J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Ft. Pillow”

Happy Birthday General Forrest

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Today marks the anniversary of one of the Civil War’s most influential and controversial commanders, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Born on July 13, 1821, Forrest rose to fame after enlisting as a private in the War Between the States. Because of his outstanding, strategical military mind, he advanced to general during the course of the war.

At the onset of the Civil War, Forrest was a wealthy planter, slave trader, and real estate investor. Although he had no formal education, he worked hard (his father died when he was 17, leaving him responsible for his family) and put his younger brothers through college. Becoming a Memphis millionaire, he paid for horses and equipment for a regiment of Tennessee volunteers. From there, he proved to be a military genius in several battles. He was quoted as saying he was the first with the most, and that he came out a horse ahead (he had 29 horses shot out from under him, but killed 28 men). Author Shelby Foote stated that there were only two geniuses in the Civil War: Abraham Lincoln, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

At the massacre of Ft. Pillow, Forrest was accused of intentionally killing surrendered Union soldiers because they were black. He was later found innocent of the charges. After the war, it was rumored that he helped establish the KKK, but this has never been proven, and he denied it adamantly. In fact, a court hearing was held, led by Union General Sherman, to prove his guilt, but that never happened. General Forrest was only 56 years old when he died on October 29, 1877.

Originally buried in Elmwood Cemetery, his body was disinterred to Forrest Park in Memphis in 1904. Every year, a ceremony is held to honor this special man and significant Confederate leader, and this year is no exception. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy will be at the park today to pay special homage to this amazing man.

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(Grand) Wizard of the Saddle?

After hearing about the Memphis City Council’s ridiculous motion to rename several parks in the city, the Ku Klux Klan has decided to take action. According to the Grand Wizard, the KKK will congregate in Forrest Park every week until the name is reverted back to its original.

The controversy was sparked when Memphis City Council members decided to rename Forrest Park, which is named after famed Civil War Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places, and General Forrest himself, along with his wife and grandson, are buried in the park. The new name for the park will tentatively be Health Sciences Park. The same goes for Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park, which are both located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Their new names will be Memphis Park and Mississippi River Park, respectively.

City Council members wanted to rename the park because they said General Forrest was a slave trader, and was a Grand Wizard of the KKK. So much for doing their research. Although he was a slave trader prior to the war, he set his slaves free during the war, and some of his freed slaves even fought under him. He went out of his way to keep families together. He was never a Grand Wizard of the KKK, and denied being a member in public documents. He didn’t instigate the slaughter at Ft. Pillow, either, but City Council members don’t know that because they don’t do their homework. In fact, Forrest was found innocent by a Grand Jury, and the court records are available to the public. Union General William T. Sherman, who despised Forrest, even admitted that Forrest did no wrong, and therefore, could not be persecuted.

Unfortunately, the KKK has decided to get involved, and vows to stage a rally in Forrest Park every week beginning in April or May. This writer is dead-set against it, because it will only create more racial tension. The last time the Klan was in Memphis, numerous riots broke out. I’ll bet that, if General Forrest was alive to see it, he would be deeply saddened.

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