Civil War Series - 'Wizard Of The Saddle'
There were many notable leaders produced by the American Civil War,but perhaps none was more remarkable, nor earned more enduring fame, than Nathan Bedford Forrest. At age forty, he entered Confederate service as a private, and by repeated demonstrations of personal bravery, leadership and audacity, rose to the rank of Lieutenant General. He was considered a brilliant tactician and brought a totally new concept to cavalry warefare. Forrest led a cavalry corps based in West Tennessee and North Missisippi. After Shiloh he began the unique tactic of employing cavalry as mounted foot soldiers using horses to give his men maximum mobility to close in on the enemy for surprise attacks. This innovative idea was used at the battle of Brice's Crossroads, near Tupelo in Northeastern Mississippi, when Forrest's 3,300 dismounted troopers threw back Sturgis 8,000 man force in overwhelming and smashing defeat.In a period when commanders were measured by their ability and willingness personally to lead their men into combat. Forrest won the respect and esteem of his soldiers, the folk at home and his fellow generals.Sherman, who respected few cavalry leaders, wrote in June 1864 that "Forrest is the very devil", and he resolved to hound him "to the death, if it costs 10,000 lives and breaks the Treasury. There will never be peace in Tennessee till Forrest is dead."