Civil War Union Major General. He served in the 7th Illinois Cavalry and the 6th Illinois Cavalry during the Civil War and the Indian War. A small-town musician, composer & music teacher, Grierson responded to a call for volunteers in 1861. He was soon in command of a cavalry unit & launched a raid (known as Grierson's Raid) into Mississippi in 1863 to divert attention away from General Grant's crossing of the Mississippi River during the Vicksburg campaign. Starting at LaGrange, Tennessee, Grierson's unit fought all the way to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1864 he led another raid into Mississippi from LaGrange, where his troops defeated Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest. After the war, he commanded the U.S. 10th Cavalry (a unit composed of white officers and black enlisted men.) For the remainder of his career, he served on the western frontier, commanding the famous black "Buffalo Soldiers." He rose through the ranks to Brigadier General and became a Brevet Major General in 1865.
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