Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

List of Maps

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

A lone Confederate cavalryman was fighting for his life. Surrounded by blue uniforms, the rebel horseman skillfully avoided the slashing sabers and gunfire. Shouts filled the air. “Kill him!” “Shoot him!” “Knock him off his horse!” The danger only made this sturdy cavalryman more determined. With his revolver, he began to open a path through the enemy troopers. Just as the soldier had nearly...

Chronology

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p. xiii

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Chapter 1 Frontiersman and Businessman

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pp. 3-8

On Friday, July 13, 1821, twins cried out for the first time in a small rough-hewn frontier cabin in Bedford County, Tennessee. Born into poverty in the remote backwoods near the small village of Chapel Hill in middle Tennessee, only one of these children, Nathan Bedford Forrest, would live to adulthood. These circumstances of hardship and want did not limit him. Instead, they...

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Chapter 2 “First With the Most Men”

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pp. 9-23

For decades sectionalism, slavery, economic rivalry, and cultural differences slowly but decisively cleaved the United States into two uncompromising camps. In 1860, Bedford Forrest stood to lose as much as any man. He had spent the previous ten years building a fortune and had become a prominent local figure. Forrest reflected the sentiments of many in the South. He was a states’ rights Democrat who opposed secession and hoped a compromise...

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Chapter 3 “All Is Fair in Love and War”

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pp. 24-39

Forrest’s easy capture of Murfreesboro should have demonstrated his value as a leader and field commander. Yet Bragg decided to again take him from the field and turn him into a recruiter. Forrest established his headquarters at Murfreesboro and had no trouble raising regiments for active service. Many of the new recruits, however, had only shotguns and squirrel rifles they had brought from home. The issued weapons were little better...

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Chapter 4 “I Cannot Be Responsible for the Fate of Your Command”

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pp. 40-58

By June 1863, General Rosecrans was prepared to push General Bragg and the Army of Tennessee out of middle Tennessee. Forrest had recuperated quickly enough to join his forces as they fell back toward Tullahoma, en route to Chattanooga. Forrest’s men performed screening and rear guard duties for the army, and once Bragg settled in Chattanooga, Forrest was placed on the army’s right flank. Bedford established his headquarters at Kingston, Tennessee, on the Tennessee River, forty-five miles southwest of...

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Chapter 5 “Forrest Is the Very Devil”

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pp. 59-74

Forrest and his escort rode from Fort Pillow on the night of April 12. Bedford traveled while still suffering from exhaustion and the fall he took before the attack. On the 13th, Forrest and his men arrived in Brownsville, Tennessee, to a hero’s welcome. The following day they traveled to Jackson, reestablished his headquarters there, and immediately began to arrange for recruiting...

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Chapter 6 “That Devil Forrest”

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pp. 75-95

The Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana received a new commanding officer in August. Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor met in Meridian with Forrest to discuss future operations. He described Bedford as a “tall, stalwart man, with grayish hair, mild countenance, and slow and homely of speech.” On September 2, Atlanta had fallen and Gen. John B. Hood, in...

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Chapter 7 “We May Differ in Color, but Not in Sentiment”

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pp. 96-105

Uncertain of his future, Forrest remained in the Gainesville area for a couple of days assisting with the parole of his men before he boarded a train to Memphis. As the overcrowded train moved slowly toward Jackson, Mississippi, one of the cars’ wheels came off the tracks, causing the train to stop. Forrest, naturally, took a leadership role and ordered the men out of the cars to help...

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Epilogue

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pp. 105-108

The Confederate Army had twenty-four men attain the rank of lieutenant general or higher. Twenty of these men graduated from West Point and before the war served in the U.S. Army. Another, Sterling Price, was a former governor of Missouri, fought in the Mexican War, and commanded the Missouri State forces. In June 1861, Richard Taylor, the son of General and President Zachary Taylor, was a colonel..

Notes

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pp. 109-122

Bibliographic Note

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pp. 123-124

Index

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pp. 125-130

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About the Author

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pp. 131-133

Robert M. Browning Jr., Ph.D., is the chief historian of the U.S. Coast Guard. His previous books include Success Is All That Was Expected: The South Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War; From Cape Charles to Cape Fear: The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil...