Forrest was no "Lost Cause" zealot in later life

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Lee

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The South makes up at least 40% of the US military and is over represented. The Northeast is under represented. People from the South have always had a strong military tradition.
Thank you! I am a proud Confederate descendant who is every bit as proud of the Southern men in my family that have marched, fought, killed, survived and died serving in the Armed forces of the United States of America in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq.
 

AndyHall

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He asked a valid question, and he got an answer...is that a problem???
I don't see where it addresses the question at all, given that Sagebrush was asking about modern "Southern Heritage zealots." Maybe connect the dots for me.
 

bellaray

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I don't see where it addresses the question at all, given that Sagebrush was asking about modern "Southern Heritage zealots."
Has Lincoln not be idolized by catch phrases such as "Honest Abe?" Lincoln has also been memorialized throughout our history as being a symbol of freedom, equality, and unity, yet his actions and words were often contrary to contemporary propaganda . Even Forest had a descendant that said, "You know Mr.Foote, my family never cared much for Mr. Lincoln!
 

AndyHall

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Has Lincoln not be idolized by catch phrases such as "Honest Abe?" Lincoln has also been memorialized throughout our history as being a symbol of freedom, equality, and unity, yet his actions and words were often contrary to contemporary propaganda . Even Forest had a descendant that said, "You know Mr.Foote, my family never cared much for Mr. Lincoln!
Got it. I was right the first time.
 

bellaray

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Got it. I was right the first time.
Right the first time?? Hardly.

Sage wrote:

"Now, this raises a rather interesting and LOADED question. If a man such as Nathan Bedford Forrest could exhibit such a model of true spiritual conversion and Christian character, what does that say about those who are Southern Heritage zealots who profess Christianity and yet hold such resentment and express such venom for anything related to the Union?"

According to the letter I posted...the "Union" was defined by Abraham Lincoln as being the Republican Party. I know the content of the letter is difficult to swallow. According to Lincoln's letter and several other speeches, He interchangeably uses the goals of the "Union" with the goals of the "Republican Party." In fact in Lincoln's second inaugural address, he defines the "Union" as a mystical entity that existed before statehood AND Constitution.

I don't recall meeting anyone promoting Southern Heritage that "hates" our country, but I have met a multitude of Southerners that despise the "golden boy" image that Lincoln is given today. Lincoln did a lot of bad things, and they are recorded. His Cabinet did a lot of bad things. By 1875, Grant's administration was imploding and had become synonymous with the word CORRUPTION. Forest also happened to be alive with cognitive thought and witness much of this. Forest lost the war....yet his reputation and character were still intact...and people cared about what he thought. The nation as a whole...North and South...were through with Grant, and for different reasons.

My thoughts on Forest....he was a tactician to the end, not only in military affairs, but in politics and business. When he saw the futility of continuing the war, he surrendered, on his own choosing. He had reasons to abandon the KKK, when it no longer suited his goals. By 1875, he saw a real opportunity for his home state and the South, to regain power in the Federal government, so he had ever incentive to encourage people to cease hostilities, and go vote. By 1875 hardly any of the Radical Republicans were in power, which is quite ironic, particularly with the large number of ex-Confederates flowing into Congress.

In the future if you would like clarification don't be afraid to ask. A blanked accusation of "hijacking the thread" is tacky.
 

CSA Today

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Forrest made a number of similar statements, including this letter, written together with Gideon Pillow, urging his fellow Confederate veterans to participate in Decoration Day (Memorial Day) activities in Memphis in 1875:

"However much we differed with them while public enemies, and were at war, we must admit that they fought gallantly for the preservation of the government which we fought to destroy, which is now ours, was that of our fathers, and must be that of our children. Though our love for that government was for a while supplanted by the exasperation springing out of a sense of violated rights and the conflict of battle, yet our love for free government, justly administered, has not perished, and must grow strong in the hearts of brave men who have learned to appreciate the noble qualities of the true soldier.
"Let us all, then, join their comrades who live, in spreading flowers over the graves of these dead Federal soldiers, before the whole American people, as a peace offering to the nation, as a testimonial of our respect for their devotion to duty, and as a tribute from patriots, as we have ever been, to the great Republic, and in honor of the flag against which we fought, and under which they fell, nobly maintaining the honor of that flag. It is our duty to honor the government for which they died, and if called upon, to fight for the flag we could not conquer."

Now, having said that, I think it's really skating out onto thin ice, historigraphically, to necessarily attribute this to a religious conversion or redemption. Those are matters of the soul or conscience that we simply cannot know with any certainty. (As Sagebrush suggests, there are plenty of people today who make a big show of their pious Christianity, who aren't especially nice people.) A cynical person would also point out that, by this time, most of Forrest's postwar political goals of pushing back against Reconstruction and re-establishing something akin the to the social, political and racial status quo antebellum had been accomplished, so Forrest could well afford to make a public show of being magnanimous to both African Americans (e.g., his Pole-Bearers' speech) and to his former enemies.

Forrest is a fascinating character, but I'm not sure anyone can really fully understand him, and chalking it all up to a near-deathbed conversion and being filled with the Holy Spirit just strikes me as being a little too easy an explanation. YMMV.

