Memphis) on the fourth day, misleading Confederate cavalry into thinking the raid was short-lived. The next day, he also sent the 2nd Iowa back to further convince the Confederates that his force was returning to its base. The Iowans successfully fought their way back north. Left with only 900 men, Grierson then headed toward his main objective. With his “Butternut Guerillas” (his scouts disguised as Confederates) in the lead, Grierson’s troops lived off the land of necessity after a few days. They “exchanged” their tired mounts for fresh Southern horses. Riding through rain, swamps, and dismayed Mississippians, Grierson’s men had faith in their commander’s ability not only to achieve his objective, but also to somehow find an escape route. Grierson reached Newton Station on day eight and disabled the railhead and destroyed two arriving trains. He then decided that it would be impossible to retrace his route. Instead, he hoped to reach Grant’s army at Grand Gulf. When this proved impossible, he instead headed to Baton Rouge, trying to avoid fighting his pursuers. Burning bridges behind him, Grierson crossed three rivers and successfully eluded forces sent from Vicksburg and Port Hudson to block his escape once a befuddled Pemberton finally realized that Grierson was headed to Louisiana rather than returning to Tennessee.

Grierson’s raid

Perhaps the most dramatic of many episodes during this ride occurred when the missing Company B of the 7th Illinois rejoined the raiding party just before it finished crossing on the Pearl River ferry on day eleven. It had been detached on day six to attack the Mobile and Ohio railroad at Macon. While it failed in this effort when it ran into a large fortified Confederate force at this railhead, it did convince Confederates that Grierson was headed east, when he was actually headed west and then southwest. Grierson’s men captured a Confederate courier just as he was about to warn the ferry keeper of Grierson’s approach. At Wall’s bridge at the crossing of the Tickfaw River on day fifteen, Grierson suffered the loss of the commander of a battalion in the 7th who made a reckless charge across the bridge. This also resulted in the severe wounding of the leader of the Butternut Guerillas, who had to be left behind (but who survived captivity). Grierson’s last close call came at the crossing of the Amite River bridge, when officers of his pursuers from Port Hudson stopped to participate in a cotillion ball in their honor, thereby reaching the destroyed bridge just two hours after Grierson’s departure.

Grierson’s raid not only accomplished Grant’s purpose for launching it, but it demoralized Mississippi’s citizens, given the futility of the pursuit, combined with Joseph Johnston’s failure to relieve Pemberton and the surrender of Vicksburg and Port Hudson and their defenders that summer. Grierson’s command participated in the capture of Port Hudson, and he was promoted to brigadier general. He was temporarily disabled when injured by a horse that he had been given by a New Orleans citizen committee. He went on to distinguish himself as a western cavalry commander, including his encounters with the renowned Nathan Bedford Forrest and another raid through Mississippi in December 1864-January 1865, ending at Vicksburg. After the war, Grierson became the commander in 1866 of the Tenth Cavalry, one of two black cavalry regiments that became known as the “Buffalo Soldiers.” Grierson led the regiment on the southwest frontier until 1888. Grierson was featured in the 1997 Turner Network Television’s documentary on the Buffalo Soldiers. Grierson retired as a brigadier general in 1890 and completed his Civil War memoirs in 1892. Grierson died in 1911.

Brown, Dee. 1954. Grierson’s Raid. University of Illinois Press.

Dinges, Bruce J. and Shirley A. Lecke, eds. 2008. A Just and Righteous Cause: Benjamin H. Grierson’s Civil War Memoir. Southern Illinois University Press.

Sinclair, Harold. 1956. The Horse Soldiers. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Click on any of the book links on this page to purchase from Amazon. Part of the proceeds from any book purchased from Amazon through the CCWRT website is returned to the CCWRT to support its education and preservation programs.


Grierson’s Raid

Note: The source of information for this article is Grierson’s Raid: A Cavalry Adventure of the Civil War, by D. Alexander Brown.

It has been 147 years since Col. Benjamin Henry Grierson with his Union cavalry brigade reached Newton Station—the raid that Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman called “the most brilliant expedition of the war.”

This raid on Newton Station was not an isolated stunt like so many dashing cavalry adventures of the Civil War. It was well planned and was an important part of the maneuverings that won Vicksburg.

In the spring of 1863, the Northern grip on the Confederacy was slowly tightening. Yet there was still a chance for the South to win the war. If Vicksburg and the Mississippi River could be held, the Confederacy might be able to survive. The Union army knew this. The raid on Newton Station by Col. Benjamin Grierson and his brigade on April 24, 1863 was a vital part of General Grant’s campaign for the capture of Vicksburg.

Vicksburg, built on bluffs high above the Mississippi River, was heavily fortified, and could not be taken by water. Gen. Sherman tried it and was repulsed in December 1862. In the spring, Gen. Grant decided to march against Vicksburg. He knew he would have to cut Confederate Gen. John C. Pemberton’s lines of communication with the rest of the Confederacy, herd Pemberton’s troops into the Vicksburg entrenchments, lay siege to the city, and then capture the Confederate army and city. In order to do this, he knew it would be necessary to screen his actions and to divert the attention of the Confederate troops away from his intended target.

On February 13, 1863, Gen. Grant sent a message to Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut, commanding the Sixteenth Army Corps headquartered in Memphis: “It seems to me that Grierson, with about five hundred picked men, might succeed in making his way south and cut the railroad east of Jackson, Mississippi. 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.”

A month later, his instructions were more specific. The strength of the force had been tripled, and the volunteer provision had been removed. Hurlbut was to have all “the available cavalry put in as good condition as possible in the next few weeks for heavy service…”

Orders were given to Gen. Hurlbut on April 10 at LaGrange to “strike out by way of Pontotoc, breaking right and left, cutting both roads, destroying the wires, burning provisions, and doing all the mischief they can, while one regiment ranges straight down to Selma or Meridian, breaking the east and west road thoroughly, and swinging back through Alabama”.

Grierson, age 37, a music teacher and bandmaster before the war, was on furlough in Illinois that week, but Hurlbut telegraphed him to return to LaGrange immediately. On April 15, Hurlbut forwarded the final orders to Gen. William Sooy Smith: “If Grierson does not arrive in time, Hatch will take command. The details must be left discretionary.”

Plans worked out—Grierson arrived and received verbal orders from Gen. Smith. Smith ordered Lt. Col. Grierson and his cavalry brigade of 1,700 men to make a raid right through the middle of Mississippi. Grierson’s orders were to ride south from LaGrange (40 miles east of Memphis, Tennessee) until he reached the Southern Railroad, which ran east and west and connected Vicksburg, Newton and Meridian, and the rest of the Confederacy. Grierson would have discretionary power once he passed to the rear of the enemy’s lines and lost communication 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.

Map is from The Civil War, by Shelby Foote

The raid began at dawn on April 17, and they crossed the Mississippi line by sunup. Only Grierson himself, riding at the head of the column, knew the true objective of the mission.

Grierson carried in his blouse the special equipment that he deemed essential for the hard ride: a Colton pocket map of Mississippi, a compass, and a jew’s harp. He also carried an unsigned report made by a Mississippian loyal to the Union. The report contained intelligence concerning names of Unionists, routes of travel that the cavalry column might take on their move through Mississippi, locations of Confederate depots and warehouses, plantations where food and forage could be found, and the varying loyalties of the people in different sections of the state.

Grierson and his men moved rapidly. They lived off the land, taking whatever they needed, wherever they found it. They raided plantation cellars, smokehouses and cribs. They sacked country stores. They took horses, food and other supplies. Since nearly all able-bodied men were away fighting in the Confederate army, only the women, children and elderly were in the homes.

They made thirty miles the first day, halting just short of Ripley. On the second day, they camped near New Albany. On the third day, April 19, they rode south through Pontotoc. On the fourth day, 80 miles from his base, Grierson inspected his troops, and culled out 175 victims of dysentery, chills and fever, and saddle galls and sent them back, instructing them to pass through Pontotoc in the night, marching by fours to obliterate tracks and give the illusion that the raiders had all returned. On the fifth day, he detached Col. Edward Hatch’s regiment, along with another of guns, and ordered them to strike eastward for the Mobile and Ohio railroad, inflicting what damage they could before heading north to follow the convalescents back to LaGrange. Grierson and the remaining troopers rode on past Starkville, where he detached one company for a strike at Macon. They cleared Louisville by sundown. Just beyond Philadelphia on the 23 rd , he called a halt at nightfall at a well-stocked plantation. Grierson decided to hold up for a few hours to rest and feed the horses before beginning the final drive to the railroad, now only twenty-five miles away.

About 10:00 p.m. that evening, he ordered Col. Blackburn to take the First Battalion of the Seventh Regiment and make a rapid march to Newton Station on the Vicksburg Road. The main column would follow within an hour.

Around 3:00 a.m. on the morning of April 24, Blackburn ordered Sgt. Richard Surby to take scouts, enter the town of Decatur, and learn as much as they could about Newton Station, train schedules and Confederate troops stationed there.

The streets of Decatur were quiet, and Surby stopped at an inn and was able to get the old gentleman to invite him in. He learned that Newton Station was about 10 miles down the road and that a hospital was located there.

Blackburn’s battalion was 6 miles from Newton Station when the sun rose on Friday morning, April 24. In Sgt. Surby’s words, “Col. Blackburn ordered me to proceed lively with my two men to the [Newton] station and reconnoiter and report what force was stationed there, what time the train would arrive, and so forth.”

In less than an hour, the three Union soldiers, dressed in Confederate uniforms, topped a rise in the road and saw the town in front of them with the single track slicing through the middle of it. Near the station, they could see a large building with men walking around it, and they guessed this to be the Confederate hospital mentioned by the Decatur informant and that the men were convalescent patients.

Sgt. Surby in his eyewitness account of the raid said, “I told the men we’d proceed a little more before reporting. We started leisurely along, stopped at a house, found a white man, called for a drink of water, and asked him how long before the train would be in. He said it would be three quarters of an hour. I ascertained that no force was stationed here, and was obtaining other information when my ears were startled by the whistle of a locomotive. It seemed a long way off. I inquired what train that was, and the man said it was the freight train coming from the east, due at nine o’clock a.m.”

Realizing that no time could be lost if they hoped to capture the train, Surby dispatched one of the scouts to inform Col. Blackburn. Surby and the other scout hurried into town, heading for the railroad station.

There were no pickets, and the town seemed deserted. The station was not open, and they could not see the telegraph equipment through the dingy windows. Surby wanted to capture the telegraph station to prevent warning of the raiders’ presence being flashed to any Confederate forces.

They saw several Confederates coming out of the hospital 100 yards away. He drew his revolver and walked slowly toward the rebels. “Remain inside!” he shouted. “Don’t come out on peril of your lives.”

The cavalry arrived in moments with Blackburn waiving his hat and cheering. Pickets were dispatched immediately to block roads. Men were sent on the double to each of the sidetrack’s switches and told to hide in the tall grass beside the railroad. If the engineer attempted to take sudden flight, they were to spring up and throw the switches.

To the east, black streams of smoke marked the slow approach of the train. In a moment the oversized cowcatcher of the squat little freight engine emerged from the pines. It was a noisy little train, wheels pounding, cars rattling, locomotive chugging and blowing with the weight of 25 cars loaded with new railroad ties, bridge timbers and planking, and commissary supplies.

The unsuspecting engineer brought the train to a stop at Newton Station. If the engineer glanced toward the station, he saw only Col. Blackburn and the scouts dressed in Confederate uniforms lounging casually in the shade of the station. On a signal from Blackburn, cavalrymen swarmed out from behind the buildings. Within a few seconds, the first train was captured.

Meanwhile, Sgt. Surby spotted the smoke of another train approaching from the west. As soon as the freight’s crewmembers were under guard, the Yankee soldiers were ordered out of sight. Blackburn and the three men in Confederate uniforms resumed their careless poses beside the station.

In a few minutes, the mixed freight and passenger train whistled for Newton Station. Sgt. Surby again describes the event. “On it came” he said, “rounding the curve, her passengers unaware of the surprise that awaited them. The engineer decreased her speed. She was now nearly opposite the depot. Springing upon the steps of the locomotive, and pointing my revolver at the engineer, I told him if he reversed that engine, I would put a ball through him. He was at my mercy and obeyed orders. The men rushed from their hiding places, cheering and shouting.”

The mixed train consisted of one passenger car and twelve freight cars, four loaded with ammunition and arms, six with commissary and quartermaster’s stores, and two with household goods belonging to families fleeing Vicksburg.

Startled by the sudden stop, passengers in the rear coach looked out and saw movement of a hundred blue-clad men. Some of the passengers tossed their valuables out of the car windows on the opposite side of the station, and everything fell into a ditch filled with water. Sgt. Surby wrote, “Revolvers, papers and a considerable amount of money was thrown out. One old wallet contained about $8,000 in Confederate greenbacks.”

Giddy with success, the Yankee raiders began smashing in car doors and windows of the station office, looking for personal loot. Blackburn restored order and a systematic inspection of the train was begun. One of the Vicksburg refugees begged them not to burn his household goods. Blackburn assigned a squad to remove the Southerner’s furniture from the train.

When he discovered that both trains carried several hundred loaded artillery shells and other explosives, Blackburn had the trains moved down the tracks some distance from the hospital, and they were set on fire and burned. The heated shells began exploding in ragged volleys, booming like an artillery duel at close quarters.

Col. Grierson with the main column was now only a short distance from Newton Station. Unaware of the capture of the train, he assumed that his men had walked into a trap and were being shelled by artillery. “Trot, gallop, march!”, he ordered.

“On they came”, said Sgt. Surby, “expecting battle, but instead, found the men had charged on a barrel of whiskey, which they were confiscating. I did not see a man that had more or less than a canteen full.”

Grierson dispatched an officer with two battalions to the east with orders to burn bridges and trestles, cut telegraph poles, and destroy the lines all the way to Chunky River. Another officer was sent west on a similar mission.

Grierson kept the other troops occupied in town. They burned a building containing 500 small arms and a considerable quantity of Confederate uniforms. Taking wrecking tools from the depot, they tore out rails and heaped them on piles of burning crossties, warping them with heat. They exploded the two locomotives.

Seventy-five hospitalized Confederate soldiers filed by to receive paroles. The hospital’s surgeon was permitted to remove food and other supplies from the storeroom in the depot and then Grierson ordered it burned.

