I posted this on the history channel web site years ago. Its the summary of a 125 page paper. He was a JEB Stuart and Stonewall Jackson put together. Read on and you'll see why...
James Porter, the Governor of TN, rode in a carriage with Jefferson Davis to Lt Gen Nathan Bedford Forrest’s funeral in 1877. They spoke of his incredible military achievements and the Governor asked the former Confederate President a question that was puzzling him.
He said; why wasn’t Forrest given nearly the amount of sufficient troops and authority in accordance with his ability of consistently achieving victory. Davis replied, "The Commanding General [Bragg] didn’t appreciate Forrest until it was too late. Their judgment just said that he was a bold and enterprising raider and rider. I was misled by them until I read of his campaign across TN in 1864."
The Governor then said, "I can not comprehend such a lack of appreciation after he fought the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads. It was not a cavalry raid or a skirmish; it was the conception of a man endowed with a genius for war." Davis replied, "The campaign was not understood in Richmond. The impression made to me was just that Forrest made another successful raid, but then I saw it all after it was too late."
No higher compliment could be made to him than by his nemesis Maj Gen William T. Sherman, while Commander of the Federal Army of TN in 1864. He deemed the death of Forrest so essential to the Union cause that he said; "I don’t care if it costs 10,000 lives and breaks the treasury, there will be no peace in TN until Forrest is dead!" In this dispatch, he then offered a Major Generalcy to any Brig Gen who killed him (and President Lincoln backed the promise.)
Sherman knew he had the South by the neck while he was sweeping through it like the plague. Forrest however was his only anxiety as seen in many dispatches, e.g. "just keep Forrest away from me, I will tend to Johnston and cut the Confederacy in two."
Years after the war, Sherman said, "I think Forrest was the most remarkable man the civil war produced on either side. His opponents were professional soldiers, while he had no military training. He was never taught tactics yet he had a genius for strategy that was original and to me incomprehensible. I couldn’t calculate what he was up to, yet he always knew my intentions."
A few months before he died, Lt. Gen Joseph Johnston commented on Forrest. It was when his nephew paid him a surprise visit and found him reading the book "A history of Tamerlane." The book discussed the greatest generals of all time so he was asked who he thought was the greatest General of the civil war. Without hesitation, he replied - Forrest.
Johnston also discussed the campaigns of Lee, Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, and others and gave the full measure of credit to Lee and Jackson, but still pronounced Forrest to be the best of them.
Johnston had asked Davis five times in the summer of 1864 (the first four via Gen Bragg, who probably never relayed the message) to appoint Forrest as Cavalry Chief AoTN. He said Forrest is the only one who can stop Sherman (by cutting his supply lines like he did to him and Grant in their first Vicksburg Campaign.)
By Parkers Crossroads in 1862, he proved himself a commander of extraordinary ability. His two small Regiments attacked and forced an enemy brigade into surrender. He had taken a precaution to send a battalion to hold a pass in case the other Federal Brigade approached but they took the wrong road. The other brigade showed up and seeing this, the surrendered brigade picks up their arms and Forrest was suddenly caught out in the open between two larger forces. He however was still able to withdrew with only minimal loss. He then moved his men, wagons and supplies across the TN River (a few hours away) with the Federals on his heels and gunboats on the river. Adding to the difficult was that there was no bridge and it was winter. Loss of the entire command would have been the result for most other Generals caught in that predicament.
While Forrest only had 3000 troopers in his invasion of western TN, it caused Gen Grant to divert 25,000 – 30,000 men to drive him out.
To reach Murfreesboro in July 1862, Forrest rode more than 100 miles, over obstacles including three mountain ranges and the TN River (with no bridge and patrolled by gunboats). His reliable scouts discovered three large Federal units while his force remained undetected in enemy held territory. He placed his troops between the main unit and the two outlying. His surprised the central unit capturing many prisoners, including its commanding General. He turned to the right unit and made it surrender by force. He then bluffed the third, strongly defended wing into surrender as well.
At Thompson’s Station, he moved his troops to avoid Union batteries while pushing his own batteries and troops to force them from the field. He followed up with a quick strike to the flank and rear forcing the larger unit to surrender.
