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Nathan Bedford Forrest Carte de Visite

Identifier: MS-3848

  • Staff Only

This collection contains one carte de visite featuring a portrait of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, labeled as "Gen. Forrest, C. S. A."


  • circa 1865


The material in this collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


0.1 Linear Feet (1 folder)


This collection contains one carte de visite featuring a portrait of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, labeled as "Gen. Forrest, C. S. A."

Biographical/Historical Note

General Nathan Bedford Forrest (July 13, 1821-October 29, 1877) was born to a poor family in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. His father died when he was 17, and Forrest became the head of the family. He became a businessman and slave trader, owning several plantations and numerous slaves in the Tennessee Delta. By the start of the Civil War, he was one of the richest men in the South, having amassed a personal fortune that he claimed amounted to $1.5 million. Forrest enlisted in the Confederate States Army and joined Company E of the Tennessee Mounted Rifles on July 14, 1861. On seeing how poorly equipped the troops were, he offered to buy supplies with his own money. His superior officers were surprised that he had enlisted as a common soldier (especially since planters were exempt from service) and commissioned him as Lieutenant Colonel with permission to recruit a battalion of Confederate Mounted Rangers. He was put in command of Forrest’s Tennessee Cavalry Battalion and went on to distinguish himself at the Battle of Fort Donelson in February of 1862. He campaigned extensively in Tennessee in 1862 and early 1863, distinguishing himself for his courage and flair for the dramatic. He was later sent to backcountry Alabama and West Georgia and finished the war in Gainesville, Florida, where he surrendered on May 9, 1865. Both Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee expressed their belief that the Confederate high command had failed to fully utilize Forrest's talents in their postwar writings.

After the war, Forrest settled in Memphis, Tennessee and built a house on the bank of the Mississippi River. With slavery abolished, the former slave trader suffered a major financial setback. He found employment at the Selma-based Marion & Memphis Railroad and eventually became the company president. Under his direction, the company went bankrupt. Nearly ruined, Forrest spent his final days running a prison work farm on President's Island in the Mississippi River, living with his wife in a log cabin they had salvaged from his plantation. Forrest died in Memphis in October 1877, reportedly from acute complications of diabetes. He was buried at Elmwood Cemetery but was reinterred in Forrest Park (a Memphis city park named in his honor) in 1904.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA