The Real Horse Soldiers

Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi
Narrated by: Ben Collins
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: History, American
4.5 out of 5 stars (35 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Benjamin Grierson’s Union cavalry thrusting 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’s The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s 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 US Grant’s Army of the Tennessee. Grierson’s 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’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 captures the high drama and tension of the 1863 horse soldiers in a modern, comprehensive, academic study. Listeners will find it fills a wide void in Civil War literature.

©2018 Savas Beatie (P)2018 Savas Beatie

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good read!!

Good story. Was hard to follow at times but overall a good book. Would recommend to other war lovers. "I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good Story, Mediocre Performance

The story is interesting and well told. The performance is not bad. However, it is rather bland leaving the listener trying to determine who is saying what at times.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Narrator constantly mispronounces words

Seems like it could be a great book but I couldn't handle hearing "illinoise" and "calvary" all the time.

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Good book but many mispronunciations

I was born at the hospital which was built on the site of the raid on the railroad station in Newton. Forbes company of the 7th Illinois rode past my house on their ride to Enterprise. Grierson’s papers are housed at Texas Tech University about 300 yards from my office.

So needless to say, I already knew quite a bit about the raid. However I found this book well worth the listen.

My only complaint is the many mispronunciations of Mississippi place names.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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good read

very annoying that Illinois is mispronounced though out the book! otherwise an interesting and enjoyable story!

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A peach

The book was really a nice find and for those who enjoy a true war adventure...go there!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Please Learn How to Pronounce Illinois

This is the worst reading of a book I have ever experienced. The reader mispronounces words left and right. The worst is the pronunciation of the State of Illinois. It is not "Illi - noise."! And people from the State are not "Illi - noise - ians." Unfortunately, Grierson is from Illinois and he led an Illinois unit so this slaughtering of the name is rampant. Grierson's Raid is one of the best stories of the Civil War. The book is well researched and written. The "performance" is painful!

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Poor knowledge of pronuncuation

the s IP Illinois is silent. Cairo IL is pronounced
Kay Ro. The author must have learned this, passed it on, and wa is ignored

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Readers need to do research when making a recording of this book.

Plainly Ben Collins did not understand military terms and ranks and they work, for example AAG stands for Assistant Adjutant General. It is not a rank it’s a job. When read aloud like this Assistant Adjutant, General so and so. With the pause after adjutant it sound a reference to a person with rank of General. In addition the “s” is silent when pronouncing Illinois. Since this well written features hundreds of references to Illinois offering the correct pronunciation is a must.

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Call Him Lucky

Apparently, a great part of the success of Grierson"s raid was the absolute stupidity of the Confederate officers, soldiers and the citizens of Mississippi.