Context is all Important in Understanding History

Part 3 of a series on Confederate Cavalry

Nathan Bedford Forrest, Bust in Tennessee State Capitol in continuous danger of removal.
Nathan Bedford Forrest, Bust in Tennessee State Capitol in continuous danger of removal.

The Battle of Fort Pillow was not militarily significant, but it was called a “massacre” by the New York Times, other Northern newspapers, and the Radical Republican dominated Joint Congressional Committee for the Conduct of the War. More importantly, it became an important propaganda tool to demonize the South and the Confederate cause, which still dominates much of academia, the media, and virtue-signaling American politics.  

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The Confederate Cavalry Leader Most Feared by Union Generals

Part 2 of a Series on Confederate Cavalry

Nathan Bedford Forrest, Statue in Memphis park 2010, Removed by PC politicians 2017.
Nathan Bedford Forrest, Statue in Memphis park 2010, Removed by PC politicians 2017.

I’ll be damned if I’ll surrender.”

The battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February 1862 were the first two significant victories for the Union. They also demonstrated an important Union strategy that many believe was the ultimate key to Union defeat of Confederate resistance. They set out to dominate the water transportation lifelines critical to the Southern economy and military defense. They were eventually able to dominate these critical arteries with a “Brown Water Navy” of gunboats. The South had few such resources to oppose them.  Fort Henry was on the Tennessee River in west-middle Tennessee near the Kentucky border. Fort Donelson was about 12 miles to the east on the Cumberland River. The commander of Fort Henry was West Point graduate and engineering inspector Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, from Paducah, Kentucky. Tilghman had realized that both forts Henry and Donelson were defective defensive positions but put up a valiant battle before surrendering to a Union siege on February 6, 1862. Meanwhile he had secretly moved most of his of his troops to Fort Donelson.

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While Horse and Hero Fell­­--They That Fought so Well - Part 1 of a Series

Author Mike Scruggs with British Enfield .58 caliber rifle used by Morgan’s 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, CSA.
Author Mike Scruggs with British Enfield .58 caliber rifle used by Morgan’s 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, CSA.

“Every morning brought a noble chance, and every chance brought out a noble knight.”—Alfred, Lord Tennyson in Morte d’Arthur, 1842, quoted by Winston Churchill in his June 4, 1940, “Finest Hour” speech.    

There lingers to this day a romantic vision of Confederate cavalry that brings forth the images of Sir Walter Scott’s gallant knights of old. Many Southern cavalrymen, and to a certain extent the whole Confederate Army, were strongly influenced by the romantic novels of Scott, which were very popular reading in the South. They were also undoubtedly influenced by the nobility and military gallantry of many of the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poems, such as Morte d’Arthur (1842) and Charge of the Light Brigade (1854).

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H. K. Edgerton, Southern Patriot from Asheville, NC.
H. K. Edgerton, Southern Patriot from Asheville, NC.

The Battle against Politically Correct Chains - Part 2 of 2 of a Series

As I wrote last week in part 1 of this series, perhaps the best estimate of the number of both free and bonded blacks serving in the Confederate Army during the Civil War is about 65,000.  This estimate came from Scott K. Williams’ comprehensive article, Black Confederates Heritage, written in 1998 and still available on the internet. Of an estimated 1.0 million men that served in the Confederate Army and Navy, this is about 6.5 percent. However, Williams’ estimate may not have sufficiently accounted for the large number of black teamsters vitally important to supporting Confederate supply lines.

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A Neglected Chapter of American History - Part 1 of a Series

Louis Napoleon Nelson, Cavalryman and Regimental Chaplain, Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, CSA, Serving under Cavalry Corp Commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Louis Napoleon Nelson, Cavalryman and Regimental Chaplain, Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, CSA, Serving under Cavalry Corp Commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

At Appomattox Courthouse in April of 1865, an Alabama soldier by the name of Zeb Thompson stood, rifle by his side, within a stone’s throw of General Robert E. Lee when he yielded his sword to General Grant. Thompson had participated in many of the greatest battles of the War during his service to the Confederacy and had been wounded three times. Thompson, like several other Confederate soldiers looking on, was a black man. Also there was Private Needham Leach, one of two blacks, and ten whites left in Company C of the 53rd North Carolina Regiment. These were just a few of at least 50,000 and as many as 100,000 black slaves and freemen who served the Confederate cause in some military or naval capacity.  Thompson indicated in his 1917 interview with the Birmingham Age-Herald that he had attended every Confederate reunion and was very proud of his war record.  

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