Forrest's politics.


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I'm trying to find anything on where Forrest fell into in the Confederacy's political structure.

Was he pro-Davis or anti-Davis? Was he apolitical and only interested in the war? In terms of Confederate leadership he supported state's rights and secession, but how did he feel about the Richmond government?
Good question. You should ask @diane .
 

diane

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Forrest was quite active in the Democrat party in Tennessee, especially in the run-up to the war. He helped sponsor Yancy to speak in Mississippi, who was a fire-eater, and others with that viewpoint but personally did not agree with secession. That, he believed, would bring on with the Union - as it did. (He was in the handkerchief mop for blood spilled category - punch 'em in the nose and they'll leave us alone. He was wrong!) He instead favored those who wished a legal showdown with the federal government, particularly over outlawing the import of African slaves. Very strong on states' rights. In a nutshell, Forrest was a Jacksonian Democrat. Forrest supported Davis and considered him the best option available for the job at hand. He probably would have considered him too middle-of-the-road, however, for the long term. Although Forrest was definitely not a fire-eater he felt the time for moderation and political maneuvering had passed.

Post-war, he remained a staunch Democrat and worked very much with the party throughout the South. @Pat Young has put up some great threads about the 1868 Democrat convention and other Reconstruction matters. At that time the klan was dominant in many areas of the Democrat party and therefore quite influential. Forrest's views changed over the years and became much more conciliatory than combative, but he remained a Democrat and a true blue (or grey!) Southern nationalist.
 

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Forrest was quite active in the Democrat party in Tennessee, especially in the run-up to the war. He helped sponsor Yancy to speak in Mississippi, who was a fire-eater, and others with that viewpoint but personally did not agree with secession. That, he believed, would bring on with the Union - as it did. (He was in the handkerchief mop for blood spilled category - punch 'em in the nose and they'll leave us alone. He was wrong!) He instead favored those who wished a legal showdown with the federal government, particularly over outlawing the import of African slaves. Very strong on states' rights. In a nutshell, Forrest was a Jacksonian Democrat. Forrest supported Davis and considered him the best option available for the job at hand. He probably would have considered him too middle-of-the-road, however, for the long term. Although Forrest was definitely not a fire-eater he felt the time for moderation and political maneuvering had passed.

Post-war, he remained a staunch Democrat and worked very much with the party throughout the South. @Pat Young has put up some great threads about the 1868 Democrat convention and other Reconstruction matters. At that time the klan was dominant in many areas of the Democrat party and therefore quite influential. Forrest's views changed over the years and became much more conciliatory than combative, but he remained a Democrat and a true blue (or grey!) Southern nationalist.
I think if Forrest had strong support for either Davis or the anti-Davis faction, we'd know about it pretty easily. That tells me he generally supported what was going on in Richmond, but wasn't concerned enough to have strong pro- or anti-Davis feelings.
 

diane

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I think if Forrest had strong support for either Davis or the anti-Davis faction, we'd know about it pretty easily. That tells me he generally supported what was going on in Richmond, but wasn't concerned enough to have strong pro- or anti-Davis feelings.
Agreed. That wing of the Dems didn't think Davis was strong enough, either politically or temperamentally, especially after his very successful tour of New England - too popular amongst the Northerners!
 

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Forrest was quite active in the Democrat party in Tennessee, especially in the run-up to the war. He helped sponsor Yancy to speak in Mississippi, who was a fire-eater, and others with that viewpoint but personally did not agree with secession. That, he believed, would bring on with the Union - as it did. (He was in the handkerchief mop for blood spilled category - punch 'em in the nose and they'll leave us alone. He was wrong!) He instead favored those who wished a legal showdown with the federal government, particularly over outlawing the import of African slaves. Very strong on states' rights. In a nutshell, Forrest was a Jacksonian Democrat. Forrest supported Davis and considered him the best option available for the job at hand. He probably would have considered him too middle-of-the-road, however, for the long term. Although Forrest was definitely not a fire-eater he felt the time for moderation and political maneuvering had passed.

