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 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 02:54 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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David,

I agree wholeheartedly with you.....two "wrongs" don't make a right.

I also certainly didn't wish to appear as though I were arguing with you, if that's how it came across, you have my appologies.

The United States also dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; both of which hastened war's end.....Was it right or wrong for the U. S. to do that??......Certainly, no one was beheaded, but civilians were vaporized....

As I said in my previous post, no one will ever agree as to whether or not Ft. Pillow were a massacre; however military engagements were different than waging war on unarmed civilians, no "tit for tat" arguing. We can never fully understand what was in the minds of Forrest's troops at Ft. Pillow. We can only imagine their feelings of having their "property" (as slaves were considered by 19th centurey standards, not 21st century standards) shoot at them. If one's dog becomes vicious and rises against a person, does one not strike it down? A crude comaprison, I know, but former slaves were seen as the "dog".

Again, I appoligize if I've given offense.

 

Albert Sailhorst, Cannoner, Scott's TN Battery



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 03:06 pm
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David White
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No offense at all, I just thought my real point was misunderstood and wanted to clarify that. 

I do believe something wrong happened at Ft. Pillow and Forrest does have to accept some guilt for that just like the lady general at Abu Gharib shared culbability in that event even though she may not have witnesssed or condoned it.  The commander has to instill the right climate in his/her command and if that is not done or they look the other way, they share some of the culpability. 

Even accepting the property argument, which I may to a certain extent, the white Tennesseans fighting for the Union who were killed after the fighting ended were not former property and should not have been treated as they were.  It was without a doubt, a highly charged situation that had many unfortunate events by both sides contribute to what happened.



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 03:23 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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David,

Exactly!!...It was a highly charged event!! Excellent choice of words!!.....I think the fact that it was highly charged is what makes the massacre debate such a "heated" one. With so many facts, so many conflicting accounts...and so much time having passed, no one will ever be able to difinatively say it was a massacre or not. At one point, Forrest did order the shooting stopped, yet it, to some degree, continued. Even a day after the battle, troops did some terrible things, and yet other troops did some humane things....

Thanks for stimulating my thoughts!!

 

Albert Sailhorst, Scott's TN Battery



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 03:34 pm
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susansweet
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Albert and David , thanks , I learn so much when the two of you post.  That was a good discussion of what may have happened at Fort Pillows. 



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 03:49 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Susan,

You're welcome! I also think that thanks goes out to all posters on the Discussion Board....I sure learn alot from everybody and that lets me see things from different angles, consider possibilities I might otherwise have closed my mind to....The way other people can help stimulate my brain sure is fun! That's what I like about reenacting: I get to be with different people who know more than I do and I can learn from them!

Just out of curiousity, has anybody visited Ft. Pillow?....If so, what are your thoughts/opinions?

I used to live close to there, and have visited many times, although it's been 7 years. I always enjoyed the mueseum, the trails, the movies, the Park Rangers...



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 06:57 pm
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younglobo
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OK first I would not want to compare the men that fought for the Confederacy to the insurgents in Iraq, who are cowards, that rarley face our forces in what some would be called a legit battle and target civilians without concern. Also I would not compare a man dying to puttin a pair of painties on thier head , IMO the terriost in Iraq are just that and don't deserve to be treated as soilders, Reminds me of how the Guerillas under the black flag were treated, but i'm raving here.

Second when General order # 143, Creation of U.S. Colored Troops 1863 was announced by the the Federal Gov. which as another poster stated put what most southerners considered as property in battle with them ,thier reprisal was a Confed. General order ( I could not find the Number ) but to quote historicaldocuments.com "The black troops, however, faced greater peril than white troops when captured by the Confederate Army. In 1863 the Confederate Congress threatened to punish severely officers of black troops and to enslave black soldiers."

So the Union Gov. responds by issuing:

"As a result, President Lincoln issued General Order 233, threatening reprisal on Confederate prisoners of war (POWs) for any mistreatment of black troops. Although the threat generally restrained the Confederates, black captives were typically treated more harshly than white captives. In perhaps the most heinous known example of abuse, Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest shot to death black Union soldiers captured at the Fort Pillow, TN, engagement of 1864."


 Seems to me that the union gov is saying if you harm black soilders your POW will pay for it  not very civil HUH.   But to quote the man we are discussing "War means fighting and fighting means killing".

I am not a blood thirsty savage here just a realist to break this whole deal down to basics , if i put a sign in my front yard saying beware of dog and you come on my yard and im not around, so my dog bites you, I warned you. That is what these 2 groups were doing here. Course my wife says I am a redneck that over simplifies things.

