Nathan Bedford Forrest's Revolver

BruceB

Cadet
Joined
Mar 29, 2011
Location
California
I was searching the net to see if I could find what kind of revolver Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest carried. I found a listing that the Tennessee State Museum had the General's revolver, but the photo link goes to a 404 Error screen. Any of you fellows kow what revolver he carried?
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
I'm no expert but I do know Forrest's revolver was an 1851 .36 Colt navy revolver. At the beginning of the war he went to Kentucky and, among other things, purchased 500 of them. Many of his men carried them - there is a Google image of Dibrell's online. It would be identical to the one Forrest carried himself. Forrest preferred this revolver to others because it was light, well-balanced and its size made it easier to carry in a belt, which is where Forrest generally kept two.

http://www.knoxnews.com/photos/2009/aug/14/63452/

(Maybe it's the light, but I don't see the navy battle scene on the cylinder.)
 

bama46

Captain
There used to be a neat little felic shop right outside the gates at Shiloh. It is gone now, but once when I was there there were a brace of .36 cal Colt Navies said to be the General's, IIRC. There were on loan from Hank Williams junior who lives in the general area.
Provenance, I couldn't tell ya, but to the best of my recollection they were attributed to the Gen'rl.
I last saw them about 10 years ago.
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
bama46,

Well, we know he owned 500 of them! :D He paid for those out of his own pocket.

Have you ever heard of another saber? I read a plantation in mid-Tennessee (can't recall the name of it now) said they had one authenticated and checked out that was indeed Forrest's. I know of only the famous one, but then he picked that up at Trenton. He must have used something besides his pocket-knife before that!

Willie is said to have used a Spiller and Burr revolver, which I believe was manufactured in limited quantity in Atlanta. I wonder why he didn't favor his dad's?
 

bama46

Captain
bama46,

Well, we know he owned 500 of them! :D He paid for those out of his own pocket.

Have you ever heard of another saber? I read a plantation in mid-Tennessee (can't recall the name of it now) said they had one authenticated and checked out that was indeed Forrest's. I know of only the famous one, but then he picked that up at Trenton. He must have used something besides his pocket-knife before that!

Willie is said to have used a Spiller and Burr revolver, which I believe was manufactured in limited quantity in Atlanta. I wonder why he didn't favor his dad's?

I really don't know about a saber, but I do know why Willie used a Spiller and Burr rather than a Colt like Dad's.
It's all really simple. I have 3 sons. Each of them is absolutley convinced that whatever I use for anything is junk.
I have a Winchester birdgun, Jr has to have a Remington, Bill has a Mossberg.... etc..
I drive an Expedition...Jr would not be seen in it..he has a F-150, while his brother Joe has a Dodge Dakota, and Bill has a chevy..

That's why! :smile:
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
bama46,

Lol! That is probably as good a reason as any! I think the navy Colt was standard for the Confederates but not sure. When one reads about Forrest it seems that Willie was sort of tagging along under his dad's wing but he was much more independent, and not an aide in name only. He did a good deal of scouting and was shot up about as much as the old man. (His position was usually just behind and to the right of him - not exactly a danger-free zone!) At Tupelo, they both got shot - Forrest in the foot and Willie in the right arm. None of the Forrests failed to take a bullet, it seems.
 

kansas

Corporal
Joined
May 12, 2010
Location
herington kansas
After the government became the owner of the machinery to make the Spiller and Burr revolver and the machinery was moved to the Confederate States Central Armory at Macon that was to be their standard. The name was to be changed to the Burton revolver.
 

bama46

Captain
bama46,

Lol! That is probably as good a reason as any! I think the navy Colt was standard for the Confederates but not sure. When one reads about Forrest it seems that Willie was sort of tagging along under his dad's wing but he was much more independent, and not an aide in name only. He did a good deal of scouting and was shot up about as much as the old man. (His position was usually just behind and to the right of him - not exactly a danger-free zone!) At Tupelo, they both got shot - Forrest in the foot and Willie in the right arm. None of the Forrests failed to take a bullet, it seems.

bama
the store was shiloh relics owned by rafael eldege who is on the road show from time to time

No Wayne, I am familiar with ther roadshow and Mr Eldege is one of my favorites. The fellow I am thinkin of was a larger man, bearded, wore overalls, gave the impression of a simple country boy, but holds a masters degree in history... very likeable once ya get to know him
 

nbforrestiv

Cadet
Joined
May 17, 2018
Location
Savannah, TN
There used to be a neat little felic shop right outside the gates at Shiloh. It is gone now, but once when I was there there were a brace of .36 cal Colt Navies said to be the General's, IIRC. There were on loan from Hank Williams junior who lives in the general area.
Provenance, I couldn't tell ya, but to the best of my recollection they were attributed to the Gen'rl.
I last saw them about 10 years ago.
The pistols were given to D.C. Kelly by Forrest, they were engraved on the brass between the grips! they were in Rafel Eledge's Shiloh Relic shop, Raf is one of my best friends, and they were on loan from Hank , Jr. Raf closed the shop and now does on line sales and at Civil War Shows! There was also in the case a sword and sash given to Kelly by Forrest!
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Pink forrest.jpeg

Pink Forrest I-65 Nashville
I think we can all agree that the Forrest statue alongside I-65 in Nashville is not source for historic citations. My good friend who, during the middle ages would have been burned at the stake for idolatry because of his Forrest fixation, has fantasies about cutting through the fence & setting this fiberglass abomination ablaze. How it has survived the combined ire of Forrest lovers & haters for so long I do not know. For what it is worth, because of where it is positioned, thousands of people drive right by it over & over without seeing it, which is a blessing.

It always reminds me of the Riders in the Sky song about how the yodel was born. 'the cowboy went up & the pony went down, they met at the ole saddle horn....'
 
Last edited:

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
It is investing to note, that in all the citations I have from a sidebar I did about eye witness accounts of Forrest shooting subordinates, not one of them identified the firearm beyond calling it a pistol.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I carry an 1851 as part of my Signal Corps impression. After three days, the thing always gave me a backache. These days I stash my cell phone in the empty holster. I expect that Forrest would want to carry an 1851 because it is lighter than other pistols.
 

DSessom

Private
Joined
Jan 6, 2015
Location
Lawton, Oklahoma
From what I know, he carried four .36 caliber 1851 Navy Colts in battle, and some of the men under his immediate command had Griswold .36 caliber revolvers as well.
 
Top