That Devil Forrest

In the most recent spat of erasure of southern heritage, the mayor of Memphis has made the rather ghoulish proposition to dig up the body of Nathan Bedford Forrest and, I don’t know, toss him in the delta or something?

We’re always told that Forrest was the scum of the earth because he was the founder or head of Ku Klux Klan depending on who you ask.  His involvement with the group was brief and when he saw where things were headed he resigned and called for its dismantling.

What I did not know about Forrest, however, was that he was not only forward thinking on race, he was an open advocate of civil rights and equality between the races.

Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. ( Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand. (Prolonged applause.) – N.B.F. in an address to the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association (a Memphis-based Civil Rights Group)

Yeah, that’s the guy they want to dig up.  Oh well…


Nathan Bedford Forrest: ex-Klansman, Civil Rights Advocate, Lover of Women, 2*2 Cavalry General

As we’re upon the anniversary of Gettysburg, here’s something to think about:

At the 50th anniversary of one of the biggest battles of the Civil War, the PEOPLE WHO HAD ACTUALLY BEEN SHOOTING AT EACH OTHER were able to come together as friends and brothers, shake hands, tell stories, and eat thousands of pies and gallons of ice cream together under BOTH the Union and Confederate battleflags!  If the people who were shot at by people who’d held high the Southern Cross were able to meet with their ex-rebel brothers and eat apple cobbler and fried chicken, who are we to whine and complain?

In unrelated news, I think Cannons may be out of Battlefields & Broadswords.  The Chainmail rules for them suck and I don’t anticipate many groups using them in their Basic games.  Cannons aside, I’m just about done with the core mechanics.  After that will come incorporation of the Fantasy Rules and distilling rules for the S3M.  I have a few ways to go about it, but I think i’m going to try to treat units as characters with their own character sheets, with each mook representing the equivalent of 1 HP.  Where it gets tricky is how I’ll incorporate leveled leader characters; hopefully the rules on Heroic Leaders will give me some ideas.  At first I was worried about how to handle ranks, but I think it will work out like the two headed bifurcated snake boss fight.

6 responses to “That Devil Forrest

  1. I love the part about the two guys going to the hardware store to buy a hatchet just so they could bury it in the exact spot where their regiments fought. That’s just wild.

    • Yeah. And hey, I can totally second Rifles for Watie.

      Unfortunately the most notable indian action in Arkansas more or less amounted to the indians charge, the indians run away, then the indians show back up to scalp wounded yankees while Albert Pike shakes his fist shouting “damn it, what did I tell you guys about the scalping!?”

      If you ever get a chance to read about the Arkansas theatre of the Civil War, I highly recommend it. It was a ginormous clusterfuck on both sides.

      • When I was a little kid, my dad took me all across the country visiting civil war battlefields.

        The weirdest was Jenkin’s Ferry, which was, by some accounts, the 3rd biggest engagement in Arkansas. Over 20,000 soldiers slogging through some of the grossest swampland in the middle of nowhere.

        What you can’t see in this picture are the swarms of tiny red spiders that were covering EVERYTHING.

        Though wikipedia says otherwise, the plaque there gave the casualties as around 100 killed and a couple thousand who just went missing in the swamp.

  2. Even the “scum of the Earth” can change, few people know that Forrest did:

    The once-hardened soldier became a born-again Christian, and the ferocity that previously had marked his personality was transformed into a mild-mannered, kindly, meekness as he called for the KKK to disband, and spoke out in favor of black civil rights. – See more at:

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