Lincoln and Grierson

Lincoln and Grierson (HM1334)

Location: Jacksonville, IL 62650 Morgan County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 44.056', W 90° 12.765'

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Abraham Lincoln met Benjamin H. Grierson when the two campaigned for the Republican Party. Grierson, a merchant, music teacher, and musician, even wrote a song for Lincoln's presidential campaign in 1860, with the chorus:
"So clear the track—get out of the way,/ You Democrats have had your day;/ As 'truth is mighty and will prevail,'/ The sons of Abraham cannot fail."
In April 1862, Illinois Governor Richard Yates appointed Grierson Colonel of the 6th Illinois Cavalry, also known as the "Governor's Legion." A year later, Ulysses S. Grant and Lincoln selected the Colonel to lead what turned out to be a critical expedition. He covered 600 miles in sixteen days with 1700 troops. Grierson's raid allowed Grant to capture Vicksburg, prompting General William T. Sherman to call the raid, "The most brilliant expedition of the war." Grierson continued his friendship with Lincoln and noted he had "a delightful interview" with the President on his birthday in 1865.

After Grierson's raid, he appeared on the cover of Harper's Weekly astride a horse. As a child, Grierson had a near fatal accident when a horse kicked him in the head. He lay in a coma for two weeks. Ironically, he became the head of a cavalry regiment. After Grierson's Raid, a horse kicked him in the knee. He returned to Jacksonville to recuperate. The town gave him a hero's welcome with speeches, a parade, and gifts including an elegant silver service.

Grierson considered his Jacksonville home his primary residence. After the Civil War he became Colonel of the 10th U.S. Cavalry and is well known as one of the leaders of the Buffalo Soldiers" formed in 1866 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. These two regiments were the first all-black units in the regular U.S. Army. For over two decades, the 10th Cavalry conducted campaigns against the American Indian tribes on the Plains and in the Southwest. The Indians nicknamed them "buffalo soldiers" perhaps because they saw the same fighting spirit in the black cavalrymen as in a buffalo when it was wounded or cornered. Grierson retired as a Brigadier General in 1890, returning to Jacksonville, and died in 1911. He is buried in Jacksonville East Cemetery a few blocks north of the house.

HM NumberHM1334
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 2:24pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 738855 N 4401979
Decimal Degrees39.73426667, -90.21275000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 44.056', W 90° 12.765'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 44' 3.36" N, 90° 12' 45.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 854-898 E State St, Jacksonville IL 62650, US
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