Fighting for freedom over land and . . . more land
December 19, 2011 8:29 AM   Subscribe

The War Nerd (previously) breaks tone somewhat to celebrate the life of Benjamin Grierson, who would go from being kicked in the head by a horse as a youth to leading, "the greatest cavalry raid of the whole war, riding from Tennessee 600 miles almost due south through enemy territory to land safe in Baton Rouge, LA, inflicting ten times the casualties he had himself—and then going on to be the one white officer who stood up for the black freedmen 'Buffalo Soldiers' in the far West, at a time when America was using white-vs-black to heal up the raw North-vs-South scars."
posted by Copronymus (6 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
See also his hugely entertaining essay on the Monitor and the Merrimack from last April.
posted by theodolite at 8:33 AM on December 19, 2011

It’s kind of a constant: Over and over, in the worst place, you can count on the Quakers. Too bad they’ve disappeared. On second thought, that’s probably WHY they disappeared.

Aaaaaaaaaaand that's when his credibility came into question. Quakers are still around, and in fact they're still around in the worst places. He must be thinking of the Shakers? But a great article. Really brings home how many layers of morality were at work around the time of the Civil War, and how difficult it was to navigate them all.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:44 AM on December 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Ha. I was considering posting this when it first came out, fascinating story.
posted by The Whelk at 8:49 AM on December 19, 2011

Wasn't it John Wayne and William Holden on this raid? I seem to remember it differently. Not sure who this Grierson is.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:12 AM on December 19, 2011

He must be thinking of the Shakers?

Well, Shakers and Quakers were pretty close in origin and beliefs, but Quakers are not Shakers.
posted by dhartung at 10:00 AM on December 19, 2011

The notes on misinformation as a critical element of any strategy to control a civil insurrection or other forms of guerrilla war are dead on. Watching Restrepo - the officers were so ham-handed and tone-deaf and self-absorbed, it's no wonder we're still mired in Afghanistan up to our eyeballs.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:49 AM on December 19, 2011

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