At Brice’s Crossroads, he sent 250 – 300 men to ride 5 miles around to strike the Federal column from the rear. With perfect timing, it caused a large number of Federal troopers to withdraw from the battlefield, allowing Forrest (with much smaller numbers) to charge and take it. He pulled up artillery boldly close then pursued them well into the next morning effectively destroying and capturing the whole command, which was significantly larger than his own.
At Okolona, he beat Grierson (who had the much larger force) and pursued him for miles. They reached an open prairie and Forrest ordered the charge (still against larger numbers). He said; "I saw Grierson make a bad move, and then I rode right over him."
Forrest showed brilliant strategy in defeating an overwhelming expeditionary force of Generals A.J. Smith and A.J. Mower in summer of 1864. Sherman sent the force with the mission of destroying Forrest while he started his march to Atlanta. Forrest sent Gen Chalmers to make a spirited show of resistance while he took 2000 hand picked men to ride around and attack his rear the next morning. He then boldly rode into the heart of Memphis, which was heavily defended. The lightening raid caused the city to stampede days later when a rumor said Forrest was returning in force. The result was the withdrawal of Smith’s army, which never ventured into his territory again.
Forrest was a strategist too. It’s very probable that his plan to cut off the Mississippi River to Union navigation in summer of 1863 would have changed the western theater. His plan to cut off the Mississippi and TN Rivers from Union navigation in 1864 would have also been most beneficial for the South. Forrest already took out the railroad supply lines so all the Union armies on the Miss River, around Mobile, AL and in LA would have been cut off. This would likely have had an impact on western theater more than any other operation or strategy they actually did or could even think of. Forrest laid out detailed logistics of what he would need to accomplish this with minimal resources provided. On the way, he would live mainly off the land and recruit in enemy held territory as he had done before. Davis foolishly deferred it back to Bragg, and the rest is history (or lack thereof).
Gen Grant wrote in his memoirs; the only realistic hope for the Confederacy was to prolong the war so the North would tire of it. This would be accomplished by avoiding pitched battles and by going after supply lines of Union armies in the field. Senior Confederate strategist Gen Joseph Johnston also believed this.
Forrest’s command was marked by several things. Topnotch scouts, arguably the best in the war and topnotch field artillery, arguably the best in the Confederacy. It was consistently accurate and some times placed dangerously close to the enemy, daring them to charge it. He relied on his trusted staff to deliver orders. The officers he promoted all earned their rank in battle and they adopted Forrest’s bold tactics, much to their success. Typically it was; aggressive troop maneuvers and assaults, often gaining the enemy’s flank and rear with another force, then conduct a relentless pursuit.
Forrest would always order a counter charge to meet an enemy charge, even against larger numbers. He would often then personally lead the main force at the weakest point. He told his men; "whenever you see the enemy, no matter how few, show fight. If you run, they will probably catch you. If you show fight, they will think there are more of you and not push you half as hard."
Forrest met with the famed cavalryman Gen John H. Morgan after the war to discuss their campaigns. Both were more eager to hear how the other pulled off their exploits rather than talk about themselves.
It is said Forrest placed 30 Federals hors de combat. Lt Gen Richard Taylor said; "I doubt any other commander since the days of Richard the Lion Heart killed so many enemy with his own hands as Forrest." Forrest however was at fault for being in situations that allowed him to accomplish this, as it too often placed himself in serious danger. He said; "a soldiers’ duty was to put himself where he could do the most damage to the enemy. A commander is most effective when he could lead his men the best way."
He believe that nothing so inspired a man so much in battle, as to see his commander leading in action incurring the same risk. Except for the largest battles, leading from the front was rear for Generals, and especially those with more than one star. His subordinate commanders never had to ask where he could be found, as they all knew it would be where ever the fighting was heaviest.
During large-scale battle however, he stayed back and rode along the line to the points that needed help the most. The standard by which many West Pointers followed was 1/3 reserve. Usually outnumbered, Forrest couldn’t weaken his fighting force by holding reserves. At times, he even used those holding the horses saying; "don’t worry we won’t need any horses if we lose".
The great Federal cavalry commander Philip Sheridan also led from the front and the two were similar. Forrest however didn’t nearly have anywhere near the resources that Sheridan enjoyed. If he did it would have most likely taken practically the whole Federal Army of TN to stop him with a couple divisions.
Forrest got as much traveling and fighting out of his men, than as any other General in the war. The same may be said of "Stonewall Jackson’s foot cavalry", but unlike him, Forrest was generally loved by his men.
