[Ebook] The Confederacy's Greatest Cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest Modern War Studies By Brian Steel Wills – serv3.3pub.co.uk

[Ebook] The Confederacy's Greatest Cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest Modern War Studies By Brian Steel Wills – serv3.3pub.co.uk ✈ [PDF / Epub] ✅ The Confederacy's Greatest Cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest Modern War Studies By Brian Steel Wills ✸ – Serv3.3pub.co.uk This is the best biography of one of the most exciting colorful and controversial figures of the Civil War A renowned cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest perfected a ruthless hit and run guerrilla warfa This is the best Greatest Cavalryman Kindle Õ biography of one of the most exciting colorful and controversial figures of the Civil War A renowned cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest perfected a ruthless hit and run guerrilla warfare that terrified Union soldiers and garnered the respect of warriors like William Sherman who described his adversary as that Devil Forrest the most remarkable man our Civil War produced on either sideHistorian Bruce Catton rated Forrest one The Confederacy's eBook Ù of the authentic military geniuses of the whole war but Brian Steel Wills covers much than the cavalryman's incredible feats on the field of battle He also provides the most thoughtful and complete analysis of Forrest's hardscrabble childhood in backwater Mississippi; his rise to wealth in the Memphis slave trade; his role in the infamous Fort Pillow massacre of black Union soldiers; his role as early leader and Grand Wizard of Confederacy's Greatest Cavalryman eBook ¸ the first Ku Klux Klan; and his declining health and premature death in a reconstructing America.


5 thoughts on “The Confederacy's Greatest Cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest Modern War Studies

