Nathan Bedford Forest was a Lieutenant General during the American Civil War in the Confederate Army, born on July 13, 1821, at Chapel Hill in Tennessee. He later died on October 29, 1877, in Memphis Tennessee. His work and effort in the military war make him be well known as one of the wars unusual figures- with no formal military training he became one of the best cavalry wars in the Civil war. He is known to have been very wealthy amassing a fortune as a slave trader and a plantation owner, all estimated to be $ 1,500,000. At the present day, he is remembered as the brutal and self-educated leader in war as well as a Southern advocate during the postwar times.
On June 14, 1861, Bedford Forrest joined the Confederate Army. In the army, his roles changed from time to time as his rank also changed due to promotion. Some of his assignments included lieutenant colonel, commanding cavalry brigade, commanding cavalry corps, major general and lieutenant general. He is known to have refused to surrender to Grant and Union forces leading his army in the battle of Shiloh, Fort Donelson, Civil War Battles of Nashville, Battle of Fort Pillow and Battle of Chickamauga. Although most of his victory was acquired in a decisive way, it was important in cementing his reputation throughout the war. After several expeditions and his withdraw from Confederate Army, Forrest decided to rejoin the Confederate Army for its last action and reunite the broken army. Therefore, Forrest worked for the Confederacy.
Forrest was brought up in a poor family with no formal education. He later married and got two children before deciding to move his family to Memphis Tennessee where he succeeded as a businessman. In 1861, he decided to join a private military wing where he equipped the unit using his own money. He led the Unit winning war after war and giving glory to the Confederate Army as well as creating his reputation. During one of the fights, Forrest sustained a gunshot at his back which saw him stay away from the field for few months. Despite the setbacks, he rose up and led the army in more fights achieving a stunning victory. Following the surrender of the Confederacys major armys in 1865, Forrest disbanded his forces as they were weak. After the civil war, he ventured into private business as a merchant as well as a planter (Hurst 28)
Tennessee Republican Government recognizes 13 July as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. He is remembered as a brave individual who volunteered for the Confederate Army. He rose from poverty to riches becoming one of the wealthiest men in the South. Forrest has a statue in Tennessee at the State Park as well as a high school which was renamed after a petition which saw 16,000 signatures from local people. There is also a county known as Forrest County in Mississippi named after the general. His image has also come under attack following his involvement in the formation of Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a group that oppressed the blacks and advocated for slavery. Consequently, he is known as the human symbol of Confederate identity (Wills 57)
History Vault, http://www.history.comHurst, Jack. Nathan Bedford Forrest: A Biography. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. Internet resource.
Wills, Brian S. A Battle from the Start: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest. New York: HarperPerennial, 1993. Print.
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