The precautions he took for the relative safety of his men were unprecedented. They were well appreciated and he had a very strong bond with them. Unlike many other Generals of the era, minimizing risk for his brave men was a standard practice. Forrest knew the personal character of his officers. He often observed them in camp, while marching, in battle, basically every where. This way he knew whom he could really count on in the hour of need. He knew the best man for each job. E.g. a particular remote outpost was having illicit traffic with the enemy. Replacement officers were sent but it still continued. His staff suggested sending an officer that was recently wounded and unfit for field duty. Forrest replied, "he is one of my best and bravest, but when money is in question, he will not do."
Every officer seemed to catch the inspiration of their leader. They knew it was expected to fight to the death and he wouldn’t tolerate a coward. He shot an infantry color bearer at the second battle of Murfreesboro after he refused to stop running away. He picked up the flag and rode it in front of the fleeing infantry regiment to rally them. He did the same thing at Brentwood. Near West Point, Miss he leapt from his horse to tackle a young soldier fleeing the battlefield. He thrashed him then gave him a kick in the rear end back towards the front line.
Early in the war, he realized that men fighting on horseback were less effective than those on the ground. His cavalry horses were mainly used only for transportation, quick movements and some charges. Generally speaking, even when dismounted, cavalry was thought to be no match for infantry. It’s unique that his cavalry fought like veteran infantry - as Gen D.H. Hill said at Chickamauga.
Large Federal units were pulled from all over the West to deal with his small invasion of West TN in 1863. When surrounded with all escape routes well defended, rather than dessert the wagon trains, he passed within sight of Memphis and its heavy garrison. Like the perilous situation after Parker’s Crossroads, he snuck his whole command, the wagon train plus heads of captured cattle and hogs to safety across the guarded river. Most other commanders would have lost it all in that situation.
On many occasion, he showed incredible ingenuity when faced with natural obstacles while not having enough time to pass them. A good example is crossing a river, with no bridge or boats (besides Federal gunboats), and with a large enemy force pressing in on him (as described above.)
Forrest was the only saving grace to Gen Hood after his smashing defeat at Nashville, which occurred while Forrest was capturing a supply train (reminds me of JEB Stuart enroute to Gettysburg.) Although his losses were steep and irreplaceable, Hood’s entire army with all its supplies would have been captured if it weren’t for Forrest’s cavalry and his performance during the battle then rear guard defense. This was against Gen Wilson, whose cavalry outnumbered him four to one. After the infantry made it, Forrest even managed to go back across the Duck River to save the other half of the artillery and baggage trains.
He came under fire 189 times throughout the war and had 29 horses shot from under him! His amazing battle record is 53 and 1 (the one loss wasn’t his fault as Gen Grant later wrote in his Memoirs.) Forrest was the only man in the war to enlist as a Private and make it to Lt Gen. He however didn’t receive this commission until a few months before the war ended, and by that time it was much too late to make a difference. Having no formal military (or otherwise) education prevented him from being promoted to Chief of Cavalry for the Army of TN earlier in the war. Forrest however consistently outfought and outwitted the best Academy career officers out there (and typically while being seriously disadvantaged in men and supplies.) The terribly incompetent Gen Braxton Bragg had a personal dislike for Forrest so he tried everything in his power to keep him down.
I will close 26-part 50-page series dedicated to Nathan Bedford Forrest with a bottom line quote from a famed Confederate General. Joe Johnston told Gen Dabrey Maurey (who had invented standard tactics for the Federal Army before the war) that; "Forrest’s capacity for war seemed only to be limited by the opportunities for its display."
I've read this summary and reread it and I do not find anything new in it to convince me of the point you're trying to make. You totally ignore facts and information that clearly show that other commanders used the same tactics and ideas before Forrest employed them.
You also ignore the fact that Forrest's use of infantry does not even come close to the amount of time and campaigning that Jackson used his.
As for being on par and surppasing Stuart, no don't think so.
Comparing the two theaters of operations in the Civil War in many ways is like apples and oranges. There were different requirements to conducting operations in each theater.
Forrest was good in his areas, the war was fought there in conditions favorable to his style of warfare. But that type of warfare and operations do not always provide the conclusive results one is looking for.
Did he have a clear cut strategy on his operations? Was there a purpose that contributed to the overall campaign by the skrimishes and battles fought?
