Jo Shelby a better Cavalry Man then Nathan Forrest...

5fish

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I want to bring up a Confederate Hero that has been grievously ignore by our board. This board lavishes praise on the Highway man Gen. Bedford Forrest while this hero of the south goes unloved by this board.

I am speaking of General Jo Shelby citizen soldier and cavalry leader. He never surrendered unlike Forrest. He carried the fight on until July 4, 1865 when he buried the confederate flag in the Rio Grand river crossed into Mexico.

Jo Shelby and his "Iron Bridge" exploits easily rival those of Forrest maybe even exceed them. Lets look at at a few like the Battle of Mark Mill where his attack broke the union and let to the capture of over one union troops and wagons, which lead to union Gen. Steel retreat to Little Rock and ending his Camden campaign, 1864. He has the distinction of capturing the ironclad Queen City in June 1863 and burning it. I do not think Forrest ever ended a campaign by the union with a great sweeping attack or capture an ironclad.

I will bring up Shelby's Great Raid where he rode 1500 miles, inflicted 1000 casualties and destroyed millions of dollars in property. I don't think any of Forrest raids ever equal or matched it magnitude.

Like I said before Forrest surrendered while Shelby carried the fight on until true hope was all gone. His ride into Mexico is another amazing tale about stopping looters and protecting property and trying to find work.

My last observation is Shelby has no known massacres to his record unlike Forrest. He returned to Missouri went back to being hemp farmer and rope maker and into other business and was only moderately successful.

I challenge you Forrest fans to best this Champion form Missouri in exploits and deeds.... Joe O. Shelby will get his justice and rightful place in history as a better cavalry leader then Forrest...


Joe the turth will prevail and justice will be yours...
 

5fish

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Campaign---

How will I ever turn back this love affair with Forrest by my fellow board members...

Lets bring Gen. Price's ill fated campaign into Missouri in 1864. Shelby commanded a division and preform with distinction and some would say saved Price's army in a couple of those battles. I see no where directly where Forrest help Hood out in Tennessee 1864 or even Bragg earlier in the war. Shiloh is one place but beyond that what other battles did he save the day. At Mine Creek Marmation River and Westport Shelby saved the day...At Big Blue river he carried the day for Price. He did all these feats as a Division commander not a Corps commander.....Where's does Forrest have a record like this during any campaigns in Tennessee or Mississippi....

Take off those rose color glasses you have for Forrest and embrace the better cavalry man in Shelby..
 

5fish

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It is now obvious that all cavalry leaders are not the same..It like saying all High School Marching bands are the same. Why this example??

One thinks as I did at one time that all Marching Bands are the same but they are not. There are the Traditional one's, Artistic one's, and Theatrical ones. They are similar but different and put on complete different shows form one another. I must thank my son for introducing into this unique world of American culture.

I think after this discussion that cavalry leaders should be broken up into selected categories.

Forrest, Shelby, Mosby and others as raiders/ Special Ops/ or something liken to that

Stuart, Hampton and others as Traditional/ or something liken to it

Jennison, Terrell, Quantril and others as Highway men/ or worst...

I think the word "cavalry" is to board or simple to describer what men on horse back were doing during the Civil War. It is becoming obvious that cavalry/ or men on horse back filled many rolls and duties that require us to be looked at the roles they were used in and measure it against others doing the same role in other theaters of the Civil War.

To me it makes since because it is impossible to compare Stuart and Forrest. They may have been cavalry men but they play different roles in the army and in the war. Maybe we could compare Imboden and Forrest for they play similar roles in their theater of the war.

They may have looked at cavalry men as all the same back in 1860's but it is obvious that all cavalry men were similar but different in the 1860's.


What do our members think??
 

diane

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Jeb Stuart rode around the AoP but JO Shelby rode around Missouri! (And Arkansas.) His Long Raid is very celebrated with good cause, and it lasted almost two months. He was a hemp grower before the war, got very rich making rope, and was pro-slavery. He was very much involved in Bleeding Kansas and strongly supported the Border Ruffians.

As tempting as it is to compare JO Shelby with his counterparts in the west and the east, it proves difficult! He was a civilian soldier, had a good deal of experience militarily, was west of the Mississippi in that No-Man's Land of the Trans-Mississippi...and, except for sinking his flag in the Rio Grande to prevent it ever being captured - he vamoosed to Mexico rather than surrender.

This is where we get to apples and oranges about Shelby and Forrest. No, Shelby did not have a massacre, nor did he kill 31 men in hand to hand combat, either! Shelby refused to accept defeat - Forrest did. He surrendered at Gainesville while Shelby ran for the border. Forrest could have gone with him - certain parties wanted him to connect with Shelby in the Trans-Mississippi and make a do or die stand there, other parties wanted them to get together in Mexico and set up a Confederacy there. As it was, Shelby founded the Mexican Confederate colony of Carlota - after two or three years he was able to return to Missouri, rebuild his farm and later serve as US marshal. Still never surrendered, though!
 

diane

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It is now obvious that all cavalry leaders are not the same..It like saying all High School Marching bands are the same. Why this example??

