[From "Thanks to the Wizard of the Saddle"]
Nathaniel Bedford Forrest now joins the likes of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson in having a holiday to commemorate him, newly proclaimed in law by Tennessee governor Bill Lee to be on July 13th. Forrest’s exploits are legendary to students of the War of Northern Aggression, as he is known as the fire breathing cavalryman who dove into combat and shattered Union lines time and again.
This is not a biographical piece on the man, however, this is the story of how Nathaniel Bedford Forrest brought me into the fold of Southern Nationalism and Identity Dixie. It was June 2015 and the controversy over the Confederate Battle Flag was raging, as was the debate over the monument to Forrest. At the time, I was still just a generic “American” treading water between right libertarian and emerging crypto fash elements of the “movement.” More than anything, I was an avowed student of military history, and in particular those firebranded cavalry commanders from Attila and Alexander up to Forrest and Patton. It was around this time that I saw other people, who were normally my ideological colleagues, expressing apathy or outright contempt for the memory and person of Nathaniel Bedford Forrest.
“Who cares, he was just some racist army guy,” or “I don’t really care if they take down a statue of some slave trader guy,” type of remarks peppered our discussions and I grew in outright hostility and fury towards people I formerly considered friends and cohorts. I began a spirited defense of Forrest in the form of several essay length effort-posts in various social media groups, arguing on his behalf. I was so zealous and aggressive I got myself banned from most of them. But, it was in this crusade that I was plucked up by others like me, who offered me a place among them, a place I accepted and have grown in gratitude and appreciation for.
In this way, Nathaniel Bedford Forrest has altered the course of my life rather dramatically. A history nerd’s hobby horse paved the way to an entire new world of intellectual and historical thought, a journey that has ultimately led me to where I am today. So, while many among Southern Nationalists and historians favor men like Lee or Jackson for their numerous admirable qualities, I will continue to find myself a zealous and passionate acolyte of the Wizard of the Saddle. He is to me forevermore the father of my nationalism, the way Lee and Washington are for so many others.
So, I say God bless Governor Bob Lee and I hope you enjoyed July 13th!