View single post by cklarson
 Posted: Sat Sep 12th, 2009 06:50 am
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Joined: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007
Posts: 111

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My visceral perception of Forrest has always been that he is a hero because: a) people love guerrillas (read: underdogs); and b) by definition, being from Mississippi, he was their state hero. Beyond that I find it difficult to gloss over: a) his slave trading career; b) his responsiblity for the Ft. Pillow massacre of US black troops and, I think, also whites; and c) his founding of the KKK (although to his credit, even he quit after they became so violent).

But more precisely, some years ago I heard a very good lecture by a West Point history instructor who did a professional review of Forrest's career. His major conclusions were: 1) his guerrilla reputation is somewhat glorified, as he never went up against a force of more than 2,500 men and when he finally did he was beaten; 2) he was a terrible subordinate--had to do things his own way.

Otherwise folks might be interested in the 10-page deposition of Mary Ann Pitman, aka Lt. Rawley, who was a soldier under Forrest and worked as a gun runner to and from St. Louis for him. The provost marshal who interestviewed her declined her offer to set up Forrest in a trap to be captured, apparently doubting her motives. The most revealing part of the deposition is the questioning at the end in which she relates the goings on at, I think, KGC meetings in which assassinations and robberies of US soldiers were planned. In the end, she preferred not to rejoin her former service. This interview is in the official army records; just look up her name in the general index.


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