Forrest was no "Lost Cause" zealot in later life


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Lee

Colonel
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Mar 25, 2012
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Imho, my post wasn't drifting off topic since the topic is really Lost Cause zealotry. Discussing what happened after the war to make decent men like Forrest or other major wartime figures do what they did is pertinent to the topic. After all, S D Lee made his statement to the SCV and all that - why he felt that injunction was necessary is relevant, don't you think? :smile:

Absotively Posolutely we are in complete agreement. <g>
 

truthckr

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I think the interest in Forrest is that basically he is "everyman," in a 19th century vein. He had little or no education and was a redneck type worker for most of his life. This was the normal life style of a mid-19th century man living on the frontier. It's hard to imagine these days, but Tennessee and Mississippi were the frontier in Forrest's time. Later he got into buying and selling commodities. These commodities were horses and cattle, initially, and unfortunately later slaves. He was able to provide for his family and excel using the means common at his time of existence.

I know some on this forum claim him to be a blood thirsty butcher. In my readings I only see him defending himself in both times of peace and war. In the era in which he lived a man had to use his wits and sometimes violence in order to survive. During the war he had a penchant for battle and was always at or near the front. Being shot at a lot and also doing a lot of shooting. He reportedly killed 30 men in battle. Not many other general officers were in the thick of things as much as Forrest. His bravery was never in question.

As for Ft. Pillow, in my opinion, he is the victim of A. Lincoln's reelection campaign propaganda. There is no doubt that a lot of men at Ft. Pillow were killed needlessly. I believe most of that was due to the incompetence of the acting commander. Anyone who sincerely believes that a position can be taken by "storm" with a minimum loss of life is not only mistaken, they are living in some utopian fantasy land.

I'm a strong supporter of Nathan Bedford Forrest. At the same time I realize he was only a man living in extraordinary times and doing his best for his family and himself. Just my thoughts.
 

diane

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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State of Jefferson
Good post. I think Forrest has a much deeper meaning to many Southerners, particularly Tennesseans and Mississippians. It's something, maybe, people in the rest of the country don't quite understand. He was a man of honor, in the old fashioned Southern style - what Shelby Foote called quaintly "antique values". Forrest isn't highly regarded because he was a slave trader and a klansman, he is highly regarded because he defended his family and what was his country. Most of what he did, including the infamous Ft Pillow, and especially at the end of the war, was to protect. There was no law, no cops, no courts, no nothing and outlaws ran rampant. He knew the war was lost right after Gettysburg - most everything he did thereafter was in some form or another to protect Mississippi and Tennessee. He was a true warrior. And, the fact that he is a tarnished hero with a lot of dents and chips makes him human enough that anyone can relate to him. Lee set too high a standard but ol' Bedford sure didn't!
 

ole

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Imho, my post wasn't drifting off topic since the topic is really Lost Cause zealotry. Discussing what happened after the war to make decent men like Forrest or other major wartime figures do what they did is pertinent to the topic. After all, S D Lee made his statement to the SCV and all that - why he felt that injunction was necessary is relevant, don't you think? :smile:
The topic is not really Lost Cause zealotry, bur Forrest's involvement with it.
 

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