They burned McGrath’s store, some goods, and the storehouse of Mr. Hamilton. They did not destroy any private residences or any private property. [ A. J. Brown’s History of Newton County 1864-1894]

By 2:00 p.m., Grierson was convinced that the east/west railroad had suffered a severe blow and it would take days to restore transportation and communication. Grierson’s buglers sounded rally call, and the smoke-blackened, bleary-eyed cavalrymen, some of whom were showing effects of the rebel whiskey they had “rescued”, began assembling into companies for departure.

The men had not been out of the saddle for three days. They sat in the midday sun with eyes drooping, smelling of sweat, whisky and wood smoke, while they waited for the order to march on, mounts going lame with worn and thrown shoes, nosebags empty, and muscles spent to the limit of endurance.

Their mission accomplished, Grierson knew they must move swiftly away from the area. The enemy lay at every compass point and would surely pursue them with renewed fury.

By mid-afternoon on the 24 th , Grierson and his brigade were 5 miles below Newton Station, caught up in a wave of frightened citizens fleeing in wagons, in buggies and on foot. Some were carrying loads of bacon, flour and even household goods and valuables. The raiders seized such food stocks as they could carry in their haversacks after overtaking some of those fleeing.

Grierson would have preferred to march until well after dark, but it was obvious, due to the condition of his men and horses, that the column must halt. Upon reaching a plantation along the Bogue Falema Creek 1 , he ordered a short bivouac. After a three-hour rest, they moved on in the cool of the late afternoon. They reached the outskirts of Garlandville just before dark.

At Garlandville, in Jasper County 8 miles below Newton Station, they encountered citizens, many venerable with age, armed with shotguns and organized to resist their approach. Grierson ordered a charge, and the old men of Garlandville met it bravely, firing blindly into the advancing Yankees. One raider was severely wounded, and a horse fell dead under another, but the charge swept on through town, capturing several citizens. According to Grierson, the prisoners were apologetic, “acknowledging their mistake, and declared that they had been grossly deceived as to our real character”. One of the citizens volunteered his services as guide to lead them out.

Before leaving, they entered an empty home where they found hot food on the table. Col Grierson and his staff sat down and ate supper at ease, but never learned for whom the meal had been prepared.

After supper, the volunteer guide riding ahead to assist the Butternut Guerillas, they turned southwestward and bivouacked at C. B. Bender’s plantation two miles west of Montrose at about midnight. They had covered about 50 miles that day and had wreaked havoc on Newton Station.

The man wounded at Garlandville was left with Dr. Mackadore, a physician, at or near Raleigh on April 26.

Grierson and his men continued on south and west, crossing over into Louisiana at Baton Rouge on May 2. In 17 days time, Grierson and his men had covered more than 600 miles. This major thrust deep into the Confederacy repeatedly engaged the enemy, disabled railroads, captured many prisoners and horses, and destroyed vast amounts of property (although no personal property was destroyed). More importantly, as a diversionary tactic, the raid diverted the attention of Confederates away from Vicksburg, just as Grant had intended. Three of Grierson’s men were dead, seven wounded, five were too sick to continue and had been left behind, and nine men were missing. Added to Hatch’s losses, casualties numbered 36, about 2% of the total command. Grierson was promoted to Brigadier General in June.

An in-depth study has been made of the roads that Grierson could have followed to Garlandville. There was no Highway 15 at that time, and all roads that I found were farther to the east. A stagecoach line ran from Enterprise through Garlandville on to Newton Station. He probably went out on the Enterprise Road (Airport Road today) and then turned southward on Wickware Road, going around by Kennedy’s pond and entering Garlandville on the east side, because all roads entered Garlandville from the east at that time.

A. Z. Lewis and her sister Mamie Alice Weir Thames told me the story about their grandfather seeing Grierson when he came through Newton Station. His father was away in the war, and he was at his grandfather’s house upstairs looking out the window. He recalled that the black people took to the swamp. This house is believed to have been located on the hill above the old hospital between Tatum Street and Byrd Street.

Richard Carr, son of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Carr, was raised in Newton. He writes about Grierson’s raid and gives the route Grierson came in on from Decatur. He said the road came by the Banks home and W. B. Crosby home and the Baptist Church. This is Wood Street today. The Crosby home location is 204 Wood Street. These homes are of course present day homes built long after the Civil War. Roger W. Doolittle lived on the site that is Dear Street today. This road would have come by his house. Carr says in his column that the man who talked to the scouts at the edge of town was Tom Doolittle, a son of Roger W. Doolittle. No doubt these comments and the route are correct.

George Davison/Davidson was one of the engineers. He was a prominent planter and merchant of Newton after the war and often related the damages the Yankees did to their trains and tracks. 2

You can find the volumes of The War Of The Rebellion, a compilation of the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies, at the J. Elliott McMullan Library, Newton, Mississippi. 3

Benjamin Henry Grierson

  1. Bogue Falema comes from Potterchitto Creek down south to Kennedy’s pond. A. Z. Lewis (Henry) of Newton grew up at Garlandville. She recalled stories about the raid and said, “The old timers always said Grierson came down around Kennedy’s pond.”
  2. Newton County, Mississippi Newspaper Items, 1872-1875, W. P.A. Manuscripts by Jean Strickland and Patricia Nicholson Edwards, available at J. Elliott McMullan Library.
  3. These volumes were donated to the library by Richard Carr.

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The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi

Benjamin Grierson&rsquos Union cavalry thrust through Mississippi is one of the most well-known operations of the Civil War. The last serious study was published more than six decades ago. Since then other accounts have appeared, but none are deeply researched full-length studies of the raid and its more than substantial (and yet often overlooked) results. The publication of Timothy B. Smith&rsquos The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson&rsquos Epic 1863 Civil War Raid through Mississippi rectifies this oversight.

There were other simultaneous operations to distract Confederate attention from the real threat posed by U. S. Grant&rsquos Army of the Tennessee. Grierson&rsquos operation, however, mainly conducted with two Illinois cavalry regiments, has become the most famous, and for good reason: For 16 days (April 17 to May 2) Grierson led Confederate pursuers on a high-stakes chase through the entire state of Mississippi, entering the northern border with Tennessee and exiting its southern border with Louisiana. The daily rides were long, the rest stops short, and the tension high. Ironically, the man who led the raid was a former music teacher who some say disliked horses. Throughout, he displayed outstanding leadership and cunning, destroyed railroad tracks, burned trestles and bridges, freed slaves, and created as much damage and chaos as possible.

Grierson&rsquos Raid broke a vital Confederate rail line at Newton Station that supplied Vicksburg and, perhaps most importantly, consumed the attention of the Confederate high command. While Confederate Lt. Gen. John Pemberton at Vicksburg and other Southern leaders looked in the wrong directions, Grant moved his entire Army of the Tennessee across the Mississippi River below Vicksburg, spelling the doom of that city, the Confederate chances of holding the river, and perhaps the Confederacy itself.

Novelists have attempted to capture the large-than-life cavalry raid in the popular imagination, and Hollywood reproduced the daring cavalry action in The Horse Soldiers, a 1959 major motion picture starring John Wayne and William Holden. Although the film replicates the raid&rsquos drama and high-stakes gamble, cinematic license chipped away at its accuracy.

Based upon years of research and presented in gripping, fast-paced prose, Timothy B. Smith&rsquos The Real Horse Soldiers captures the high drama and tension of the 1863 horse soldiers in a modern, comprehensive, academic study. Readers will find it fills a wide void in Civil War literature.

"A valued and significant addition to the growing library of American Civil War Histories, The Real Horse Soldiers is an unreservedly recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library collections and supplemental studies reading lists." - Midwest Book Review

"Author Smith has done a fine job of assembling the facts and retelling the story of the raid as it was carried out, day by day." - The Journal of America&rsquos Military Past

&ldquoMajor Civil War author Timothy B. Smith has done it again. He insightfully sheds important light on U. S. Grant&rsquos use of Union cavalryman Benjamin Grierson&rsquos speed and stealth to confuse the Confederates and help him capture Vicksburg. Another well-researched and well-written military history by one of the nation&rsquos leading Civil War historians.&rdquo &mdash John F. Marszalek, Executive Director of the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library, Mississippi State University

&ldquoAdding his best work yet to an impressive and ever-expanding list of publications, Tim Smith&rsquos release of The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson&rsquos Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi promises to be a blockbuster the magnitude of John Ford&rsquos 1959 film starring John Wayne and William Holden. This epic account is as thrilling and fast-paced as the raid itself and will quickly rival, if not surpass, D. Brown&rsquos Grierson&rsquos Raid as the standard work on what William T. Sherman called the war&rsquos &lsquomost brilliant raid.&rsquo&rdquo&mdash Terrence J. Winschel, historian (ret.), Vicksburg National Military Park and author of Triumph & Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign, 2 vols.

&ldquoUlysses S. Grant proved he was the master of the strategic cavalry raid by launching Col. Benjamin Grierson&rsquos spring 1863 cavalry ride through the heart of Confederate Mississippi. The bold and exciting raid created so much havoc within Southern command circles that Grant was able to sneak across the Mississippi River against minimal opposition, dooming Vicksburg. The Real Horse Soldiers, award-winning Western Theater historian Timothy B. Smith&rsquos excellent new release, draws upon a wide variety of previously untapped primary sources and brings to life in vivid detail the importance of this cavalry thrust. I highly recommend it.&rdquo &mdash Eric J. Wittenberg, award-winning author of Holding the Line on the River of Death:Union Mounted Forces at Chickamauga, September 18, 1863

Author Interview

( All copyright laws apply to this interview. However, this interview may be posted digitally on the Internet or printed for use in newspapers, newsletters, magazines, and other similar uses, provided it appears in its entirety and that notice of its use is provided to us in advance. We allow partial edited use, with advance permission. Please inquire. Include our website www.savasbeatie.com with use. Thank you )

An Interview with Timothy B. Smith, author of
The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson&rsquos Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi

SB: Why did you write this book?
TBS: I have always been interested in the Vicksburg campaign, and am turning my professional writing attention to it after spending years on the Tennessee River campaign. Before I jumped in with both feet, I thought it would be nice to do something on Grierson&rsquos Raid, which is one of the better known facets of the campaign. Plus, it occurred almost exclusively in my home state of Mississippi, many places where I used to live. On top of that, I really like the John Wayne movie The Horse Soldiers, inaccurate though it is.

SB: What is the book's purpose?
TBS: There hasn&rsquot really been a major book on the raid in sixty years, so I wanted to take the story of the raid into the modern times by finding all the source material I could, especially from the soldiers on the raid to make it a true adventure story as well as sources from the Mississippians who endured it. My second goal was to put the raid firmly into the context of the campaign itself.

SB: What sources were used to compile this work?
TBS: Most of the information came from the Official Records and Grierson&rsquos memoirs, with additional primary sources from the soldiers and citizens fleshing it out. Sadly, the troopers on the raid had much too little time to write letters home or keep diaries on the raid itself, so most of what we get is immediate post-raid letters.

SB: Did you uncover any surprises in your research for this book?
TBS: Not really. I think most everyone knows a little about the raid and its effects. But I was surprised at just how grueling the raid was and just how much it took Confederate attention away from Grant&rsquos bigger plans.

SB: What is the target audience for the book?
TBS: Civil War scholars and buffs will be the primary target, although I think it will also appeal to the general reading public. It&rsquos that good of a story in terms of adventure, tension, etc.

SB: Why do you think this is an important story to tell?
TBS: The raid was a major part of the Union&rsquos success in the Vicksburg campaign, which was a major reason the North won the war. Also, I think it shows a grassroots-level view of the war that we don&rsquot always get in histories.

SB: What should readers take away from this book?
TBS: Obviously, the story of the grueling raid and its major ramifications are forefront, but there are also life lessons that come out of it. Persistence. Never giving up. Tactics, whether in the military or business or personal. Maybe the biggest lesson is that exemplified by Grierson himself. He was a broke failure at the beginning of the Civil War and in large part because of this raid he finished a national hero with his future pretty much secure. We never know how life might turn good or bad, but we have to stick with it and ride it out, and we&rsquoll be better for it. And it may take some adaptation. Grierson the cavalry hero was, after all, a musician first and foremost!

SB: Thank you, Tim. We appreciate your time.
TBS: You're welcome.


Grierson's Raid, 17 April- 2 May 1863 - History

By Mike Phifer

Union Colonel Benjamin Grierson stuck his left foot into the stirrup and swung up into the saddle. Orders were quickly given, and soon a column of 1,700 blue-jacketed troopers of Grierson’s 1st Brigade, along with a battery of artillery, trampled southeast from La Grange, Tennessee, in the early dawn of April 17, 1863. The cavalrymen were traveling light, packing only five days’ rations to last them 10 days, oats in the nosebag for their mounts, and 40 rounds of ammunition for their carbines and revolvers.

The blue column snaked into the pine-clad hills of northern Mississippi. Most of the men thought they were headed on a scouting mission to Columbus to smash up the railroads there. They were wrong. Only the 36-year-old Grierson and his aide, Lieutenant Samuel Woodson, knew the true objective of the raid. It was much deeper into enemy territory—and much riskier.

The key Confederate port of Vicksburg, on the east bank of the Mississippi River, had withstood numerous Union attempts to capture it since late 1862. Finally, in early 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant decided on a bold plan to march a good portion of the Army of the Tennessee down the west bank of the river past Vicksburg while naval support slipped past the port’s defiant batteries. Then Grant would move his troops across the mighty river and secure a beachhead before investing Vicksburg from the south. To help keep the Rebels distracted from the beachhead, various diversions were needed.

Besides feints north of Vicksburg, a cavalry raid south of Vicksburg was planned to disrupt the railroads, especially the Southern Railroad of Mississippi, the main supply line into the city, and tie up Confederate forces there. Grant wanted Grierson to lead the raid, writing to Maj. Gen. Stephen Hurlbut, commander of XVI Corps, in Memphis in mid-February: “It seems to me that Grierson, with about five hundred picked men, might succeed in making his way south, and cut the railroad east of Jackson, Miss. The undertaking would be a hazardous one, but it would pay well if carried out.”

Grierson’s Raiders

The raid suited Grierson, who in December had taken command of the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, XVI Corps. The brigade consisted of the 6th Illinois, 7th Illinois, and 2nd Iowa Cavalry. Grierson did much of the planning of the raid, although he was aided by his superiors, Generals Hurlbut and William Sooy Smith, who commanded the La Grange camp. Although Grant had initially suggested that Grierson should take 500 men, this force was increased to 1,700 troopers—Grierson’s whole brigade plus Battery K of the 1st Illinois Artillery, which sported six light-caliber Woodruff guns.

