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Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821 - 1877)

photo of nathan bedford forrest

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate Civil War leader who is considered my many to be the most brilliant cavalryman in the history of the Civil War. Forrest was an exceptionally smart Tennessean with no military training when he enlisted in 1861. One famous story tells of Forrest at the Battle of Shiloh. He was surrounded by enemy troops and alone. His quick thinking saved his life when he grabbed an enemy soldier, and used him as a human shield to escape on horseback. Said Forrest afterwards, "No damn man kills me and lives." However, it soon became clear that the South had lost the formal war, but Forrest was in favor of continued combat with guerilla warfare tactics, much like the Patriot forces used in the Revolutionary War. However, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee told Forrest it would not be an honorable way to fight, and the Confederate Army surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. After the Civil War ended, Forrest heard about the Ku Klux Klan from George Gordon, a former Confederate brigadier general. His first reaction was, "That's a good thing; that's a damn good thing. We can use that to keep the n------ in their place." Forrest became the first Grand Wizard of the KKK, and is known as a founder. However, Forrest was a smart and noble man. Once he realized the Klan was greatly hurting people and being "perverted from its original honorable and patriotic purposes, becoming injurious instead of subservient to the public peace," he ordered it to disband. However, the Klan disregarded his order, and he preferred to distance himself from the KKK up till his death on October 29, 1877.
Posted by The Archiver on Saturday, October 29, 2005 at 11:04 AM Comments (0)