Post-war, he remained a staunch Democrat and worked very much with the party throughout the South. @Pat Young has put up some great threads about the 1868 Democrat convention and other Reconstruction matters. At that time the klan was dominant in many areas of the Democrat party and therefore quite influential. Forrest's views changed over the years and became much more conciliatory than combative, but he remained a Democrat and a true blue (or grey!) Southern nationalist.
Years ago I tried writing a book on where the Confederacy gains its independence, it was hair pulling to “accurately” portray who Forrest would have endorsed in a hypothetical 1867 Confederate Presidential Election between Breckenridge and Beauregard because Forrest was the kind of guy who could go both ways!

Forrest was a nationalist no doubt, but he was still a devout Tennesseean or Mississippian depending on where he was living!
 

diane

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Breckinridge was of the opinion that slavery was more of a constitutional issue than anything else, which is what Forrest believed. He was a Kentuckian, too, and Buchanan's vice-president - that is likely who he would have supported in a Confederate election. There were still other hats to throw in the ring, though. Breckinridge supported the LeCompton constitution, which was what helped fracture the Democrat party. That, of course, wouldn't be an issue in the Confederate election, but it would be an influence.
 

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Breckinridge was of the opinion that slavery was more of a constitutional issue than anything else, which is what Forrest believed. He was a Kentuckian, too, and Buchanan's vice-president - that is likely who he would have supported in a Confederate election. There were still other hats to throw in the ring, though. Breckinridge supported the LeCompton constitution, which was what helped fracture the Democrat party. That, of course, wouldn't be an issue in the Confederate election, but it would be an influence.
Did Forrest support any sort of overhaul in the Confederate military like Lee did?
 

diane

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Did Forrest support any sort of overhaul in the Confederate military like Lee did?
Yes, he did. He was constantly doing that with his own command, which is why several units are hard to identify and find their members! Always combining and recombining and renaming, transferring people and acquiring people. The command itself, from the top meaning Bragg, Forrest would have been happy to see changes for the better sooner. As he told Wheeler, "I always have ideas!" Forrest acknowledged Hood was a good fighter and a good man but he had serious differences with him and, characteristically, no problem saying it out loud and plain. He had rather fight under Joe Johnston's command. Few understood what "Retreatin' Joe" was doing, but Forrest was one who did. These were the kinds of things that frustrated him and also Lee for that matter. I'm pretty sure both of them would have agreed with James Wilson - when Grant asked him what was wrong with the AoP he replied nothing getting rid of about a dozen generals wouldn't cure. Which ones? Doesn't matter!
 

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Agreed !



Agreed again !

BTW, I see that @diane, our Forrest expert came through as usual !
Indeed she did!

Yes, he did. He was constantly doing that with his own command, which is why several units are hard to identify and find their members! Always combining and recombining and renaming, transferring people and acquiring people. The command itself, from the top meaning Bragg, Forrest would have been happy to see changes for the better sooner. As he told Wheeler, "I always have ideas!" Forrest acknowledged Hood was a good fighter and a good man but he had serious differences with him and, characteristically, no problem saying it out loud and plain. He had rather fight under Joe Johnston's command. Few understood what "Retreatin' Joe" was doing, but Forrest was one who did. These were the kinds of things that frustrated him and also Lee for that matter. I'm pretty sure both of them would have agreed with James Wilson - when Grant asked him what was wrong with the AoP he replied nothing getting rid of about a dozen generals wouldn't cure. Which ones? Doesn't matter!
So Forrest was aware that Johnston had wanted to goad Sherman into a position of being struck when he least expected? Like a reverse Peachtree Creek?
 

diane

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Indeed she did!



So Forrest was aware that Johnston had wanted to goad Sherman into a position of being struck when he least expected? Like a reverse Peachtree Creek?
I'm not sure anybody was aware of what Johnston was really planning but he did want Forrest in charge of all the cavalry. He knew a good cavalryman when he saw one and he knew Sherman was more than uneasy about Forrest wrecking his supply and communications lines. He and Grant became adept at diverting Forrest with rock and a hard place choices. Sherman became quite good at rebuilding wrecked railroads and telegraph lines but Forrest was expert at making it a long and troublesome project. He demolished things. At this time, Johnston knew Forrest was the man to hamper Sherman's ambitions. After the war, Forrest and Sherman discussed this very issue and Forrest explained to Sherman what he would have done had he been in Wheeler's place. It made Sherman very glad it was Wheeler Hood sent after him! I'm not sure Forrest could have stopped him marching through Georgia but he might have. He did prevent him from completing his Meridian campaign, which may have had as its objective Mobile.
 


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