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The military operations of the Union armies in the South and West were not lacking in famous raids, having for their main objects the destruction of the supply centers of the Confederacy, the cutting of railroads and lines of communication between these centers and the Southern troops, and the drawing away from important strategic operations of large bodies of the foe. One of the most famous of these raids was that made by Colonel B. H. Grierson in the spring of 1863.

Starting from La Grange, Tennessee, on April 17th, with three cavalry regiments of about seventeen hundred men, Grierson made a wonderful march through the State of Mississippi, and finally reached the Union lines at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on May 2d.

On April 21st, Grierson had detached a regiment under Colonel Hatch, Second Iowa Cavalry, to destroy the railroad bridge between Columbus and Macon, and then return to La Grange. At Palo Alto, Hatch had a sharp fight with Confederate troops under General Gholson, defeating them without the loss of a man. Much of Hatch's success during his entire raid was due to the fact that his regiment was armed with Colt's revolving rifles. Hatch then retreated along the railroad, destroying it at Okolona and Tupelo, and arriving at La Grange on April 26th, with the loss of but ten troopers. The principal object of his movement — to decoy the Confederate troops to the east, and thus give Grierson ample opportunity to get well under way, was fully attained.

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