Did Forrest really fling a Yankee across his back?

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diane

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I'm not so sure Forrest couldn't throw around a well fed Yank just as well as a skinny one! While his forces were crossing the river after Nashville - a freezing cold river at that - Forrest waded in up to his chest to help move a stuck mule team. A burly corporal stood on the bank laughing and pointing out 'them dam fools! Ain't no man alive can get me into that river!" One of the fools came out of the water, picked the corporal up off both feet with one hand and threw him into the river, well into it. "You can take my place!" snapped Forrest.
 

major bill

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By modern standards, would this be a violation of the rules of Warfare? Once the soldier was captured, you can not use them as a shield against getting shot. So was the private "captured" or not?
 
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diane

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I need sources.

I know you have them. ;-)
Let me take a better look but right now I have to hand Morton's Artillery online. Forrest had Walthall's infantry and his own cavalry and artillery, but he'd also collected the remnants of a bunch of different commands and consolidated them into four brigades, which were under the command of Featherstone, Reynolds and Field. George Thomas had little to say good about Hood's army but he was very impressed with this rear guard Forrest had scraped together (quite literally!) and used well. It was the Duck River he was crossing.


Whatcha need on Forrest's forces? I can look a little better then!
 

diane

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By modern standards, would this be a violation of the rules of Warfare? Once the soldier was captured, you can not use them as a shield against getting shot. So was the private "captured" or not?
Well...I wouldn't call it a capture but it wasn't exactly by the rules, either! Human shields wasn't really a concept then, and the human shield was only that for a miniscule time...and I suppose it wasn't by the rules to bounce his head off a stump when you let him go, either! :x3:
 
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diane

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Hold up a second. I didn't mean to ask about his forces. I just wanted to know the source on the story of Forrest throwing the soldier in the river near Nashville. Was that part of the retreat from Nashville?
Oh! Yes, that was. Wyeth and Mathes (who gives more detail and may or may not be reliable!), Henry. Forrest had had his hot confrontation with Cheatham and was proceeding across the Duck River (thanks to Lee, not over Cheatham's dead body!) One of the teams became stuck and he waded in because of his size - they needed somebody of his weight and strength to help get the mules loose. And, once the supply wagons were moving, he was in a boat poling away to get his men across and had occasion to whap a mouthy lieutenant right into the river. He was in no mood to take any guff off anybody! Forrest's slapped together command had a lot of men who didn't know him by sight and hadn't served under him, like the corporal - nobody who had would have made a crack like that in Forrest's hearing!
 

1NCCAV

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I believe that Forrest could do it and did do it.

Men (okay, ladies, "people" :smile:) have proven capable of incredible things in action. Read the Medal of Honor citation for Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez sometime for an insight. I've read many impressive MOH citations but the citation for Benavidez is something else again. And Benavidez was a small man.

I try to be a critical thinker but given what we can confirm about Forrest I don't consider this Forrest legend improbable at all.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Without knowing much about Forrest ( sorry..... ), I'd say it was possible someone could have done this. I've read other stories where someone was scooped up by a rider on horseback although it'd take an awfully good horseman.

I don't know about ever discovering that private's identity. Bet he took that story to his grave when he got home from war. Little humiliating to figure as the guy who helped Forrest get away even if it wasn't voluntary.
 
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By modern standards, would this be a violation of the rules of Warfare? Once the soldier was captured, you can not use them as a shield against getting shot. So was the private "captured" or not?
Just browsed through the Lieber Code (which feel free to dissent but I believe is the best way to judge laws of war in the time), no specific reference to using prisoners as human shields, but a couple vague references to not subjecting them to "intentional suffering or indignity" (art. 75) which you could argue a human shield would cover.

However I don't think he would count as a prisoner as "A prisoner of war is a public enemy armed or attached to the hostile army for active aid, who has fallen into the hands of the captor, either fighting or wounded, on the field or in the hospital, by individual surrender or by capitulation." (art. 49). If this bluecoat existed he wasn't in the hands of the enemy army, rather an individual captor and per art. 74 "A prisoner of war, being a public enemy, is the prisoner of the government, and not of the captor." Therefor he wouldn't count as a POW until Forrest turned him over to his command.

Interestingly enough given the title of the painting, under the laws of war he technically wasn't a "hostage" as a hostage is someone who is voluntarily exchanged to the enemy for a temporary period of time to for example secure a truce. (art. 54). So I really think captive is the best technical term. Still its strange, even if the captive wouldn't brag about it, you'd think there'd be more eyewitness accounts from the yanks who witnessed it who would identify him and corroborate the story. I'm not that sure about it, but as with many other fun anecdotes, I choose to believe it happened.
 

major bill

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By modern standards, as soon as a soldier has an enemy in his control who has been captured, that prisoner is under the control of the US military not under the control ma individual captor. By the standards use during the Civil War the topic is vague.
 

diane

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Just browsed through the Lieber Code (which feel free to dissent but I believe is the best way to judge laws of war in the time), no specific reference to using prisoners as human shields, but a couple vague references to not subjecting them to "intentional suffering or indignity" (art. 75) which you could argue a human shield would cover.

