Friday, March 04, 2011

The rise of Nathan Bedford Forrest

RE: In honor of beginning of the Civil War's 150th anniversary (1861 to 2011), the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) are seeking to put Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest on a Mississippi license plate.

TIME magazine has a piece which includes the text:

"Robert E. Lee has been replaced as the great [Confederate] hero by Nathan Bedford Forrest by these Southern white heritage groups," says Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, which investigates extremist groups. Lee owned slaves, Potok says, but "he was very much a statesman, and at the end of the Civil War, he encouraged Southerners to rejoin the Union in heart and soul. Forrest was very much not like that. The fact that they want to honor him specifically says a lot about what they stand for."

IPBiz notes that Forrest was a lawyer and was involved in the founding of the Ku Klux Klan.

IPBiz notes separately that one Senator Webb of Virginia, hardly a "white heritage" kind of guy, had also been pushing Forrest.
From a previous post on IPBiz:

Pertinent to a claim by Senator Webb of Virginia that Nathan Bedford Forrest was never beaten by a West Point educated commander, see footnote 28 of 88 JPTOS 1068:

See also footnote 16 of Robert A. Frezza, A Pocket History of the Personnel Claims Act, 1989 Army Law. 43 (1989) ["In 1863 Colonel John T. Wilder, an Indiana industrialist commanding a brigade in Rosecrans' Union Army of the Cumberland, entered into a interesting contract with his men to buy them Spencer rifles, the best breech-loading infantry weapon available ..."]; note also James H. Wilson's cavalry raid of March 1865 employing Spencer rifles in which a successful charge was made against forces of legendary Confederate commander Nathan Bedford Forrest, even though Union forces were outnumbered 6 to 1. See

James H. Wilson graduated from West Point. The fact that Wilson defeated Forrest at Selma, which contradicts Webb's assertion, is hardly a secret; from Wikipedia: In 1865, Forrest attempted, without success, to defend the state of Alabama against the destructive Wilson's Raid. His opponent, Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson, was one of the few Union generals ever to defeat Forrest in battle. The point here is not to diminish Forrest's military skills. It should be self-evident that cavalry troops armed with repeating weapons (here Spencer carbines) will have a tremendous advantage over troops with single shot weapons. Custer proved this at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 against troops of J.E.B. Stuart, and, unfortunately for Custer, re-proved this on June 25, 1876, where he played the role of the technologically-deficient party. [see 88 JPTOS 1068, 1073]

Issues of priority, whether writing about Gettysburg or embryonic stem cells


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