Skip to comments.191st Birthday Tribute to General Forrest
Posted on 07/13/2012 2:14:55 PM PDT by BigReb555
It should be also noted that after the War Between the States, Bedford Forrest returned home with the 'free' black men who fought with him.
(Excerpt) Read more at canadafreepress.com ...
It should be also noted that after the War Between the States, Bedford Forrest returned home with the 'free' black men who fought with him. Sixty-five black troopers were with the General when he surrendered his command in May 1865. Forrest said of these black soldiers, "No finer Confederates ever fought.
In 2011, a Memorial was held at Forrest Park in Memphis, Tennessee commemorating the 106th anniversary of the dedication of the Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest statue where Forrest and his wife are buried. The headline of a news story reads:
Memphis: Forrest: A Confederate figure who still divides,
And the first paragraph begins the story with, quote Gray-uniformed soldier re-enactors fired long-barreled muskets in salute and United Daughters of the Confederacy in ankle-length dresses set wreaths before the towering statue of Nathan Bedford Forest in Memphis, paying tribute to a Confederate cavalryman whose exploits still divide Americans today. unquote
Read more at: http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20110717/ARTICLES/110719774
Some people believe Forrest to have been a controversial Confederate Cavalry Officer but by definition the word controversial can refer to anyone or anything some folks dont understand. Some people disapprove of the sex, violence or excessive language in some Hollywood movies but movies are seldom referred to as controversial. The word controversial however is often used to describe some American and World Leaders and events of the past and present but this apparently doesnt apply to those who are PC Politically Correct in their reasoning and actions.
Why do some people criticize men like General Nathan Bedford Forrest, General Robert E. Lee and President Jefferson Davis who stood honorably for the Southern cause of Independence, 1861-1865? The men and women of the Old South believed they were standing for the same principles as did their Fathers and Grandfathers during the American Revolution of 1776!
Why is the Confederate Battle flag, the banner of many brave soldiers, also under attack?
There is much written about the War Between the States but very little about the relentless and unprecedented destruction suffered by the civilians of a free and sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America. There also seems today to be complacency about the history of the destruction of the American-Indian and his way of life. Do you know which Union Commander said the only good Indian is a dead Indian? Or is this too un-politically correct or controversial a topic to discuss with our young people?
Union Gen. William T. Sherman said of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest,
"After all, I think Forrest as the most remarkable man our 'Civil War' produced on either side."
This came from a man who was once a foe of Forrest on the field of battle.
Nathan Bedford was born on July 13, 1821, in Chapel Hill, Tennessee.
Some folks continue to criticize General Forrest for leading the first Ku Klux Klan. It is however written that Forrest denied this and more importantly was responsible for disbanding the Klan after only two years of operation, but .
What about the original Ku Klux Klan?
The original Klan was formed during the dark days of the so-called reconstruction period that lasted from the end of the War Between the States in 1865 until 1870. During this time the South went through a relentless-merciless Carpetbagger rule where Southerners had no vote or say and could not defend themselves. Black and White women of all classes were not safe on the streets. Southern People were not even allowed to hold memorial services for their war dead, display the Confederate flag or criticize the Commanders of the occupying Yankee forces. And some criticize General Forrest for the March 16, 1864, so-called massacre during the War Between the States Battle of Fort Pillow, but he was exonerated by Northern officials of wrong doing. This was during a time when the Confederate President Jefferson Davis served two years in prison and some wanted to put him on trial and hang him for treason. Cooler heads seemed to prevail however as some felt this might have more legitimized the late cause of the Southern Confederacy. Confederate Captain Henry Wirz however was hung for so-called war crimes as Commandant of Andersonville Prison and some wanted the same punishment for Gen. Robert E. Lee and other political and military leaders of Dixie.
Why have we forgotten or just never knew about a dark episode of the nations history where Mary Surratt, a Southerner, was the first woman ever hung on July 7, 1865? She was among those who were found guilty in the so-called conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln however she continued to deny her involvement. Forrest might have been given the same punishment with the attitude in post-war Washington, D.C.
Some people have called General Forrest an early advocate for Civil Rights.
Forrest's speech during a meeting of the "Jubilee of Pole Bearers" is a story that should be told. Gen. Forrest was the first white man to be invited by this group which was a forerunner of today's Civil Rights group. A reporter of the Memphis Avalanche newspaper was sent to cover the event that included a Southern barbeque supper.
Miss Lou Lewis, daughter of a Pole Bearer member, was introduced to Forrest and she presented the former general a bouquet of flowers as a token of reconciliation, peace and good will. On July 5, 1875, Nathan Bedford Forrest delivered this speech:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the Southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man, to depress none.
I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand." (Prolonged applause.)
End of speech.
Nathan Bedford Forrest again thanked Miss Lewis for the bouquet and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. Such a kiss was unheard of in the society of those days, in 1875, but it showed a token of respect and friendship between the general and the black community and did much to promote harmony among the citizens of Memphis.
