I told him I would, if he was not afraid I would drown him...

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SWMODave

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We left Mobile on the 13th and arrived at Montgomery on the 25th, and stayed there ten days on account of the death of President Lincoln. While here, I rowed some of our boys across the Alabama River in a dug-out. About 2 p.m. I saw some of our command come over the hill toward the river and, at the same time, two men in gray uniform rode toward me. One of them dismounted and the other held his horse. The one who had dismounted came to me on foot and asked who had ferried the men across the river.

I told them that I had; whereupon he asked me whether or not I would take him across the river. I told him I would if he was not afraid I would drown him and asked him who he was. He said nothing, but unbuttoned his coat and I saw the stars on his collar. He was General Forrest.

I took him across to our side and he asked me to take him to our headquarters. I took him to our Colonel’s headquarters and introduced him to Col. Heath, who gave me two men; with them I escorted Gen. Forrest to Department Headquarters in Montgomery. He stayed there for a while and then I took him back across the river. As he started to leave, he shook hands with me and thanked me very kindly for the small courtesies I had shown him.

Sgt Frederick Bantrup of Montineau County
Company B 33rd​ Missouri Volunteers

(Our Forrest experts can advise if this is a soldier's tale or historically factual)
 
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Not even close as the dates don't match up. Lincoln was killed April 14, 1865 Montgomery fell on April 12th and I know for a fact that NBF was in Marion Al and then Gainesville during this time frame.
It is just terrible how facts and the truth ruin a good story!
Regards'
David

I will refrain from comment, but only give "likes" to both of these posts.
 
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Not so fast....

While it's true that NBF's HQ was at Gainsville he was constantly moving during the time after his loss at Selma. He left to meet with Gen Taylor and then Gen Hood and may have met with Canby at Mobile.

Lincoln was assassinated on April 14th but the word was slow to disseminate to the public and Montgomery was on edge when the news did come out. (Per local papers) So the 33rd Missouri could have been held for ten days to maintain order.

Anyway, there was a truce in effect and it required Union soldiers to refrain from "foraging"...there were reports that there were many violations of this order by Grierson (per the Records of the War of the Rebellion) it is plausible that Forrest journeyed there to meet with Gen A J Smith to discuss the matter. This would have been the first few days of May.
 

ucvrelics

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This is fair tale. I know for a fact that NBF was never in Montgomery at this time and even if he was due to his prior location he would not have needed to cross the Alabama river to get to Montgomery. If you took everyone who after the CW stated they rode with NBF he had 50,000 men and if you took all the folks thats stated they did the same as Emma Sampson it would also be a very large number.
 
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diane

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It's both a soldier's tale and true! Forrest was definitely not in the vicinity of Montgomery at that time because Wilson was in Montgomery. George Thomas was seriously gunning for the rebel commander as he had received credible information that Forrest did not intend to surrender and sent him the rather famous promise that if he did not, the states of Mississippi and Alabama would be so devastated they wouldn't recover for fifty years. George Thomas did not understand Forrest's character and believed him to be a real desperado - he was not that but a hard-fighting commander who knew when to quit. When he was approached with the very idea Thomas thought he had accepted, he said anyone who wanted to continue the war belonged in an insane asylum! Forrest was in Gainesville trying to stabilize his troops. They had heard of Lee's surrender and Forrest genuinely did not believe it. But he had no intention whatsoever of heading for Mexico or the Trans-Mississippi as a never-say-die rebel. Somewhere along the way - here's where truth and soldier's tale meet - Forrest did use a ferry to get across a river or creek but the ferryman took both him and his horse as Forrest didn't intend on coming back that way.

Roberts, you're right, too! There were Union soldiers illegally foraging and also a serious problem with displaced civilians - Forrest met with the Union commanders, A J Smith was one, about stopping their men from doing this, or harassing refugees.
 
