The Richmond Daily Dispatch
August 2, 1862
|Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest|
The Hero of the Murfreesboro dash.
The public will be glad to learn something of Gen. Bedford Forrest, the man who captured Murfreesboro' and two regiments of Yankee troops with a small force. The Atlanta Confederacy says:
General Forrest is about 45 years old, is six feet two inches in altitude, weighs 175 pounds, is erect, well-proportioned, and moves with great ease. But few men are his equal in muscle power. He has a dark complexion, black hair, and thin black beard. He has a full and expansive forehead, black, piercing eyes, deep set, heavy black eyebrows, and a stern but not unpleasant face. Firmness and courage are stamped in every lineament of his features, which are greatly set off by the most perfect and beautiful set of teeth we ever saw. He is a native of Tennessee. His father was a Kentuckian, and the son of an emigrant from Holland, who accompanied Dan'l Boone to the wilderness of Kentucky in ancient days.
Bedford was brought up on a farm, and is familiar with the use of the axe, the knife, and the rifle. He first commenced horse trading on a small scale. Then he got hold of a fast quarter nag, and in one year made $4,000 out of a trip through Mississippi and Louisiana. Stopping at Hernando, Miss., at the summer races, he won a good pile of currency, and finally, at the close of the week, took a deed to the landlord's premises, and opened up a hotel in Hernando, in North Mississippi. Here he "kept a hotel" and dealt in horses for several years. In the meantime he married a beautiful and accomplished lady, by whom he has an only son — a sprightly lad of 15 years.
When Memphis began to look up, owing to her railroad and river facilities, and the prospect of it rapidly becoming a great city, Col. Forrest sold out, moved to Memphis, where in a few years, by his energy, probity, and fine judgment, he amassed a large fortune. He has frequently been Alderman of the city. He always took an active and decided part upon every public measure, and generally carried his point in everything calculated to enhance the interest of the city. He ably advocated every public improvement, and soon stood at the head of the able financial business men of that fast and flourishing city.
He had retired from trade, and was spending his time mostly on his plantation when the war broke out. After Tennessee seceded, and the blockade was established, he went in person to Cincinnati and St. Louis, and bought horses, arms and accouterments for a cavalry regiment, which he had raised, and brought them all through safely to Memphis, since which time he has been engaged in a number of brilliant skirmishes and fights.
He was at Fort Donelson, is one of the men who refused to be surrendered, and is the man who cut his way through the enemy's lines with his command, sustaining but little loss. At Shiloh he was in the thickest of the fight, rendering the most important services, where he received a severe wound. But, thank Heaven, he is again himself and in his stirrups.
His late dashing exploits about Chattanooga, and especially his brilliant achievement at Murfreesboro, and the capture of Lebanon, are fresh in the minds of all our readers. Gen. Forrest is not an educated man, but he reads men correctly at a glance. He seems to know everything about him by intuition. We have spent months with him, and partaken of his elegant hospitalities, and unhesitatingly pronounce him the most gifted man by nature we ever met with. He has that conversational powers, agreeable manners, and wins the confidence and respect of everybody around him. One more sign of a kind heart is, the ladies and little children take to him wherever he goes.