previous next

[334] his plume in battle, and who were not only personally devoted to him, but thoroughly believed in him as a skillful and an eminent leader. He reminded his men that the terms granted by Mr. Lincoln were satisfactory, and manifested ‘a spirit of magnanimity and liberality on the part of the Federal authorities.’ ‘Whatever your responsibilities may be to government, to society, or to individuals, meet them like men. The attempt made to establish a separate and independent confederation has failed; but the consciousness of having done your duty faithfully, and to the end, will, in some measure, repay you for the hardships you have undergone.’ The last paragraph of this famous order was as follows: ‘I have never on the field of battle sent you where I was unwilling to go myself; nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue. You have been good soldiers; you can be good citizens.’

Forrest had fought like a knight-errant for the cause he believed to be that of justice and right. No man who drew the sword for his country in that fratricidal struggle deserved better of her; and as long as the chivalrous deeds of her sons find poets to describe them and fair women to sing of them, the name of this gallant, though lowborn and uneducated general, will be remembered by every Southern State with affection and sincere admiration. A man with such a record needs no ancestry, and his history proves that a general with such a heart and such a military genius as he possessed, can win battles without education.

Like most of the planters who had become soldiers, the end of the war found him financially ruined. But with that pluck and energy which characterized every action of his life, he at once set to work to retrieve his fortune. He went back to his plantation, and from it he extracted enough to keep him from want. He also embarked as a contractor upon some of the railways then being pushed over the Western plains, and although he was never rich again, his gains placed him above poverty.

He died about twelve years after the close of the war, from the effects of the wound near the spine, which he received at the battle of Shiloh. He had been four times wounded, and had had eighteen horses killed and ten others wounded under him during his four years of war service. What a record!

It would be difficult in all history to find a more varied career than his—a man who, from the greatest poverty, without any learning, and by sheer force of character alone, became a great fighting leader of fighting men—a man in whom an extraordinary military instinct

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Lincoln (1)
N. B. Forrest (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: