Defend Confederal General Forrest


SHNV Patriots,

Please read the information posted below concerning an article in "Civil War Preservation Trust Magazine" that berates and disparages Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Then please e-mail Mrs. Mary D. Koik at and ask that she she print a correction acknowledging that her article contained inaccurate statements that maligned General Forrest.

James W. King
Sons of Confederate Veterans  Camp 141
Lt. Col. Thomas M. Nelson
Albany Georgia

The link below is to an article in the fall issue of Civil War Preservation Trust magazine, Hallowed Ground, which paints a negative image of Gen. Forrest,  i.e  maligning him for "his post war involvement in the Ku Klux Klan", "accusations of war crimes at Fort Pillow", and "ardent proponent of white supremacy, joining the Ku Klux Klan".

Never does the article state that he was cleared of any charges of war crimes at Fort Pillow, that he disavowed the Klan once it became too violent, that he commended the black Confederate soldiers that served
under him during the war, and that he gave a goodwill address to the black organization, the Independent Order of Pole Bearers in 1875.  See more at:

I hope you will consider writing a rebuttal of the article to the editor: Ms Mary D. Koik at
Here is the link to the Hallowed Ground article:

Posted below is a rebuttal letter by my friend and SCV compatriot Calvin Johnson to the Editor of Civil War Trust Magazine. I hope there are many more sent.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To: Civil War Preservation Trust Magazine
Att: Mrs. Mary D. Koik, Editor

Dear Mrs. Kiok,

I would appreciate your kind consideration in publishing my letter below in response to your article “Hallowed Ground” about Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Please feel free to contact me if you need additional
information. Thank you!

Another View of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest
By: Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.

Union Gen. William T. Sherman said of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest,

"After all, I think Forrest as the most remarkable man our ‘Civil War’ produced on either side."

This came from a man who was a foe of Forrest on the field of battle.

May I dedicate this letter to Mr. Nelson Winbush of Kissimmee, Florida, a Black man and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans whose grandfather Louis Napoleon Nelson fought with Gen. Nathan Bedford

Why do some who write about Forrest leave out the fact that he offered freedom to any Black man who rode with him during the War Between the States?  He praised those African-American soldiers who did serve him as
gallant warriors.

Several years ago attempts were made to change the name of Forrest Park in Memphis , Tennessee . The attacks continue by people who really don’t know the man.

Some say Gen. Forrest may have been an early advocate for Civil Rights?

Forrest’s speech during a meeting of the "Jubilee of Pole Bearers" is a story that needs to be told. Gen. Forrest was the first white man to be invited by this group which was a forerunner of today’s Civil Rights group. A reporter of the Memphis Avalanche newspaper was sent to cover the event that included a Southern barbeque supper.

Miss Lou Lewis, daughter of a Pole Bearer member, was introduced to Forrest and she presented the former general a bouquet of flowers as a token of reconciliation, peace and good will. On July 5, 1875, Nathan
Bedford Forrest delivered this speech:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the Southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man,
to depress none.


I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics.  You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing
myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand." (Prolonged applause.)

End of speech.

Nathan Bedford Forrest again thanked Miss Lewis for the bouquet…and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. Such a kiss was unheard of in the society of those days, in 1875, but it showed a token of respect and
friendship between the general and the black community and did much to promote harmony among the citizens of Memphis .

It is written that Gen. Forrest did not join the Ku Klux Klan but did work to see it disbanded. He was also cleared of any wrong doing at Fort Pillow.

People who learn the truth about those who fought during the War Between the States can sometimes better understand why the men and women fought for Southern Independence.