  1. John Tarttelin John Tarttelin says:

    After reading this book I am expecting Bedford Forrest's Second Coming at any moment because in this work he is crucified throughout for the supposed Fort Pillow massacre and portrayed as if this incident was the greatest horror perpetrated during the whole Civil War This volume is the best hatchet job I have ever come across since the Last of the Mohicans But it is appalling history and does not deserve the description as an 'history book'Taking one example here is what Wills says on page 191 of his character assassination To be sure Nathan Bedford Forrest had many opportunities to express his racism and did so with a vehemence seldom matched but he was not alone in possessing such attitudes With blatant anachronistic moralising in a political correctness vein the author tries to blame Forrest for just being a Southerner in the 1860's To say that the South had institutionalized slavery is like saying the ancient Egyptians built pyramids Of course Forrest accepted slavery because he was born and grew up in a society whose economy was based on slavery To try and blame him personally for that is just ludicrous An historian must try to understand the times his subject was living in and not superimpose his own morality onto people who died over a century agoOn the same page Wills admits Forrest did not march against Fort Pillow to obliterate its garrison Obtaining the garrison's surrender would have sufficed for his purposes On page 193 he uotes a Confederate soldier Achilles V Clark who wrote Our men were so exasperated by the Yankee's threats of no uarter that they gave but little The poor deluded negros would run up to our men fall upon their knees and with uplifted hands scream for mercy but they were ordered to their feet and then shot The white men fared but little better I with several others tried to stop the butchery but Gen Forrest ordered them shot down like dogs and the carnage continued' Wills seems to believe that this one 'witness' tells the whole story In fact the last statement about Forrest is either a blatant lie a fabrication or misunderstanding or even added for effectOn page 196 Wills summarizes For a variety of reasons Fort Pillow became a collective release of pent up anger and hatred It became in clinical terms a group catharsis And as the overall commander of the troops on the scene some of whom carried out these acts Nathan Bedford Forrest was responsible So now Wills claims to be a doctor and psychiatrist as well as an 'historian' He claims to be able to tell what was going through the minds of dozens of fighting men on April 12th 1864 during the confusion of battle Wills writing in 1992 thus can 'read the minds' of men who lived 130 years before uite a giftNow let's look at the biography of Forrest by John Allan Wyeth who actually did become a doctor after the war Wills 'borrows' all Wyeth's photos and illustrations but he ignores what Wyeth wrote about Fort Pillow on pages 308 341 of his book On the cover of Wyeth's book it states First published in 1899 That Devil Forrest is based almost entirely on accounts of those who knew Forrest personally and on contemporary military papers and records It is the single greatest source of primary material on Nathan Bedford Forrest And Wills virtually ignores itOn page 319 Wyeth reproduces Forrest's demand for the garrison to surrender Before Fort Pillow April 12 1864 Major Booth Commanding United States Forces Fort Pillow MAJOR The conduct of the officers and men garrisoning Fort Pillow has been such as to entitle them to being treated as prisnners of war I demand the unconditional surrender of the garrison promising that you shall be treated as prisoners of war Should my demand be refused I cannot be responsible for the fate of your command Respectfully NB Forrest Major General CommandingOn this day Forrest had no less than three horses shot under him whilst he was reconnoitering the position indicating just how dangerous it was going to be to storm the fort As Wyeth states on page 327 The garrison had resolved to die NOT TO SURRENDER The Confederates were there to take the fort or die in the attempt No marvel the loss of life was terrible I have used capitals for the italics of the original Wyeth also mentions something else that is totally missing from Wills' biased account on page 323 324 the condition of intoxication which prevailed with a large part of the garrison Major Booth from all accounts and excellent and brave commander was dead Major Bradford evidently as stated by Major General SA Hurlbut without experience had succeeded to the command and he had made the fatal error of giving his men free access to the liuor with which the commissary of the fort was supplied The sworn testimony of a large number of honorable and trustworthy men establishes this fact beyond contradiction To those familiar with the two classes black and white which composed the bulk of the private soldiers in the garrison at Fort Pillow and their fondness for intoxicating drinks especially so with Negroes just free from slavery it will readily be accepted that they did not fail to take advantage of the opportunities to drink to excess Their conduct during the truce and the insane resistance beneath the bluff bear out the allegation that many were intoxicated Strange how Wills never alludes once to this factSo full of Dutch courage and secure in their very strong position inside the fort the defenders had little thought of surrendering and derided and taunted their opponents Further this helps explain the fact why their belated attempts to surrender once the fort had been stormed were so confused As Wyeth explains on page 327 328 even when the Confederates had scaled the walls THEY HAD NO THOUGHT OF SURRENDER THEN AND IN DEFIANCE OF FORREST THEY LEFT THEIR FLAG FLOATING FROM THE STAFF I have use capitals for the italics of the original A federal gunboat was close by and the Union soldiers had been promised safety from pursuit once below the crest of the riverbank No man surrendered or tried to surrender above the bluff Wyeth continues The Confederates lining the embankment and those of the ground within the fort