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Union cavalry raiders under the command of Col. Benjamin Grierson, in an effort to disrupt Confederate communications, probed deep in enemy territory and entered the town of Newton's Station (now Newton). They succeeded in securing the town without any serious fighting, and captured two Confederate trains. The raiders also destroyed several miles of railroad track and telegraph wires in the vicinity, severing communications between Confederate-held Vicksburg and the Eastern Theatre commanders.
Colonel Grierson had set out from La Grange, Tennessee, on April 17 with 1,700 men of the 6th and 7th Illinois and the 2nd Iowa Cavalry regiments. Over the next 17 days, his command marched 800 miles, repeatedly engaged the Confederates, disabled two railroads, captured many prisoners and horses, and destroyed vast amounts of property before finally ending in Baton Rouge on May 2.
The raid and the battle were popularized in the 1959 film Horse Soldiers starring John Wayne as a fictionalized character loosely based upon Grierson.
- "Harper's Weekly". June 6, 1863. http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1863/june/grierson-raid.htm. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
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