Finally, the point about Forrest's public statements (whatever their origin) and the over-the-top rhetoric of some modern-day "heritage" folks is well taken. I've encountered very few memoirs or accounts by real Confederate veterans that are as full of anger and vitriol as expressed by some Confederate heritage folks today. The difference, I think, is that real Confederates didn't need to prove their bonafides, and today's make-believe Confederates never can.
Then again there are no “real Confederates” alive to witness what happened to their Southern Heritage – it amazing what three or four decades can do to change your attitude.

"The worst fears of those Boys in Gray are now a fact of American life a Federal government completely out of control."

Professor Jay Hoar, University of Maine at Farmington (retired)
 

1SGDan

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The South makes up at least 40% of the US military and is over represented. The Northeast is under represented. People from the South have always had a strong military tradition.
This argument is false. US Census Bureau statistics from July 1 2006 show the South as comprising 36% of the nation's population. Or reasonably close to equal representation and that only IF you could prove the US military is comprised of 40% southerners. This statistic is usually misrepresented to mean something that it does not.
 

Diana9

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My thoughts on Forest....he was a tactician to the end, not only in military affairs, but in politics and business. When he saw the futility of continuing the war, he surrendered, on his own choosing. He had reasons to abandon the KKK, when it no longer suited his goals. By 1875, he saw a real opportunity for his home state and the South, to regain power in the Federal government, so he had ever incentive to encourage people to cease hostilities, and go vote. By 1875 hardly any of the Radical Republicans were in power, which is quite ironic, particularly with the large number of ex-Confederates flowing into Congress.
You see a tactician, I see an opportunist.
 

diane

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All the ex-Confederates were dodgy after the war, even Robert E Lee. You can take a lot of what they said two ways or even more! They didn't know whether they were going to be tried, have to leave the country, what Johnson would do or what the radical Republicans in Congress would do. There was the chaos of the war and the huge changes in Southern society with emancipation. There were those who sought revenge on both sides. And, they didn't know what would happen in the wake of Lincoln's death. Forrest wasn't the only former general to lead an insurrectionary clandestine group, either.

If Forrest was enigmatic or ambiguous about things he said, he sure had good reason for it!
 

MarylandLine

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This argument is false. US Census Bureau statistics from July 1 2006 show the South as comprising 36% of the nation's population. Or reasonably close to equal representation and that only IF you could prove the US military is comprised of 40% southerners. This statistic is usually misrepresented to mean something that it does not.
I found several sources on the web for my claim. I can't figure out how to cut and paste with this tablet. Haha One website is the Heritage Foundation which breaks down the military by education, wealth, demographics etc. The South is over 40%, the only New England over represented I believe was Maine. It also disproves the myth that the average US soldier is poor and uneducated. I come from a military family and have often heard the military typecast as poor and uneducated individuals looking to escape poverty back home. My Dad had 2 tours of Viet Nam and served 25 years, my son two tours of Iraq and served 8 years in the Marine Corps. Thank you for your service Dan. My post in know way intends to portray North Easters as less patriotic or that the South is better. :smile:
 

1SGDan

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I have no desire to say one region is better or worse. My argument is with the accuracy of the statement.This has been raised here many times and is based on, as you say, a Hertitage Foundation article that states follwing.

"The South is overrepresented among military recruits. It provided 42.2 percent of 1999 recruits and 41.0 percent of 2003 recruits but contained just 35.6 percent of the population ages."

First - this statement is about recruits only. The South, as stated, contained roughly 36% of the American population and provided 41% , or a declining percentage of recruits, in 2003.
Second- The statement mentions nothing about how many of these recruits actually completed training and entered the force. With a washout rate between 5-10% depending on the service the per centage of recruits actually entering service may very well have been reduced to equal the the percentage of population. Equal representation is not over representation.
Third - Furthermore it mentions nothing about the pre-existing numbers into which these successful recruits were accepted.
I am surrounded by the US military everyday and my unscientific survey observations is that the US military is truly representatitive of all Americans.
 

diane

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A disproportionate number of our first astronauts were Southerners. This wasn't because of any greater numbers of them or more whatever, it was just an unusually large number of them were fighter pilots. And, as West Virginian Chuck Yeager points out, the prime requirement to be a fighter pilot during WWII was can you shoot? Most Southerners could shoot as they were also hunters and so they got the jobs of fighter pilots! Because these pilots had been tested under severe conditions and had proven to be psychologically sound and steady under great pressure, many of them were chosen as test pilots, and many of those were signed up for the space program.
 

1SGDan

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A disproportionate number of our first astronauts were Southerners.

Diane
Sorry but facts do not support this assertion. The first seven astronauts or Mercury 7 were overwhelmingly northern by birth,
Shepard - NH
Grissom - Indiana
Glenn - Ohio
Carpenter - Colorado
Schirra - New Jersey
Cooper - Oklahoma
Slayton - Wisconsin
Dan:smile:
 

leftyhunter

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Maybe we can sum up NBF has being someone who does what he thinks his best for his region and self based on the situation at hand. Has I recall NFB was not a fire-eater but when the ACW came about he fought for his state. When it lost he did accept the leadership of the KKK (was he really in charge is another historical controversy) to restore the social order. NFB was a realist who saw that the South of the future would need AA's and he even advocated for African immigration to the South. The record is not clear if at some point he wanted full equal and civil rights for all US citizens.

I would not say NFB is my favorite figure of the ACW but he seems to be a realist and has a military leader with no formal military training he was outstanding.

Leftyhunter
 
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