At our dinner meeting on July 23rd, Dr. Tim Smith gave an excellent presentation about his latest book titled: The Real Horse Soldiers: Beniamin Grierson's Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi.
In 1863, Grierson led a raid consisting of 1,700 Union cavalry troopers in three regiments (2nd Iowa, 6tli Illinois, and 7th Illinois). The raid began in LaGrange TN on April 17th and ended on May 2nd in Baton Rouge LA. The raiders covered 600 miles in two weeks through the heart of Mississippi. The primary purpose of the Union cavalry raid was to divert the attention of the Confederates away from General Grant's operations around Vicksburg. Grierson's objective was also to cut the Southern Railroad of Mississippi at Newton Station.
Grierson did accomplish his mission and the raid was a success for the Union war effort. Grierson was most well known for his raid and he died a hero in 1911. Dr. Smith said Grierson gave the performance of a lifetime.
In 1959, Hollywood released a movie about Grierson's raid titled: "The Horse Soldiers" stalling John Wayne, William Holden, and Constance Towers. However, Dr. Smith said the movie contained a lot of inaccuracies.