Last evening whilst perusing my Bruce Catton, I came across his description of Grierson’s Raid, a deep cavalry strike through Mississippi and Louisiana ordered by Gen. Grant in April, 1863, in order to distract and confuse the Confederates while Grant made his approach to Vicksburg. (The raid was quite successful, bamboozling the Confederate commander John Pemberton, tying up both infantry and cavalry desperately needed to counter Grant and destroying large amounts of Southern stores. The raiders also got away.)
The raid was led by Col. Benjamin H. Grierson, a former music teacher who, owing to having been kicked in the head and nearly killed as a child, loathed horses. When he volunteered for the Union Army, he had no intention whatsoever to become a cavalryman. Nonetheless, Fate put him in the saddle, where he performed brilliantly.
I smiled to myself at Catton’s description of Grierson and the irony surrounding him because I immediately thought of The Horse Soldiers, the 1959 John Wayne movie loosely based on Grierson’s Raid. It’s a pretty good flick within the Duke’s canon, but I have an awful hard time picturing the Duke a) teaching anyone music or b) hating horses.
Of course, now that I’ve thought of it again, I’m going to have to toss Horse Soldiers back in the Netflix queue. It’s been a while since I did a WayneFest, and perhaps it’s time for another one.