It also appears that many times he was near to the end of his rope in supplies vital to continuing the fighting. Oops! There's that nasty fact of military operations...Logistics! Like many arm chair strategists you never mentioned nothing on his ability to keep up and maintain supply lines to keep a consistent campaign and strategy going.
Lastly you leave yourself wide open for a full broadside salvo when you use the quote at the end. Forrest did not have the opportunities for larger command and ops as did Jackson and Stuart. Its a fact a man can be good a commanding a division but suck at commanding a corps. Good small level operations does not always make for a commander to be good at larger formation ops.
Your piece I'm sure took alot of work and research, but you only made the points you were showing about the man moot, because other commanders in the war used those same methods with just as much success. Doesn't validate your conculsions.
I have seen similiar pieces like yours on just about every general that fought through 1861 to 1865. You're rehashing alot of what has been said before without different convincing facts.
Forrest was outstanding and the Civil War was one of the last wars where relative novices could and did rise to the top, but they were not perfect and to try and make them so, is basically a waste of time.
"I've read this summary and reread it and I do not find anything new in it to convince me of the point you're trying to make. “…….. you’ve missed my point all over.
“You totally ignore facts and information that clearly show that other commanders used the same tactics and ideas before Forrest employed them.”….. Im sure others did too, however forrest had no military training, his instinct always outsmarted the westpointers and he always frusterated sherman. He was very successful with unconventional tactics that no one taught him.
“You also ignore the fact that Forrest's use of infantry does not even come close to the amount of time and campaigning that Jackson used his.”….. Forrest was cav and it was rear for him to have any infantry attached. I was just saying he had the brilliance of Jackson plus the cav skills of stuart.
“As for being on par and surppasing Stuart, no don't think so.”……. im not taking anything away from stuart, but forrest’s battle record is the most successful in the war, 54 and 1!!!
“Comparing the two theaters of operations in the Civil War in many ways is like apples and oranges. There were different requirements to conducting operations in each theater.”…. yes and no.
“Forrest was good in his areas, the war was fought there in conditions favorable to his style of warfare. “…… john mosby did the same thing for lee in VA with his BN of raiders.
“But that type of warfare and operations do not always provide the conclusive results one is looking for.”….. tell that to grant and sherman as forrest cut his supply lines forcing them to abandond vickburg campaign in dec 1862.
“Did he have a clear cut strategy on his operations? Was there a purpose that contributed to the overall campaign by the skrimishes and battles fought?”…… do you want a mission statement with task and purpose, lol. why would you ask a question like that as if he efforts didn’t have any real benefit. Beating everyone they threw agasint him with 3000 men, forrest caused grant, shermman and thomas to send a total of 25,000 - 30,000 men to kick him out of their side of TN!!!! That caused a delay to lauching their campaign. How is that for an impact?
“It also appears that many times he was near to the end of his rope in supplies vital to continuing the fighting. Oops! There's that nasty fact of military operations...Logistics! Like many arm chair strategists you never mentioned nothing on his ability to keep up and maintain supply lines to keep a consistent campaign and strategy going.”…… get familiar with forrest before making statements like that. Gen bragg liked to send forrest on one way missions with basically no supplies and forrest would capture everything in enemy held territory while greatly outnumbered, every time! He was given nothing yet still accomplished his mission. 3 times he personally raised and furnished regiments and made them combat vets but gen bragg took took him men and squandered them every time. Forrest had a big impact on some major battles, e,g. Shiloh, Chickamauga, Chattanooga. I know they lost the latter but that was hood fault and the entire AoTN would have been captured if it wasn’t for forrest rear guard defense while Wilson outnumbered him 4 to 1He even went back across the river to save the wagons trains! ! It reminds me of stuart’s rear guard action after Gettysburg.
“Lastly you leave yourself wide open for a full broadside salvo when you use the quote at the end. Forrest did not have the opportunities for larger command and ops as did Jackson and Stuart.”……. your right and therein lies the problem, he was the one man who could have changed things in the west if he was given a command to suit his impeccable battle record. That’s A question asked to davis in the beginning of the story. His biggest command was as a LT Gen at the end of the war. He had about 5500 troops against Wilson’s 15000 strong. He typically had one bdg, sometimes two. He kept winning and winning but ther is only so much you can do with a force of that size.
