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Summarizing General Forrest's personal characteristics, Bishop Gailor says:

‘He was a man of immense physical strength and size, and as resolute and audacious in personal encounters as in open battle. His temper was terrific when aroused, and his language was often violent and profane, but never vulgar or obscene. He detested uncleanness, as he despised wanton cruelty and oppression. In the midst of the battle, when his own life was in peril, he was known to rescue a woman and a child from danger and carry them to a place of safety. While he thrashed a scout with hickory switches for giving him second-hand information, he degraded one of his best officers for trifling with the affections of a woman. He was unlearned, but not illiterate. A pen, he said once, reminded him of a snake; and his spelling was consistently wrong, but his natural eloquence could move his troops to enthusiasm. He did not know the first principles of the drill, being astonished at the effect of a trumpet-call upon disciplined soldiers, and yet, in his general plan of battle he instinctively adopted mature tactics of Napoleon. He exercised an authority as a general that was absolutely intolerant of the slightest variation or disobedience, and yet he was the genial companion of his subordinates, and was foremost in exposing himself in every battle. He had twenty-nine horses killed under him, and with his own hand slew thirty men.’

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Louis Napoleon (1)
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