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Forrest and my Fort Pillow Massacre Theory..

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posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 11:00 AM
This concerning the Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.. Hands down the most interesting character in the civil war..

He was a self made slave trader who was the only Confederate soldier to go from private to general during the course of the war..

He is a Calvary commander who skill wise was unmatched on either side. He had a list of just crazy military victories as long as your arm...

However his most controversial act was when he commanded a raid on fort pillow. His men surrounded and besieged a fort that both sides had taken , lost then taken again. So obviously it was a contentious spot.

Here is a write up on the "Fort pillow massacre".

"The Battle of Fort Pillow, also known as the Fort Pillow massacre, was fought on April 12, 1864, at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River in Henning, Tennessee, during the American Civil War. The battle ended with a massacre of Union troops (most of them African American soldiers) attempting to surrender, by soldiers under the command of Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Military historian David J. Eicher concluded, "Fort Pillow marked one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history."[2]"

There are many conflicting stories about the battle and lead up to the storming of the fort..

Both sides agree Forrest offered a surrender, even agreeing to treat the black soldiers as prisoners of war against the advise of his subordinates..with the alternative being no quarter given.

(The union soldiers didn't trust they were gonna actually do that. My guess is they were afraid Forrest might be over ruled as not to set the legal precedent that blacks "could" be" POWs.)

The normal mindset was that black soldiers fighting for the US would be treated as run away slaves and sumerily hung.

From there stories diverge..

Some say Forrest specifically ordered the soldiers to kill every black soldier and any white that didn't instantly surrender..

Some said Forrest stood between his men and the last few survivors saber and pistol drawn to stop the massacre.

No one really disagrees a massacre to place.. the question is was it by the order of Forrest, or just bloodlust of the soldiers??

(My theory..)

I think all of it happened.. and I think it all makes sense from his POV.

Against the advise of his contemporaries Forrest offered a full surrender to the fort.. and the US troops were screwed.. Forrest had them completely surrounded and out gunned.. the fight was over..

When the US troops rejected the offer Forrest got mad..

He had gone out on a limb offering POW status to the black soldiers and was still turned down..and that had to burn.

An old little remebered by modern people rule of warfare concerning seiges was that you had until the seige equipment or soldiers touched your walls to surrender or your city would be sacked.. and for those who don't know sacked means raping and murdering all your population..

Basically saying if you make us lose the men required to take your city, the leadership will let the soldiers bloodlust go wild.

So back to the theory..

So Forrest is already pissed off they turned down his offer of surrender when he ordered the charge. Then he loses about a dozen men taking the fort... a fort he would have thought should have surrendered because they had no chance of winning or being reinforced.

At that point, just like Alexander or hannible would have done he orders no quarter given.

His men charged the fort and start slaughtering EVERYONE, but especially the black soldiers..

This goes on for awhile and in the process Forrest sees and probably participates in the slaughter of dozens of surrendering and defenseless soldiers.

After a few dozen it gets gratuitous..

Forrests adrinaline and anger subside and he realizes it has gone too far.. but his men are in full blown bloodlust mode.

He yells for the slaughter to stop, but his commands fall on deaf ears. He is grabbing them by the back of the kneck and pushing through his lines but no one is listening.

Finally and with the full realization that he is the commanding officer here and thus all of this his responsibility setting in. He pulls his weapons on his own men and puts his body between himself and the survivors and screams,

"the next man that executes a prisoner I will execute myself!!"

He regains command but it still takes time for word to spread to those who were being chased onto the camps outskirts.

Now I'm now saying he was like "dear Jesus what have I done!!"

He had offered surrender and lost men in taking the walls.. but at a certain point it got gratuitous and all accountability was lay at his feet, as commanding officer.


edit on 20-8-2017 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)

edit on 20-8-2017 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)

edit on 20-8-2017 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 11:21 AM
There's much missing to the story and theory.

