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[326] rapidity under fire, and under all circumstances of surrounding peril or of great mental or bodily fatigue. Panic found no resting place in that calm brain of his, and no dangers, no risks appalled that dauntless spirit. Inspired with true military instincts, he was, most verily, nature's soldier.

His force was largely composed of wild and reckless men, who all looked to him as their master, their leader, and over whom he had obtained the most complete control. He possessed that rare tact—unlearnable from books—which enabled him not only effectively to control these fiery, turbulent spirits, but to attach them to him personally ‘with hooks of steel.’ In him they recognized not only the daring, able and successful leader, but also the commanding officer who would not hesitate to punish with severity when he deemed punishment necessary.

He thoroughly understood the nature and disposition of those he had to deal with, their strong and their weak points, what they could and could not accomplish. He never ventured to hamper their freedom of action by any sort of stiff barrack-yard drill, or to embarrass it by any preconceived notions of what a soldier should look like. They were essentially irregulars by nature, and he never attempted to rob them of that character. They possessed as an inheritance all the best and most valuable fighting qualities of the irregulars, accustomed as they were from boyhood to horses and the use of arms, and brought up with all the devil-may-care, lawless notions of the frontiersman. But the most volcanic spirit among them felt he must bow before the superior iron will of the determined man who led them. There was a something about the dark-grey eye of Forrest which warned his subordinates he was not to be trifled with, and would stand no nonsense from either friend or foe. He was essentially a practical man of action, with a dauntless, fiery soul and heart that knew no fear.

To take my readers through his military career would be to rewrite the history of most of the war in the Southern States of the Confederacy. He was present at the eventful battle of Shiloh, a brilliant secessionist victory one day, a defeat the day after. When General Beauregard's line of battle halted on the evening of Sunday, the 6th of April, in the midst of the Federal camps which had been taken, his troops were thoroughly exhausted, and thought only of obtaining food from the captured supply wagons. Forrest on his own initiative, pushed forward his scouts to watch the enemy's doings

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N. B. Forrest (1)
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