Although Grant wanted the Southern Railroad cut somewhere between Meridian and Jackson before his army crossed the Mississippi, it was decided that more had to be done than just tear up tracks. To distract the Confederates, the town of Newton Station would be the primary target. There the tracks of the Southern Railroad could be wrecked and the railroad depot burned. Newton Station also offered the opportunity of wrecking tracks on the nearby Gulf & Ohio Railroad, which ran north and south.

To give Grierson’s raiders a better chance of success, two other short raids were to be launched at the same time by the Army of the Tennessee into northern Mississippi. Meanwhile, the Army of the Cumberland was planning a raid through northern Alabama and Georgia, which was also timed to coincide with Grierson’s raid.

Well-led and well-equipped, Union cavalrymen in the western theater of the war were able to match their Confederate opponents in both firepower and audacity. Premier Union cavalry leader Phil Sheridan got his start in Mississippi.

Commanding the Confederate Department of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana was Lt. Gen. John Pemberton, who had about 50,000 men. The strongest force was kept at or near Vicksburg, while two cavalry units under the command of Colonel William Wirt Adams were stationed at Port Gibson. Another large force was positioned at Port Hudson under Brig. Gen. Franklin Gardner. Other forces under Maj. Gen. William Loring and Brig. Gen. John Chalmers were in northern Mississippi, while Brig. Gen. Daniel Ruggles, in Columbus, was responsible for defending northeast Mississippi. Troops were also stationed at such places as Jackson and Grand Gulf, supported by local militias and state troops spread throughout the department.

Grierson, a music teacher before the war, was visiting his family in Jacksonville, Illinois, when a telegram arrived from Hurlbut telling him to return immediately. The raid was on. Grierson arrived back at La Grange in the early hours of April 17, and Smith gave him some last-minute instructions to cut the Southern Railroad and, if practicable, the Mississippi Central and the Mobile & Ohio Railroads as well. After talking with Smith, Grierson rejoined his brigade. Colonel Edward Hatch, commander of the 2nd Iowa, had the brigade ready to go.

First Skirmishes

Riding south, Grierson’s force was soon split, with the 6th Illinois advancing on a western road and the 7th Illinois and 2nd Iowa on a parallel road to the east. Grierson’s horse soldiers covered 30 miles the first day, stopping for the night four miles northwest of the town of Ripley at a plantation owned by a Doctor Ellis. After capturing some Confederates nearby, the troopers settled down for the night, lighting fires and enjoying fare taken from Ellis’s smokehouses—something they would do at many local plantations in the coming days.

By 7 am, the raiders were mounted and moving toward Ripley with the 7th Illinois under Colonel Edward Prince leading the way. Once at Ripley, Grierson ordered Hatch to make a feint with the 2nd Iowa east toward the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, while the rest of the brigade headed south toward New Albany.

Four miles south of Ripley, gunshots suddenly rang out as a detachment of eight Confederate horse soldiers fired at the advance party of the 7th Illinois. The blue-jacketed troopers charged after the fleeing Rebels but soon reined up their mounts. Nobody was hurt in the exchange, and the advance party, fearing an ambush, decided to wait for Prince and the rest of the regiment to join them. Concerned that a strong Rebel force might be lurking along the Tallahatchie River, 12 miles away, Prince ordered Major John Graham to take to his 1st Battalion and ride hard for the bridge at New Albany.

Hatch and his 2nd Iowa horsemen, meanwhile, turned south toward Molino. Scouts from Colonel J.F. Smith’s 1st Mississippi Regiment, a state guard unit based out of Chesterville, soon spotted the column of Federals. Having only one company on hand to face the enemy cavalry, Smith dispatched a messenger to Chesterville while he attempted to slow down the Union advance.

Hatch was not the only Federal raider then skirmishing with the Confederates. Graham and his hard-riding battalion encountered Rebel pickets as they thundered toward the bridge over the Tallahatchie. While some of the pickets fired at the Federals, others attempted to tear up planks and torch the bridge. Graham’s cavalry was coming too fast for the pickets to do much damage, and they scrambled for their horses and attempted to escape. Four of them weren’t fast enough and were captured along with the bridge. Graham ordered his men to dismount, repair the planks, and prepare to defend the bridge. As it turned out, it was unnecessary Grierson and the main column forded the river three miles upstream.

Taking Pontotoc

Benjamin Grierson.

By late afternoon the two Illinois regiments had reunited at New Albany and pushed five miles southeast under a darkening sky. Grierson was hoping that Hatch would rejoin him, but the Iowans halted for the night after crossing the upper branches of the Tallahatchie. The Illinois troopers camped for the night at another local plantation, enjoying food from its smokehouses and finding a herd of horses and mules hidden in the woods. The four prisoners taken at the bridge, meanwhile, starting talking. Two of them were state troopers, while the other two belonged to Lt. Col. Clark Barteau’s 2nd Tennessee Cavalry, which was part of Ruggles’ command, stationed less than 20 miles away with 400 or 500 regulars and as many state troopers. The prisoners also revealed that a few miles to the northwest a detachment of the 18th Mississippi Cavalry under Major Alexander Chalmers was camped at King’s Bridge.

Torrents of rain pounded down during the night but slackened a little by first light. Grierson hoped to further confuse any pursuit by dispersing Rebel cavalry camps in the vicinity. Two companies from the 7th Illinois under Captain George Trafton slopped north on the muddy road to New Albany. There they found a body of state troops. Trafton’s wet and muddy men charged forward, guns blazing in the rain. The Confederates scattered, but not before eight were killed or wounded.

Two other companies from the 7th Illinois rode out for King’s Bridge to disperse the Rebels, but they found only hastily deserted lean-tos, tents, unrolled bedding, and smoldering cookfires. The final detachment sent out by Grierson, also consisting of two companies, rode east in an attempt to make contact with Hatch and give him orders to make a demonstration toward Chesterville. They were also to look for a hidden herd of horses reported by the prisoners to be concealed in the woods a few miles away. The raiders needed fresh horses, since the fast-moving raid quickly exhausted their mounts.

The troopers managed to find only a few horses, but they did make contact with Hatch’s advance guard and passed along Grierson’s orders to Hatch before riding back to rejoin the rest of their regiment. After breakfast, the 6th Illinois mounted up and headed toward Pontotoc, followed by the returning six companies of the 7th Illinois.

Around 4 pm, the 6th Illinois neared Pontotoc. Grierson expected a fight and ordered the advance troops to ride toward town in an attempt to determine the defenders’ strength. Some citizens and state troopers fired on the advance guard but soon fled upon seeing the whole Federal regiment. A lone defiant Rebel, however, remained and continued to fire on the bluejackets until he was killed. The town was soon in Grierson’s hands, and a wagonload of ammunition was promptly destroyed. While the 6th moved out, a search party from the 7th discovered and destroyed 500 bushels of salt hidden in an old mill.

An alert crew from the 1st Illinois Artillery poses beside their gun. The unit’s Battery K took along six light-caliber Woodruff guns on the Grierson raid.

Quinine Brigade

After making a feint toward Chesterville, Hatch’s Iowans, slowed by state troop skirmishers, finally rejoined Grierson. That evening the raiders encamped five miles south of Pontotoc at two plantations. On the morning of the 20th, bugle calls awoke the troopers. After boiling some coffee and packing their gear, the soldiers assembled with their mounts for inspection. Men and horses thought unfit to continue the raid were shunted aside to form a special detachment. These 175 men, nicknamed “the Quinine Brigade” by the rest of the brigade, were put under the command of Major Hiram Love of the 2nd Iowa. Grierson sent the men back to La Grange, along with several prisoners and a number of spare horses and mules. Accompanying them was one of the Woodruff guns.

At 3 am, the Quinine Brigade, formed into columns of four, rode out of camp for Pontotoc. Grierson hoped they would obliterate his tracks and deceive the Rebels into believing the whole brigade had turned back. Meanwhile, the rest of the brigade was soon back in the saddle and continuing south toward the town of Houston.

Barteau’s combined force of Confederate regular cavalry and state troopers was also in the saddle and attempting to pick up the trail of the Union raiders, who they had expected to attack them the day before at Chesterville. After receiving word the enemy had passed through Pontotoc, Barteau rode through the night for Okolona Station on the Gulf & Ohio Railroad, believing this was the raiders’ true objective. But Barteau failed to find any fresh tracks indicating that mounted forces had passed by. He headed for Pontotoc, which his advance scouts reached at noon.

Grierson, seated center with hand on chin, is surrounded by his staff.

Barteau quickly learned that the Federals had passed through the area hours before and were headed west for Oxford. Barteau send a detachment to follow the Quinine Brigade, which he figured was a diversionary force. After the scouts returned with news that the small force of Federal cavalry had turned north, Barteau ordered his men to follow the main force of enemy raiders. At nightfall they camped a mile and a half north of Houston to give their worn-out horses and men a much-needed rest.

Barteau’s Ambush

By this time Grierson had passed Houston and was camped 12 miles south of the town at another local plantation. That night Grierson met with his regimental commanders and other key officers to discuss decoying Rebel pursuit. He ordered Hatch to take the 2nd Iowa and strike for the Gulf & Ohio Railroad from West Point as far south as Macon if possible. Then, if practicable, they were to hit Columbus, destroying the government works there and striking the railroad south of Okolona before returning to La Grange.

At 7 am on the 21st, Grierson’s brigade broke camp and headed southeast on another rainy day. After the column of bluejackets passed through Clear Springs, Hatch halted his regiment. “This patrol,” wrote Sergeant Lyman Pierce, “returned in columns of fours, thus obliterating all the outward bound tracks. The cannon was turned in the road in four different places, thus making their tracks correspond with the four artillery pieces which Grierson had with the expedition. The object of this was to deceive the rebels, who were following us, into the belief that the entire column had taken the Columbus road.”

The deception worked. Barteau’s scouts found the tracks and assumed the main column of Union cavalry had doubled back and was riding east for the Gulf & Ohio Railroad at Columbus. Barteau sent his men galloping eastward along the muddy road after the enemy, which he soon overtook at Pala Alto. Around noon, as the rain started to lighten, Barteau made contact with Hatch’s command, which was just preparing to mount up after halting for lunch. Shots rang out as Hatch’s rear guard was overrun by the Confederates. Barteau’s men then charged toward the main body of Federals.

Hatch, hearing the gunshots, ordered his men to continue into a hedged lane and dismount. Taking cover along the brush and trees that bordered the lane, the Iowans, armed with sporting Colt revolving rifles, opened up on the Rebels. Barteau, sensing he had the Federals trapped, halted the charge and sent four companies of Tennesseans to take up positions at the far end of the lane while he attacked the enemy with the rest of his command.

Hatch Holds the Confederates Back

Confederate Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton.

Hatch’s men had good cover, and for two hours they held off the Rebels. Then Barteau shifted his men, putting his green Mississippi state troops in Hatch’s front, where they had the cover of a church and some trees. There they were to hold their fire until the Federals were “close enough to make it destructive and deadly.” The 2nd Tennessee, meanwhile, formed to attack up the lane and hit the enemy rear. Before the Confederates could attack, Hatch struck first.

The lone Woodruff gun opened up on the Mississippi troops while the Iowa cavalrymen hit the Mississippians hard, causing them to retreat in disorder. Hatch’s men pushed the Confederates three miles toward the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. Barteau and his Tennesseans, meanwhile, rode hard to place themselves in a position between the Yankees and the railroad tracks. They dug in for the night and waited for reinforcements, intending to continue the battle the next morning.

Hatch had other ideas. He led his men northward through a large swamp, guided by an African American scout. After crossing a river with considerable difficulty during the night, Hatch’s raiders struck Okolona near sunset on the 22nd, finding it abandoned and torching 30 barracks full of cotton. Barteau, reinforced by Lt. Col. James Cunningham and his 2nd Alabama Cavalry, rode after Hatch.

Pushing north again on the 23rd through more swamps, Hatch’s men found horses and mules hidden by their owners. Barteau continued to dog the raiders, who were burning bridges as they withdrew north. On April 24, nearing Birmingham, Hatch divided his force, sending six companies to the east while the rest of his command, along with 31 prisoners and 200 escaped slaves who were helping to drive the 600 captured horses and mules, proceeded into town.

Making a forced march, Barteau finally caught up with Hatch’s rear guard, which put its Colt revolving rifles to good use stopping three charges before being forced back on the rest of Hatch’s command, which repulsed the Confederate attack and fell back across a bridge over Camp Creek. The bridge was then torched, ending the skirmish after it had cost the Confederates 30 men and exhausted their ammunition. Hatch returned safely to La Grange a couple of days later, having lost only 10 men himself.

The Butternut Guerrillas

Colonel Edward Hatch of the 2nd Iowa Cavalry.

Grierson, meanwhile, was continuing to push south. Ahead of the column of horsemen now rode a group of scouts led by a Canadian quartermaster sergeant named Richard Surby. According to Surby, he approached his superior, Lt. Col. William Blackburn, executive officer of the 7th Illinois, with the idea of “having some scouts in the advance dressed in citizens clothes.” Blackburn discussed the idea with Grierson, who approved it and gave Surby permission to form his scouts. Eight men from the 7th Illinois were dressed as irregular Confederates. The scouts, nicknamed “the Butternut Guerrillas,” would prove quite useful to Grierson.

Passing through Starkville on April 21, the raiders seized Confederate mail and destroyed supplies. Grierson was disturbed to learn that the townspeople knew the raiders were coming. As a violent storm flashed and crashed overhead, the bluejackets pushed south from Starkville through swamps where horses struggled through belly-deep mud and water. Finding some high ground, the raiders stopped for the night. Graham’s 1st Battalion, however, got little rest. Grierson earlier had received information from a slave about a nearby tannery, and he sent Graham’s force to destroy it.

Concerned that the Confederates had been telegraphed of his force passing through Starkville, Grierson decided to send out another diversionary force, Company B of the 7th Illinois. Commanded by Captain Henry Forbes, the company was given the dangerous mission of riding fast to Macon and pulling up the Mobile & Ohio Railroad tracks, ripping down telegraph wires, and drawing as much Confederate attention as it could.