However I don't think he would count as a prisoner as "A prisoner of war is a public enemy armed or attached to the hostile army for active aid, who has fallen into the hands of the captor, either fighting or wounded, on the field or in the hospital, by individual surrender or by capitulation." (art. 49). If this bluecoat existed he wasn't in the hands of the enemy army, rather an individual captor and per art. 74 "A prisoner of war, being a public enemy, is the prisoner of the government, and not of the captor." Therefor he wouldn't count as a POW until Forrest turned him over to his command.

Interestingly enough given the title of the painting, under the laws of war he technically wasn't a "hostage" as a hostage is someone who is voluntarily exchanged to the enemy for a temporary period of time to for example secure a truce. (art. 54). So I really think captive is the best technical term. Still its strange, even if the captive wouldn't brag about it, you'd think there'd be more eyewitness accounts from the yanks who witnessed it who would identify him and corroborate the story. I'm not that sure about it, but as with many other fun anecdotes, I choose to believe it happened.
True point there - why no other witnesses? I don't think that many eyes saw it! There was a lot going on and it was over almost before it happened. Why wouldn't Forrest mention it in either a report or in his biography? He didn't write the report of this battle - he commanded the battle only because he was the most senior officer present. Biography - the Jordan and Pryor book was written after the war and by that time, Forrest was being very much vilified in the press as a savage, brute, guerrilla and everything in between - an incident such as this would be seen to support that impression. Since he was politically ambitious, this is not something he wanted 'out there'. Also - attrition of war. This took place early - and a lot of witnesses simply were dead. When this story surfaced it was said to have come from Willie, Forrest's son - if he didn't tell it he didn't deny it either! - who really had no reason to enhance his father's spectacular image. There was a lot of excitement in 1905 over the setting up of the Memphis equestrian statue - his son was asked for a story of his father no one had heard. By 1905, the only living witnesses were Basil Duke and himself.

The soldier who shot Forrest lived long and prospered - Captain Rockwood of the 4th Illinois died in 1899. He couldn't confirm the story because...well, he was shot in the face! (And stomped by Forrest's horse... Forrest wasn't the only tough guy in the war!) His commander, Fisk, reported no injuries to Forrest and another person - think it was a reporter - said he had met Forrest in 1867 and Forrest had told him he received no wound whatsoever at Shiloh. So...it's always an on-going project to determine what is the truth when dealing with legendary figures even with primary witnesses!
 
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Nathanb1

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I think I've mentioned it before, but there's an old book called "If I Can Do It Horseback" by John Hendrix. Cowboys DO NOT LIKE getting off a horse to do anything. My dad never dismounted to open gates, for example. He could lean over and pick up a calf or sheep by a loop around its neck (he was a roper) so he could carry it or--if mama cow was on the prod, doctor it (You do not want to be between a mad mama and her calf. Trust me on this.). He was 5'7" and never weighed more than 150 in his life--and that was pure muscle. That's another reason I think it was absolutely possible, because he did it from a standstill--Forrest had adrenaline and momentum on his side. That's another thing...that horse was probably down on its back end, spinning and taking off, which means there might not have been much distance between the ground and the saddle. I have several pictures of Daddy on cutting horses and his stirrup is no more than a foot from the ground. Taken all together, yeah.
 

Nathanb1

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Being tech-challenged today. Here are two photos of my dad on Mackey's Pride. That was quite a horse. I'm sure Forrest's was just as capable, otherwise we'd be talking about the day he died at Fallen Timbers. Sorry for the quality--they are on those infamous "sticky" albums and I can't remove them. You'll have to click once to bring it up, then again on each photo--but you can tell how close his foot is to the ground.

 
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Nathanb1

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Without knowing much about Forrest ( sorry..... ), I'd say it was possible someone could have done this. I've read other stories where someone was scooped up by a rider on horseback although it'd take an awfully good horseman.

I don't know about ever discovering that private's identity. Bet he took that story to his grave when he got home from war. Little humiliating to figure as the guy who helped Forrest get away even if it wasn't voluntary.
Come to think of it, we don't know he got home. That could have something to do with it. Bet he didn't tell it like that, either!
 
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diane

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Come to think of it, we don't know he got home. That could have something to do with it. Bet he didn't tell it like that, either!
Capt Rockwood of the 4th Illinois did indeed survive. He stuck his rifle up against Forrest's coat and let him have it - Forrest, in route upward off his horse, threw his arm back and shot Rockwood point blank in the face! After observing the muzzle...and the flash...and the general brilliant white light...then darkness...he couldn't relate much more! Both told their medics they believed the other guy was dead...
 
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