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Lieutenant-Colonel of a cavalry battalion.

On the 14th of June, 1861, Nathan Bedford Forrest was enrolled as a private in a Confederate cavalry company, and went into camp near Randolph, Tennessee. About the 10th of July, 1861, Hon. Isham G. Harris, the great war Governor of Tennessee, knowing Forrest well and having a high regard for the man, telegraphed him to come to Memphis, and there, through the aid of General Polk, procured authority for him to raise a regiment of cavalry for Confederate service. This was somewhat difficult authority to obtain at that time, for in the beginning of the war neither side regarded cavalry as of much value for fighting purposes;. and it is, perhaps, more due to Forrest than to any other man, that the cavalry was subsequently so largely increased and played such an important part on both sides. But Forrest's men were not properly called cavalry — they more nearly resembled the dragoons of the sixteenth century, who are described as “mounted foot soldiers.” Jackson's corps were called “web-footed cavalry,” and Forrest's troopers might well be called “winged infantry.”

On the 20th of July, Forrest mustered his first company into service, and about the same time smuggled out of Louisville, Kentucky, though closely watched, pistols and saddles to equip them. During the second week of October, 1861, he organized a battalion of eight companies, of which he was elected Lieutenant-Colonel, and the day after its organization moved for Fort Donelson, and commenced his active and brilliant career, which knew no cessation until the armies of the South were surrendered. I shall not in this address undertake to follow in detail his successful and marvellous career, nor shall I indulge in any flowers of rhetoric to adorn my story. I will attempt by a plain and simple recital of his most prominent deeds, to raise up the monument he hewed out for himself, and leave to other hands to polish its surface and crown it with appropriate wreaths of beauty.

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