And I am not taking anything personally here  except one thing my ID is YoungLobo not YoungBlood :D Young meanin im 36 lobo= souix translation for wolf

 

 



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 07:28 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Younglobo,

You did a lot of reaearch in your answer....well done!

Additionally, Forrest did take black troops as prisoners from Ft. Pillow. All prisoners from Ft. Pillow, both black and white, were sent to Andersonville.

Again for anyone interested, I HIGHLY recomend the book "River Run Red". It doesn't convince me whether or not there was what could be considered a "massacre", but it is probably the most comprehensive book I ever read about the battle of Ft. Pillow. It is very well researched and tells the story before, during and after the battle. A very good read....I was sorry the book ended and there weren't more to read!!

Albert Sailhorst, Scott's Battery



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 08:26 pm
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ole
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Good people. Excellent discussion on Ft. Pillow! There is no doubt that some "excesses" occurred there. But that wasn't the only incident of the red-eye running rampant. Sherman tossed it off as one of those things for which the Confederates would be required to pay ..... eventually. Ft. Pillow is a poster child of rampage on both sides.

It is, however, unfortunately true that the Confederacy's official attitude toward black soldiers was to execute their white officers and recommit the soldier to slavery. That goes a long way toward explaining Lincoln's reaction: "You kill POWs and we will reciprocate." Tit for tat. It was not a game.

Ole



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 08:35 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Ole,

You're right....Ft. Pillow does seem to be the Poster Child for eccesses!! It seems very few other "atrocities", aside from Andersonville, ever get disussed or written about.....



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 08:46 pm
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younglobo
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Albert.. thanks for the kind words

Ole ... We think Alike, Great points

I did some more research and came across the Forrest Historical Society Site, which is sponsored by SCV so it may be bias but still somethin to think about.

quote    "It is said Forrest was kind to his negroes; that he never separated members of a family, and that he always told his slaves to go out in the city and choose their own masters. There is no instance of any slave taking advantage of the permission to run away. Forrest taught them that it was to their own interest not to abuse the privilege; and, as he also taught them to fear him exceedingly, I can believe the story. There were some men in the town to whom he would never sell a slave, because they had the reputation of being cruel masters.”

"Testimony is unanimous that besides the ordinary good business practice of looking after the physical well-being of the slaves he bought and sold, he went to lengths to keep families together, and even to reunite them, so as to avoid the painful separations that were too common in the days of the rapid expansion of cotton planting in the lower Mississippi River region; and that frequently he was besought by slaves to purchase them, because of his reputation for kindness and fair treatment. "  END quote 

Facts & quotes taken from “First With the Most”, Robert Henry, pg. 23-27.

Now I am well aware that Forrest was a slave trader , but the record shows the he was pretty fair to the colored race so did he or did he not know to full extent what was happening at Frt. Pillow ?  He did give orders for it to stop so he thought it was out of hand . HMMM stuff to think on

 



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 08:58 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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To enhance younglobo's examples of Forrest's attitude toward blacks, just look at how he treated and respected them after the war.

The following is taken from http://www.scvcamp469-nbf.com/thememphisspeech.htm: (I have often seen this speech in other books and articles as well, so I don't think there's any bias to it at all!)

"The following article is the speech.....General Nathan Bedford Forrest spoke to an African-Southern American Political and Social Group, the Jubilee of Pole Bearers on July 4, 1875 ...."

Miss Lou Lewis was introduced to General Forrest and then presented him with a bouquet of flowers and said, "Mr. Forrest, allow me to present you with this bouquet as a token of reconciliation, an offering of peace and good will."

    General Forrest received the flowers with a bow and replied, "Miss Lewis, Ladies and Gentlemen, I accept these flowers as a token of reconciliation between the White and Colored races in the South. I accept these more particularly, since they came from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's green earth who loves the ladies, it is myself. This is a proud day for me. Having occupied the position I have for thirteen years and being misunderstood by the Colored race, I take this occasion to say that I am your friend. I am here representative of the Southern People - one that has been more maligned then any other. I assure you that every man who was in the Confederate Army is your friend. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, live in the same land, and why should we not be brothers and sisters. When the war broke out, I believed it was my duty to fight for my country, and I did so. I came here with the sneers and jeers of a few of the White people, who did not think it right.. I think it right, and I will do all I can to bring harmony, peace and unity. I want to elevate every man, and see that you take your places in your shops, stores and offices. I don't propose to say anything about politics- but I want you to do as I do- go to the polls and select the best man to vote for. I feel that you are free men, I am a free man, and we can do as we please. I come here as a friend and whenever I can serve any of you, I will do so. We have one Union, one flag and one country, therefore let us stand together. Although we differ in color, we should not differ in sentiment. Many things have been said in regard to myself, and many reports circulated,, which perhaps may be believed by some of you, but there are many around that contradict them. I have many times been in the heat of battle, oftener, perhaps, then any within the sound of my voice. Men have come to me and ask for a quarter, both Black and White, and I have shielded them. Do your duty as citizens, and if you are oppressed, I will be your friend. I thank you for the flowers, and ensure you that I am with you in heart and hand."