Separating from the main column, Forbes and Company B rode east for 30 miles. That evening Forbes halted his company at a plantation three miles from Macon. Around 9 pm, pickets captured a Confederate scout who revealed that a trainload of infantry was expected to arrive that night. Forbes’ own scouts soon heard the whistle of an engine, leading the captain to believe that enemy reinforcements were arriving in town. Taking Macon was now out of the question. Forbes felt they had done what they came for he would later report, “We kept all eyes on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad.”

Captain John Raines served with Company C, 2nd Tennessee Cavalry.

He was right to do so—Pemberton knew now that 2,000 Union cavalrymen were raiding deep into his district, but he believed the Mobile & Ohio was their main objective. He sent Loring to Meridian to take command of all troops in the area and run down the enemy raiders. Troops went quickly by rail to Macon, where Pemberton had received reports of a large enemy force approaching. This was Forbes’ company.

Grierson, after a rugged journey through deep mud and water, was nearing Louisville. He ordered Major Mathew Starr to ride ahead with a battalion of the 6th Illinois and secure the town. When Starr’s men galloped into Louisville they found the streets empty and the buildings closed—the townspeople had been warned of the Yankees’ approach. After the main column passed through town, Grierson left Graham’s force behind for an hour to make sure no one left with news of the raiders. The column then pushed on through more swamps before camping around midnight at another plantation. It had been a rugged 50-mile journey, but their objective now lay only 40 miles away.

On the morning of April 23, the Butternut Guerrillas galloped ahead of the main column with orders to capture a key bridge over the flooded Pearl River. A couple of miles from the bridge the scouts chanced upon an elderly man who told them the bridge was held by a guard of five men, including his son, and that they had ripped up some planks in the center of the bridge and placed incendiaries in the openings. The old man reluctantly agreed to help after he was warned that the raiders would destroy his property if the bridge was damaged.

The old man talked his son and the guards into galloping away, leaving the bridge in the scouts’ hands. After replacing the missing planks, Surby left one scout to wait for the main column and led the rest of his men after the fleeing guards, who he worried would spread word of the Union advance. As he neared Philadelphia, Surby spotted armed men drawn up in a line across the road. He immediately requested that an additional 10 men be sent up to reinforce the Butternut Guerrillas. When Surby saw the help coming, he led his scouts forward, revolvers blazing, and stampeded the Rebels. The town was quickly in Federal hands.

In this Harper’s Weekly engraving, Grierson’s industrious raiders tear up tracks and burn a rail depot in Mississippi as part of the plan to disrupt Southern Railroad service to the besieged city of Vicksburg.

Seizing the Trains

The muddy blue column of cavalry continued to push south. After a brief rest, Grierson had his men riding through the night. He sent Blackburn and 200 men of the 7th Illinois ahead with orders to capture Decatur and scout the ultimate target of the raid, Newton Station. Blackburn easily secured Decatur and halted six miles outside Newton Station. Grierson then ordered Surby and two scouts to ride into town to reconnoiter. Riding to within half a mile of town, Surby halted on an elevated position to have a better look at Newton Station. No enemy camp or pickets were visible, and Surby could only see a few people moving around a large building that he took to be a military hospital. Pushing closer to town, Surby and his two scouts stopped at a house on the edge of town, where he learned that two trains were due to arrive shortly.

Not wasting any time, Surby sent one of his scouts back to inform Blackburn and then hurried into town with his other scout to capture the telegraph station, which he found closed. Convalescents soon began to pour out of the hospital upon seeing the two scouts. Surby pulled his revolver and told them to remain inside.

Blackburn and his men thundered into town none too soon as a freight train puffing black smoke approached a mile east of town. Most of the blue raiders dismounted, hid their horses, and took cover pickets moved to secure the different approaches to town. The locomotive, pulling 25 freight cars loaded with ordnance and commissary supplies for Vicksburg, rolled into the station. Blackburn gave a signal, and troopers came out from hiding and seized the train, then quickly hid again as a second train neared town.

The combined freight and passenger train soon slowed down by the depot. Surby climbed aboard the locomotive and pointed his revolver at the engineer, telling him that if he reversed the engine Surby would put a ball through him. The troopers rushed from their hiding place and seized the train’s 13 cars. Four of the cars carried ammunition and arms, while six had commissary stores on them and the remaining two contained personal belongings of people leaving Vicksburg.

Grierson’s raid began at the Union cavalry depot in La Grange, Tennessee, on April 17. The primary target was the crossroads depot at Newtown Station, where rail lines transected in all four directions.

Since both trains carried explosives and loaded shells aboard them, Blackburn had them moved away from the hospital after the civilians’ goods were removed from the two boxcars. They were then set on fire, and the shells and ammunition began to explode. Grierson, who was nearing town, heard the ammunition exploding and charged into Newton with his men, believing Blackburn was under attack. Grierson was relieved to learn the true state of events. Now serious destruction got underway.

Destruction of Newton Station

The Federal cavalry commander ordered Starr to take two battalions of the 6th Illinois east of town to torch bridges and trestles, cut down telegraph poles, and destroy the lines. Captain Joseph Herring was ordered west of town with a battalion of the 7th Illinois to do the same thing. More destruction took place in town, where a warehouse containing 500 arms and a large number of uniforms was set on fire. Railroad rails were pulled up and thrown on fires of burning crossties and then twisted. The two locomotives exploded.

By 2 pm, the destruction was complete, and Grierson headed south again, knowing the Confederates were looking for him to the north. Before leaving the burning and smoking destruction at Newton Station, Grierson and his officers asked some of the paroled Confederate officers taken at the hospital about various roads to the east, hoping to confuse pursuers.

After a three-hour rest five miles south of Newton Station, the raiders pushed on to Garlandville around dusk. Grierson would later write, “We found the citizens, many of them venerable with age, armed with shot-guns and organized to resist our approach.” A cavalry charge scattered them, but not before they got off a volley that severely wounded a trooper. The militia was disarmed and released. Grierson reported that the militiamen were apologetic, “acknowledging their mistake, and declared that they had been grossly deceived as to our real character. One volunteered his services as a guide and upon leaving us declared that hereafter his prayers should be for the Union Army.”

The Federal column pushed southwest again, the exhausted men slumping in the saddles. Some actually fell asleep as they rode, having not slept more than five hours in the last 72. Finally, they stopped for the night around midnight at a plantation belonging to a Doctor Mackadora, 50 miles from Newton and a couple of miles west of Montrose.

Sighted By Confederate Cavalry

By 8 am on April 25, the troopers were back in the saddle again, riding west. To get his men safely out of Rebel territory, Grierson intended to head for Grand Gulf along the Mississippi, where he knew Grant was intending to land his army. By this time, hearing of the strike on Newton Station, Pemberton tardily grew concerned over the rail line to Vicksburg and mobilized more units, including Adams’ cavalry.

After making only five miles, the Federal column held up at a plantation, resting until 2 pm, while parties were sent out to find fresh horses hidden in the swamps and woods. They continued on, stopping at another plantation for the night. Grierson ordered one of Surby’s scouts, Sam Nelson, to create a diversion by riding north to Forest Station on the Southern Railroad and cutting the telegraph line. If possible, Nelson was to torch bridges and trestles as well.

Nelson, however, would not complete his mission he ran into a Confederate cavalry detachment under Captain R.C. Love. The quick-thinking Nelson told Love that he was a paroled Confederate and claimed the Yankees numbered 1,800 men and were headed east toward the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. Satisfied with his answers, Love let Nelson go. The raider raced back to warn Grierson, knowing that once the Rebel cavalry reached the main road and saw the Federal cavalry column’s tracks, they would determine their true direction.

A well-turned-out Mississippi cavalryman, with a tasseled hat and an unsheathed saber, poses

Forbes’ Company B, meanwhile, reached Newton Station, where they learned from prisoners of the Federals intention to head east. It was rumored that that Federals were at the town of Enterprise, where Forbes was now determined to go. Sometime around 1 pm he neared the town only to find it strongly held by the Confederates. In a bold move, Forbes approached the town under a flag of truce and met with Colonel Edwin Goodwin, commander of the 35th Alabama Infantry, demanding the surrender of the town on behalf of Grierson. Goodwin asked for an hour to consider the surrender offer, to which Forbes agreed. Forbes did not wait around to hear Goodwin’s answer, galloping west as soon as his back was turned.

Grierson was asleep when Nelson arrived in the early morning of April 26 with news of encountering the Rebel cavalry. The camp was soon a bustle of activity as the Federals prepared to pull out by 6 am they were riding west, burning bridges behind them. By nightfall they passed through Westville and stopped to rest two miles to the west at a plantation. With them they had the Smith County sheriff, who had been captured by Surby’s scouts.

Crossing the Pearl River

The raiders made 40 miles with 60 more to go before reaching Grand Gulf. Two major rivers lay in their way, and Grierson wanted crossings over them seized and held. He directed the 7th Illinois to seize a bridge over the Strong River, leaving a detachment to hold it. Two other battalions, under Prince, rode on to capture a ferry over the Pearl River that was vital to the Yankees’ escape. By the early morning of the 27th, Prince had reached the river’s edge only to find the ferry on other side of it.

The ferry came back across the river, its handlers mistaking the Federals for Confederate cavalry. Twenty-four mud-splashed troopers and their mounts boarded the ferry and were taken across the river. Prince had ordered them to capture the Confederate guards on the far side only they discovered there were none. Grierson soon arrived, but it would take eight hours to get his whole command across the river. Meanwhile, Prince and the two battalions under his command, with the Butternut Guerrillas in the advance, headed toward Hazlehurst, where the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad passed through town. Prince sent in two of the Butternut Guerrillas to send a telegram to Pemberton telling him that the Yankees had reached the Pearl River but found the ferry destroyed and were heading northeast.

The message was duly sent by the telegraph operator, but as the two scouts headed out onto the muddy street they were spotted by the Smith County sheriff, who had escaped during the night. The scouts jumped onto their horses and spurred out of town, rejoining the other scouts a mile to the east. Surby sent back word to Prince about what had happened, then charged back into Hazlehurst, finding the streets deserted.

With rain beginning to pound down yet again, the scouts learned that a train was coming. The rest of Prince’s command soon arrived and set up an ambush for the southbound train. Spotting the bluejackets as he rolled into town, the engineer put the engine in reverse and steamed back out of Hazlehurst. Despite this setback, the raiders tore up tracks and torched a good number of boxcars full of commissary stores, ammunition, and shells. An explosion accidentally set some of the buildings on fire, which the Federal troopers tried to help extinguish.

The rest of the brigade soon joined Prince, and they were heading west again by 7 pm. At Gallatin after dispersing the town’s defenders, Grierson turned southwest to confuse any pursuit. A small wagon train carrying a 64-pounder Parrot gun was captured and spiked, and 1,400 pounds of gunpowder were destroyed. The raiders stopped for the night at another plantation to grab some much-needed sleep.

Chased by the 20th Mississipi Infantry

By 7 am on April 28, the Federal raiders were on the move again intending to push toward Grand Gulf. Along the way Grierson dispatched a battalion of the 7th Illinois under Captain George Trafton to make a lightning strike against the New Orleans & Jackson Railroad at Bahala, creating a diversion while the rest of the column headed to Union Church. At 2 pm, about two miles northwest of their destination, Grierson’s men were resting when a Rebel cavalry detachment fired on their pickets. The Federals quickly scrambled after them, pushing the Rebels back through Union Church before halting for the night.

At 3 am on the 29th, they were joined by Trafton, who brought disturbing news. After creating havoc at Bahala and discovering an empty Confederate camp nearby, Surby and another scout learned that Adams’ cavalry was in the area and preparing an ambush on the road between Union Church and Fayette. Grierson, learning that his pursuers were increasing, decided to head back east to the New Orleans & Jackson Railroad. To throw off pursuers, he ordered a battalion of the 6th Illinois to make a demonstration toward Fayette, where Adams had set up his ambush. The rest of the brigade, soon to be joined by the diversionary battalion, set out in the opposite direction for Brookhaven, overtaking along the way a wagon train hauling several hogsheads of sugar.

At Brookhaven the troopers charged and captured more than 200 Confederate soldiers, whom they immediately paroled. They set on fire a section of trestlework, a small bridge, railroad cars, and the train station itself. By this time Adams had discovered the Yankees weren’t coming, but help was on the way. Pemberton had dispatched Colonel Robert Richardson to take command of the 20th Mississippi Infantry, which was now acting as mounted infantry, and chase down Grierson.

Benjamin Grierson leads his men into Baton Rouge on May 2, having covered more than 600 miles in 16 days and destroyed more than 50 miles of railroad and seized 1,000 horses and mules

Despite some delays, Richardson’s force rolled into Hazelhurst around noon and set out for Union Church. After reaching there at 9 pm and learning the Yankees had left that morning, Richardson rested his men and horses for a couple of hours before setting off for Brookhaven. Two other Confederate forces, under Colonel W.R. Miles and Major James De Baun, were dispatched by Gardner from Port Hudson to aid in trapping the Federals.

After breaking camp eight miles from Brookhaven early on the morning of April 30, Grierson’s raiders pushed south along the railroad, burning bridges, trestles, railroad cars, and depots at Bogue Chitto and Summit (although the depot in the latter village was not torched since it was too close to private houses). Behind the raiders came Richardson, who linked up with Love’s command and hoped with Adams’ help to overtake and defeat Grierson.

At Summit, Grierson was informed erroneously that the Rebels had a strong force at Osyka—a rumor spread by the Confederate commander there. Grierson would later write, “Hearing nothing more of our forces at Grand Gulf and not being able to ascertain anything definite as to General Grant’s movements or whereabouts, I concluded to make for Baton Rouge.” At sunset the Federals rode south out of Summit, following the railroad toward Osyka. Once well clear of the citizens’ eyes, Grierson turned his brigade west for Baton Rouge. At dawn they stopped for a brief rest at a plantation.

Richardson’s and Love’s combined force charged into Summit at 3 am on May 1, only to find that once again the Yankees had cleared out. Although he missed Grierson, Richardson did learn from the townspeople that the Yankees were headed for Osyka. Richardson rode out of Summit intending to get ahead of the raiders and set up an ambush. By 9 am, his scouts informed him that Grierson was heading west. Richardson had no choice but to rest his worn-out men and horses for three hours before pushing on to Osyka, which he believed Grierson still intended to attack.

