Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Amateur vs. Professional II. [Conclusion].

This is coolbert:

From the era of the American Civil War we have another amateur who was able to best the professionals on repeated occasions. Time and again, able to flummox professional soldiers on the battlefield.

"flum·mox - –verb - - to bewilder; confound; confuse."

(2) Nathan Beford Forrest.

"git thar fust with the most men" - - N.B. Forrest.

"War means fightin', and fightin' means killin'." - - N.B. Forrest.

American Civil War General [Confederate]. Enlisted as a private. Ended the war as a general officer of the highest repute. Conducted mobile warfare using measured audacity to accomplish the mission.

"Nathan Bedford Forrest (July 13, 1821 – October 29, 1877) was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He is remembered both as a self made and innovative cavalry leader during the war. Forrest is also one of the war's most unusual figures."

"Forrest was physically imposing and intimidating— six-foot, two-inches tall (1.88 m), 210 pounds (95 kg) —very large for the day. He used his skills as a hard rider and fierce swordsman to great effect."

"It has been surmised from contemporaneous records that Forrest may have personally killed more than thirty men with saber, pistol and shotgun"

"Forrest had no prior formalized military training or experience. He applied himself diligently to learn. With strong leadership abilities and apparently an intuition for successful tactics, Forrest soon became an exemplary officer"

[Forrest may have himself lacked education, military or otherwise, but DID appreciate the value of formal schooling. With his considerable assets was able to send his two younger brothers to college when ALMOST NO ONE ATTENDED UNIVERSITY PERIOD!!]

"historian Shelby Foote states that the Civil War produced two authentic geniuses: Abraham Lincoln and Nathan Bedford Forrest."

[it is suggested the no less figure than Irwin Rommel visited the U.S. during the 1930's specifically to study the battles and campaigns of Forrest!!??]

As a military man:

* "enlist[ed] as a private and end[ed] the war as a general officer."

* "discovered and established new doctrines for mobile forces."

* "accused but cleared (by the US Congress) of responsibility for war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow for leading Confederate soldiers in a massacre of unarmed black Union Army prisoners."

To a degree is remembered by most historians for his post-war activities, to include:

* "opposed Reconstruction policies and federal occupation" [Union troops were garrisoned in southern states for ten years in the aftermath of the war!]

* "first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan" [this once episode in his life has left an everlasting opprobrium?]

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a man of great accomplishments during his life. Possessed a maniac energy, coupled with a shrewd intelligence.

Forrest was at one time or another:

* "a businessman"

* "a planter - owner of several plantations"

* "a slave owner"

* "a slave trader"

* "a Memphis city alderman"

* "a millionaire" [at a time when being a millionaire meant something very big!]

* "one of the richest men in the South"

* "Mississippi gambler" [riverboat?].

* "Captain of a boat"

* "a man of obscure origin and low associations"

* "a shrewd speculator"

* "a duelist"

* "a man of great energy and brute courage"

With regard to his owning and trading slaves, consider this particular entry from the wiki. [said to be of dubious origin]

"Forrest offered freedom to 44 of his slaves if they would serve with him in the Confederate army. All 44 agreed. One later deserted; the other 43 served faithfully until the end of the war. Although they had many chances to leave, they chose to remain loyal to the South and to Forrest."

To most people, the very idea that black slaves, property of Forrest, would be willing to serve as soldiers under his command is absurd! [I guess the question I would ask is: "serve in what capacity?" I can reasonably believe that freed negro slaves could have been animal handlers - - servants - - camp cooks - - etc. Fighters? Perhaps NOT!]

Consider also, from the wiki entry:

"According to a report by a Union commander:

'The forces attacking my camp were . . . Texas Rangers . . . Georgia Rangers . . . There were also quite a number of negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day.'"

Nathan Beford Forrest. A controversial character if there ever was one. Add his name to the growing list of amateur soldiers able to beat the professionals.




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