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Ole Miss

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I would have loved to be there when Nathan and AJ met! Smith had chased Forrest all over North Mississippi in 1864-1865 and the interactions between their forces had been might fierce.
Diane as always I am amazed at your knowledge about Forrest. You are the only person who could confirm the story about Forrest when he was a baliff and the man with the shotgun!
Regards
David
 

diane

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I would have loved to be there when Nathan and AJ met! Smith had chased Forrest all over North Mississippi in 1864-1865 and the interactions between their forces had been might fierce.
Diane as always I am amazed at your knowledge about Forrest. You are the only person who could confirm the story about Forrest when he was a baliff and the man with the shotgun!
Regards
David
I'd have liked to been a fly on the wall then, too! Andrew Jackson Smith was an old Indian fighter before the war in Oregon and Washington territories, veteran of the Mexican and Mormon wars with a lot of battles behind him, and was used to an enemy that did not follow the usual rules of warfare. He was salty! He also knew when to fight Forrest and when to back away from him - Forrest knew the same. It was A J Smith's men who killed Jeffrey Forrest at Okolona, by the way. Forrest's defense of Mississippi in the summer of 1864 was a remarkable feat, and his recurring opponent was Smith. Whenever they met, they could both give as good as they got. A J Smith kept Forrest off Sherman's supply lines until he didn't need them any more, but Forrest kept Smith from laying total waste to Mississippi as well. Sherman had promised A J Smith a big promotion if he eliminated Forrest but Smith was not impressed with the offer - he was all soldier and doing his job as best he could against a very clever and dangerous opponent. There weren't too many Yankee cavalrymen Forrest respected - few had given him reason to! - but Smith was certainly one of them he did respect.
 

Ole Miss

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Smith burned Oxford in August 1864. @TomP has a wonderful book Work for Giants that covers the Battle of Harrisburg that covers the summer of 1864
Great read for a student of Forrest as Tom covers all aspects of the battle and how these 2 men interacted with each other
Regards
David
PS Diane did y’all get all that West Coast snow?
 
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I'd have liked to been a fly on the wall then, too! Andrew Jackson Smith was an old Indian fighter before the war in Oregon and Washington territories, veteran of the Mexican and Mormon wars with a lot of battles behind him, and was used to an enemy that did not follow the usual rules of warfare. He was salty! He also knew when to fight Forrest and when to back away from him - Forrest knew the same. It was A J Smith's men who killed Jeffrey Forrest at Okolona, by the way. Forrest's defense of Mississippi in the summer of 1864 was a remarkable feat, and his recurring opponent was Smith. Whenever they met, they could both give as good as they got. A J Smith kept Forrest off Sherman's supply lines until he didn't need them any more, but Forrest kept Smith from laying total waste to Mississippi as well. Sherman had promised A J Smith a big promotion if he eliminated Forrest but Smith was not impressed with the offer - he was all soldier and doing his job as best he could against a very clever and dangerous opponent. There weren't too many Yankee cavalrymen Forrest respected - few had given him reason to! - but Smith was certainly one of them he did respect.
@diane, your intricate knowledge of such details is amazing !
 

diane

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Smith burned Oxford in August 1864. @TomP has a wonderful book Work for Giants that covers the Battle of Harrisburg that covers the summer of 1864
Great read for a student of Forrest as Tom covers all aspects of the battle and how these 2 men interacted with each other
Regards
David
PS Diane did y’all get all that West Coast snow?
I love Tom's posts here - been wanting to get that book for a while now, too!

As I understand it, Forrest was inadvertently the cause of Oxford going up in flames! Smith never explained why he did it and nobody asked for an explanation, but on one burned out building was written: Forrest is in Memphis. That got laughs from all who noticed it but it happened to be true - Forrest was doing his Memphis raid to divert Union forces from Mississippi. It worked - Smith got a telegram that infuriated him, which was when he ordered the burning to be done, and that telegram was from Washburn directing him to halt his operations where he was and return asap to Memphis. Smith knew what Forrest's aim was and that's why he was mad - he would have ignored the raid up there and kept on going with his own. Forrest didn't gamble on Smith turning around on his own - he was reading Washburn! (I reckon the note was put up by somebody hoping to save that building since everybody knew who the Federals were there after.)

Yes, indeed, we got snow! A whole two and a half feet of it. :wub:
 
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