This novel is a fictionalized account of one of the most daring cavalry raids of all time. Set during the American Civil War, it vividly brings to life `Grierson's Raid', - the seventeen-day raid by a Union brigade through the heart of Confederate Mississippi. Conscious of the huge odds against them; exhausted, hungry and with a deepening sense of impending doom hanging over them as the enemy gathered forces on all sides, the Union soldiers rode south. Despite this, however, the raid was a triumph and dealt a staggering blow to the enemy. Harold Sinclair's novel brings vividly to life the human drama of this extraordinary episode and conveys superbly the tragedy of a civil war and a nation tearing itself apart.
A Union cavalry officer leads his men on a vital mission behind Confederate lines.
Release Date: June 12, 1959
Release Time: 120 minutes
John Wayne as Colonel John Marlowe
William Holden as Major Henry 'Hank' Kendall
Constance Towers as Miss Hannah Hunter of Greenbriar
Althea Gibson as Lukey
Judson Pratt as Sergeant Major Kirby
Ken Curtis as Cpl. Wilkie
Willis Bouchey as Col. Phil Secord
Bing Russell as Dunker
O.Z. Whitehead as Otis 'Hoppy' Hopkins
Hank Worden as Deacon Clump
Chuck Hayward as Union captain
Denver Pyle as Jackie Jo (rebel deserter)
Strother Martin as Virgil (rebel deserter)
Basil Ruysdael as the Reverend (Jefferson Military Academy)
Carleton Young as Col. Jonathan Miles, CSA
William Leslie as Maj. Richard Gray
William Henry as Confederate lieutenant
Walter Reed as Union officer
Anna Lee as Mrs. Buford
William Forrest as Gen. Steve Hurlburt
Ron Hagerthy as Bugler
Russell Simpson as Acting Sheriff Henry Goodbody
Hoot Gibson as Sgt. Brown
Jack Pennick as Sgt. Maj.Mitch Mitchell (uncredited)
Harold Sinclair was born on May 8, 1907 in Chicago, Illinois. When he was about 8 years old he was sent, along with his sister, to stay with an aunt and uncle in Bloomington, Illinois. As a teenager he worked for the Western Union telegraph company. He dropped out of school, moved to Florida and later returned to Chicago and finally back home to Bloomington. He played in Jazz Clubs and followed a Bohemian lifestyle.
While working for a hardware store he wrote his first book, The Journey Home (1936). The book impressed an editor at Doubleday who offered Sinclair a four book contract.
His next three books, The American Years (1938), The Years of Growth (1940) and the Years of Illusion (1941) chronicle the history of the imaginary town of Everton, Illinois, from the 1830s to the 1920s. The history and characters in the trilogy were based on the history of the City of Bloomington.
In 1940 he publish, Westward the Tide, an account of the Illinois campaign of George Rogers Clark during the Revolutionary War.
More books followed; The Port of New Orleans (1942), Music of Dixie (1952), and a book commissioned by the Bloomington newspaper, The Daily Pantagraph telling the history of the newspaper, Daily Pantagraph 1846-1946 (1976). He also published several short stories, articles and book reviews.
The Horse Soldiers (1956) was a fictionalized account of Illinois Colonel Benjamin Grierson’s daring raid through Mississippi during the Civil War. This book became a bestseller and is best known as the inspiration of the John Ford/John Wayne movie The Horses Soldiers (1959).
His final novel, The Cavalryman (1958), was a sequel to Horse Soldiers. It was not well received by critics or readers. The book was optioned for a possible television series. That project did not come to fruition.
Sinclair died on May 24, 1966.