Its a fact a man can be good a commanding a division but suck at commanding a corps. Good small level operations does not always make for a commander to be good at larger formation ops.”…… Forrest’s record deserves the benefit here. You sound like your talking about hood, who was one of the best brigade commanders of the war, but a bad army commander. Frankin TN resulted in high comparable losses on both sides but the confederates retained the momentum to Nashville where hood decided to destroy his army after he sent forrest to capture supplies. It reminds me of stuart being absent from beginning of Gettysburg.
“you only made the points you were showing about the man moot,”…… I don’t think so.
“ because other commanders in the war used those same methods with just as much success. Doesn't validate your conculsions.”…… so what if others used them too, im talking about his over success! 54 and 1, who else has a battle record like that??? No one thats who. I rest my case!
I have been away from home and didn't get to reread your rebuttal til now. You made my point by your rebuttal. You are on a one way street that you only see one thing "The genius of Forrest." you give him credit for everything that was accomplished during the Civil War. Yep, Forrest did it all, nobody else had any brain or savvy to do things. Damn it must be very enlightening to sit up there in your god like wisdom and dispense to the rest of us your thunderous revelations.
You are just like the British historians that even if they are faced with the facts know that Great Britain won WWII. The US was just a minor contributor.
I am fully aware of Forrest's record and his accomplishments. A 54 and 1 record, agreed that's great, but I don't believe I find his name or any of his units that were in the grand review parade in 1865 in Washington........
I remember a very senior field marshal that never lost a battle either but his country also did not win a war.
Hey guy what about John Buford dismounting his troops and fighting the Indians on foot on their terms long before Forrest knew anything about leading troops? Oh I guess selling slaves is better training than actual combat?
Cut me down, tear my statements down, okay, but just like a--holes everybody has an opinion. Stop browbeating the rest of us with the insistent selfrighteous observations that he was a genius and by God the rest of you better realize it.
Again I'll say you argue about his battle savvy and record, fine tactics and fighting. There's an old statement that says Amatuers argue tactics professionals argue logistics. You didn't answer my comments or statements about the man's ability to excel in that realm. I guess he had a bunch of lesser funkies who couldn't figure battle out, but did keep him supplied.
All hail the genius Forrest! This is my final comment because if you really did have any real military savvy you would stop with the preaching of how great he is and take a look at other leaders and soldiers who had just as much if not more on the ball than that slave trading wise arse.
N.B. Forrest's greatest disadvantage was his own temperament. However incompetent you commander is, it is generally a sure career killer to argue, disobey and issue death threats.
No need to wonder any longer why he was never granted a larger command. You could be God almighty in the saddle, but if you're insubordinate, you won't be trusted with much.
If you saying he wasn't an ass kisser you are right!
Oh here we go with the political correctness.
Forrest lived in a different time, a different world even. While slave trading wasn't considered a "gentleman's occupation" even in the antebellum South (slave traders were practically social pariahs in that time and place) there was nothing illegal about it and Forrest probably carried on the dirty (albeit protected by the COTUS) business as humanly as could be done and still turn a profit.
David, a member of a military unit can be effective and not be an ass-kisser. Unfortunatley it is a type of person that does exist and does cause the rest of us a great amount of pain in the ass! Forrest was one of those who was a maverick, what we wsould call a type free spirit today. He took his attitude to the extreme by threatening to murder those appointed above him. I can relate to what he felt. But I found out that taking a bound green government note book 5x8 and writing down the circumstances and all the players of an event especially when it conflicted with my perception or recommendation. Then dating and signing it was a much better solution than threatening superiors.
I used the slave trader fact as an illustration as to what Forrest was doing while others were developing the tactics and strategy that the author above so blidly gave Forrest credit for. I never gave any kind of opinion, one way or the other on its moral standing in the society of that day..
"He took his attitude to the extreme by threatening to murder those appointed above him."
Forrest was a formidable personalty all right (to subordinates as well as superiors) I might add something here though. When he threatened (promised really) to kill Bragg he did so in private with only one witness, Dr J B Cowan (Forrest's chief surgeon). Cowan reported that as they rode away from Braggs' headquarters he told Forrest " "Well you are in for it now!" The doctor said that Forrest replied instantly "He'll never say a word about it; he'll be the last man to mention it; and, mark my word ,he'll take no action in the matter. I will ask to be relieved and transferred to a different field and he will not oppose it"
Forrest was not only a formidable personality he was also a formidable intellect and a formidable student of human nature. He knew his man well. Bragg indeed never mentioned it and even Cowan did not do so until years after the war.
