Bedford Forrest by Andrew Nelson Lytle download in ePub, pdf, iPad
Early life Forrest was born into a poor family and spent his formative years in rural Tennessee and Mississippi. Sherman had dispatched Brig. The infantry, tired and weary and suffering under the heat, were quickly broken and sent into mass retreat. Though wounded, Forrest continued to baffle Smith, swinging north to attack Memphis, then returning successfully to his own lines. Whatever his issues of self-control behind the lines or in personal combat, Forrest never let emotion overcome him in conducting a battle.
By Forrest owned two cotton plantations and had established himself among the wealthiest men in Tennessee. In May Forrest foiled Union Col. James Chalmers, attacked and recaptured Fort Pillow.
Promoted to brigadier general, Forrest next participated in cavalry operations near the vital Mississippi River hub at Vicksburg, Tennessee, which was under siege by Ulysses S. Forrest sentenced his own son and fellow transgressors to several hours of carrying fence rails on their shoulders for breaking camp discipline. He understood how best to balance mounted and dismounted action, defense and attack, commitment and pursuit.
As with most facets of history, the reality is more nuanced. Hood ordered Forrest to conduct an independent raid against the Murfreesboro garrison. Forrest rarely drank and he abstained from tobacco usage. Recognizing that Streight held a substantially larger force, Forrest led his troopers around the same hilltop multiple times in order to give the appearance of larger numbers.
By then, all were fully armed with captured Union weapons. In the field the commander strictly forbade straggling and looting. In his sometimes contradictory testimony, he denied membership in the organization. They commissioned him as a lieutenant colonel and authorized him to recruit and train a battalion of Confederate mounted rangers. Similar accounts were reported in many Southern newspapers at the time.
It was a feat worthy of Sir Walter Scott, but for Forrest almost commonplace. Forrest probably organized a state wide Klan network in Georgia during these visits. Forrest participated in the Confederate defeat at the Second Battle of Franklin before suffering another loss at the Third Battle of Murfreesboro in December. Yet Forrest comprehended the fundamental issues of strategic raiding, namely focus and objective.
He had exhausted his fortune during the war, and with the abolition of slavery he lost one of his most valuable avenues for making money. When he was provoked or angered, however, he would become savage, profane, and terrifying in appearance. His defining approach involved maintaining pressure, harassing enemy forces before an engagement, engaging them at all points during a fight and giving them no time to rally.
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