Clash at Wall’s Bridge

Meanwhile, the Federals continued their ride toward Baton Rouge. Ahead lay Wall’s Bridge over the Tickfaw River. Surby and his scouts were out front and discovered fresh tracks of enemy cavalry headed from Liberty to Osyka. The tracks belonged to three companies of the 9th Louisiana Partisan Rangers under De Baun, who had stopped around 11:30 am to rest and eat at Wall’s Bridge. A small rear guard half a mile to the rear was soon encountered by Surby’s scouts. Although the scouts captured a few of the pickets, a couple of shots rang out as troopers from the 7th Illinois encountered more pickets. A Confederate officer and his orderly, going to investigate, were nabbed by the scouts.

Blackburn arrived on the scene after hearing the shooting and ordered Surby and his scouts to follow him. Believing the Rebels knew of their presence, Blackburn rashly charged across the bridge. “It seemed as though a flame of fire burst forth from every tree,” Surby later recorded. Blackburn and his horse went down, while Surby took a bullet in his thigh. A platoon from G Company of the 7th Illinois under Lieutenant William Styles followed across the bridge and was met by a hail of lead that thudded into three men and seven horses. Five raiders were captured, while four others managed to escape.

When Grierson and Prince arrived, they quickly had two companies from the 7th dismount and form into skirmish lines on either side of the bridge. A Woodruff gun was positioned on the road and began hammering the Rebels in the trees across the bridge. A second gun was brought into action. Soon a battalion of the 6th Illinois was ordered to charge across the bridge, while two other battalions forded the river to flank the Confederates and send them fleeing in the direction of Osyka.

With the short fight over, the wounded were moved to a nearby plantation. Included among them was Surby, who put his own blue uniform back on for safety in case he was captured, and the mortally wounded Blackburn. Volunteering to stay behind with the wounded were surgeon Erastus Yule and two other men. Surby was right to be cautious—he and the others would be taken prisoner by Adams, who along with Richardson would soon give up the chase after being ordered to return to Port Gibson to fight Grant’s army, which had finally crossed the Mississippi.

Arrival in Baton Rouge

The Federals, meanwhile, pushed on toward Baton Rouge. Samuel Nelson was put in charge of Surby’s scouts, who again led the way. Ahead of the raiders lay Williams Bridge over the Amite River. The raiders encountered and drove off more Confederate cavalry, but not before word was sent to Gardner at Port Hudson that the Yankees were heading to Williams Bridge. A sizable Confederate force was dispatched from Port Hudson to secure the bridge, but they were too late. Pushing through the darkness, Grierson reached the bridge at midnight and continued to ride on through the night for the last river, the Comite, which lay between the Federal cavalry and Baton Rouge.

The Union camp in Baton Rouge at the close of Grierson’s campaign. Note the brush arbors erected around the officers’ tents to provide extra cover from the elements.

Grierson easily forded the river and overran a Rebel camp, capturing most of the troops there. The dead-tired Federals, many of them asleep in the saddle, pushed on for another four miles before stopping at a plantation to grab some rest. One of Grierson’s orderlies, sound asleep, continued on toward Baton Rouge, where he was awakened by Union pickets. He had quite a story to tell, and soon a patrol was sent out to make contact with Grierson.

A parade was held in Baton Rouge later in the afternoon for the worn-out troopers in honor of their raid. In 16 days they had ridden 600 miles through enemy territory, destroying more than 50 miles of railroad tracks, capturing and paroling 500 prisoners, seizing 1,000 horses and mules, and tying up precious Confederate reserves who were needed at Vicksburg. With the parade over, Grierson and his tired command finally eased out of their saddles and got some well-deserved rest. All in all, it had been quite a trip.

Comments

My name is Michael Smith. My great great uncle James Henry Smith and a cousin enlisted in company B 6th Illinois Cavalry in Johnson County Illinois in 1861 and later participated in Grierson’s Raid. My great grandfather would tell stories shared by his uncle about riding through the south to Louisiana? I just started researching the 6th Illinois Cavalry and discovered the fairly famous raid. Thank you for the account.


Grierson's Raid

Benjamin Grierson U.S. Army major general Benjamin H. Grierson's cavalry raid through Alabama in April 1865 was among the last military actions to take place in the state during the Civil War. The campaign's goal was to destroy Confederate supply points in southeastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia that remained after the fall of Selma on April 2 and Mobile on April 12. It included some of the last fighting between Confederate and federal forces in Alabama and resulted in the capture of the important trading center of Eufaula in Barbour County. Grierson's Raiders Though Grierson's forces did not participate in any pitched battles, their forays into the state's hinterlands during the last days of the Confederacy did result in a few notable events. As his columns advanced through Troy, Louisville, and Clayton towards the Georgia border, some detachments came under fire at least twice from Confederate forces. On April 23, near the village of Manningham in Butler County, Grierson and his men skirmished briefly with a home guard unit, routing them with no reported losses. A few days later, however, Priv. Joseph C. Marlin of the Second New Jersey Cavalry was killed by a sniper outside of Clayton. Marlin was among the last Civil War casualties incurred during active campaigning in Alabama. While occupying the city, Grierson maintained his headquarters at the notable Octagon House, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Grierson remained in the Army and would go on to lead the 10th U.S. Cavalry, an integrated regiment of black enlisted men and white officers that came to be known as the Buffalo Soldiers in Indian Wars of the American West. He died in Omena, Michigan, on August 31, 1911.

Bunn, Mike. Civil War Eufaula. Charleston: The History Press, 2009.


Grierson's Raid, 17 April- 2 May 1863 - History

Posted on 04/16/2003 4:47:06 AM PDT by SAMWolf

There's a young man far from home,
called to serve his nation in time of war
sent to defend our freedom
on some distant foreign shore.

We pray You keep him safe,
we pray You keep him strong,
we pray You send him safely home .
for he's been away so long.

There's a young woman far from home,
serving her nation with pride.
Her step is strong, her step is sure,
there is courage in every stride.
We pray You keep her safe,
we pray You keep her strong,
we pray You send her safely home .
for she's been away too long.

Bless those who await their safe return.
Bless those who mourn the lost.
Bless those who serve this country well,
no matter what the cost.

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join in prayer for all those serving their country at this time.

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are acknowledged, affirmed and commemorated.

The FReeper Foxhole is dedicated to Veterans of our Nation's military forces and to others who are affected in their relationships with Veterans.

Welcome to "Warrior Wednesday"
Where the Freeper Foxhole introduces a different veteran each Wednesday. The "ordinary" Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine who participated in the events in our Country's history. We hope to present events as seen through their eyes. To give you a glimpse into the life of those who sacrificed for all of us - Our Veterans.

Report of Col. Benjamin H. Grierson,
Sixth Illinois Cavalry, commanding expedition.
Headquarters First Cavalry Brigade,
Baton Rouge, La., May 5, 1863.

In April of 1963 Colonel (later Major General) Benjamin Grierson led his 1700 man mounted force out of the Federal cavalry camp at La Grange, Tennessee, and embarked upon an ambitious and hazardous raid deep into the Mississippi countryside. The purpose of the raid was to disrupt Confederate communications and to draw attention away from Grant's early movements against Vicksburg.

The raid turned out to be a resounding success, and did much to show the improvement made in the condition and effectiveness of the Union cavalry arm. This is Grierson's report of the expedition.

April 17 - MAY 2, 1863.
Grierson's Raid from La Grange, Tenn., to Baton Rouge, La.

COLONEL: In accordance with instructions from Maj. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut, received through Brig. Gen. W. S. Smith, at La Grange, Tenn., I left that place at daylight on the morning of April 17, with the effective force of my command, 1,700 strong. We moved southward without material interruption, crossing the Tallahatchee River on the afternoon of the 18th at three different points. One battalion of the Seventh Illinois, under Major Graham, crossing at New Albany, found the bridge partially torn up, and an attempt was made to fire it. As they approached the bridge they were fired upon, but drove the enemy from their position, repaired the bridge, and crossed. The balance of the Seventh Illinois and the whole of the Sixth crossed at a ford 2 miles above, and the Second Iowa crossed about 4 miles still farther up. After crossing, the Sixth and Seventh Illinois moved south on the Pontotoc road, and encamped for the night on the plantation of Mr. Sloan. The Second Iowa also moved south from their point of crossing, and encamped about 4 miles south of the river. The rain fell in torrents all night.

The next morning, April 19, I sent a detachment eastward to communicate with Colonel Hatch and make a demonstration toward Chesterville, where a regiment of cavalry was organizing. I also sent an expedition to New Albany, and another northwest toward King's Bridge, to attack and destroy a portion of a regiment of cavalry organizing there under Major [A. H.] Chalmers. I thus sought to create the impression that the object of our advance was to break up these parties.

The expedition eastward communicated with Colonel Hatch, who was still moving south parallel to us. The one to New Albany came upon 200 rebels near the town, and engaged them, killing and wounding several. The one northwest found that Major Chalmers' command, hearing of our close proximity, had suddenly left in the night, going west.

After the return of these expeditions, I moved with the whole force to Pontotoc. Colonel Hatch joined us about noon, reporting having skirmished with about 200 rebels the afternoon before and that morning, killing, wounding, and capturing a number.

We reached Pontotoc about 5 p.m. The advance dashed into the town, came upon some guerrillas, killed 1, and wounded and captured several more. Here we also captured a large mill, about 400 bushels of salt, and camp equipage, books, papers, &c., of Captain Weatherall's command, all of which were destroyed. After slight delay, we moved out, and encamped for the night on the plantation of Mr. Daggett, 5 miles south of Pontotoc, on the road toward Houston.

At 3 o'clock the next morning, April 20, I detached 175 of the least effective portion of the command, with one gun of the battery and all the prisoners, led horses, and captured property, under the command of Major Love, of the Second Iowa, to proceed back to La Grange, marching in column of fours, before daylight, through Pontotoc, and thus leaving the impression that the whole command had returned. Major Love had orders also to send off a single scout to cut the telegraph wires south of Oxford.

At 5 a.m. I proceeded southward with the main force on the Houston road, passing around Houston about 4 p.m., and halting at dark on the plantation of Benjamin Kilgore, 11½ miles southeast of the latter place, on the road toward Starkville.

The following morning at 6 o'clock I resumed the march southward, and about 8 o'clock came to the road leading southeast to Columbus, Miss. Here I detached Colonel Hatch, with the Second Iowa Cavalry and one gun of the battery, with orders to proceed to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad in the vicinity of West Point, and destroy the road and wires thence move south, destroying the railroad and all public property as far south, if possible, as Macon thence across the railroad, making a circuit northward if practicable, take Columbus and destroy all Government works in that place, and again strike the railroad south of Okolona, and, destroying it, return to La Grange by the most practicable route.

Of this expedition, and the one previously sent back, I have since heard nothing, except vague and uncertain rumors through secession sources.

These detachments were intended as diversions, and even should the commanders not have been able to carry out their instructions, yet, by attracting the attention of the enemy in other directions, they assisted us much in the accomplishment of the main object of the expedition.

After having started Colonel Hatch on his way, with the remaining portion of the command, consisting of the Sixth and Seventh Illinois Cavalry, about 950 strong, I continued on my journey southward, still keeping the Starkville road. Arriving at Starkville about 4 p.m., we captured a mail and a quantity of Government property, which we destroyed. From this point we took the direct road to Louisville. We moved out on this road about 4 miles, through a dismal swamp nearly belly-deep in mud, and sometimes swimming our horses to cross streams, when we encamped for the night in the midst of a violent rain. From this point I detached a battalion of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry under ------ ------, to proceed about 4 miles, and destroy a large tannery and shoe manufactory in the service of the rebels. They returned safely, having accomplished the work most effectually. They destroyed a large number of boots and shoes and a large quantity of leather and machinery in all amounting, probably, to $50,000, and captured a rebel quartermaster from Port Hudson, who was there laying in a supply for his command. We now immediately resumed the march toward Louisville, distant 28 miles, mostly through a dense swamp, the Noxubee River bottom. This was for miles belly-deep in water, so that no road was discernible. The inhabitants through this part of the country generally did not know of our coming, and would not believe us to be anything but Confederates. We arrived at Louisville soon after dark. I sent a battalion of the Sixth Illinois, under Major Starr, in advance, to picket the town and remain until the column had passed, when they were relieved by a battalion of the Seventh Illinois, under Major Graham, who was ordered to remain until we should have been gone an hour, to prevent persons leaving with information of the course we were taking, to drive out stragglers, preserve order, and quiet the fears of the people. They had heard of our coming a short time before we arrived, and many had left, taking only what they could hurriedly move. The column moved quietly through the town without halting, and not a thing was disturbed. Those who remained at home acknowledged that they were surprised. They had expected to be robbed, outraged, and have their houses burned. On the contrary, they were protected in their persons and property.

After leaving the town, we struck another swamp, in which, crossing it, as we were obliged to, in the dark, we lost several animals drowned, and the men narrowly escaped the same fate. Marching until midnight, we halted until daylight at the plantation of Mr. Estes, about 10 miles south of Louisville.

The next morning, April 23, at daylight we took the road for Philadelphia, crossing Pearl River on a bridge about 6 miles north of the town. This bridge we were fearful would be destroyed by the citizens to prevent our crossing, and upon arriving at Philadelphia we found that they had met and organized for that purpose but hearing of our near approach, their hearts failed, and they fled to the woods. We moved through Philadelphia about 3 p.m. without interruption, and halted to feed about 5 miles southeast, on the Enterprise road. Here we rested until 10 o'clock at night, when I sent two battalions of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, under Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn, to proceed immediately to Decatur, thence to the railroad at Newton Station. With the main force I followed about an hour later. The advance passed through Decatur about daylight, and struck the railroad about 6 a.m. I arrived about an hour afterward with the column. Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn dashed into the town, took possession of the railroad and telegraph, and succeeded in capturing two trains in less than half an hour after his arrival. One of these, 25 cars, was loaded with ties and machinery, and the other 13 cars were loaded with commissary stores and ammunition, among the latter several thousand loaded shells. These, together with a large quantity of commissary and quartermaster's stores and about five hundred stand of arms stored in the town, were destroyed. Seventy-five prisoners captured at this point were paroled. The locomotives were exploded and otherwise rendered completely unserviceable. Here the track was torn up, and a bridge half a mile west of the station destroyed. I detached a battalion of the Sixth Illinois Cavalry, under Major Starr, to proceed eastward and destroy such bridges, &c., as he might find over Chunkey River. Having damaged as much as possible the railroad and telegraph, and destroyed all Government property in the vicinity of Newton, I moved about 4 miles south of the road and fed men and horses. The forced marches which I was compelled to make, in order to reach this point successfully, necessarily very much fatigued and exhausted my command, and rest and food were absolutely necessary for its safety.