This year, 2012, is the 107th anniversary of the dedication of a General Forrest Statue in Memphis, Tennessee.
In the year of our Lord 1887, efforts were begun to raise the necessary funds to erect a statue to honor Forrest. In 1891, The "Forrest Monument Association" was formed in Memphis. The ladies Auxiliary was formed to help this committee and the United Confederate Veterans helped to raise money. Politician and business folks were the backbone of this committee. The "Who's-Who" of Memphis served on that committee.
The price of the statue to General Forrest was the huge sum of $32,359.53. It should be noted that the ladies auxiliary worked hard to raise $3,000, which was a great deal of money in those days.
In 1901, during the United Confederate Veterans convention in Memphis, the cornerstone of the monument was dedicated. During August of that year Charles H. Nichaus was given the contract to build a bronze casting of the statue. The statue was produced in Paris, France and was shipped to New York, then to Savannah, Georgia, and finally by rail to Memphis, Tennessee.
In 1904, the son of General Forrest, Captain William Montgomery Forrest gave the Forrest Monument Association permission to re-inter the remains of his father Nathan and mother Mary at Forrest Park where the statue would be dedicated the following year.
There was a full moon on Monday, May 15, and on Tuesday, May 16, 1905, over 30,000 people congregated at Forrest Park in Memphis to take part in the statue dedication. The memorial began at 2:30PM with many speeches of tribute to the general and was finalized with General Forrest's granddaughter pulling the cord that unveiled the larger than life statue. This was preceded by the reverent playing of everyone's favorite song from North and South "Dixie"
Wonderful words are inscribed on the Forrest monument that was written by Mrs. Virginia Frazer Boyer, "Those hoof beats upon crimson's sod, but will ring through her song and her story; He fought like a Titan and struck like a god, and his dust is our ashes of glory.
The War Between the States Sesquicentennial, 150th Anniversary, runs 2011 through 2015. The Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans joins the nation in remembering this historic time in our nations history. See information at: http://www.150wbts.org/
God Bless America and Have a Dixie Day!
The thought that rebel cavalry was anywhere near would make union infantry quiver. Union cavalry made rebel troops laugh.
“The thought that rebel cavalry was anywhere near would make union infantry quiver. Union cavalry made rebel troops laugh.”
That was true at the beginning of the war. By the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, that was no longer true.
No day is wasted where I've learned something new.
Thee is a body of opinion among some, and I tend to agree, that had Forrest gotten command in the Western theater after A.S. Johnston’s death, the Battle of Shiloh, and maybe the whole western theater would have had a totally different outcome. But both sides had their share of idiots in command.
He is remembered in the North for the massacre at Fort Pillow.
ping. They’re talking about you.
As a field commander there was none his equal on horseback.
With infantry, Longstreet was incredible.
With relentless resolve one name stands — Grant.
Troops that fought under Stonewall Jackson generally hated him except for one thing, If he led them in a fight, they knew they were going to win.
Years ago, MTSU’s (outside of Nashville) mascot used to be the Blue Raider (raided blue bellies)—Which was Forrest mounted on a rearing charger. Now they have some sissy looking blue horse with wings—we call the MTSU Blue Raiders the “Gay Raiders” anymore.
No wonder the union infantry didn't quiver at Gettysburg. What day did Stuart finally decide to show up for the battle?
For infantry that today we might call “light” due to sizing and horsed support that old hand-in-the-air Presbyterian was a slave driver of troops without equal as well.
The south had the field commanders that’s for sure. On the Union side the list is short but there are a few. Sherman, Sheridan, Chamberlin and the “Rock of Chickamauga” come readily to mind.
Both sides had junior officers and infantry brave beyond belief.
Both sides had a good number of fools and scroundrals.
Grant finally said so, even in his self-serving memoirs. Lee said so. Lincoln said so. And the historical record says so.
He prevailed in every engagement with which he was involved. He masterminded the "perfect battle:" The Battle of Nashville, the resounding Union victory that led directly to Appomattox. It is studied to this day, unlike the life-wasting blunderings of the drunken Grant.
He was a master of Training, Logistics, Signals, and Mobility. Under his command, Wilson's cavalry achieved the peak of civil war efficiency and fire power and Thomas integrated it closely with Infantry and Artillery better than any other commander. He cared little about was PR and intrigue, at which Sherman, Schofield, and their buddy Grant were masters.
Thanks for posting this. RIP General Forrest
Thomas was a great leader and humble man. Having said that, he was also a traitor to the South and Virginia. Post war he was not well liked by anyone, rightly or wrongly, nobody really likes a turn coat, even a useful one.
What’s your opinion of Wade Hampton as a cavalry commander?
Was he used effectively against Sherman’s march?
No requirement to answer on your part. I’ve been reading a book and I’m pondering if Hampton had been used differently, could Hampton’s cavalry have turned one of Sherman’s columns and made them vulnerable to attack.
