Regtl. Quartermaster Shiloh 2020
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
- May 7, 2016
That's an article with an interesting background...and one of those 'dodgy' things that somehow Forrest got into, or got sucked into. He was, at the time of this incident, drumming up business for a railroad in Alabama and had helped promote the passage by the voters of the railroad bonds the judge, one W T Blackford, refused to sign. The judge was considered a 'scalawag' and was aware that planters had opposed the railroad bonds due to the inroads it would make on both their land and the labor available to work that land. The bonds had passed with the vote of the freedmen and Republicans - both of whom Forrest had been working with to obtain sufficient votes - and there was heavy klan activity to squelch that vote. It gets complicated! This was 1870 - Forrest had ordered the klan disbanded. They were not happy that he was campaigning for votes with Republicans and freedmen for this railroad, and they were the reason the judge was refusing to sign the bonds. The story of the gun might be apocryphal but Forrest did have a few words with Judge Blackford in his office - and the two came out laughing with each other. Whatever was said, the judge was in a better mood to sign the bonds and did so. And...klan activity in the area slowed down to a veritable crawl. At this time, even with his working with freedmen and Republicans, and having left the klan, he still had a great deal of influence over many of its members. It's another 'subject to interpretation' thing that happened during Reconstruction with Forrest - some even thought he bribed the judge. Forrest didn't think much of bribes! He was, however, a very persuasive man...nor did it hurt to let the judge know privately that he might be able to do something about the klan in Hale County. Forrest was, maybe for reasons of business or maybe other reasons, beginning to quietly work against the klan.
I don't know if I agree with the klan part. You have to remember that at his time he was the president of the Selma Marion & Memphis railroad. He needed these local bonds to help complete the road and in NBF fashion he was not going to take NO for an answer. Here is one of the prides of my NBF collection, A 1000 bond double signed by NBF and the Gov of Alabama during this time.
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