From captured mails and information obtained by my scouts, I knew that large forces had been sent out to intercept our return, and having instructions from Major-General Hurlbut and Brigadier-General Smith to move in any direction from this point which, in my judgment, would be best for the safety of my command and the success of the expedition, I at once decided to move south, in order to secure the necessary rest and food for men and horses, and then return to La Grange through Alabama, or make for Baton Rouge, as I might hereafter deem best. Major Starr in the mean time rejoined us, having destroyed most effectually three bridges and several hundred feet of trestle-work, and the telegraph from 8 to 10 miles east of Newton Station.

After resting about three hours, we moved south to Garlandville. At this point we found the citizens, many of them venerable with age, armed with shot-guns and organized to resist our approach. As the advance entered the town, these citizens fired upon them and wounded one of our men. We charged upon them and captured several. After disarming them, we showed them the folly of their actions, and, released them. Without an exception they acknowledged their mistake, and declared that they had been grossly deceived as to our real character. One volunteered his services as guide, and upon leaving us declared that hereafter his prayers should be for the Union Army. I mention this as a sample of the feeling which exists, and the good effect which our presence produced among the people in the country through which we passed. Hundreds who are skulking and hiding out to avoid conscription, only await the presence of our arms to sustain them, when they will rise up and declare their principles and thousands who have been deceived, upon the vindication of our cause would immediately return to loyalty.

After slight delay at Garlandville, we moved southwest about 10 miles, and camped at night on the plantation of Mr. Bender, 2 miles west of Montrose. Our men and horses having become gradually exhausted, I determined on making a very easy march the next day, looking more to the recruiting of my weary little command than to the accomplishment of any important object consequently I marched at 8 o'clock the next morning, taking a west, and varying slightly to a northwest, course. We marched about 5 miles, and halted to feed on the plantation of Elias Nichols.

After resting until about 2 p.m., during which time I sent detachments north to threaten the line of railroad at Lake Station and other points, we moved southwest toward Raleigh, making about 12 miles during the afternoon, and halting at dark on the plantation of Dr. Mackadora.

From this point I sent a single scout, disguised as a citizen, to proceed northward to the line of the Southern Railroad, cut the telegraph, and, if possible, fire a bridge or trestle-work. He started on his journey about midnight, and when within 7 miles of the railroad he came upon a regiment of Southern cavalry from Brandon, Miss., in search of us. He succeeded in misdirecting them as to the place where he had last seen us, and, having seen them well on the wrong road, he immediately retraced his steps to camp with the news. When he first met them they were on the direct road to our camp, and had they not been turned from their course would have come up with us before daylight.

Thanks to FReepers CholeraJoe and Cavtrooper21
for suggesting this Thread
and to Freeper Coteblanche for help with the graphics

From information received through my scouts and other sources, I found that Jackson and the stations east as far as Lake Station had been re-enforced by infantry and artillery and hearing that a fight was momentarily expected at Grand Gulf, I decided to make a rapid march: cross Pearl River, and strike the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad at Hazlehurst, and, after destroying as much of the road as possible, endeavor to get upon the flank of the enemy and cooperate with our forces, should they be successful in the attack upon Grand Gulf and Port Gibson.

Having obtained during this day plenty of forage and provisions, and having had one good night's rest, we now again felt ready for any emergency. Accordingly, at 6 o'clock on the morning of the 26th, we crossed Leaf River, burning the bridge behind us to prevent any enemy who might be in pursuit from following thence through Raleigh, capturing the sheriff of that county, with about $3,000 in Government funds thence to Westville, reaching this place soon after dark. Passing on about 2 miles, we halted to feed, in the midst of a heavy rain, on the plantation of Mr. Williams.


The Horse Soldiers was a fictionized account of Grierson's Raid

After feeding, Colonel Prince, of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, with two battalions, was sent immediately forward to Pearl River to secure the ferry and landing. He arrived in time to capture a courier who had come to bring intelligence of the approach of the Yankees and orders for the destruction of the ferry. With the main column, I followed in about two hours. We ferried and swam our horses, and succeeded in crossing the whole command by 2 p.m.

As soon as Colonel Prince had crossed his two battalions, he was ordered to proceed immediately to the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad, striking it at Hazlehurst. Here he found a number of cars containing about 500 loaded shells and a large quantity of commissary and quartermaster's stores, intended for Grand Gulf and Port Gibson. These were destroyed, and as much of the railroad and telegraph as possible. Here, again, we found the citizens armed to resist us, but they fled precipitately upon our approach.

From this point we took a northwest course to Gallatin, 4 miles thence southwest 3½ miles to the plantation of Mr. Thompson, where we halted until the next morning.

Directly after leaving Gallatin we captured a 64-pounder gun, a heavy wagon load of ammunition, and machinery for mounting the gun, on the road to Port Gibson. The gun was spiked and the carriages and ammunition destroyed. During the afternoon it rained in torrents, and the men were completely drenched.

At 6 o'clock the next morning, April 28, we moved westward. After proceeding a short distance, I detached a battalion of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, under Captain Trafton, to proceed back to the railroad at Bahala and destroy the road, telegraph, and all Government property he might find. With the rest of the command, I moved southwest toward Union Church. We halted to feed at 2 p.m. on the plantation of Mr. Snyder, about 2 miles northeast of the church. While feeding, our pickets were fired upon by a considerable force. I immediately moved out upon them, skirmished with and drove them through the town, wounding and capturing a number. It proved to be a part of Wirt Adams' (Mississippi) cavalry. After driving them off, we held the town and bivouacked for the night. After accomplishing the object of his expedition, Captain Trafton returned to us about 3 o'clock in the morning of the 29th, having come upon the rear of the main body of Adams' command. The enemy having a battery of artillery, it was his intention to attack us in front and rear at Union Church about daylight in the morning, but the appearance of Captain Trafton with a force in his rear changed his purpose, and, turning to the right, he took the direct road to Port Gibson. From this point I made a strong demonstration toward Fayette, with a view of creating the impression that we were going toward Port Gibson or Natchez, while I quietly took the opposite direction, taking the road leading southeast to Brookhaven, on the railroad.


A derailed train, typical of Grierson's work during his disruptive sortie through Mississippi. More than 50 miles of railroad and telegraph lines were destroyed in the course of the raid, along with thousands of dollars in supplies and property.

Before arriving at this place, we ascertained that about 500 citizens and conscripts were organized to resist us. We charged into the town, when they fled, making but little resistance. We captured over 200 prisoners, a large and beautiful camp of instruction, comprising several hundred tents, and a large quantity of quartermaster's and commissary stores, arms, ammunition, &c. After paroling the prisoners and destroying the railroad, telegraph, and all Government property, about dark we moved southward, and encamped at Mr. Gill's plantation, about 8 miles south of Brookhaven.

On the following morning we moved directly south, along the railroad, destroying all bridges and trestle-work to Bogue Chitto Station, where we burned the depot and fifteen freight cars, and captured a very large secession flag. From thence we still moved along the railroad, destroying every bridge, water-tank, &c., as we passed, to Summit, which place we reached soon after noon. Here we destroyed twenty-five freight cars and a large quantity of Government sugar. We found much Union sentiment in this town, and were kindly welcomed and fed by many of the citizens.

Hearing nothing more of our forces at Grand Gulf, I concluded to make for Baton Rouge to recruit my command, after which I could return to La Grange, through Southern Mississippi and Western Alabama or, crossing the Mississippi River, move through Louisiana and Arkansas. Accordingly, after resting about two hours, we started southwest, on the Liberty road, marched about 15 miles, and halted until daylight on the plantation of Dr. Spurlark.

The next morning we left the road and threatened Magnolia and Osyka, where large forces were concentrated to meet us but, instead of attacking those points, took a course due south, marching through woods, lanes, and by-roads, and striking the road leading from Clinton to Osyka. Scarcely had we touched this road when we came upon the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry [Battalion], posted in a strong defile, guarding the bridges over Tickfaw River. We captured their pickets, and, attacking them, drove them before us, killing, wounding, and capturing a number. Our loss in this engagement was 1 man killed, and Lieut. Col. William D. Blackburn and 4 men wounded.

I cannot speak too highly of the bravery of the men upon this occasion, and particularly of Lieutenant-Colonel Blackburn, who, at the head of his men, charged upon the bridge, dashed over, and, by undaunted courage, dislodged the enemy from his strong position. After disposing of the dead and wounded, we immediately moved south, on the Greensburg road, recrossing the Tickfaw River at Edwards' Bridge. At this point we met [W. H.] Garland's rebel cavalry, and, with one battalion of the Sixth Illinois and two guns of the battery, engaged and drove them off without halting the column.

The enemy were now on our track in earnest. We were in the vicinity of their stronghold, and, from couriers and dispatches which we captured, it was evident they were sending forces in all directions to intercept us. The Amite River, a wide and rapid stream, was to be crossed, and there was but one bridge by which it could be crossed, and this was in exceedingly close proximity to Port Hudson. This I determined upon securing before I halted. We crossed it at midnight, about two hours in advance of a heavy column of infantry and artillery, which had been sent there to intercept us. I moved on to Sandy Creek, where Hughes' cavalry [battalion], under Lieutenant-Colonel [C. C.] Wilbourn, were encamped, and where there was another main road leading to Port Hudson.

We reached this point at first dawn of day completely surprised and captured the camp, with a number of prisoners. Having destroyed the camp, consisting of about one hundred and fifty tents, a large quantity of ammunition, guns, public and private stores, books, papers, and public documents, I immediately took the road to Baton Rouge. Arriving at the Comite River, we utterly surprised Stuart's cavalry [Miles' Legion], who were picketing at this point, capturing 40 of them, with their horses, arms, and entire camp. Fording the river, we halted to feed within 4 miles of the town. Major-General Augur, in command at Baton Rouge, having now, for the first, heard of our approach, sent two companies of cavalry, under Captain [J. Franklin] Godfrey, to meet us. We marched into the town about 3 p.m., and we were most heartily welcomed by the United States forces at this point.

Before our arrival in Louisville. Company B, of the Seventh Illinois Cavalry, under Captain Forbes, was detached to proceed to Macon, on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad if possible take the town, destroy the railroad and telegraph, and rejoin us. Upon approaching the place, he found it had been re-enforced, and the bridge over the Okanoxubee River destroyed, so that the railroad and telegraph could not be reached.

He came back to our trail, crossed the Southern Railroad at Newton, took a southeast course to Enterprise, where, although his force numbered only 35 men, he entered with a flag of truce and demanded the surrender of the place. The commanding officer at that point asked an hour to consider the matter, which Captain Forbes (having ascertained that a large force occupied the place) granted, and improved in getting away. He immediately followed us, and succeeded in joining the column while it was crossing Pearl River at Georgetown. In order to catch us, he was obliged to march 60 miles per day for several consecutive days. Much honor is due Captain Forbes for the manner in which he conducted this expedition.

At Louisville I sent Captain Lynch, of Company E, Sixth Illinois Cavalry, and one man of his company, disguised as citizens, who had gallantly volunteered to proceed to the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and cut the wires, which it was necessary should be done to prevent information of our presence from flying along the railroad to Jackson and other points. Captain Lynch and his comrade proceeded toward Macon, but, meeting with the same barrier which had stopped Captain Forbes, could not reach the road. He went to the pickets at the edge of the town, ascertained the whole disposition of their forces and much other valuable information, and, returning, joined us above Decatur, having ridden without interruption for two days and nights without a moment's rest. All honor to the gallant captain, whose intrepid coolness and daring characterizes him on every occasion.

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.


The capture of Baton Rouge by Union forces in December 1862 allowed Grierson to conduct his penetration of Confederate territory without having to retrace his steps northward.

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.

Colonel Prince, commanding the Seventh Illinois, and Lieutenant-Colonel Loomis, commanding the Sixth Illinois, were untiring in their efforts to further the success of the expedition, and I cannot speak too highly of the coolness, bravery, and, above all, of the untiring perseverance of the officers and men of the command during the entire journey. Without their hearty co-operation, which was freely given under the most trying circumstances, we could not have accomplished so much with such signal success.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

B. H. GRIERSON,
Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Lieut. Col. JOHN A. RAWLINS,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

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On April 13, while on a long awaited leave home, Grierson received a telegraph from Maj. Gen. Stephen Hurlbut, now the Federal commander at Memphis, "Return Immediately." Grierson boarded the train from Memphis to La Grange on April 16, writing to his wife "My command is ordered to leave. you must not be alarmed should you not hear from me inside a month. "

Traveling more than 600 miles in 16 days, with little rest or sleep, Grierson's raiders had captured 500 Confederates, killed or wounded another 100, destroyed more than 50 miles of railroad and telegraph, 3,000 stands of arms and thousands of dollars worth of supplies and property. Over 1,000 mules and horses were captured, in addition to tying up all of Pemberton's cavalry, one-third of his infantry and several regiments of artillery. Grierson suffered, including Hatch's losses, total casualties of 36.

A most unlikely warrior, and music teacher turned soldier, suddenly found himself thrust into the role of a hero, writing to his wife "I, like Byron, have had to wake up one morning and find myself famous." (CW) Grierson's picture was featured on the covers of Harper's Weekly and Leslie's Illustrated. He was breveted to brigadier general and later major general of volunteers.

Good Morning Everybody.