One thinks as I did at one time that all Marching Bands are the same but they are not. There are the Traditional one's, Artistic one's, and Theatrical ones. They are similar but different and put on complete different shows form one another. I must thank my son for introducing into this unique world of American culture.

I think after this discussion that cavalry leaders should be broken up into selected categories.

Forrest, Shelby, Mosby and others as raiders/ Special Ops/ or something liken to that

Stuart, Hampton and others as Traditional/ or something liken to it

Jennison, Terrell, Quantril and others as Highway men/ or worst...

I think the word "cavalry" is to board or simple to describer what men on horse back were doing during the Civil War. It is becoming obvious that cavalry/ or men on horse back filled many rolls and duties that require us to be looked at the roles they were used in and measure it against others doing the same role in other theaters of the Civil War.

To me it makes since because it is impossible to compare Stuart and Forrest. They may have been cavalry men but they play different roles in the army and in the war. Maybe we could compare Imboden and Forrest for they play similar roles in their theater of the war.

They may have looked at cavalry men as all the same back in 1860's but it is obvious that all cavalry men were similar but different in the 1860's.


What do our members think??
Interesting divisions! However, there was really too much cross-over - I don't think American cavalry can really be compared to European cavalry. Native American cavalry (military but not organized according to European mindset) might be closer. The Plains people had the best light cavalry on the continent - although the Mexican lancers weren't bad at all. They were dated, though.

Let's take Forrest. He's light cavalry, can raid like nobody's business, uses his men as mounted infantry (or is it dismounted cavalry?), uses his escort as special ops/shock troops, can lead effective charges (Brice's Crossroads, Okolona) and can perform the duties and operations expected of regular cavalry - screening, intelligence gathering, covers, etc. He definitely saved what was left of Hood's army on the retreat from Nashville - at least as well as Stuart and Imboden covered Lee's retreat from Gettysburg.

If we get into what the cavalry divisions really mean and what the function of that branch was, we have to conclude Jeb Stuart was a dragoon. (Lee would have been also, if he'd commanded cavalry.) He could move, but was not nearly as mobile as Forrest.

Morgan was a true raider as was Quantrill. That's why John Hunt Morgan's nickname was The Grey Thunderbolt. He, too, had his Quantrill moments - like the little accident of burning down Cynthiana during his famous Kentucky Raid, and a matter of stolen loot. Doubt Morgan knew his men had robbed a bank but he should have!

Partisans such as Imboden and Mosby should probably be in a separate category. That is a wide-ranging one: John Imboden and William Anderson were partisans but by no means in the same category!
 

Sgt. Tyree

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5fish, I won't opine that Shelby was or wasn't a more effective cavalry commander than NBF. But I will offer a thought on something else you said:

How will I ever turn back this love affair with Forrest by my fellow board members...
You probably won't. Many people get down right tribal about their favorite cavalry commander. Sometimes this occurs because of a sense of regional loyalty or interest.

.
 

Sgt. Tyree

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Jeb Stuart rode around the AoP but JO Shelby rode around Missouri!
True. But I think Stuart could have ridden around Missouri. Or raided north from Tennessee into Kentucky. Or won at Brice's Crossroads.

Stuart was not in those places so he didn't have to. But I believe he had the ability to if he had he been thrust into those situations under the same circumstances. So did some Union cavalry commanders.
 

diane

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Hello, Sgt Tyree! Welcome to the boards!

JO Shelby had a whole different world to fight in than Jeb Stuart, or Forrest for that matter. Stuart did a great raid around McClellan, Forrest did a great one through the middle of Tennessee. There are indeed some battles nobody else could have fought - Brice's Crossroads is one of those for Forrest. The Long Raid was JO Shelby's - can't see anybody else doing that! I like to compare these outstanding cavalrymen by their best - see where each had a strength and a weakness. All three completely different personalities, too.

But, for those who wanted to try to continue the Confederacy in the Trans-Mississippi, Shelby and Forrest was their dream team. I know what Forrest thought of that - all y'all are crazy - but I don't know what Shelby thought. Just guessing, since he headed for the border rather than surrender, he might have been on board with it.
 

18611096

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Jo Shelby was a great general and best cavalry general west of the Mississippi. I put him up there with Stuart or perhaps above. But to me NBF is as good as it gets. Great books on Shelby or that at least include his achievements.



Forest

 

diane

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Jo Shelby was a great general and best cavalry general west of the Mississippi. I put him up there with Stuart or perhaps above. But to me NBF is as good as it gets. Great books on Shelby or that at least include his achievements.



Forest

Those are quite good selections! Anything by Ed Bearss on Forrest (if you can find anything by Ed Bearss these days!) is great. Hope they do reprints on Mr Bearss works. I like his completely non-biased approach.

