A Federal Colonel's Tribute To General Nathan B Forrest

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Great find... it is just another of many examples that represents who Nathan Bedford Forrest was as a man and a Confederate cavalry commander. I agree with Col. S. W. Fordyce in his article above regarding the character of Forrest. If he had still been living in 1898 at the outbreak of the Spanish - American War, there is no doubt in my mind that Forrest would have requested of President McKinley to allow him to serve in some capacity in the U. S. Army during that War, just like Joe Wheeler, Samuel Wragg Ferguson and a few other former Confederate Generals.

While still in uniform, after being surrendered on 4 May 1865 by General Richard Taylor, Forrest made his farewell address to his men 5 days later on 9 May 1865 from Gainsville, Alabama, below is that address:

"SOLDIERS:

By an agreement made between Liet.-Gen. Taylor, commanding the Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, and Major-Gen. Canby, commanding United States forces, the troops of this department have been surrendered.

I do not think it proper or necessary at this time to refer to causes which have reduced us to this extremity; nor is it now a matter of material consequence to us how such results were brought about. That we are BEATEN is a self-evident fact, and any further resistance on our part would justly be regarded as the very height of folly and rashness.

The armies of Generals LEE and JOHNSON having surrendered. You are the last of all the troops of the Confederate States Army east of the Mississippi River to lay down your arms.

The Cause for which you have so long and so manfully struggled, and for which you have braved dangers, endured privations, and sufferings, and made so many sacrifices, is today hopeless. The government which we sought to establish and perpetuate, is at an end. Reason dictates and humanity demands that no more blood be shed. Fully realizing and feeling that such is the case, it is your duty and mine to lay down our arms -- submit to the “powers that be” -- and to aid in restoring peace and establishing law and order throughout the land.

The terms upon which you were surrendered are favorable, and should be satisfactory and acceptable to all. They manifest a spirit of magnanimity and liberality, on the part of the Federal authorities, which should be met, on our part, by a faithful compliance with all the stipulations and conditions therein expressed. As your Commander, I sincerely hope that every officer and soldier of my command will cheerfully obey the orders given, and carry out in good faith all the terms of the cartel.

Those who neglect the terms and refuse to be paroled, may assuredly expect, when arrested, to be sent North and imprisoned. Let those who are absent from their commands, from whatever cause, report at once to this place, or to Jackson, Miss.; or, if too remote from either, to the nearest United States post or garrison, for parole.

Civil war, such as you have just passed through naturally engenders feelings of animosity, hatred, and revenge. It is our duty to divest ourselves of all such feelings; and as far as it is in our power to do so, to cultivate friendly feelings towards those with whom we have so long contended, and heretofore so widely, but honestly, differed. Neighborhood feuds, personal animosities, and private differences should be blotted out; and, when you return home, a manly, straightforward course of conduct will secure the respect of your enemies. Whatever your responsibilities may be to Government, to society, or to individuals meet them like men.

The attempt made to establish a separate and independent Confederation has failed; but the consciousness of having done your duty faithfully, and to the end, will, in some measure, repay for the hardships you have undergone.

In bidding you farewell, rest assured that you carry with you my best wishes for your future welfare and happiness. Without, in any way, referring to the merits of the Cause in which we have been engaged, your courage and determination, as exhibited on many hard-fought fields, has elicited the respect and admiration of friend and foe. And I now cheerfully and gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to the officers and men of my command whose zeal, fidelity and unflinching bravery have been the great source of my past success in arms.

I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where I was unwilling to go myself; nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue. You have been good soldiers, you can be good citizens. Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the Government to which you have surrendered can afford to be, and will be, magnanimous."

N.B. Forrest, Lieut.-General
Headquarters, Forrest's Cavalry Corps
Gainesville, Alabama
May 9, 1865


Nathan Bedford Forrest was not the monster that was made of him by his detractors and those whom were eager to blemish his reputation and take from him his dignity and honor during and after the war. His farewell speech to is men above from 9 May 1865 and the article from Col. S. W. Fordyce (U. S. Army) reflect who and what his true character was. The more that people read and find out about him the more that they will see how much of a disservice was done to him and his reputation by jealous and envious men who could not begin to match his ability in the saddle commanding a cavalry corps.
 
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lelliott19

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Great Article.
Here's the guy who wrote the letter and contributed the $250.
1549241026746.png

Image from: http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1649#

Samuel Wesley "Colonel" Fordyce (7 February 1840 – 3 August 1919)
Captain, Co B (or H?) 1st Ohio Cavalry
1549240775919.png

From wikipedia:
Born in Guernsey County, Ohio, to John Fordyce and Mary Ann Houseman, both of whom were from Pennsylvania. Samuel was one of ten children. He attended Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and later studied at North Illinois University. At the age of twenty, Fordyce returned home to work as a station agent on the Central Ohio Railroad. After a year, he enlisted as a private in the First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry to fight in the Civil War. He was soon promoted to second lieutenant and then to a first lieutenancy of Company B, First Ohio Volunteers. In 1863, he was promoted to captain of Company H and soon after was made assistant inspector general of cavalry in the Army of the Cumberland. Fordyce was wounded three times and captured three times, but he was recaptured two of those times and managed to escape the other.

Here is a lengthy and interesting bio of Samuel W Fordyce. He built railroads and the bath houses at Hot Springs! http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1649#

I found this part of Fordyce's comments on Forrest interesting:
1549240246484.png

"As the passions and prejudices growing out of the war subside, the more will this man's military career be appreciated by his countrymen, North as well as South. Never did a general recognize the inevitable and lay down his sword with a sadder heart; and never did a fallen hero rise to the sublimity of a loyal and patriotic citizen more earnestly and honestly."
 
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Here's the guy who wrote the letter and contributed the $250.
View attachment 262214
Image from: http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1649#

Samuel Wesley "Colonel" Fordyce (7 February 1840 – 3 August 1919)
Captain, Co B (or H?) 1st Ohio Cavalry
View attachment 262213
From wikipedia:
Born in Guernsey County, Ohio, to John Fordyce and Mary Ann Houseman, both of whom were from Pennsylvania. Samuel was one of ten children. He attended Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and later studied at North Illinois University. At the age of twenty, Fordyce returned home to work as a station agent on the Central Ohio Railroad. After a year, he enlisted as a private in the First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry to fight in the Civil War. He was soon promoted to second lieutenant and then to a first lieutenancy of Company B, First Ohio Volunteers. In 1863, he was promoted to captain of Company H and soon after was made assistant inspector general of cavalry in the Army of the Cumberland. Fordyce was wounded three times and captured three times, but he was recaptured two of those times and managed to escape the other.

Here is a lengthy and interesting bio of Samuel W Fordyce. He built railroads and the bath houses at Hot Springs! http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=1649#

I found this part of Fordyce's comments on Forrest interesting:
View attachment 262212
"As the passions and prejudices growing out of the war subside, the more will this man's military career be appreciated by his countrymen, North as well as South. Never did a general recognize the inevitable and lay down his sword with a sadder heart; and never did a fallen hero rise to the sublimity of a loyal and patriotic citizen more earnestly and honestly."
Great detective work Laura !
 
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