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Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
12-16-2016, 08:09 PM,
#1
Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
So ive heard alot of conflicting information about this man, especially in regards to his involvement with the KKK and the Fort Pillow massacre. I recall reading some of Shermans letters essentially saying that since Forrest was in the back, it wouldn't have been correct to blame him for the massacre. Secondly, as for his involvement in the KKK I have also heard that he distanced himself from the organization.

 What do you guys think? Was Forrest a villain, misunderstood, a combination of both?
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04-08-2017, 04:49 PM,
#2
RE: Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
Before the war Nathan Bedford Forrest was a partner in a slave trading concern.   One of their pieces of merchandise was able to prove that he was a free man who had been kidnapped, but when the customer complained Forrest's partner shot him dead.  When the murder came up for trial,  Forrest let it be known that any member of a jury that convicted his partner would have endorsed a lie and would be in danger of his life.  Accounts say variously that a jury could not be found and the charges were dismissed, or that a jury was empaneled and quickly decided the partner was 'not guilty'.

Bedford Forrest was a keen businessman, a deadly combatant (he killed at least six men hand-to-hand), and a brilliant commander, the very nearest thing I know of to a comic book super villain.
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04-09-2017, 03:27 AM,
#3
RE: Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
He was a product of his time, no better or worse than the man beside him. The travesty is that today's society tries to quantify behavior of the ages with modern standards.

Here in Canada gay people who were kicked out of the army before it became an accepted fact now want an apology, as do most groups or peoples that were or felt they were done wrong. It wasn't wrong for the time.

Just my opinion. I like NB Forrest and there is a great talk on him by Ranger Matt Atkinson here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy8bWsCA...tysburgNPS
Some of us are busy doing things; some of us are busy complaining - Debasish Mridha
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04-12-2017, 04:28 AM,
#4
RE: Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
(04-09-2017, 03:27 AM)Weasel Wrote: He was a product of his time, no better or worse than the man beside him.  The travesty is that today's society tries to quantify behavior of the ages with modern standards.

Here in Canada gay people who were kicked out of the army before it became an accepted fact now want an apology, as do most groups or peoples that were or felt they were done wrong.  It wasn't wrong for the time.

Just my opinion.  I like NB Forrest and there is a great talk on him by Ranger Matt Atkinson here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy8bWsCA...tysburgNPS

What a great speaker. My favorite was his pronunciation dilemma "ru...rur...rule...farming community".
Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blast on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. --Walt Kelly
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04-12-2017, 07:51 AM,
#5
RE: Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
All of his lectures are incredible, he will make you laugh every time.
Some of us are busy doing things; some of us are busy complaining - Debasish Mridha
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04-13-2017, 08:24 AM,
#6
RE: Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
(04-09-2017, 03:27 AM)Weasel Wrote: He was a product of his time, no better or worse than the man beside him.  The travesty is that today's society tries to quantify behavior of the ages with modern standards.

He was worse.  Even in the 1850s, it was considered a Bad Thing for a businessman to shoot a dissatisfied customer.
"There is such a beautiful moon tonight. Shall we watch it as we sink?" -RAdm Yamaguchi Tamon to Captain Kaku Tomeo of the Hiryu, 5 June 1942
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04-23-2017, 04:08 AM,
#7
RE: Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
(04-13-2017, 08:24 AM)Extraordinarius Wrote:
(04-09-2017, 03:27 AM)Weasel Wrote: He was a product of his time, no better or worse than the man beside him.  The travesty is that today's society tries to quantify behavior of the ages with modern standards.

He was worse.  Even in the 1850s, it was considered a Bad Thing for a businessman to shoot a dissatisfied customer.

Think Judge Roy Bean killed many of his customers with a rope  Big Grin

In the West early times things were handled more often with a gun than with lawbooks also.
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04-28-2017, 02:56 AM,
#8
RE: Was Nathan Bedford Forrest a Villain?
I think that he was one of the best combat commanders of the war, who had a keen eye for ground and an excellent sense of timing. His personal courage was exceptional and if leading from the front matters, he had few equals in that. I think the Union was lucky that Forrest was never given the chance to lead an infantry division and work his way up from there to corps command or higher, unlike Stuart at Chancerlorsville or Sheridan on the Union side.

That said, he was certainly a villain. He was a product of his place in time but many, likely the majority of his countrymen, rejected slavery for many reasons and Forrest fought on the wrong side of a war fought over slavery (before someone takes this comment and turns this thread into a discussion of the causes of the war, please ask yourself what State's rights that were involved did not concern slavery and why Lincoln's election triggered secession). Simply put, there were millions of Americans who thought slave trading was evil and that the ownership of human beings was disgusting, immoral, and ungodly. The founding fathers, in their writings, found excuses for their slave holding. By 1860, the slave holders, slave traders, slave breeders, and slave states had decreed slavery God's plan. The abolitionists and freesoilers disagreed, and a political movement strong enough to threaten slavery won an election and led to secession. So yes, I think Forrest is a villain.
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