Jesse James opens the door to guerrillas and the fact that so many of them were teenagers - Mosby's Rangers were largely teenagers, too. Shelby had a large number of them as well - there really was an interesting psychology going on in his theater of the war. Forrest didn't accept them until manpower started getting scarce - then he had to take just about anything that could shoot sort of straight!
 

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Jesse James opens the door to guerrillas and the fact that so many of them were teenagers.......
Heavily armed juvenile delinquents wandering around without any serious adult supervision. What could go wrong?

Mosby's Rangers were largely teenagers, too. Shelby had a large number of them as well - there really was an interesting psychology going on in his theater of the war. Forrest didn't accept them until manpower started getting scarce - then he had to take just about anything that could shoot sort of straight!
Those juveniles had adult supervision, at least.
 

diane

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I'm pretty sure Jesse didn't care or Mosby either but Forrest did - just ask Morton! No passes for you! You're 19 and you're not going to town to get debauched! But kids that age would be exactly what Mosby said - they'd do whatever he said and didn't have sense to be scared.
 

18611096

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Those are quite good selections! Anything by Ed Bearss on Forrest (if you can find anything by Ed Bearss these days!) is great. Hope they do reprints on Mr Bearss works. I like his completely non-biased approach.

Jesse James opens the door to guerrillas and the fact that so many of them were teenagers - Mosby's Rangers were largely teenagers, too. Shelby had a large number of them as well - there really was an interesting psychology going on in his theater of the war. Forrest didn't accept them until manpower started getting scarce - then he had to take just about anything that could shoot sort of straight!
James and others carried on those guerilla tactics after the war and used them to escape being captured despite large manpower and investment in his capture.
 

diane

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Yes, they did. Jesse might be said to be a product of Bleeding Kansas - during his youth there wasn't a second of peace in Kansas or Missouri. While a kid, he took up with Quantrill and when Bloody Bill Anderson had a falling out with Quantrill, Jesse chose to leave with Bill. After Bill was killed in an ambush, Jesse then followed his lieutenant, Archie Clement. Archie was only 22 when he was killed but was so bad they stuck his grave waaaaaaaay off to the side of the cemetery and actually checked from time to time to make sure he was still in it!
 

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James and others carried on those guerilla tactics after the war and used them to escape being captured despite large manpower and investment in his capture.
The 2nd Colorado mustered out in '65. I suspect that made things a lot safer for unreconstructed rebels in Missouri. I doubt the state guard was half as effective as the 2nd Colorado and I also doubt that Arch Clement could have disrupted the election in '66 if the 2nd Colorado had still been around.
 

diane

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The 2nd Colorado mustered out in '65. I suspect that made things a lot safer for unreconstructed rebels in Missouri. I doubt the state guard was half as effective as the 2nd Colorado and I also doubt that Arch Clement could have disrupted the election in '66 if the 2nd Colorado had still been around.
I think he had executed some of the 2nd Colorado's men by his favorite method - throat cutting. Wasn't it the state militia finally got him?
 

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I think he had executed some of the 2nd Colorado's men by his favorite method - throat cutting.
I think you are right. I'm not sure by what method.

Wasn't it the state militia finally got him?
I think it must have been. He was killed in '66.

Still, I think the 2nd Colorado was one of the more effective units in the Trans-Mississippi area before it mustered out. It was a very good regiment with lower amounts of sickness and desertion than most.
 

5fish

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I want to point out that Forrest never fought in a big battle successfully except Shiloh. He was there and it did not change the out come. But did a good job of covering the retreat. The only other big battle he was at was Franklin and all he did was ride around the woods. He never made good faith effort to cut off Union retreat from Franklin and seem to miss out on most of the fighting. Sherman's march to Atlanta, Forrest never cut off his supply train in any sustained effort.

My point is Forrest only fought when he wanted to fight. His victory's are nice but in truth did little in the war effort. He should have been with the main army helping it win battles not riding around doing as he pleases. Shelby more than a few times was in the big battles and even saving the day in a few. Forrest record is incomplete because he never effectively fought well with the main confederate army in the west...
 
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diane

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Oh, but neither did JO Shelby! Yes, he did fight at Pea Ridge - then the battles were relatively small. Forrest had also Chickamauga, Nashville, Selma - some big 'uns! At Franklin and Spring Hill, Forrest did what he was told to do - it was too bad Hood didn't use him better. Shelby was a little more fortunate in that he had the independence he needed much sooner than Forrest did.

Shelby would have been the stuff of Sherman's nightmares as well as Forrest - Forrest very much wanted to cut Sherman's lifeline during the Atlanta campaign and Joe Johnston very much wanted him to do it. The powers what be didn't agree. Wheeler got the job Forrest should have had and he did exactly what was expected of him - and what Sherman knew he would do. Forrest was another kettle of fish! When he did tell Sherman what he would have done if he'd pursued Sherman through Georgia...Sherman's fears were validated. He was MUCH relieved it had been Wheeler sent!
 
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