twelve hundred in all from pistol and musket poured into them a deliberate and converging fire as they retired and with fearful execution For many of the colored soldiers it was the very last thing they were expecting some of whom either insanely intoxicated or convinced from the slaughter that had transpired that no uarter would be shown them and determined to sell their lives as dearly as possible still offered resistance and continued to fire at the Confederates No one had thought to strike the flag as an obvious sign of surrenderWyeth explains on page 329 what happened next A number who had thrown their guns away holding up their hands ran up toward the Confederates on the crest of the bluff and were spared while others who did this were shot down But for the insane conduct of their drunken and desperate comrades a great many of those who perished would have escaped Even Wills cannot blame Forrest for the fact that a lot of his opponents were blind drunk on April 12th 1864 What did Forrest actually do? This frightful scene of carnage was fortunately of short duration General Forrest from his position four hundred yards distant from the fort as soon as he saw his main gain the parapet and leap in among the garrison rode at once to the scene and ordered all firing to ceaseFort Pillow was not like the Drogheda and Wexford massacres under Cromwell and it was clearly a military target the fort having been built by the Confederates themselves When Sherman marched through Georgia he was consciously making 'total war' against the citizens of the South There is a whole passel of bias from Northern critics of Forrest Sherman Sheridan and Grant were also responsible for the genocide of Native Americans and the North's foremost cavalry officer George Armstong Custer was responsible for the massacre of Black Kettle's peaceful Cheyenne village a great 'victory' against mainly women and children For critics of Forrest to make out that he was the devil incarnate is ludicrous when the countless dead Indians are put into the scales of justice Red headed Sherman's hands were covered in Indian bloodHere is a uote from Sherman in Angie Debo's superb history of the Indians of the United States We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux even to their extermination men women and children Page 252 What a charmer was this greatest and most famous self confessed 'madman' in the Union Army He once said that he looked after Grant when Grant was drunk and Grant looked after him when he was mad In 1866 there was talk of a new railroad in the Denver region overseen by General Sherman when the Indian tribes as a whole were fighting for their very survival and he stated God only knows when and I do not see how we can make an excuse for an Indian war page 228 His dilemma came from the fact that the Indians in the area at the time were peaceful Wills harps on about Forrest's 'racism' when only a few years later Sherman was concocting an extirpation of a whole people It is easy to see just who really was the better manIn his masterful three volume history of the Civil War Shelby Foote has a lot to say about the supposed 'massacre' at Fort Pillow In Volume Three pages 110 111 he states that after the walls had been breached Others dropping their guns in terror ran back towards the Confederates with their hands up and of these some were spared as prisoners while others were shot in the act of surrender No uarter No uarter was being shouted at several points and this was thought by some to be at Forrest's command since he had predicted and even threatened that what was happening would happen But the fact was he had done and was doing all he could to end it having ordered the firing stopped as soon as he saw his troopers swarm into the fort even though its flag was still flying and a good part of the garrison was still trying to get away He and others managed to put an end to the killing and sort out the captives wounded and unwoundedAs Foote describes there was then a big to do in the North 'to gather testimony in regard to the massacre at Fort Pillow which resulted in a voluminous printed report that the rebels had engaged in indiscriminate slaughter of men women and children white and black and afterwards had not only set barracks and tents afire roasting the wounded in their beds but had also buried some of the living with the dead despite their piteous cries for mercy while dirt was being shoveled on their faces Southerners might protest that the document was a tissue of lies from end to end as indeed it largely was but they could scarcely argue with the casualty figures which indicated strongly that unnecessary killing had occurred although it was in fact the opposite of 'indiscriminate For example of the 262 Negro members of the garrison only 58 just over twenty percent were marched away as prisoners; while of the 295 whites 168 just under sixty percent were taken Page 111 Foote then uotes the same Confederate sergeant's testimony as Wills but then adds on page 112 unlike Wills This was not to say that Forrest himself had not done all he could first to prevent and then to end the unnecessary bloodshed He had and perhaps the strongest evidence of his forbearance came not from friends but from his enemies of the highest rank Because when Lincoln told Stanton to investigate without delay 'the alleged butchery of our troops' Stanton passed the word to Grant who wired Sherman that same day If our men have been murdered after capture retaliation must be resorted to promptly Sherman undertook the investigation as ordered but made no such recommendation proof in itself that none was justified since no one doubted that otherwise with Sherman in charge retaliation would have been as prompt as even Grant could have desiredSo for a truer picture of Nathan Bedford Forrest read Wyeth's biography and Shelby Foote three volumes to understand the wider background to the period As for Brian Steel Wills he is a disgrace to the profession of historian and a bigot who prefers to see the past through blood tinted spectacles Shame on himJohn Tarttelin BEd History MAHistory Fellow of the International Napoleonic Society Legion of Merit