Some may give Forrest more than his due credit but you are obviously doing as Sherman did and trying to make him out to be "the devil".
I'm not trying to make him out to be the devil. Maybe others are, but not me. The man who is making Forrest out to be the devil wrote those overzealous posts and summaries. I'm sure he did max research to write his piece, but as what happens many times, a writer or author makes them selves look and sound silly by over indulging in the prose at making their point.
The gent above makes Forrest the all seeing all knowing personality of the war. "No one was a intelligent as Forrest." "He used tactics that no one else thought of." Not true, but you can't explain that to the gent.
I was a CW Lecturer and Reenactor for over two decades and I ran into alot of so called "Experts" Many years ago I found out that there are only those who know more than others on those subject and none are real "experts." I've studied the conflict for almost 40 years and I find out new things about it every day. I have more books on the subject and its participant than most small or town type libraries. Its an unfathomably deep and complex subject.
"Reminds me of Stuart being absent from the start of Gettysburg." Reviewing the piece I see that sentence. It more than convinces me the gent only knows what he wants to know and damn the rest of it as being unimportan t.
I typed a big reply to the guy who thinks forrest is overrated however my connection dropped and i lost it. I will address him again later.
So is it better to keep quiet and lose thousands of irreplaceable lives? Forrest had the personal courage to say what needed to be said. Thats why the highly incompetent gen braxton bragg tried everything to undo him. Forrest threatened him for his numerous unjustices to him and hisover all utter incompetence. After golden opportunity at Shiloh, 13 of bragg's generals petitioned pres jeff davis to have bragg relieved! Bragg did more harm to the confederacy than any other man in the war.
Forrest was not concerned with political correctness when it proved detremental to winning the war! As a commissioned officer myself, i still would have done the same.
Forrest always followed orders, except from Gen Bragg because his orders to everyone (and especially forrest) effectively meant losing.
Jeff davis is to blame for keeping bragg as theatre commander in the west, where the war was lost. Lincoln knew to appoint the commander who had proven success in battle. Davis did it out of political favoritism, and personal friendship with bragg going back to when he saved him at beuna vista during mexican american war, which was the last good thing bragg ever did on a battle field. I did a post on incompetence of LTG Bragg so read that if you want to see what i mean.
I made the original post and just changed userID to WarBuff1. Sorry i took so long to respond but i was in Iraq.
If there was one man capable of changing the situation in the western theatre, that man would be forrest. If one man could be to blame for the confederate disaster in the west, that man would be LTG Braxton Bragg (see my separate post on bragg for the details). Bragg did everything possible to hold forrest back that that dynamic is another story in itself. Also, I appreciate the humor although a wrongful analogy, about the brits claiming victory in WWI and WWII without US making much of a diff.
What is your point about non of forrest's units (or any confederate) under grand review in DC after the war? Perhaps that history is written by the victors, or MODERN PROGRESSIVE REVISIONISTS SACRIFICE HISTORICAL ACCURACY FOR POLITICAL CORRECTNESS???
Whats your point about john buford? His cav was crucial to defend the high ground on day 1 of gettysburg against conf inf, which shaped the battle.
I admit forrest was a slave trader before the war. His realtion with black people though is complex and a whole nother story in itself. E.g. Forrest was guest keynote speaker at black rights rally, in the organization that the NAACP later became. After speaking, he gave the leading black female a hug and kiss on stage which was scandalous at the time. He was a hero to the black community that knew him, but i realize there is common stories of PROGRESSIVE REVISIONIST HISTORY which makes that controversial.
Ive heard that quote before. However, you are way off the mark about forrest's "logistical issues". I had replied that to you last year so go back and see my explanation. Many times over, he done more to supply his cav that the confederate government!
Now do you get it?
I object sir! I read entire book just on stuart and am quite familar with his mission from Lee before, during and after gettysburg. Do you have any specifics for me to address?
Someone seems to be confusing JEB Stuart with Forrest here.
Answer me this my young general in wanting.....if you find the enemy in a spot where he's not supposed to be, do you continue with your mission or do you turn back and scrub the whole thing. Have you read "The Gettysburg Campaign" by Coddington? I should hope so.
