Nathan Bedford Forrest Facts

Nathan Bedford Forrest Facts
Nathan Bedford Forrest was a successful businessman, Confederate general and war hero, leader of the first era Ku Klux Klan, and overall one of the most controversial figures in American history. A man of many sides, or some would say contradictions, Forrest was a brilliant cavalry tactician who was also responsible for a war time massacre. Although known as a great entrepreneur, much of his wealth was built on owning and trading slaves. He helped start the Ku Klux Klan, but also later donated money to and gave speeches on behalf of black empowerment organizations. Forrest was born July 13, 1821 in rural middle Tennessee to William, who was a blacksmith, and Mariam Forrest. Nathan had eleven siblings. Forrest married Mary Ann Montgomery in 1845 and had a son and a daughter, Fanny and Forrest Junior, but only Forrest Junior survived to adulthood.
Interesting Nathan Bedford Forrest Facts:
At the age of sixteen, Forrest's father died, which left him as the primary financial provider for his mother and younger siblings.
Forrest killed a man in a family feud in 1845.
Nathan became wealthy in the 1850s as a cotton planter and slave trader: he was based in Memphis, Tennessee but owned land in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi.
Although most wealthy southern men either enlisted in the Confederate army as officers or were exempted from service, Forrest enlisted with the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry as a private.
Due to a combination of his eagerness to enlist, his support of the regiment out of his own pocket, and his natural charisma, Forrest was quickly given the rank of lieutenant general and command of the 3rd Tennessee Cavalry
Nathan was particularly good with the sabre and believed to have killed at least thirty men with the weapon in hand to hand combat
Forrest primarily fought in the western theater of the war, distinguishing himself at the Battle of Sacramento, the Battle of Fort Donaldson, the Battle of Shiloh, and the Battle of Chickamauga among others.
The Battle of Fort Pillow in western Tennessee is generally considered the low point of Forrest's career: hundreds of surrendering Union soldiers, many of the them black, were massacred by Forrest's troops.
After the Civil War, in the spring of 1866 in Pulaski, Tennessee, Forrest and five other Confederate veterans formed the Ku Klux Klan in order to retain white political power and Democratic control in the former Confederate states.
In 1871, Forrest downplayed his role in the Klan in a Congressional hearing.
During the 1870s, Forrest took a much more conciliatory approach to race relations, at least publicly.
Nathan Bedford Forrest died in Memphis, Tennessee on October 29, 1877.
Forrest's great-grandson, Nathan Bedford Forrest III (1905-1943), was the first American to die in the European theater of World War II.
A state park was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest in 1929, which despite recent controversy, still has the name.
After years of protests, Forest's remains were disinterred from its resting spot in a Memphis, Tennessee park and reburied at an undisclosed location on December 21, 2017.


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