Birthdates which occurred on April 16:
1628 Cornelis Evertsen de Young Vice Admiral of Zealand
1635 Frans van Mieris the Elder, Dutch painter
1648 John Luyken poet/etcher (Duytse Lyre)
1652 Clement XII [Lorenzo Corsini], Italy, Pope (1730-40)
1660 Hans Sloane England, physician/naturalist founded British Museum
1673 Francesco Feroci composer
1682 John Hadley mathematician/inventor (1st reflecting telescope)
1696 Giovanni Battista Tupolo Italian painter
1697 Johann Gottlieb Gorner composer
1703 Caffarelli [Gaetano Majorano] Italian castra singer/duke
1728 Joseph Zwart Scottish chemist/physicist
1800 Jozef Stefani composer
1800 William Chambers author/publisher (Basis of Communication & Coding)
1808 Caleb Blood Smith Secretary of Interior (Union), died in 1864
1816 Edward "Old Allegheny" Johnson Major General (Confederate Army)
1820 Georg Curtius German classical linguist
1821 Ford Maddox Brown painter
1823 Mother Joseph [Esther Pariseau] religious leader (US capital)
1823 Orlando Bolivar Wilcox Brevet Major General (Union Army), died in 1907
1832 John A Neuhuys painter
1838 Karel Bendl composer
1844 Anatole France writer (Thaïs, The Wickerwork Woman)/Nobel 1921
1850 Herbert Baxter Adams US, historian (American Historical Association)
1851 Ernst Josephson Sweden, artist
1861 Isaac Murphy US jockey (won 628 races)
1867 José de Diego Puerto Rico, patriot/Puerto Rican Secretary of Justice
1867 Wilbur Wright of aeronautical fame (Wright Brothers)
1868 Joel Angel Russian musicologist/composer
1868 Spottiswoode Aitken Edinburgh Scotland, actor (Eagle, Home Sweet Home)
1871 John Millington Synge Ireland, dramatist/poet (Riders to the Sea)
1871 Martin Lunssens composer
1878 R E "Tip" Foster cricketer (287 on debut England vs Australia SCG 1903)
1881 Edward Frederick Wood 1st Earl of Halifax/ambassador to US (1940-46)
1882 Seth Bingham composer
1885 Leo Weiner Hungary, composer (Fasching)
1886 Ernst Thälmann German communist presidential candidate
1886 Jekabs Graubins composer
1886 Konstantin Mostras composer
1889 Charlie Chaplin [The Little Tramp] Lambeth London England, comedian/actor/director (City Lights)
1893 Federico Mompou composer
1893 Joseph Yasser composer
1897 Arthur Charles Ernest Hoeree composer
1897 Jaap Vranken Dutch organist/composer (Stabat Mater)
1897 John B Glubb British commandant/writer (A soldier with the Arabs)
1898 Marian Jordan Peoria IL, radio comedienne (Fibber McGee & Molly)
1900 Polly Adler Russia, bordello proprieter/author (House is not a Home)
1901 Karel Albert Flemish composer (Marieken van Nymeghen)
1901 Leo Poos nazi police officer (caught Dutch underground agents)
1904 Clifford Case (Senator-Republican-NJ)
1904 Lily Pons Draguignan France, soprano/diva (Hitting a New High)
1904 Fifi D'Orsay Montréal Québec Canada, actress (Life Jimmy Dolan, Girl from Calgary)
1905 John Lee-Barber Admiral
1906 Pigmeat Markham Durham NC, comedian (Here Comes da Judge-Laugh In)
1906 Bep [Elisa H] Bakhuis Dutch soccer star/writer
1906 Cobina W "Coby" Molenaar Dutch peace activist
1906 Marion Lloyd Vince Brooklyn NY, fencer (National champion 1928, 31)
1909 Herman Uyttersprot Flemish literature historian
1911 Christine McIntyre actress (3 Stooges movies)
1911 William Stearn botanist
1912 David Langton Scotland, actor (Quintet, St Joan, Abandon Ship)
1912 John Halas animator
1913 Les Tremayne London, actor (Angry Red Planet, War of the Worlds)
1913 Constance Shacklock opera singer
1913 Lord Aberconway CEO (John Brown & Company)
1914 John Hodiak Pittsburgh PA, actor (A Bell for Adamo, Lifeboat)
1915 Dany [Daniël S] Tuijnman head of Dutch traffic & water
1915 Gerard McLarnon actor/writer
1918 Spike Milligan Ahmed Nagar India, actor/comedian (Digby, 3 Musketeers)
1919 Merce Cunningham choreographer (Acrobat in Every Soul is a Circus)
1920 Barry Nelson Oakland, actor (Airport, My Favorite Husband)
1920 John William Farr Detroit MI, bank robber (FBI Most Wanted List)
1920 Dermot O'Callaghan Grubb prison governor
1920 Kees Scherer Dutch photographer (World Press Photo)
1921 Peter Ustinov London England, actor (Death on Nile, Logan's Run, Billy Budd)
1922 Kingsley Amis London England, novelist (Lucky Jim, The James Bond Dossier)
1922 Christopher Samuel Youd UK, sci-fi author (Tripods Trilogy)
1922 Leo Tindermans British statesman
1924 Geoffrey Johnson Smith actor (Norman Loves Rose, Drinking Games)
1924 Henry Mancini Cleveland OH, composer/conductor (Pink Panther)
1924 John Harvey-Jones CEO (ICI)
1926 Barbara Tizzard British educator
1927 Peter Mark Richman Philadelphia PA, actor (Andrew-Dynasty)
1927 Joseph Ratzinger German theologist/dogmaticus
1928 Dick [Night Train] Lane NFL defensive back (St Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Detroit Lions)
1929 Roy Hamilton singer (You'll Never Walk Alone)
1930 Herbie Mann Brooklyn NY, jazz flute/sax (Just Wallin')
1930 Frank Page British broadcaster/actor (Hudson Hawk, Dark Dancer)
1930 John Robson British ambassador (Norway)
1931 Edie Adams [Elizabeth Edith Enke] Kingston PA, actress/Mrs Ernie Kovacs (Ernie Kovacs Show, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World, Haunting of Harrington House)
1931 Piet de Visser economist/Dutch MP (PvdA)
1932 Imre Polyak Hungary, featherweight (Olympics-gold-1964)
1932 Vince Hill singer (Roses of Picardy, La Vie en Rose)
1933 Perry Botkin Jr New York NY, orchestra leader (Bert Convy Show)
1933 Joan Bakewell British broadcaster/actress (Cold Comfort Farm)
1933 Joseph Bottoms Santa Barbara CA, actor (Blind Date, Braker)
1934 Brian Peppiatt joint CEO (SG Warburg Securities)
1934 Geoffrey Owen British editor (Financial Times)
1934 Richard Kenshaw British broadcaster
1934 Robert Stigwood producer (Saturday Night Fever, Grease)
1935 Bobby Vinton Pittsburgh PA, singer (Roses are Red, Blue on Blue)
1935 Haskell "Cool Papa" Sadler blues singer/guitarist
1936 James Rand British judge (Advocate General)
1938 Michael Hirst chief constable (Leicestershire England)
1939 Dusty Springfield [Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien] Hampstead London England, rock vocalist (Growing Pains)
1939 Donald MacCormick British broadcaster
1939 John DeLaFose zydeco Musician
1939 Margaretha de Boer Dutch minister (PvdA)
1939 Reinier Lucassen Dutch painter (Kuifje contra James Union)
1940 Margrethe II queen of Denmark (1972- )
1940 David Holford cricketer (cousin of G S Sobers West Indies leg-spin all-rounder)
1940 Lord Camoys deputy CEO (Barclays de Zoete Wedd)
1940 Paul Cox actor (Exile, Golden Braid, Touch Me)
1940 Stephen Lawrence Pruslin composer
1941 Cliff Stearns (Representative-Republican-FL)
1943 Ewald Vanvugt author (Kiss of Delight, Seed of Love)
1943 Johnny Watkins cricketer (New South Wales leg-spinner, bowled 6 overs for Australia)
1943 Ruth Madoc actress (Hi Di Hi)
1944 Dennis Russell Davies composer
1945 Goran Antunac Yugoslavia, International Chess Master (1975)
1945 Stefan Grossman New York NY, country blues singer (Yazoo Basin Boogie)
1947 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar [Lew Alcindor] NBA center (Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers)
1947 Gerry Rafferty Paisley Scotland, guitarist/vocalist (Baker Street)
1950 David Graf Lancaster OH, actor (Police Academy 2, 3, 4, 6, Councilman Nash-He's the Mayor)
1951 John Bentley rocker
1952 Peter Westbrook St Louis MO, US fencer (Olympics-bronze-88, 92, 96)
1953 Jay O Sanders Austin TX, actor (Meeting Venus, V I Warshawski)
1955 Ellen Barkin Bronx NY, actress (Big Easy, Sea of Love, Switch)
1955 Charlotte Morrison English large landowner/multi-millionaire
1955 Henri Heir Apparent Prince of Luxembourg
1956 David M Brown Arlington VA, Commander USN/astronaut
1956 Marty Dickerson Middletown OH, golfer (1994 ShopRite Classic-22nd)
1958 Philip Bainbridge British cricketeer
1959 Anne Kursinski equestrian show jumper (Olympics-silver-96)
1962 David Pate Los Angeles CA, tennis star
1962 Ian MacKaye rocker (Cyrano de Bergerac)
1962 Jeanne Golay Coral Gables FL, cyclist (Olympics-16th-92, 96)
1963 Jimmy Osmond Ogden UT, singer (Donnie & Marie)
1963 Nick Berry Britain, actor (Wicksy-EastEnders)
1963 Garry Galley Montréal Québec Canada, NHL defenseman (Buffalo Sabres)
1963 Hu Na China, tennis star
1963 Salim Malik cricketer (memorable Pakistani & Essex batsman)
1964 Dave Pirner rocker (Soul Asylum)
1964 Robert Kelker-Kelly Wichita KS, (Bo-Days of our Live)
1965 Jon Cryer actor (Pretty in Pink, Superman IV)
1965 Caren Kemner Quincy IL, volleyball outside hitter (Olympics-bronze-92, 96)
1965 Gerardo rocker
1965 Martin Lawrence comedian (Martin)
1966 Lewis Tillman NFL running back (Chicago Bears)
1967 Charles Evans NFL running back (Minnesota Vikings)
1968 Grace Kim Korea, tennis star
1969 Fernando Vina Sacramento CA, infielder (Milwaukee Brewers)
1969 Melinda Rich Muskegon MI, WPVA volleyballer (US Open-13th-1993)
1970 Fran Robinson California, actress (Lauren-Charlie & Company)
1970 Ian Franklin CFL cornerback (Edmonton Eskimos)
1970 Steve Emtman NFL defensive tackle (Miami Dolphins)
1970 Walt Williams NBA forward/guard (Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat)
1971 Frederik Nilsson Stockholm Sweden, IHL forward (Team Sweden, Kansas City (IHL))
1971 Natasha Zvereva Minsk Belarus, tennis ace (finals 1995 Indian Wells)
1971 Selena [Quintanilla Perez] Lake Jackson TX, tejano singer (Grammy-1994)
1971 Trey Maples Wheat Ridge CO, Canadian Tour golfer (1993 Canadian)
1972 Conchita Martinez Monzon Spain, tennis star (1996 final Indian Wells)
1972 Jim Ballard NFL/WLAF quarterback (Scottish Claymores, Buffalo Bills)
1972 Mario Bradley WLAF cornerback (London Monarchs)
1975 Nicky Sualua NFL fullback (Dallas Cowboys)
1976 Lukas Haas West Hoolywood CA, actor (Mars Attacks, Lady in White, Witness, Music Box, Testament, Leap of Faith)
1980 Jesse Tendler Madison WI, actor (Nick-Ellen Burstyn Show)
1987 Milton J Cross New York NY, TV announcer (Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air)

Deaths which occurred on April 16:
1115 Svjatopolk II great monarch of Kiev, dies [or 1113]
1446 Filippo Brunelleschi architect, dies
1496 David van Bourgondie Bishop of Utrecht (1456-96), dies at about 69
1529 Louis de Berquin French humanist/reformer/heretic, burned at stake
1619 Denijs Calvaert/Caluwaert [Dionisio Fiamingo] Flemish painter, dies
1687 George Villiers 2nd duke of Buckingham dies at 59
1743 Cornelis van Bijnkershoek Dutch lawyer (Roman law), dies at 69
1756 Jacques Cassini French astronomer (Discover rings of Saturn), dies at 79
1760 Laurence 4th Earl Ferrers, executed for murder of his steward
1825 John Henry Fuseli painter/art writer (Tracks in the Snow), dies at 84
1828 Francisco Goya y Lucientes Spanish painter/cartoonist, dies at 82
1846 Domenico Dragonetti composer, dies at 83
1850 Marie [Gresholtz] Tussaud maker of wax figures, dies
1858 Johann Baptist Cramer German/British pianist/composer/publisher, dies at 87
1860 Carolina duchess of Berry/daughter of crown prince of Naples, dies
1865 Robert C Tyler US Confederate Brigadier-General, dies in battle
1870 Anatoli O Demidov Russian ruler of Donato/traveller, dies
1876 Augustin-Philippe Peellaert composer, dies at 83
1879 Bernadette saint/(saw Virgin Mary at Lourdes), dies in Nevers France
1881 George William Martin composer, dies at 56
1914 George W Hill US astronomer (moon orbit), dies at 76
1916 Tom Horan cricketer (15 Tests for Australia, 471 runs, 11 wickets), dies
1920 John Conrad Nordqvist composer, dies at 80
1924 Jack Board cricket wicket-keeper (England in 6 Tests 1898-1906), dies
1929 Abraham van Stolk Jzn art collector, dies at 57
1938 Bertram Wagstaff Mills circus proprietor, dies
1941 Josiah Charles Stamp 1st baron/statisician, dies
1948 Babe Ruth baseball legend, dies
1949 Sutan Ibrahim gelor Datuk Tan Malaka Indon communist, executed at 54
1951 Emile Erens Dutch hagiographer (Pastor of Ars), dies at 85
1955 Abdullah Seif el-Islam brother of Yemenite king Ahmed, beheaded
1959 Charles Halton dies at 83
1968 Fay Bainter actress (Jezebel, Our Town, State Fair), dies at 76
1968 Edna Ferber author (American Beauty), dies at 78
1970 Péter Veres Hungarian minister of defense/writer, dies at 73
1970 Richard Josef Neutra Austria/US architect (Who Bought America?), dies at 78
1971 Mihály Váci Hungarian poet/politician, dies at 46
1972 Yasunari Kawabata Japanese author (Nobel 1968), dies at 72
1973 István Kertész Hung/German conductor (London Symphony), dies at 43
1978 Lucius D Clay General/Governor US zone West Germany (airlift), dies at 80
1980 Alf Sjöberg director (Fadern, Oen, Domaren), dies in a car crash at 76
1980 Jean Paul Sartre writer, dies at 74
1981 Eric Hollies cricketer (13 Tests for England, 44 wickets), dies
1985 Scott Brady [Gerald Tierney] actor (Shotgun Slade), dies at 60
1987 Anthony Tudor dancer/choreographer (American Ballet Theater) dies at 78
1988 Abu Jihad [Khalil al-Wazzir] PLO-leader, murdered
1988 Clifford Roach cricketer (16 Tests early in West Indies cricket history), dies
1988 Jacques de Kadt Dutch 2nd chamber member (Socialist-Democrat), dies at 90
1988 Khalil al-Wazir PLO military commander, assassinated by Israeli commandos
1988 Warde Donovan dies at 72
1989 Tawfieq Yusuf Awwaad Lebanese writer, dies
1991 David Lean director (2 Academy Awards-Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia), dies of pneumonia at 83
1992 Andy Russell drummer/vocalist (Your Hit Parade), dies of stroke at 72
1992 Frank Killmond dies at 58
1992 Neville Brand actor (Stalag 17), dies of emphysema at 71
1993 John P W Meefout sculptor (Laying wife), dies at 77
1994 John McLiam dies of Parkinson's disease at 75
1994 Ralph Waldo Ellison US writer (Invisible Man), dies at 80
1994 Ron Vawter US actor (Roy Cohn, Silence of the Lambs), dies at 45
1994 Samuel Selvon author, dies at 70
1995 Arthur English comedian, dies at 75
1995 Cheyenne Brando daughter of Marlon, commits suicide
1995 Cy[ril Raker] Endfield film director (Universal Soldier), dies at 80
1995 Stewart Myles MacPherson broadcaster, dies at 86
1996 Lucille Bremer dancer/actress (Ziegfeld Follies), dies at 73
1996 Madeleine Bourdouxhe writer, dies at 89
1996 Raymond Earl Hill saxophonist, dies at 62
1996 Stavros Spyros Niarchos Greek shipowner, dies at 86
1997 Emilio Azcarraga Milmo media tycoon, dies at 66
1997 Mae Boren Axton song writer (Heartbreak Hotel), dies at 82
1997 Michael Stroka actor (Aristede-Dark Shadows), dies of cancer at 57