Second I know all about his efforts to supply his men, I'm not ignorant on that fact. You are missing the point when it comes to that particular field. You write that Forrest did what had to be done and was successful. There were other CSA commanders who kept their troops supplied better than what they got from the CSA government. But included in your writing you trumpet the call of self righteousness that only your opinion of Forrest is the sole one that matters.
Not only is that insulting to people who have spent half their lives studying this subject but makes you subject to ridcule and the losing of people who might agree with some of your statements. In other words you are self destructing by your arrogance in your prose.
I laud you in your service to your country and technology is a marvelous thing, but I remember deployments to Southeast Asia and we didn't have awhole lot of off time to consider 100 year old plus strategy. We were too busy replacing and repairing engines, loading bombs and rockets and working extended hours on the flight deck.
I worked for a time as a technical writer and was warned to watch my writing style so as not make myself look silly or too self righteous.
I'm very glad we have people who want to study this era of history and our culture, but please take it easy on the rest of us. We have just as good an opinion of certain people of that time era, but we have learned to tone our passions for the subject down somewhat to avoid stepping on the wrong toes.
Sgt,in mine and my wife's personal library we have over 4500 books. I have 301 books on the Civil War alone. Yesterday, I ordered two books on General John McClernand. May not seem like much but I'm steadily increasing my stock. I also have access to books from a Civil historian in Michigan which contains alot of out of print books on the subject. As I have said earlier, I've been studying this conflict for the better part of four decades and feel at times I've barely scratched the surface of it. I learn something on it every day, and I reserve my feeling on certain personalities in check so I'm not branded a "know it all" or an "arrogant *******" when it comes to dealing with others.
I do applaud your zeal, but take it easy on other people's feelings.
Right now I feel, as I have expressed before, that you have one school of thought on this subject, yours and yours alone. to hell with the rest of us, you are right and we are wrong. Period.
Now you can write what you want, tear me to shreds, rip me up, but your actions in your writing has proven my point more than once. I'm not going to waste any more time clashing with you. You are stuck in your own arrogance, and when you can learn to respect the opinions and views of others on this subject, I'm not going to respond.
Too vague for an honest answer. So I'll wing it. In the face of superior numbers one neither divides ones forces much less pushes on. Lee gambled and won in the past but was due for a failure. At Chancellorsville, luck, as well as "Stonewall" Jackson was at his side. He also was well aware of the size and location of the Union divisions. Such was not the case at Gettysburg. At least not at the beginning of the campaign.
I made it that way on purpose scooter. You chose the right answer. Its up to the commander on the scene at the time. Stuart found quite alot of the AofP in his way where it wasn't supposed to be. He made his decision. Same with George Custer, he ran into Indians a day before and quite a few miles from where they were supposed to be. He also made the decision. Wasn't a good one, but he did.
I don't mind him writing his pieces. He's very good, but, he has to learn there are others out there who did contribute just as much and were just as capable. I remember a major world power who's greatest general in a hundred fifty years developed a plan to take bridges with airborne troops and armor. He ignored the country's Staff war college who's final exam was the very same plan he used. Only it was the answer that was the failing one. My point, don't become fixed on one view or person and go trumpeting it to the world and proclaiming you have all the answers. Keep an open broad mind and consider ALL factors to an event.
One of the biggest questions that still really has no concrete answer is why Lee didn't use the other 50% of the cavalry Stuart left behind? I've had people tell me, "It wasn't any good. or Lee didn't know how to use cavalry. So naturally the easy way out is to blame Stuart. I like the statement Coddington makes in The Gettysburg Campaign.(paraphrasing) "The staff work of the Headquarters of the Army of Northern Virginia that spring of 1863 was shoddy and haphazard at best. It was a miracle that they accomplished what they did." Should have Stuart turned back? What would have been the results? Again there would have been no real scouting done of the area and would the armies still have collided? Hmmmm point to ponder?
Attention Civil War people, the History Channel is running Gettysburg, the Battle That Changed a Nation right now. The second half of this program is a complete LIE! Custer did not route Stuart's 4000 with 400 hundred troops. This is the biggest piece of crap I have seen on the Military Channel so far. Yet this program has run at least 12 times during the last 4 months! Its trash!!
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