I sure wouldn't construe his words as racist......

Last edited on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 08:59 pm by Albert Sailhorst



 Posted: Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 11:13 pm
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ole
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Some of the adoration of NBF can be accepted as a man who, unlike many, treated the slave in a manner approximating humane. Let us not forget, however, that he became wealthy in the legal business of selling people. I'm convinced that some of the stories of his kindness are genuine, and others are putting a pleasant face on his business. He was a businessman. He could scratch out a few more percentage points by improving the health of the slaves he put on the block. That's what businessmen do.

Ole

 



 Posted: Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 01:28 pm
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HankC
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younglobo wrote: Hank C

Did you know Forrest quit the KKK because he thought it was getting to Violent and wasn't helping  the post civil war south. For a man like  Forrenst to quit the KKK due to the level of violence says something.  As far as Fort Pillow , the North was warned by the Confed. what would happen to Colored union soilders and thier officers captured in battle.

 


As I said, there are 2 sides to the Forrest myth and the truth lies in between...

 

HankC



 Posted: Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 02:49 pm
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David White
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Younglobo:

Sorry about messing your name up, I wasn't paying close enough attention.

I will disagree and say that the Confederacy is more guilty by uping the ante by saying they would execute black soldiers (some who were always freedmen and never slaves) and white officers.  It was a war crime even by 19th Century standards.  I also think the Union's "tat" answer was also wrong but only came about due to the Confederacy's "tit."  All war crimes should stand on their own merits or wrongs rather. 

There is a fine line between aggressiveness and war crimes and the line sometimes blurs but an accountable commander must keep things in check.  Forrest obviously did not do enough at Ft. Pillow.  As did other Confederate commanders who were even more guilty than Forrest at Saltville, Olustee, the Crater and other battlefields.  Forrest made a mistake  but I don't think he should have been tried as a war criminal.  I think he lost three of those 30 horses that day and had taken some bad spills so his bad day is understandable.  The foul mood of his men is also understandable but Forrest should have been in touch with that mood and supervised his men better to make sure they did not get out of control. 



 Posted: Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 03:36 pm
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ole
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Young meanin im 36 lobo= souix translation for wolf


Actually it's a Spanish derivation of the Latin, lupus. And 36 qualifies as a grown up (as opposed to many of us in our sunset glory). But I  digress. Forrest is the topic and I do find any discussion of the man fascinating. By the way, younglobo, this is not directed at you, I'm simply using your post as a springboard. (However, having been reared in the land of the Lakotah, I do take issue with your spelling of "Sioux."

Re: His warning.The "if you don't surrender, I can't be responsible" line was standard in demands for surrender. Nearly everyone in a position to ask for surrender used it. Ergo, fair warning at Fort Pillow is not a factor.

Forrest did take Negro prisoners at Fort Pillow after he stopped the slaughter, but there is one factor that is often ignored at that incident: casualties. Casualty numbers indicate the severity of fighting. If "x" percent of a regiment is killed in a battle, "y" percent is wounded and "z" percent is missing (ran, captured or body not found), you have a fair concept of the fighting that took place. When that "x" percent spikes way above an average, you may well figure that a bit more killing went on than just fighting. Look at the numbers. When "killed" exceeds wounded and captured, you have a questionable action.

I've said before that I am unwilling to call Ft. Pillow a massacre. But I'm equally unwilling to overlook the fact that there was some excessive killing going on there. It would be welcome if, for one brief moment, partisanship could be removed from the discussion (am I sounding like Dubya or Pelosi?). There is ample evidence of Confederate abuse of the defenders of Ft. Pillow, and that Forrest halted it when he regained control.

To make a short story longer, I'd like to talk more about the man. He fought for the losing side. As did Lee and a number of other truly good people. Actually, I compare Forrest with Lee when the war finally ended. It was their attitude -- kinda like "OK, we've been whipped and fairly. We are now obliged to make our way as best we can under the conditions we earned." Forrest confirmed, for me, his basic good sense in complying with the inevitable. He put his copious energies into repairing the breech. He worked with the Klan when it had a purpose, and he shed it when it no longer met with his goals. He qualifies, in my judgement, as a great leader of men.