Thomas didn’t get a fair shake by the post war era or history.
But it pales in comparison to the lying war to protect the Marble Man waged against Longstreet. Early especially covered his failing by scapegoating Longstreet.
To judge from his memoirs, Early was an immensely practical, reliable, and honest reporter. In fact, General Lee depended upon his notes and records for his own memoirs. For example, Early credited the Union Cavalry for the improvements he saw it making during the war.
One thing you'll get from his memoirs was the terrible burden material shortages caused the Confederates. Not only were their resources fewer, but their systems and supply personnel were very weak at the top. The Confederates worked their amazing successes on the field with empty bellies!
I do agree that it would have been handy to have him around. A.P. Hill attacked, perhaps, because he thought Stuart was never going to show up with the info they needed.
Lee was a brilliant General. But no mortal could possibly be as good at anything as the rabid Lee fans make him out to be. Lee himself was very supportive of Longstreet, I think, and had nothing but praise for him.
There is not many instances, perhaps none, even up to the very last day, of a confederate unit completely running out of ammunition. Not so for rations...
Well, Thomas may have been a secret abolitionist!
His record during reconstruction as a military governor was praised on all sides. And that story about his family turning his picture to the wall when he stayed blue turns out to be bogus!
Oddly enough, his being a Virginian was what got him crosswise in the road with the Ohio boys, Grant and Sherman. Sherman's brother was an enormously influential Senator who mafe sure the Ohio people got their way!
Longstreet seems like a 20th century man transported back in time to fight a 19th century war.
But if he had gotten the command after Joe Johnson, or if Stephen Lee hadn't kept him in Mississippi when Forrest went out to cut Sherman's supply lines, things might well have been different.
Otherwise, he would just run away.
With endless resources one name stands Grant.
They were like the Japanese naval aviators in World War II. Once the experienced ones got killed, there was no one to replace them.
I think there is a story about Rebs throwing bricks at a Union charge at the end of the Petersburg Campaign but I believe it was intentional.
It was more the horses, rebs had to supply their own. After a mount was killed, if your family couldn't send you a new one, you were transfered to the infantry.
Why would they have named a General after a gay bar?
There is 1 battle that comes to mind..
The Last Trench
by Louis Beam
General Early says that the Union Army was a primary source of tactical munitions, but he also supports your point. Rations of course were another matter. The Confederates were all too often forced to live off the land and plundered Union stores. BTW, I got carried away on this thread. Nathan Bedford Forrest was an incredibly strong and inspiring tactical leader and a great strategist. Given more support and better commanders, western operations could well have gone the Confederate way with Forrest as the cutting edge.
He clearly seemed to have a better appreciation of the biog picture than the commanders under which he served. E.G., Had Hood permitted him to go after Schofield as he was withdrawing from Franklin, the Battle of Nashville could have gone the other way ... maybe. Hood delayed him too long, and he was beaten back.
Happy Birthday to him!
“They were like the Japanese naval aviators in World War II. Once the experienced ones got killed, there was no one to replace them.”
People forget what a meat grinder the CW was. A historic turning point in warfare that pitched closely spaced, massed formation against modern weapons, cartridge repeaters, etc. European Generals studied our CW and came up with strategies that resulted in the trench warfare of WWI.
Evolving to modern times we have widely spaced, but highly mobile forces like the Conf. Cav of old that can converge and disperse rapidly, mitigating the effect of modern weapon systems and superior number opposition forces.
I had a Nigerian coworker that borrowed many of my books on the CW. He was the president of the local Zumunta Assn, a cultural exchange thing with Nigeria. He had a local black female techer ask him about who he admired most from our history. When he included NBF she became outraged! He calmly told her the thruth about his history. She didn’t believe it. Typical...
Lee wasn't at his best that 1st day, either. Vicious case of dysentery. A.P. Hill was a charismatic commander, but it's my impression that he was much too impetuous and liable to go off half-cocked, screwing up Lee's well laid plans ... and this wasn't the first time either. His over-aggressiveness goes back to First Manassas and then his service under Jackson.
He also seemed quite careless of casualties, which Lee always thought to minimize by maneuver rather than direct assault.
Have you been to the battlefield?
I have had the privilege of riding horseback over the entire battlefields of Shiloh, Ft. Donelson, Chickamauga, Stones River, Kennesaw Mountain, and Gettysburg to name a few and several that are not included in the Military Park System..Britton's Lane, Middleburg, Hatchie Bridge, Corinth, Brice's Crossroads, Harrisburg...I also was able to cover Gettysburg and experience it as a member of a six horse artillery hitch. It gives one quite a perspective about the terrain and the battle.
At dusk on the anniversary of the great battle, 21,000 luminaria line the roads to symbolize the casualties of the day. But I envy your horseback look at these battlegrounds. One really understands so much more that way.
What is your re-enactment unit?
Thanks for the GREAT POST. Read my comments if you like on Fort Pillow. Thanks again for the post.