Monday, April 19, 2010

Private-General Nathan Bedford Forrest

Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Birth: Jul. 13, 1821.
Death: :Oct. 29, 1877.

Confederate General. civil war private-confederate general, raider. He was born in Marshal County, Tennessee the son of a poverty-stricken, backwoods blacksmith. No man had more to overcome during his rise to fame. With no formal education, at the age of sixteen, he was forced into adulthood to not only provide for himself but a large family left by the death of his father. Through the seamy business of slave trading, he became a multimillionaire. At the onset of the civil war, Forrest enlisted as a private in a Tennessee regiment. He was a friend of Tennessee Governor Harris who promptly had him discharged so that Forrest could recruit and form his own battalion of cavalry. So, with no formal military training, he found a way to become a general. He recruited men who could furnish their own weapons and he equipped the group at his own expense. He developed raiding tactics that made his cavalry a superb strike force.

He seemed to be a natural military genius with an intuitive grasp not only of tactics, but also of logistics. He is noted mainly as a highly successful raider behind union lines but also distinguished himself in several traditional type battles. His postwar activities included a leadership role with the Ku Klux Klan until he ordered dissolution in 1869 because of its extreme radical nature. He failed in many business ventures and never regained the fortune lost as a result of the civil war. Plagued by illness, he died at the home of his brother in Memphis the result of diabetes at the age of 57.

Services were held at Court Avenue Presbyterian Church in Memphis with an oration given by Jefferson Davis. A funeral procession formed at the church by thousands of marchers who then proceeded to accompany the body to Elmwood Cemetery where it was interred. In 1905, with the political climate favorable, He and his wife were reinterred and moved to downtown Memphis in what today is known as Forrest Park which is located on Union Avenue.

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