#1) Forrest wasn't even near when the "massacre" took place.
#2) Troops inside Fort Pillow had been taunting the Confederates
#3) A river runs by the fort forming the 4th wall, as the Confederates got inside the fort the Feds started running down to the river where a gunboat had just pulled up. A boat with cannon and loaded with grapeshot mind you. Some prisoners were trying to surrender, others were still shooting back and others running to the river hoping to swim to the boat.
#4) A Congressional inquiry cleared Forrest of any charges that he was personally responsible for the deaths of prisoners.
#5) It would have been extremely out of character for Forrest to do so anyway, there was no other incident where he allowed killing prisoners and God knows Forrest took enough prisoners over his wartime career.

He is singularly the most maligned man in American history. Dirt poor, father dies when young leaving Forrest in charge to care for the family. Becomes a self-made millionaire trading slaves. One of the few who refuses to break up families. Slaves want to be bought by him because he has a reputation for kindness.

Leads the most effective fighting force in the entire war and was perhaps the most ferocious individual one could encounter on the battlefield. Elected Grand Wizard of the KKK but resigns when they turn to violence. Becomes a Christian convert and speaks in behalf of Blacks in Memphis advocating for the civil rights much to the dismay of other whites. Hires blacks in important positions while building a railroad. Becomes poor through some bad business deals and being ripped off yet former slaves volunteer to stay and care for Forrest as his age and wounds from the war make him invalid. When he dies 20,000 black mourners march in his funeral procession.

Yet today they are going to tear down his statue and move the graves of him and his wife. The Blacks of Forrest's day would no doubt have some choice words for those so ready to tear down his monuments. A great example of courage and skill, humanity and redemption, an American hero who is vilified only because he fought for the Confederacy.

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 11:25 AM
You want a modern perspective on ancient war customs given to you by snowflakes?

I think you know what answers you will get and they will have zero context with the reality of war in those days.

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 11:49 AM
War is Hell.
Always has and always will be.
Peace, love, and good happiness stuff is much more fun.

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 01:45 PM
a reply to: Asktheanimals

Some of that is way wrong...

1) he was absolutely there.. was he in the rear or charging with the men is questioned..

I don't see forest sitting this out.. he was as much of a CHARGE general who lead the charge as anyone.

2) so what??? Ever war in history the soldiers taughted each other..

3) the gun boats left before he charged.. and was kinda why he charged . There cover fire left..

4) yea but legally he was guilty reguardless because his command doubtlessly broke the US articles of war. The general doesn't have to participate to be convicted. I'm not saying what happened there was very uncommon, but telling them no quarter would be given is a war crime...

Any soldier who surrenders BY LAW is supposed to be spared.

5) this was a really hot button place and they all had a "history" as the fort changed back and forth. HE SPECIFICALLY SAID HE WAS GOING TO MASSACRE THEM FOR NOT SURRENDERING!

He would have had to personally lead the charge to stop his men once that leaked out..

Don't forget he disbanded the KKK once it started to go militant..

He is definitely maligned and at least appears to have legit repented..assuming that I doubt he wants the confederacy glorified..

Lee definitely didn't.

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 01:46 PM
a reply to: TinfoilTP

Ill take the story from Shelby foote and other local southern historians.

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 03:07 PM
a reply to: Asktheanimals

Maybe a statue of him as an repentant old man would be something worth glorifying?
edit on 20-8-2017 by JoshuaCox because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 04:23 PM
The most believable account that I've read saying that when they got into the fort the black troops surrendered, but there was a small group that pretended to be among them surrendering and shot and killed several confederates who let their guard down because they though the battle was over.

This supposedly threw the confederates into a rage, in this account if I remember correctly, General Forrest was outside of the fort.

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 09:30 PM
Here's a good article with all the particulars -
Gunboat was there, many troops were still firing back as they ran to the river.
Forrest arrived too late to even slow the carnage down.
It was a massacre but not because of racism.
Many of the Union troops were drunk.

posted on Aug, 20 2017 @ 10:53 PM
a reply to: xstealth

There are MULTIPLE first person accounts saying both things. So anyone guess and all..

