Quoteikon Logo 251px

Nathan Bedford Forrest Quotes

Nathan Bedford Forrest
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Nathan Bedford Forrest
  • Born: 13th July 1821, Chapel Hill, Tennessee, U.S.
  • Died: 29th October 1877, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
  • Height: 6' 2" (1.88m)
  • Allegiance: Confederate Army fighting for the Confederate States
  • Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Years of service: 1861–1865
  • Occupation: Plantation owner, slave trader and soldier
  • Controversies: He was in command at The Battle Of Fort Pillow at which a massacre took place after the Union negro soldiers and their white commanding officers had surrendered
  • Nickname: The Wizard of the Saddle
  • Positions of command: 3rd Tennessee Cavalry, Forrest's Cavalry Brigade, Forrest's Cavalry Division and Forrest's Cavalry Corps

"No damn man kills me and lives"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"The river was dyed with the blood of the slaughtered for two hundred yards.... Negro soldiers cannot cope with Southerners"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"Does the damned fool want to be blown up? Well, blow him up then. Give him hell, Captain Morton, as hot as you've got it, too"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"If you surrender, you shall be treated as prisoners of war, but if I have to storm your works, you may expect no quarter"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where I was unwilling to go myself; nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"I went into the army worth a million and a half dollars, and came out a beggar"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"If one road led to hell and the other to Mexico, I would be indifferent which to take"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"This fight is against slavery; if we lose it, you will be made free"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"I've got no respect for a young man who won't join the colours"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"Men, you may all do as you damn please, but I'm a-goin' home"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"I will be in my coffin before I will fight again under your command"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"Preserve untarnished the reputation you have so nobly won"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"Every moment lost is worth the life of a thousand men"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"War means fighting, and fighting means killing"

Nathan Bedford Forrest

"Get there first with the most men"

Nathan Bedford Forrest
Scroll down for full bio and more great quotes

Great quotes are not where you find great wisdom. It's where you share this knowledge that counts

Sharing Is Caring

Nathan Bedford Forrest Biography

Nathan Bedford Forrest was the plantation owner who enlisted to the confederate army despite plantation owners being given exemption from joining the Souths military cause. Even with no military training he proved to be a valiant leader of men and a cunning strategist whose cavalry exploits were to draw respect from eminent military men from both sides of the north south divide.

He knew the pressure point to press to influence men leading to Forrests recruiting campaign where he was quoted as using the influential phrase; "Come on boys, if you want to have a heap of fun and kill some Yankees"

Using his own money Forrest started and equipped his own unit called Forrest's Cavalry Brigade under the Tennessee Mounted Rifles

One of Forrests greatest victories of the civil war was at Brice's Cross Roads where he defeated union troops that outnumbered his men by 2 to 1 leading general William T. Sherman to be quoted as saying many comments about his enemy including: "that devil Forrest must be hunted down and killed if it costs ten thousand lives and bankrupts the federal treasury".

There were many more victories like this but there was also the controversial battle at Fort Pillow where his troops massacred the surrendering union soldiers as they infamously shouted "no quarter". Fort Pillow was to follow Forrest for the remainder of his life as a reminder of responsibilities even during the heat of battle during war time.

After the war Forrest offered his services to the then General In Chief of the U.S. army and former foe William T. Sherman when it looked likely there would be a war with Spain. The war did not materialise and Sherman thanked him for offering his services and was quoted as saying; "It would have been an honor to have served side by side with you".

As a passionate leader his words were given greater meaning because he was always prepared to stand side by side with his men in battle. So here is my compilation of 15 of the best Nathan Bedford Forrest quotes

Quotes About Nathan Bedford Forrest

General William T. Sherman recognised the threat he posed: "Follow Forrest to the death if it costs 10,000 lives and breaks the Treasury. There will never be peace in Tennessee till Forrest is dead"

The historian James Loewen looked deeper than his battlefield brilliance: "Massacring surrendered black troops was consistent with Forrest's character"

The American historian Bruce Catton described his military tactics: "Forrest ... used his horsemen as a modern general would use motorized infantry. He liked horses because he liked fast movement, and his mounted men could get from here to there much faster than any infantry could"

Nathan Bedford Forrest quote