Did Forrest Threaten Bragg? Most likely not at all...


Well-Known Member
Jul 28, 2019
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Here an article that investigates this incident between General Bragg and General Forrest. Where Forrest threaten Bragg but did it happen most likely not. It seems Forrest owes a lot to Bragg for him promotions. It seems they parted on good terms and the tale about the threat seems to come from one person with no evidence. This one persons allegations made it into history... checkout the article...


The source of the anecdote Wyeth revealed in Life of General Nathan Bedford Forrest was James Cowan, a former surgeon in the Confederate Army and Forrest’s cousin. Cowan claimed to be the only eyewitness to the meeting between the generals that September day. [See full text of Cowan’s account, below]

Cowan’s “high standing,” Wyeth offered in his 1899 edition, “renders his statement absolutely reliable.” Only it wasn’t. Both Confederate generals had died years before Cowan shared the story with the biographer—Bragg in 1876, Forrest in 1877—but Wyeth, it seems, ignored conflicting evidence not only in the Official Records but also Forrest’s 1868 pseudo-autobiography, The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N.B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry. Wyeth even contradicted Cowan by writing: “The President of the Confederacy [Jefferson Davis] was on the scene when this quarrel occurred, and he took the part of Forrest.”


that gal
Mar 18, 2020
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That's an interesting article - and this is an important piece of Forrest lore! (It's also mentioned in a Bob Dylan song.)

Forrest and Bragg got along a lot better than legend has it. Bragg was a complicated personality, and got more complicated as the war went on. He was the one who had difficulty with his subordinates, not Forrest, and Forrest was not a part of the 'cabal' against Bragg. The round-robin letter to Davis to remove Bragg from command was not signed by Forrest though it passed through his hands - he would have nothing to do with any of that. That is because he considered Bragg to be an able commander and a brave man who was, quite simply, over his head. Of all the officers Bragg had, Forrest was one of the most loyal. It was because of this under-current of gossip, dissatisfaction, and outright plotting that Forrest was getting well and truly messed with. Bragg also tended to favor Wheeler because of his West Point training - he knew Forrest lacked education and it was a handicap from time to time. Strangely, Bragg had an unhappy tendency to praise people then bad-mouth them - which happened to Forrest. That was not why he took a direct route to the president, it was because of the cabal of generals against Bragg. His superior had become suspicious of everybody. For Forrest, it was best to be out of that whole mess. It was the kind of mud ball that would splatter everybody in the vicinity whether they were guilty or not. Best not to be around when it burst!

Now, why would Cowan spin a yarn? Wyeth's bio was written in 1899. Dr James Cowan, the cousin of Forrest's wife, was president of the Association of Medical Officers of the Army and Navy of the Confederacy, a branch of the United Confederate Veterans - he was elected in 1898. This was 35 years after the war. The good doctor was elderly as well. And, as with other elderly people who were closely associated with celebrated characters, he may have embellished some...what. He was of good character but sometimes one might see it harmless to tell a tale - and put oneself modestly in it - of a famous individual one was closely associated with - and who was dead lo, these many years. (P S - so was cousin Mary Ann Forrest - she died in 1893.)