Thursday, July 15, 2010
More on Nathan Bedford Forrest
Last Sunday, local SCV camp and UDC chapter members gathered together at Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Memphis to celebrate the illustrious general's birthday. This celebration has been marked every year, sometimes with noted speakers such as Shelby Foote, Jeff Shaara, and last year, Bertram Hayes-Davis, Jefferson Davis' great grandson.
This year's speaker was Judge Melvin McClure, who enlightened the crowd with his topic about General Forrest's horses. The general had 29 horses shot out from under him, and is quoted as saying he was one horse ahead (meaning he killed 28 Yankees). The first battle where General Forrest lost his mounts (2) was at Dover, Tennessee in February 1863, and the last horse killed was at Selma, Alabama in April 1865. At the battle of Chattanooga, "Highlander" received a fatal wound to his carotid artery. General Forrest plugged the hole with his finger until after the battle, whereby the horse immediately died.
Judge McClure's most amusing story was that of "King Phillip," a white horse with a dark mane and tail. This spirited animal hated the sight of anything in blue, and reportedly snorted, bolted, and snapped his teeth in the air while charging toward the Federals. One soldier told the general, "Your negroes fight for you and your horses fight for you." After the war, General Forrest was riding in a wagon which was being pulled by King Phillip, who saw police officers in blue. To the general's chagrin, the horse immediately charged after them, embarrassing his master. Sadly, King Phillip died of colic later that year. He is represented as a statue, standing regally with his master atop, in Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, which is represented in the above photos.