Nathan Bedford Forrest
A self-educated military
genius, Nathan Bedford
Forrest rose to the rank of
lieutenant general in the
Confederate army. - Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument, AL - Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument, AL
Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument
A bust of the Confederate general looks out from the
monument erected in his honor in historic Selma,
Alabama. The bust was stolen in March.
Nathan Bedford Forrest
The 7-foot tall monument now
stands at Old Live Oak
Cemetery in Selma. Efforts
are now underway to repair
damage done in March.
Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument - Selma, Alabama
Monument to Selma's Defender
Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan
Bedford Forrest was a brilliant military leader,
but the effort to erect a monument to his
memory in Selma proved has generated
controversy for years.

Selma, of course, played a pivotal role in the
Civil Rights movement while Forrest is often
remembered not for his military genius, but
for his role in the founding of the Ku Klux Klan
(which he later ordered disbanded). The two
aspects of history clashed when the Friends
of Forrest organization erected a monument
to the general in Selma at a cost of $21,000
and after going through proper governmental

The monument, approved in the year 2000 by
a former mayor, originally stood at the
Smitherman Building, a museum in Selma
that houses numerous Civil War artifacts.
The structure served as a Confederate
hospital during the war.

The monument featuring an impressive bust
of the general quickly proved controversial. It
suffered three attacks by vandals, including
one attempt to complete topple it. Many
citizens of Selma also objected to the
placement of the monument, considering it
an affront to the city's role in the Civil Rights

The Friends of Forrest and other Southern
heritage groups such as the Sons of
Confederate Veterans pointed out that
Forrest had commanded Southern troops
during the Battle of Selma and also noted
that proper channels had been followed in
the placement of the monument.

The confrontation reached its climax when
Mayor James Perkins, Jr., voiced his support
for moving the monument.  The Selma City
Council agreed and the monument to Nathan
Bedford Forrest was relocated to its current
site at Confederate Circle in the city's Old
Live Oak Cemetery.

During his military career, General Forrest
participated in numerous campaigns and
battles to protect Alabama. His final effort
was to stop the Union army of Major General
James H. Wilson, which left the Tennessee
River in 1865 and moved south through the
Alabama iron country, destroying key
industrial sites as he advanced.

After wrecking such facilities as the
Ironworks and Brierfield Ironworks, Wilson
advanced on Selma with a force of roughly
9,000 men.

Hoping to stop Wilson before he could reach
the fortifications of Selma, which were too
extensive to be defended by the Confederate
force at hand, Forrest laid a trap for the Union
general at Ebenezer Church 24 miles north
of the city.

Battle of Ebenezer Church, fought on
April 1, 1865, was a fierce engagement in
which Forrest killed the last of 33 men he is
believed to have killed in personal combat.
The general's plan of holding Wilson in
check until a column of 3,000 men could
cross the Cahaba River and strike the
Federals from behind failed. The forced
intended for the surprise attack on the
Federal rear was unable to cross the river
and Forrest was finally forced from his strong

Falling back to Selma, the Confederate
general tried to defend the city and its vital
military industrial facilities. Although he was
heavily outnumbered, Forrest ordered his
men into the trenches and forts that
surrounded the Selma.

The famed Confederate general did not have
enough soldiers and volunteers to properly
man his lines and the Federal troops broke
through. Brutal fighting cost the lives of both
soldiers and local citizens, but in the end the
massive industrial complex at Selma went
up in smoke.

Battle of Selma was a Union victory and
was Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford
Forrest's last major battle.

The Forrest Monument is located at
Confederate Circle in Selma's historic Old
Oak Cemetery.

The bust of General Forrest was stolen  in
March of 2012 but efforts are now underway
to restore and improve the monument. The
site on which the monument stands is
owned by the United Daughters of the
Confederacy and is private property, but open
to the public.   
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Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

August 23, 2012
Battle of Selma
The mound seen here is a
small surviving part of the
Confederate fortifications that
once ringed Selma. The city
was the scene of General
Forrest's last major battle.
Civil War Sites in Alabama