Reported: MISSING in ACTION

1966 CHESLEY LARRY J. BURLEY ID.
02/12/73 RELEASED BY DRV ALIVE AND WELL 98

1966 JOHNSON SAMUEL R. DALLAS TX.
02/12/73 RELEASED BY DRV ALIVE AND WELL 98

1969 KONYU WILLIAM M. PHILLIPSBURG NJ.

1970 AYERS RICHARD L. WATERLOO IA.

1970 RAUSCH ROBERT E. HICKSVILLE NY.

1972 JONES ORVIN C. JR. NEWPORT NEWS VA.

1972 MATEJA ALAN P. LOUISVILLE KY.

1975 LEWIS JAMES F.
10/75 RELEASED FROM HANOI DECEASED

POW / MIA Data & Bios supplied by the
P.O.W. NETWORK. Skidmore, MO. USA.

On this day.
0556 Pelagius I begins his reign as Catholic Pope
1346 King Stefanus IX of Serbia proclaims himself czar of Greece
1509 French army under Louis XII enters Alps
1521 Martin Luther arrives at Diet of Worms
1632 Albrecht von Wallenstein appointed supreme commander
1705 Queen Anne of England knights Isaac Newton at Trinity College
1724 1st Easter observed
1746 Battle at Culloden Troops of "James VIII & III" defeat Charles Stuart
1777 Battle of Bennington-New England's Green Mountain Boys rout British
1787 1st American comedy, "The Contrast", makes its debut in NYC
1789 George Washington heads for 1st presidential inauguration
1818 Senate ratifies Rush-Bagot amendment (unarmed US-Canada border)
1849 The opera "Il Profeta" premieres (Paris France)
1854 San Salvador destroyed by earthquake
1854 Steamer "Long Beach" sinks off Long Beach NY, 311 die
1854 Franz Liszt's "Mazeppa", premieres
1861 US President Abraham Lincoln outlaws business with confederate states
1862 Confederate President Jefferson Davis approves conscription act for white males between 18-35
1862 Slavery abolished in District of Columbia
1865 Battle of Columbus & West Point GA (Fort Tyler)
1866 Nitroglycerine at Wells Fargo & Company office explodes
1866 Karakozov attempts to assassinate Tsar Alexander II of Russia
1868 Louisiana voters approve new constitution
1869 Ebenezer Bassett, 1st US Negro diplomat, begins service in Haiti
1870 Vaudeville Theatre Strand opens in London
1871 German Empire ends all anti-Jewish civil restrictions
1874 Dr David Livingstones corpse arrives in Southampton
1883 Paul Kruger chosen President of Transvaal
1888 Drentse & Friese peat cutters go on strike
1900 US Post Office issues 1st books of postage stamps
1908 Natural Bridges National Monument established (Lake Powell UT)
1912 Harriet Quimby becomes 1st woman pilot to cross the English Channel
1912 Pittsburgh Pirates turn a rare 5-3-7 doubleplay (left fielder covers 2nd base)
1917 Lenin returns to Russia to start Bolshevik Revolution
1921 Liberal Freedom League forms in The Hague
1922 Annie Oakley sets record by breaking 100 clay targets in a row
1922 German-Russia treaty signed in Italy, Soviet Union recognized
1924 1st radio-transmission of wireless Matthäus Passion
1924 Child labor laws strengthened in Holland
1926 Book of the Month Club sends out its 1st selections "Lolly Willowes" & "Loving Huntsman" by Sylvia Townsend Warner
1929 Cleveland Indian Earl Averill, becomes 1st in American League to hit a homerun on 1st at bat
1929 New York Yankees become 1st team to use numbers on uniforms
1935 1st radio broadcast of "Fibber McGee & Molly"
1935 Babe Ruth's 1st National League game, for Boston Braves, included a homerun
1938 Great-Britain recognizes Italian annexation of Abyssinia
1939 Stalin requests British, French & Russian anti-nazi pact
1939 Stanley Cup Boston Bruins beat Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 games to 1
1940 1st televised baseball game, WGN-TV, (White Sox vs Cubs exhibition)
1940 Cleveland Indian Bob Feller hurls an opening day no-hitter vs Chicago, 1-0
1940 Heitor Villa-Lobos' opera "Izaht", premieres in Rio de Janeiro
1941 Little Theater at Adelphi Strand closes
1942 Japanese occupying army on Java installs film censorship
1942 King George VI awards George Cross to Island of Malta
1943 40 New Zealand bombers attack Haarlem Netherlands (85 killed)
1945 German troops in Groningen surrender
1945 Red Army begins Battle of Berlin
1945 US troops land on He Shima Okinawa
1946 1st US launch of captured V-2 rocket, White Sands NM 8 km altitude
1946 NSB mayor of Rotterdam Netherlands, FE Müller sentence to 100 years in jail
1947 Lens to provide zoom effects demonstrated (New York NY)
1947 Massive explosion & fire kills 500 in Texas City TX
1947 Explosions & fire on French ship Grandcamp
1948 Organization for European Economic Cooperation (EEC) forms in Paris France
1949 Stanley Cup Toronto Maple Leafs sweep Detroit Red Wings in 4 games
1951 British submarine Affray sank in English Channel, killing 75
1952 "4 Saints in 3 Acts" opens at Broadway Theater NYC for 15 performances
1953 Phillie's Connie Ryan gets 6 hits in a game
1953 British royal yacht Britannica taken out of service
1953 Jackie Pung wins LPGA Palm Springs Golf Open
1953 Stanley Cup Montréal Canadiens beat Boston Bruins, 4 games to 1
1953 WAND TV channel 17 in Decatur IL (ABC) begins broadcasting
1954 KVAL TV channel 13 in Eugene OR (CBS) begins broadcasting
1954 Stanley Cup Detroit Red Wings beat Montréal Canadiens, 4 games to 3
1956 1st solar powered radios go on sale
1957 Stanley Cup Montréal Canadiens beat Boston Bruins, 4 games to 1
1957 USSR performs atmospheric nuclear test
1958 22nd Golf Masters Championship Arnold Palmer wins, shooting a 284
1958 French government of Gaillard falls due to Tunisia crisis
1959 New York Yankees unveil their 1st message scoreboard
1959 Phillies' Dave Philley gets a major league record 9th straight pinch hit
1959 "Party with Comden & Green" opens at John Golden NYC for 44 performances
1959 Datu Abdul Rozak inaugurated as premier of Malaysia federation
1961 15th Tony Awards Becket & Bye Bye Birdie win
1961 Louise Suggs wins LPGA Dallas Civitan Golf Open
1961 Stanley Cup Chicago Blackhawks beat Detroit Red Wings, 4 games to 2
1962 Walter Cronkite begins anchoring CBS Evening News
1962 Brazil nationalizes US businesses
1964 9 men sentenced 25-30 years for Britain's 1963 "Great Train Robbery"
1964 Geraldine Mock of US is 1st woman to fly solo round the world
1965 Test flight of heavy Saturn S-1C-rocket
1966 Rhodesian PM Ian Smith breaks diplomatic relations with Britain
1967 Yankees beat Boston 7-6 in 18 innings
1967 "Walking Happy" closes at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 161 performances
1970 70 die in a snow crush (France)
1972 2 giants pandas (Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing) arrive in the US, from China
1972 Apollo 16 launched 5th manned lunar landing (Decartes Highlands)
1972 Chicago Cub Burt Hooton no-hits Phillies, 1-0
1972 "That's Entertainment" closes at Edison Theater NYC after 4 performances
1972 1st Colgate Dinah Shore Golf Championship won by Jane Blalock
1974 200,000 attend rock concert California Jam I in Ontario CA
1974 "Words & Music" opens at John Golden Theater NYC for 127 performances
1974 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan/Semipalitinsk USSR
1975 Cambodian Red Khmer occupy Phnom Penh
1977 Alex Haley finds his Roots in Juffure, Gambia
1978 St Louis Cardinal Bob Forsch no-hits Phillies, 5-0
1978 "History of the American Film" closes at ANTA NYC after 21 performances
1978 Hollis Stacy wins LPGA Birmingham Golf Classic
1979 15th Mayor's Trophy Game, Yankees & Mets tie 1-1
1979 83rd Boston Marathon won by Bill Rodgers of Massachusetts in 2:09:27
1979 8th Boston Women's Marathon won by Joan Benoit Samuelson in 2:35:15
1979 Failed Palestinian attack on Zaventem Airport in Belgium
1979 Pulitzer prize awarded to Sam Shepard for "Buried Child"
1980 Arthur Ashe retires from professional tennis
1980 Delhi beat Bombay by 240 runs to win Ranji Trophy final
1980 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1981 Columbia space shuttle returns
1981 "Copperfield" opens at ANTA Theater NYC for 13 performances
1982 Queen Elizabeth proclaims Canada's new constitution
1983 Steve Garvey sets National League record by playing in 1,118 consecutive games
1984 13th Boston Women's Marathon won by Lorraine Moller of New Zealand in 2:29:28
1984 88th Boston Marathon won by Geoff Smith of Great Britain in 2:10:34
1984 Oakland A Dave Kingman hits 3 homeruns including a grand slam
1984 Pulitzer prize awarded to Mary Oliver for "American Primitive"
1985 Washington Capitals 1-New York Islanders 2-Patrick Division Semifinals-Islanders win series 3-2
1985 "Grind" opens at Mark Hellinger Theater NYC for 79 performances
1986 To dispel rumors he's dead, Moammar Qadhafi appears on TV
1986 West Indies complete 5-0 demolition of England
1987 FCC imposes a broader definition of indecency over airwaves
1987 Michael Jordan, becomes 2nd NBA to score 3000 points in a season
1987 Peter Taylor's "Summons to Memphis" wins Pulitzer Prize for fiction
1987 Howard Stern & Infinity Broadcasting are warned by FCC
1987 Pulitzer prize awarded to August Wilson for "Fences"
1989 Costa Rica beats US 1-0, in 3rd round of 1990 world soccer cup
1989 1st Seniors Golf Tradition Don Bies wins
1989 Berendrechtsluis opens in Antwerp, biggest flood lock in world
1989 Pat Bradley wins LPGA AI Star/Centinela Hospital Golf Classic
1989 Zeleka Metaferia wins 3rd World Cup marathon (2:10:28)
1990 Maximum New York State unemployment benefits raised to $260 per week
1990 "Piano Lesson" opens at Walter Kerr Theater NYC for 320 performances
1990 19th Boston Women's Marathon won by Rosa Mota of Portugal in 2:25:23
1990 94th Boston Marathon won by Gelindo Bordin of Italy in 2:08:19
1990 Supreme Court rejects appeal from retarded man, Dalton Prejean, condemned to death for murdering a Louisiana state trooper in 1977
1991 Mike Leander & Edward Seago's musical "Matador", premieres in London
1991 St Louis Blues becomes 8th NHL team in Play-off to come back from a 3-1 deficit as they beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in game 7
1992 "Metro" opens at Minskoff Theater NYC for 13 performances
1992 1st concrete is poured at new ballpark at Gateway (Jacobs Field)
1992 Afghánistán President Najibullah resigns
1992 New York Rangers win team record 50th game
1993 Jury reaches guilty verdict in Federal case against cop who beat Rodney King, but the verdict is not read until April 17th
1994 Circus performers Marissa Young (24) & Matt Richardson (21) wed
1994 Singer Harry Connick Jr (26) weds model Jill Goodacre (30)
1995 56th PGA Seniors Golf Championship Ray Floyd wins
1997 Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Minneapolis/St Paul MN on WRQC 100.3 FM

Holidays
Note: Some Holidays are only applicable on a given "day of the week"

Cuba : Militiamen Day
Denmark : Queen Margrethe's Birthday
Puerto Rico : José De Diego's Birthday (1867)
Massachusetts, Maine : Patriots Day-Boston Marathon run (1775) - - - - - ( Monday )

Religious Observances
Roman Catholic : Commemoration of St Bernadette Soubirous of Lourdes

Religious History
1521 German reformer Martin Luther, 34, arrived at the Diet of Worms, where he afterward defended his "Ninety-Five Theses," first advanced in 1517. At the Diet, Luther refused to recant his ideas 'unless overcome by Scripture.'
1772 Anglican clergyman and hymnwriter John Newton wrote in a letter: 'I think there is a scriptural distinction between faith and feeling, grace and comfort. The degree of the one is not often the just measure of the other.'
1829 Death of Carl G. Glaser, 45, German choral master and composer of the hymn tune AZMON, to which we today sing, "O For a Thousand Tongues."
1904 Birth of Merrill C. Tenney, American N.T. scholar. In addition to his many scholarly writings, Tenney was dean of the Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois from 1947-71.
1948 Christians in Action was incorporated in Compton, CA. Founded by Rev. Lee Shelley, this interdenominational overseas mission helps establish national churches in nearly two dozen overseas countries.

Thought for the day :
"God never imposes a duty without giving time to do it."


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