  2. Bill Tress Bill Tress says:

    Brian Wills gives us a biography of Nathan Bedford Forest a Confederate General of Calvary In addition this reviewer has recently finished an excellent biography of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson another famous Confederate General; it is only natural that I would compare these two great warriors There is commonality then differences in the lives of Jackson and Forest Both were raised hard in the back country South both bought and sold slaves both were respected in their communities as businessmen Jackson got into West Point his sister wrote that he cheated on the test And while never proven it did interest this reviewer that Jackson with little to no formal education was able to enter West Point Jackson’s education was a difference maker between the two man Jackson took advantage of the opportunity for education; he did graduate from West Point and subseuently became a professor at VMI a poor one at best while Forest with little formal education remained functionally illiterate throughout his life Unlike Forest Jackson assumed rank immediately upon appointment to military service the similarities persisted when it came to war both believed in and followed the philosophy of war get there first with the most This makes one wonder where these attributes came from In Jackson’s case certainly not West Point It seems to be an innate gift for some of the people who survive life’s harsh realities They both approached war by combining common sense with intuit thinking They both preferred independent commands; Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley and Forest in Mississippi and Tennessee with independence of command these men excelled Both men lead from the front and both had scores of horses shot out from under them both were wounded in battle and neither feared death Both were brutal taskmasters uick to attack the performance of subordinates they brought up many officers on charges ranging from insubordination to cowardice under fire Both fought their superior officers Jackson charged his superior officer William French with unbecoming conduct while Forest verbally assaulted and physically threatened his superior General Braxton Bragg Both men achieved fame for brilliance in maneuver and tacticsIn the opening pages of this work Wills tells us that Robert E Lee when asked stated that Nathan Bedford Forrest was the greatest General of the Civil War The uote was supposedly from a previous work and the footnotes are vague regarding the source so this attribution has little meaning to me I doubt the veracity of this uote because Lee was a very smart politically astute and wise man and such an affirmation would have been out of character for him particularly when the great Stonewall Jackson led his second Corp and Lee was uoted upon hearing of Jackson’s death ”I have lost my right arm”Many of the chapters in Wills biography seem to be recitations from previous works This would be natural because these chapters are providing historical sketches of Forest and this “field has been plowed many times before” but this approach takes the soul from Will’s writing Things good and bad are just stated without a biographer’s perspective whether good or bad This reviewer believes that Brian Wills was somewhat of a hero worshipper and therefore glossed over to many of Forest’s flawsForest grew up hard in rural Mississippi with a uick temper ready to fight gouge or kill He became a successful planter with substantial holdings in Mississippi He also dealt in the buying and selling of slaves These activities made him a millionaire and a respected citizen in his community with some political connections At the outbreak of succession and war he enlists in the Confederate Army as a private and with some political influence began his amazing rise to Lieutenant General After a review of the key battles fought by Forest this reader wonders about the effect Forest had on the war itself Forest was a brilliant guerilla fighter a disrupter who harassed the Union Army in so many ways In contrast with Jackson who lead armies and eventually lead Lee’s Second Corp Maybe this is not a subject for this book yet it does further contrast each of these magnificent fighters in this reviewer’s mind Brian Wills describes the many engagements Forest participated in Tennessee and Mississippi many battles are described with pictures and maps these maps while useful were not always in sync with the narrative There is no denying that Forest surprised and out fought Union Armies of greater size after these continuous exploits this reviewer began to uestion the abilities of the Union officers who faced Forest most were not in the front ranks of Union Officers Most of the battles are fought using guerrilla tactics and of course the cooperation of a loyal population who were Forest’s eyes and ears The casualty counts in many of these operations were 10 or 15 killed and 40 or 50 wounded General Sherman the Union General in charge of this area was uite interested in capturing Forest yet was satisfied that Forest was preoccupied and not doing any real damage to Sherman’s bigger agenda of marching through Georgia Wills does point out that influential southern politicians and high ranking southern officers made many reuests to President Jefferson Davis to bring Forest into Georgia to stop Sherman’s destruction Davis elected to keep Forest in Mississippi to raid and harass This action by Davis showed his disregard for Forest and results despite Forest’s brilliance in his fighting as a meager distraction If Forest had been placed in a fight with Sherman at a minimum he would have disrupted Sherman in Georgia Wills does not dwell on this point yet at best it is a bad decision by Jefferson Davis that limits this great cavalry officer to nonessential hit and run raids in backwater Mississippi and as a result Forest had no great bearing on the Confederate war effort Except for Union General Grant’s invasion of the State and his subseuent siege of Vicksburg Mississippi was a backwater battle ground and unfortunately our author has little to say about Grants invasion because Forest had no impact on Grant’s siege The battle at Fort Pillow has historically been depicted as a black mark on Forest and the Confederacy Wills describes what happened and makes every effort at justifying Forest while acknowledging that a savage massacre took place; I believe Wills was wrong to justify Forest in this massacre Forest offered surrender to the Fort and stated that the officers and men would be treated as prisoners of war This was rejected and the garrison resolved to die in battle and not to surrender Forest’s Confederates were there to take the fort or die in the attempt and these are normal actions in war but shooting unarmed men attempting to surrender is not normal it is immorally wrong Contributing factors in this massacre have been pointed out by Other historians Wills fails to mention them It is documented that there was a high level of intoxication by Union soldiers Also Major Booth from all accounts an excellent and brave Union commander was dead Major Bradford as uoted by Major General SA Hurlbut was without experience Bradford had succeeded to the command and he had made the fatal error of giving his men free access to liuor These factors contributed to the savage shooting and murder by the Confederate forces of unarmed soldiers many trying to flee or surrender and the black Union soldiers suffered the most casualties Wills works hard to exonerate Forest by stating that he was occupied elsewhere and when made aware of the murdering stepped in to stop it This reviewers believes that while it is true that Forest nor any other General can be everywhere on the battlefield these general officers are supported by sergeants lieutenants captains majors etc where were these officers? It is clear to me that Forest had lost control of his troops Another element to consider is Forest did not have regular Army officers and soldiers his soldiers were for the most part conscripts Men picked up along the way some deserters and stragglers from other Confederate Armies who while capable fighters were not disciplined soldiers and Wills does not mention these factors Forest must be blamed for the slaughter at Fort Pillow There were many causes of this murderous rampage yet Wills worked hard to ignore these factors and exonerate Forest he did not present the battle in the right context or explore all the issues involved this is sloppy workWills tells us that after supporting Hood’s misadventures in Alabama Forest realized that the war was lost The South would be defeated and seeing the futility of continuing the struggle He send his soldiers home Grant Sherman and others began to fear that the war would go on because these soldiers upon returning home would become terrorist Wills tells us that emissaries were sent to Forest to seek his pledge to end hostilities It was unclear how formally this was handled; did it just end in a dialogue? Or was there a formal pardon did Forest just go home? Wills does not tell usThe final chapters tell us about an aging war veteran who does not like what is being done to the South He fears the emancipation of the negro and yearns for days gone by when Southern white men ruled Forest joined the Klan and was a high ranking member to boot Again Wills acknowledges this but does not elaborate The Klan was a terrorist organization they lynched robbed and burned; did Forest participate or even order such terrorist acts? We do not know because Wills does not tell usIn retirement Forest acuires land and becomes a planter again he is also the President of a railroad we are not told how these expensive activities came about Did he have financial backers? Or did he become uite wealthy again and how? I believe these facts are germane to this biography yet Wills did notForest was beloved and hated The people of the deep South mourned his death and honored him with a statute in a Memphis park In recent years this park has been renamed and the statute has been torn downForest was a man of his times and like all men he had good and bad traits I do not believe this biography did him or his biography justice In the forward to this book Emory Thomas says “Before this book six serious biographies have confronted Forest The best of these was one of the first written by John Allan Wyeth” Wyeth rode with Forest and after the war became a physician by profession and a historian too He worked long and hard to get the facts of Forest right Finally in 1899 Wyeth published the ‘Life of General Nathan Bedford Forest and this book through newer editions and reprinting has become the “classic” life of Forest” I agree with Emory Thomas’s assessment


