ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • History & Archaeology»
  • Military History

Another example of Poor Leadership for General Nathan Bedford Forrest

Updated on November 19, 2014

A cause worthy of victory but destined to fail, apparently.

Genreal Wheeler commanded General Forrest to make a daring return acroas frigid water in the dead of winter to retake a fort at all costs or as if General Forrest would go about the order any other way. Unfortunately, this meant crossing with horses caissons, cannons, artillery and infantry at the coldest time of year and with no prior plan for proper crossing. I don't have the exact dates in my head here at this moment, but this was around 62. General Forrest agreed to the order under protest and let his chief surgeon and another member of his staff know that were he to die in this pursuit of Donnelson, it should be recounted that he was in direct defiance to this order of General Wheeler.

their crossing was mainly at night and extremely unorthodox by most regular standards. Horses were merely dragged across the crossing after it was discovered that infantry and artillery pieces could successfully fjord the water. The fighting began as a result of Genrral Forrest mistaking an offensive Federal action for an attempt to surrender to his obvious victorious presence. Federals were attempting to take a dug in position near the fort, but Genral Forrest soon realized that they meant action and he immediately ordered action upon the Yankee fighters.

I have not finished this section of the book that I'm reading, but from what I've gathered it is not a victorious outcome that would be expected of a nighttime battle for General Forrest and his staff of fighters.

On horseback in memphis

Source

The marauders possibly at night

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Justin Duckworth profile image
      Author

      Justin Kelly Duckworth 2 years ago from Tennessee

      All good commentary.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Exactly, Nick. There are dozens if not hundreds of worthy stories of Southern generals and soldiers that could be told and be excellent films at that. How about the Angel of Fredricksburg, Kirkwood, that would show the common rebel soldier's side of things, and one that fought hard yet had compassion on his fallen foes for example? We'll never see one like that because Forrest is being considered preciously for the controversy and bad feelings it would stir up, for movie admissions, constant talking heads on TV and/or other, possibly, nefarious reasons. Your correct my friend, it is not a good time for this right now, not at all.

    • Nick Burchett profile image

      Nick Burchett 2 years ago from IL, MO & KS

      I agree Alastar, I think a movie would be interesting, but afraid that many of the facts would get twisted in the legends that followed him, the KKK being one of them. I would rather see a movie that showed his military skill, even though he was not militarily trained, his exceptional leadership, hard as it may have been, and yes, something about Fort Pillow, which still is up for debate.

      But with the nation in such a divide between blacks and whites in the modern day, something like this would ultimately, I believe, cause that divide to widen. It would miss all the points of his military career and give flight to the black vs white and KKK (the modern KKK not the one Forrest started) issues and the Civil War would be a backdrop to this. As much as I would like to see a good movie about him, I think it's a bad idea.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Bedford Forrest was a Supremacist and hard taskmaster to his troopers and bonds people. As mentioned before he was also one of the greatest cavalry leaders in military history. My concerns for a movie about him is getting the facts correct, good and bad, with no exploitation revisionism for controversial movie profits. One should also take into consideration the fact that although Forrest did indeed start the KKK after the war it was largely done to keep order in a defeated South where civil order had broken down in many areas.. Of course many bad things were done to the African American population and derelict white folk as well, some guilty of heinous crimes, some not. This first incarnation was suppressed by Federal occupation authorities in the 1870s.

      The revived KKK came about after 1915 and was different beast altogether. If not mistaken, at its height, there were more chapters outside the South than in it. The most famous lynching photo ever taken was actually made in Indiana in the 1930s. The whole thing was wrong and should be a lesson to us all. Let's just hope any movie on General Forrest gets the facts straight, good and bad, his story needs no inaccurate embellishments or revisionisms for controversial profits.

    • Justin Duckworth profile image
      Author

      Justin Kelly Duckworth 2 years ago from Tennessee

      Wow, Alastar, thanks for the unknown information. This does, if it's true, back up the statement made by General Forrest, that I happen to agree with, that state, he is not against Negro. The Negro is the best or only working class left around.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Agreed, Justin. The Fort Pillow Massacre was just that and there is no way around it. But, the historical fact is the place was untenable for the Federals and Forrest sent the white officers a message that if is his men had to shed their blood taking it he wouldn't be able to control their anger. Well, the officers, for whatever reason, refused his offer of safety in capitulation and the result was his troops did have to shed their blood and the massacre happened, and not just to many of the black troops but some of those officers as well. I wonder if that historical fact would make it into any big budget movie? It was a terrible thing but little about the conflict wasn't.

    • Justin Duckworth profile image
      Author

      Justin Kelly Duckworth 2 years ago from Tennessee

      Yes, please bring the big budget Forrest movie to the forefront of the national discussion.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Jeff Davis's biggest mistake imho was hanging on to friend Bragg as commander in the west for far to long. Forrest certainly had moxy. What was that saying of his about his multiple victories ? Oh yea, "Get there firstest with the mostest." Something like that. Always enjoy seeing your great posts, Nick. Have you any thoughts on the big budget movie on Forrest being talked about? Guaranteed controversy and big box office bucks lol.

    • Nick Burchett profile image

      Nick Burchett 2 years ago from IL, MO & KS

      Leadership was poor across both sides. Braxton Bragg is most considered as the poorest example of generalship in the entire Civil War. Bedford Forrest was a strong leader, but I think what he had more of was "moxy." He was tough, daring and fought to win. Even Union general William T. Sherman recognized the qualities Forrest had.

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

      Yes, believe that was the Kentucky campaign when Bragg transferred most of Forrest's command to Joe Wheeler and sent Forrest to recruit another force in Tenn.. The older Forrest didn't get along with Wheeler to well and what a mistake of Bragg's by not taking Forrest with him in command of the cavalry in that invasion of Kentucky.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 2 years ago from India

      Never heard of him, good to know now :)