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General Forrest


Excerpted from Book Review: Nathan Bedford Forrest by Jack Hurst

Forrest was the only soldier to enter the war as a private and be promoted to general officer and commander by the wars end. His ability to wage war against superior numbers and to tactically control the battlefield were unmatched in his time. Forrest is said to be one of two authentic geniuses produced in the Civil War. The other is Abraham Lincoln.  The military genius and tactical ability seen in Forrest cannot be found in any other man of his generation, especially among those who are unschooled.

While Forrest left behind a legacy filled with both triumphs and failures, his achievements as a commander and his character as a man are interesting to study. Forrest was known for his quick temper, yet, if he was allowed ample time, would come to his senses and resolve the conflict if he could. Forrest would not bend to the whims of others but firmly stood for the things which he believed. While he supported the political intent of the KKK to preserve and protect the democratic south, he severed ties with the organization and sought to end it when it became an instrument for the torture of others. His care and concern for his wife, Mary Ann, is noted throughout the book. His industriousness and tact are seen both in times of war and in times of peace. His farewell address given to his troops on May 9, 1865 is one of the most touching addresses I have ever read.