N.B. Forrest Had Character Traits to Admire

Nathan Bedford Forrest is one of the Civil War’s most polarizing figures, especially today. During the war he was feared and respected by opposing generals. Union generals seemed to understand the value of Forrest better than his Confederate superiors. On the battlefield he was unconventional and unforgiving which unnerved adversaries and allies alike. He had no formal military training, so he was not constrained by it. He was a thinker and fought to win and his actions prior to and during an engagement were focused on the best way to achieve his objective, usually the destruction or capture of the enemy. There is more to admire than his battlefield exploits.

As Jack Hurst makes clear in his biography of Forrest, titled Nathan Bedford Forrest, Forrest was a rare character. He was self-made before, during, and after the war and had character traits that are admirable, and in my mind, made up for any flaws.

  • When information or times changed, he could change his mind.
  • He honestly knew himself.
  • He knew the value of humility.

Forrest may have been part of the KKK in its early years. For arguments sake, let’s say he was. When it became clear to him that the KKK could not distinguish between righteous action to protect Southerners and terrorism he called them out. He even came to believe that the South needed Northern labor, no matter the race, and investment in order to recover.

He knew he a had a temper and made poor decisions when under the influence of it. He tried to manage it by walking away before he did or said something he regretted. He was not always successful in walking away and was humble enough to apologize.

I now understand why so many people admire him. Those who vilify him are doing so out of politics or ignorance.

Read this post and more on my Typeshare Social Blog



Career consultant turned substitute teacher and writer. I enjoy the outdoors and poker. www.trudgetotruth.com

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