Ranking Forrest's Commanders

Vahan

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I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to all the Nathan Bedford Forrest fans on this site and see your guys opinion's on his commanders rating them. I personally always wondered who people thought his best commanders were and his worst. I think it would be great from Major up. Let's start off with for example with Colonel David Campbell Kelley.
 

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diane

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D.C Kelley was important to Forrest and was very much into the Southern cause. He'd just gotten back from China, where he had been a missionary, and found Lincoln had been elected! That lit his fuse. He recruited a large number from his sizable congregation and was the commander of Co. F of the 3rd TN, sometimes called Forrest's Old Cavalry Battalion. (My ancestors were in Co. A of the 3rd TN.) Kelley proved to be an able officer and was on Forrest's staff. In fact, after Forrest was badly wounded at Fallen Timbers, Kelley took his place.
 
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I thought it would be a good idea to reach out to all the Nathan Bedford Forrest fans on this site and see your guys opinion's on his commanders rating them. I personally always wondered who people thought his best commanders were and his worst. I think it would be great from Major up. Let's start off with for example with Colonel David Campbell Kelley.
Great question. I'm looking forward to the responses.
 

diane

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Brigadier General William Hicks "Red" Jackson was an excellent division commander, but he came to Forrest late in the day. He was under the command of Sterling Price, Van Dorn, and was aide-de-camp to Gideon Pillow. A planter, he was a West Pointer and had experience with Indian fighting in New Mexico. Good, solid soldier. His parents were from Virginia - he was kin to Stonewall Jackson. In early 1865, "Red" Jackson came under Forrest's command and was very capable during Wilson's Raid. He kept Croxton bottled up, unable to join Wilson, but was himself unable to get across a bridge to help his commander during the battle of Selma. Forrest was routed, but it might have been a less than complete rout if Jackson had been able to join him.

Incidentally, a funny thing happened on the way to Selma. Forrest invited Wilson to dinner, and he accepted. While they were munching away, Wilson cleared his throat and sheepishly said, "I've lost one of my men. You know where Croxton is?" Forrest looked up, then gestured. "He's about 12 miles up that road."
 

James N.

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As an artillery enthusiast I'll submit the name of The Gallant Morton whose artifacts are prominently displayed as seen here in Nashville's Tennessee State Museum. Forrest was as to be expected at first skeptical of his "Boy Artillerist" but quickly came to appreciate Morton and his "bull pups", often calling them forward.

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nitrofd

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He wasn't with Forrest for long but he was a division commander, being with him from before Tullahoma and Chickamauga and till early 1864 was Frank C. Armstrong.
 

Vahan

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I'll share my wisdom with Colonel Dew Moore Wisdom interesting fellow highly educated spoke Latin, Greek, and French. He was at one point a journalist, publisher, and lawyer. Then the war broke out he was with 13th Tenn. Inf. Rgt. Which he was wounded in the face then the mouth, a bullet knocking out his front teeth at the Battle of Belmont. At Shiloh he was wounded in the left thigh, then at Pittsburgh Landing was further disabled which rendered him unfit for infantry. He didn't let it stop him he started in Cavalry and served 14 months under Gen. Roddie as a Lt. Col. When NBF took over he was appointed a Colonel and wounded four more times. He saved the day at Brice's and stormed with the Tennesseans at Fort Pillow he was truly a brave and capable officer for Forrest in my humble opinion.
 
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AUG

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Great thread! I'm not as knowledgeable when it comes to Forrest and his subordinates as others here, but I will say that my favorite officer that served in Forrest's command (at least for a time) is Lawrence Sullivan Ross of the 6th Texas Cavalry and later commander of Ross' Texas Brigade. Ross had served under Van Dorn earlier in the war - in the Corinth Campaign, Holly Springs Raid, Thompson's Station, etc. - and later commanded his Texas brigade in "Red" Jackson's division during the Atlanta Campaign. I don't believe he served under Forrest until Hood's Tennessee Campaign - still in Jackson's division - but he did pretty good work with his Texans.
 

diane

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Here is a thread on Major Charles W Anderson, Forrest's close friend. He was with Forrest from Sacramento to Selma and had a lot of opportunities to get to know his commander. Toward the end of the war Forrest became involved in a duel and asked Anderson to be his second. Anderson, who was sharing a tent with him, noticed Forrest could not sleep the night before the meeting. He asked what was the matter. Forrest said, "I know I can kill that boy but I will never forgive myself if I do." Anderson knew how Forrest's mind worked and merely said it's not too late, you don't need to do this. In the morning, Forrest arrived at the dueling place and walked up to his opponent. "I am wrong. I am sorry," he said, and that was the end of it! Later, some years after the war, Anderson met with Forrest in Memphis and was surprised at how much he had changed. So much so that he commented on it. Forrest replied that he was not the same man Anderson had known so well, and that he hoped to be a better man - he had become a Christian. Anderson was stunned!

