Presented by Dr. Timothy Smith – University of Tennessee at Martin
Location: UNT Health Science Center, MET Building, 1000 Montgomery
Dinner: 6 PM – Menu: Chicken Piccata with Julienne Vegetables, Roasted New Potatoes, Garden Salad and Desserts, Cost: $20, RSVP to email@example.com or by calling or texting 817-307-9263
Program: 7 PM
Benjamin Grierson’s Union cavalry thrust through Mississippi is one of the most well-known operations of the Civil War. There were other simultaneous operations to distract Confederate attention from the real threat to Vicksburg posed by U. S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, but Grierson’s operation, 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. Grierson’s 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’s 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’s The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid through Mississippi captures the 1863 horse soldiers in a modern, comprehensive, academic study. This talk, based on the book, will bring you along for the ride.
Timothy B. Smith (Ph.D. Mississippi State University, 2001) is a veteran of the National Park Service and currently teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. In addition to numerous articles and essays, he is the author, editor, or co-editor of more than twenty books. His most recent book is a new study of Albert Sidney Johnston entitled The Iron Dice of Battle. This book and his Real Horse Soldiers will be available for purchase and signing at the meeting.
See you on the 12th!