Civil War Figures: Nathan Bedford Forrest
by findingDulcinea Staff
Nathan Bedford Forrest is considered one of the most talented generals to have fought in the Civil War. Dubbed the "wizard of the saddle," Forrest had dexterity and a determination unmatched by most soldiers. Off the battlefield, Forrest’s convictions were equally strong. He helped establish the Ku Klux Klan, and was the organization’s first Grand Wizard.
Forrest was a self-made man. Forced to care for his family from the age of 16, when his father died, Forrest made a fortune through land and slave trade. He had less than a year of formal education.
Forrest sought to protect the influence and power of white Democrats after the fall of the Confederacy. With the aim of preserving certain Southern traditions, Forrest and other Confederate veterans created the Ku Klux Klan in the winter of 1866.