Ole (that's quite enough for one morning's ramblings)

.



 Posted: Fri Feb 23rd, 2007 03:56 pm
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ole
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The foul mood of his men is also understandable but Forrest should have been in touch with that mood and supervised his men better to make sure they did not get out of control. 
Both agree and disagree Aggie (that's a compliment). The commander is responsible but cannot always control his troops to the degree that he might want. That's as applicable to Forrest and the occasional excesses of his troops as it is to Sherman and his progress through Georgia. Each was responsible, but neither had the total control we'd like to imagine they should have. Get up a couple hunderd men with muskets and, at some point, they are lost to you. It becomes a mob and follows a different drummer.

To condemn Forrest, or Sherman, is to ignore reality. There is a point at which ultimate control ceases. We can assign responsibility and imagine a perfect world, but that ain't gonna happen.

More rambling. Ole



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 12:07 am
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Johan Steele
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Ole... I see you followed the Ft Pillow thread over on CWT.  I believe you pretty much hit it spot on.

 

My take on it is simply that he stopped the murders as soon as he found out what was going on.  Did he order or encourage it?  No, but he also wasn't on top of things when it came time to stop it.  Forrest was not the first to treat USCT POW's roughly and he was not the last.  Jeff Davis w/ his order to enslave or execute black men wearing the blue... was disgraceful.

As to comparing Sherman & Forrest... done by some not a fair comparison as Sherman Commanded Armies, while the largest force Forrest ever commanded was in the neighborhood of 4500 men.  The actions of Shermans men... were dramaticly exaggerated by the Lost Cause and unfortunately it has caught on in American culture.  Shermans Campaign to the Sea & through the Carolinas was one of the least bloody and most effective in the ACW.  It broke the back of the CS and for that the Lost Cause hated/hate Sherman and his men ever since.

Younglobo... 1.  Sioux is a white mans name for the Lakota and not a compliment.  In fact it is a calculated insult.

2.  The Lakota word for wolf is Sunktokeca; sungmanitu would be the plural.

Courtesy of Icapogan Iyowaza.

Last edited on Sat Feb 24th, 2007 01:08 am by Johan Steele



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 01:55 am
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ole
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Johan Steele:

My point was simply that Forrest's excuse for Fort Pillow should apply as well to Sherman's devastating saunter across the south. If there were excesses,  They should be attributed to  the understandable exuyberance of the troops committing them. Although the commander is ultimately responsible, it is quite understood that he didn't, in fact, necessarily order it.

Much appreciated your Lakota words for "wolf." I remember in my youth a fellow named Al Ramey. He was a native American and was refused service at the town pub as a "canoe pusher."  I can only remember the story that he pitched bales with both arms -- one bale in this one and one bale in that one. Saw him once or twice. Shoulders like a buffalo. Hands like hams hanging from arms like tree trunks. Never did figure out why he was shunned. Looked like a decent man to me.

Ole



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 02:01 am
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There may have been another factor at Fort Pillow.  It has to do with the chivalric traditions of battle and notions of social equality.  This is just my wild theory, I've never read it anywhere.  What's more, I've never visited the South and I really don't know what I'm talking about.  So bear with me here, please.

Back in the days of yore, when some guys clanked around in tin suits, the general idea was that in battle, it should be a contest between equals.  That is, equal social rank, equal weapons, equal numbers.  Face to face.  The code duello is the perfect illustration.  No sniping, no carrying hidden weapons, no ganging up.

In battle they generally took prisoners to hold for ransom.  A fund-raising activity, you might call it.  So to kill a prisoner was deemed unchivalric as well as unprofitable.

Equal social rank was probably the most important of all.  Aristocrats wouldn't have anything to do with common people.  Noblemen wouldn't fight with yeomen.  It took a thousand years to break that concept that your social status is unchangeable.  What your father was, so you will be.  A bankrupt aristocrat had more privileges than a wealthy merchant.

A slave society must justify itself by believing that the slaves are inferior people.  And when all the slaves are black/mulatto/quadroon/octoroon, it's easy to make the transition from slaves-are-inferiors to blacks-are-inferiors.  I've never read about any white slaves.

So, here you are at Ft. Pillow, a Confederate soldier facing USCTs.  All your life you have been taught to believe they're your inferiors.  The Yankees have changed the rules by putting them on the same level as you.  The underpinnings of your life's belief about what's right and good and proper and civilized - gone!  Would you feel angry, bewildered, frustrated?

I might have, in those circumstances.  Rage is so hard to control.

Patty



 Posted: Sat Feb 24th, 2007 01:04 pm
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Johan Steele
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Widow I suppose you might have the crux of the attitudes...



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