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Lot #265
Nathan Bedford Forrest

The First Grand Wizard sends his autograph up North during a tense moment in post-Civil War Tennessee

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The First Grand Wizard sends his autograph up North during a tense moment in post-Civil War Tennessee

When the Civil War commenced, Forrest enlisted as a private, but by October 1861 he was a Lt. Colonel in command of his own troop of cavalry. He participated in many of the early battles including Shiloh, but soon began to operate on his own, using his cavalry as a strike force. His motto was the phrase attributed to him, “Git there fustest with the mostest.” ALS signed “N. B. Forrest,” one page, lightly-lined, 7.75 x 6, August 31, 1868. Rare and boldly penned brief letter to Charles H. Anderson, New York. In full “Sir yours of 28 Ins[tant] is to hand and I hasten to comply with your request.” Just three days earlier, in the August 28, 1868 edition of the Cincinnati Commercial, appeared an interview with General Forrest in which he stated emphatically what would happen if pro-Union Tennessee Governor William G. Brownlow called out the militia in his feud with Nashville Mayor Augustus E. Alden on whom would be allowed to vote in the capital city’s municipal elections. Brownlow's choices for election judges would permit Negroes to vote, Alden's would not. Mayor Alden promised to use city police to protect his choices. On the day of the election, September 28, 1868, U.S. government troops were posted near all the precincts to assure that there would be no trouble. Unbeknownst to the Mayor, they were not there in support of Brownlow. Alden withdrew his election judges, there was no violence, and the voting was held under the Governor’s rules. In the published interview, Forrest asserted that “If the militia are called out, we cannot but look upon it as a declaration of war, because Mr. Brownlow has already issued his proclamation directing them to shoot down the Ku-Klux wherever they find them.” In fine condition, with intersecting mailing folds, and some scattered light foxing. Auction LOA John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #332 - Ended April 16, 2008