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Civil War Tactician Nathan Bedford Forrest

The early life of Nathan Bedford Forrest was similar to that of many other poor white southern families. Forrest was born on July 13, 1821, in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. The family moved to Marshall County, Mississippi, in 1834, where his father would die shortly after moving. Forrest was left in abject poverty on a small leased farm with his widowed mother and two younger brothers. Abandoning any education ambitions of his own, Forrest became the head of the family at seventeen years-of-age, determined to support his mother and help his siblings attend college. ForrestÆs lack of education did not prevent him from realizing these goals, as his hard work and natural abilities soon enabled him to achieve these goals while amassing a fortune before the Civil War estimated at $1.5 million: ôWhile neglecting his own education he provided liberally for that of his brothers and sisters, and going into business in Memphis became able to purchase a large plantation and at the outbreak of the war was one of the wealthiest planters in Tennesseeö (Nathan, 2004, p. 1). A good deal of ForrestÆs wealth stemmed from his role as a slave trader as well as plantation owner, like many other wealthy southerners of the era. Owing his wealth to the slave trade, it is natural that Forrest would favor the Confederacy at the outbreak of the Civil War.

ForrestÆs Civil War accomplishments are significant. He had no formal military training and defeated colonels and generals who were all graduates of West Point. Forrest entered into service in June of 1861, under the leadership of WhiteÆs mounted rifles. Entering the war as a private, Forrest would rise to the rank of Lieutenant General, the only enlistee on either side of the conflict to rise to so far. Well known as a wealthy businessman among the elite in Tennessee, where he first camped, the war Governor of Tennessee enabled Forrest to be granted the authority to raise his own regiment caval...

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Civil War Tactician Nathan Bedford Forrest. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:02, March 19, 2019, from