  3. Pat Dugan Pat Dugan says:

    I love this book This man is a personal hero of mine


  4. Ajax Minor Ajax Minor says:

    Good history Like many histories of military men the battles come at you fast and sometimes hard to follow all the action without maps Gave an interesting portrait of this superb general and his indomitable personality Wish it had given info on his 'mellowing' after the War Oddly it completely left out his speech to the Pole Bearers Society of black southerners Often considered a forerunner of the NAACP I have read this book as background for an alternative history novel I am noodling


  5. Eric Eric says:

    I bought this book after visiting Shiloh Battlefield NMP where he fought in Tennessee One of the CSA's top cavalrymen he had no education to speak of he learned by the school of hard knocks though as a successful businessman and no previous military background he went in as a private in Jun 1861 and was made a Colonel a month later after he raised euiped a regiment of 500 other calvarymen out of the Memphis area Historically he has always been a polarizing figure for a whole slew of valid reasons including having been a slave trader before the war responsible for the Fort Pillow massacre of Union colored troops that were attempting to surrender and having been the first head of the KKK as it was being organized in the south during reconstruction He was always unconventional very consciously a self make man and he used what we would call 'street smarts' today to outwit his opponents win battles against vastly superior opponents and live off the land when he needed too This book put an emminently human face on the subject warts all and brought him very much alive After reading it I really understood why his most famous uote has always been Git there the firstest with the mostest and then whup 'em Well worth a read


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