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/major-charles-w-anderson-n-b-forrest’s-inspector-general-his-adjutant-and-friend.100898/
 

DixieRifles

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I don't believe he served under Forrest until Hood's Tennessee Campaign - still in Jackson's division - but he did pretty good work with his Texans.
After a ride across almost the State of Mississippi, he lead his brigade at the Battle of Moscow, TN, on Dec 4(?) 1863.


Incidentally, a funny thing happened on the way to Selma. Forrest invited Wilson to dinner, and he accepted. While they were munching away, Wilson cleared his throat and sheepishly said, "I've lost one of my men. You know where Croxton is?" Forrest looked up, then gestured. "He's about 12 miles up that road."
Are you refering to Union cavalry General James H. Wilson? Did he eat dinner with Forrest before the surrender?
 

diane

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After a ride across almost the State of Mississippi, he lead his brigade at the Battle of Moscow, TN, on Dec 4(?) 1863.




Are you refering to Union cavalry General James H. Wilson? Did he eat dinner with Forrest before the surrender?
Yes, Gen James H Wilson. They had a little dinner party somewhere on the road to Selma. A reporter had been interviewing Forrest, who gave a striking example of his ability to bluff and bluster at the same time, and I believe the reporter was the go-between to arrange it. After Selma, neither Forrest or Wilson felt like chatting over a pork chop!
 

diane

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Captain Samuel Freeman, Freeman's Battery. While Morton is the memorable and highly capable artillerist we most associate with Forrest, his first favorite was Capt Samuel Freeman. Morton, after his release from a Union POW camp, was sent to Forrest by a subordinate of Bragg's. Eager to serve and only 18, the 'tallow-faced boy' did NOT impress Forrest favorably. Maj Anderson reported that Forrest exploded. What did Bragg send him now, Freeman would not be interfered with, I won't stand for this! Once the air stopped being blue, Forrest found Morton was more than up to his high standards.

Freeman was an excellent battery captain and Forrest had every right not to want to part with him. However, at Franklin in April of 1863, Freeman was murdered. His battery was overrun by the 4th US cavalry - when they heard the sounds of Forrest attacking to support the battery, they told the prisoners to run or be shot. Freeman had been badly injured during the fight in the knee and could not run, so he was shot dead. Forrest himself came upon the body and picked Freeman up, tears in his eyes. "Brave man, none braver," he murmured. Capt Freeman was buried in a Confederate grave along with 37 others at Spring Hill, TN. Recently a marker has been put up for his contributions.

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http://www.freemansbattery.com/monuments.htm
 

Vahan

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Captain Samuel Freeman, Freeman's Battery. While Morton is the memorable and highly capable artillerist we most associate with Forrest, his first favorite was Capt Samuel Freeman. Morton, after his release from a Union POW camp, was sent to Forrest by a subordinate of Bragg's. Eager to serve and only 18, the 'tallow-faced boy' did NOT impress Forrest favorably. Maj Anderson reported that Forrest exploded. What did Bragg send him now, Freeman would not be interfered with, I won't stand for this! Once the air stopped being blue, Forrest found Morton was more than up to his high standards.

Freeman was an excellent battery captain and Forrest had every right not to want to part with him. However, at Franklin in April of 1863, Freeman was murdered. His battery was overrun by the 4th US cavalry - when they heard the sounds of Forrest attacking to support the battery, they told the prisoners to run or be shot. Freeman had been badly injured during the fight in the knee and could not run, so he was shot dead. Forrest himself came upon the body and picked Freeman up, tears in his eyes. "Brave man, none braver," he murmured. Capt Freeman was buried in a Confederate grave along with 37 others at Spring Hill, TN. Recently a marker has been put up for his contributions.

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http://www.freemansbattery.com/monuments.htm
Was their any retaliation for the shooting of Morton or others in that battery from NBF?
 

diane

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Was their any retaliation for the shooting of Morton or others in that battery from NBF?
The enemy was flanked by Forrest and there was a skirmish, but it wasn't retaliatory - part of Forrest's general attack. Freeman's battery was taken under command of Capt Amirah Huggins but retained the name Freeman's Battery. Morton had his own battery but wasn't shot at that time. Forrest was very angry that Freeman and two or three other prisoners had been shot simply because they were wounded and couldn't keep up with their captors. I think Freeman was the only one who died. (Freeman's grandfather, also named Samuel, had commanded a North Carolina unit during the Revolution and had watched over the British disarmament after Yorktown.)
 

Patrick H

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This is a great thread. I hope someone will eventually get around to discussing Col. Robert McCulloch. I know very little about his wartime career, but more about his post war career. I'd like to learn more about him. I visit his grave every time I'm at Walnut Grove Cemetery in Boonville, MO. I have commented in previous threads that I believe his "Black Bob" nickname was purely a result of his hair color--differentiating him from "White Bob". I don't buy into the theory that he earned the nickname at Fort Pillow. I don't believe he ever could have held his very considerable post war reputation, popularity and esteem if he had been a murderer.
 


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