Nathan Bedford Forrest


Nathan Bedford Forrest Famous memorial

Chapel Hill, Marshall County, Tennessee, USA
Death 29 Oct 1877 (aged 56)
Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee, USA
Burial Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee, USA
Memorial ID 355 View Source

Civil War Confederate Lieutenant General. He was born in Marshal County, Tennessee, the son of a poverty-stricken backwoods blacksmith. At age 16 and with no formal education, the death of his father left him with the responsibility of provide for himself and a large family. He became a multimillionaire by being a slave trader, as well owning a cotton plantation, trading horses and cattle, and acting as a real-estate broker. At the onset of the Civil War, he enlisted as a private in a Tennessee regiment before quickly rising through the ranks, even without having received any formal military training. He was noted for supporting the Confederacy monetarily, helping provide men under his command with horses and equipment at his own expense. He is noted as a highly successful raider behind Union lines, but also faced off in more traditional battles. In April 1864, General Forrest received word that citizens near Fort Pillow were being victimized by U.S. troops and Union loyalists which had been sent to the abandoned fort for no logical reason or military advantage for the enemy. This became the Battle of Fort Pillow. These soldiers — black troops as well as white Union loyalists from Tennessee — had not surrendered the fort or removed the U.S. flag after General Forrest repeatedly gave U.S. Major William Bradford opportunities to surrender and avoid bloodshed. U.S. troops continued to fire upon advancing Confederate troops after hiding arms and ammunition along the bluff. Black soldiers played "dead" then arose again to fire on Confederate troops. Rather than be taken prisoner, U.S. soldiers ran down the bluff where they drown in the Mississippi River when the U.S. gunboat failed to return to pick them up. In 1871, U.S. Congressional and Senate investigative subcommittees found no connection between General Forrest and the kuklux, which had organized in Tennessee to protect their citizens under subjugation by Tennessee governor Parson Brownlow. General Forrest died of acute complications from diabetes at the Memphis home of his brother, Jesse. Services were held at Court Avenue Presbyterian Church in Memphis before he was buried at Elmwood Cemetery. In 1904, he and his wife were reinterred at Forrest Park where a bronze equestrian monument by sculptor Charles H. Niehaus was erected as the General's headstone in 1905. This park was renamed Health Sciences Park in 2013 by the city council. In June 2021, the couple's remains were disinterred for reburial at the National Confederate Museum in Columbia. This reinterment followed years of grave desecration, vandalism, protests, and lawsuits that resulted in the removal of his headstone monument during the night in December 2017 by a tree removal company.

Bio by: ck


JULY 13, 1821
OCTOBER 29, 1877

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 355
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Nathan Bedford Forrest (13 Jul 1821–29 Oct 1877), Find a Grave Memorial ID 355, citing National Confederate Museum at Elm Springs, Columbia, Maury County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .