The Wizard of the Saddle

diane

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Thank you to JGG for setting up this forum dedicated to a unique Civil War general. We should have some fine debates and discussions here!

Controversial, legendary, heroic, wicked, genius, temperamental - just about any descriptive word fits some aspect of Nathan Bedford Forrest. He was one of the most effective, innovative and feared cavalrymen of the war, and at the same time one of the most difficult, insubordinate and unrelenting. There was none of the cavalier about Forrest, no swords and roses. A natural leader, he was strong willed, clear minded, extremely smart as well as tough, disciplined, ordered. A man of extremely limited education and no military experience, he kept the Union's attention with numerous successful raids and campaigns, some brilliantly executed - such as Brice's Crossroads, universally acknowledged to be his masterpiece. Forrest's personal life before the war and after the war is very complicated - he was a slave trader and a klansman, an alderman of Memphis and a constable, a gambler and a shootist, a dedicated family man and deeply loving husband, a dedicated warrior of the Confederacy who put his blood and treasure into that cause. It died and he accepted that, accepted that slavery was gone, and that the South he knew was no more. He never gave up the dream of some day seeing a Southern nation. His life in that complicated world of change and defeat will forever be the source of much contention and evaluation.

It is the study of such an individual that gives us an understanding of who we are today. In current times, Nathan Bedford Forrest is the symbol of racism, white supremacy and terror; and also the symbol of heritage, history, and - one might say strangely - of hope. By understanding this man, we can understand better who we all are, how we came to be, and what we can do together to make the future better. If Forrest, the very flawed slave trading klansman, could come to a point in his life where he could say with sincerity to a black audience, "We live in the same country, we were born on the same soil, we breathe the same air - why can we not be brothers and sisters?" then we know we can all come to a better understanding of ourselves, not just as Americans but as human beings.
 

5fish

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I just notice this sub forum...
 

diane

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:D This where the good, the bad and the downright ugly can be discussed! Whatever one may think of Forrest, at least all can agree he won't bore anyone...
 

5fish

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I like to point out...

I just want to bring up a minor point that many have over looked.

Gen. Grant only ever single out one cavalry man for death. It was not Morgan, or Forrest, or Hampton. It was Stuart that Gen. Grant single out for death.

If Gen. Lee admired Stuart and Gen. Grant single him out for death, would this not make him the greatest cavalier of the Civil war? The two greatest generals of the war had him on their A-list...

If we go by what the two greatest generals of the Civil war thought then J.E.B. Stuart was greatest cavalier of the Civil War......YEH!!
 

5fish

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I like to point out... Wilson...

I see all those who worship of the highwayman Forrest have forgotten one thing.

I have notice that you Forrest worshipers seem to have forgotten a Union general James Wilson who easily check the thug Forrest during the Hood Franklin to Nashville Campaign.

Not only did Union cavalryman James Wilson not only check the murder Forrest but went on to terrorized AL., MS.. and GA. with his cavalry raids until May of 1865.

Where was the over-hyped Forrest when Wilson's cavalry was romping cross the south taken Selma, Columbus and destroying the infrastructure of those Southern states.

Those who worship the criminal Forrest as the best cavalry man. You all must acknowledge that James Wilson is the best cavalry man of the war for he easily outperformed Forrest time and time again....


Change your heathen ways and worship Wilson as the best cavalry man of the civil war...

The amazing thing is Wilson only became a cavalry man in 1864, before that an engineer.
 

diane

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As the Keeper of the Forrest Shrine, I cannot commit heresy! (But Wilson was a damn good cavalryman.) I want to get a good post up on him, by the way. He and Forrest had dinner together just before Selma - Wilson was trying to mine some information out of Forrest and found he wasn't as good at poker as Forrest. But, he finally asked an embarrassing question. "Ahh...I've misplaced one of my officers. Do you happen to know where Croxton is?" Forrest pointed. "He's up that road about 12 miles." After the war, Forrest and Wilson were good friends, visiting each other often.
 
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