I just see a scenerio where it all could have happened.


that is what no quarter given

Which is a war crime , warning or not and undeniably ties Forrest to the actions of his men even more than the normal "commanding officers responsiblity."

I've seen (trying to be real) about 3 lectures that only counted confirmed accounts and your believing every little piece of the confederate side. These were super unbiased stating the accounts and then what was actually confirmed and what was up in the air..

I think Sherman defended him because he likely does the same type of thing in that situation... or atleast could see his men doing it.

ALOT of histories commanders in bad wars would tell their men to behave, but weren't gonna lose any good warriors over it..

Forrest led the Charge ALOT!

This was a real contentious battle and they needed the supplies. I dont buy he sat it out for one second..

Your talking about the closest thing to ALEXANDER of the civil war..

posted on Sep, 1 2017 @ 02:43 PM
I think both sides are to blame. Confederates were harsh and vile, however North wasn't much better. The North was occupying foreign soil, was promising freedom to slaves and strapping them with guns and forcing them right back with no understanding of war. Forrest pleaded and pleaded to surrender and they didnt. The North even admits no sign was ever given.

As far as "poor helpless negoes rushed" to confederates and Forrest fired on them ordered them up and fired again. Who on Earth would do that? If this story is true it further prove a huge blunder on behalf of the North. Most accounted Forrest was rear when this happened. However slaves are too ignorant to know when charge people with guns you get shot down? Many times it was fought with knives instead of guns, but in today's sense you must know that's common sense.

Or instead of them charging to them, they fled while still turning and opening fire still proved this ignorance. You see it in guerilla warfare all the time and other duck, fire, and run tactics. Got to remember these people are occupying union forces on confederate soil. One Officer explains that they didnt surrender or show signs of it, however if they should surrender they will be POWs but I doubt those slaves was going to just stroll back to plantation after everything they had just gone through. These guys were fed to wolves and didn't know what to do or how act.

Either way, you surrender or be fired upon. If you flee and fire, you're fired upon. If you charge people demanding your surrender, you're fired upon. I don't understand how that's a warcrime? That's common sense.

and yes, he did allow charge a lot but usually after the charge they fall back behind their men to help the push. Forrest was very good at cavalry raids and pretty much first to do "blitzkrieg" tactics, it is what he was known for so isn't far fetched he charged and later was at rear when massacre took places and not there to order to cease fire. Some state when they got Fort that Union flag was waving still. Did blacks know they should of anchored it? Probably not by understanding some of accounts of their actions, seems to me they fell apart and didn't have clue what to do.

edit on 1-9-2017 by Iostsheep because: (no reason given)

edit on 1-9-2017 by Iostsheep because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 1 2017 @ 06:28 PM
a reply to: Iostsheep

Omg you are full blown lost cause propagandist, huh???

The north was occupying foriegn soil?!?!

You mean the United States military was on US soil......

America was founded in 1776...

Not 1876...

The civil war was the United States federal government vs a rebellion that dubbed itself the confederacy.

The from its founding US was always refered to as the union...

After the civil war the US stoped being called "the union " as that became synonymous with the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT during the civil war....

The union was not some independent entity that surfaced in 1860 and ended in 1865...

The confederacy trash canned the US constitution and made their own. Before starting a rebellion that killed 100,000+ US military personnel.....

As far as fort pillow... you conviently only accept the confederate side off the story as credible..

Which is as not something that unbiased historians do...

You also talk out of both sides of your mouth..

First acting like no massacare took place, then saying Forrest wasn't around to stop the massacre..

If there wasn't a massacare , then it wouldn't matter where Forrest was.

I agree Forrest really bent over backwards when offering the slaves POW status and was pissed about their refusal..

But the thought that all the black soldiers were press ganged into fighting is ridiculous...

You had escaped slaves begging to join, and it was those slaves who changed the war from succession to slavery..

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