Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 20.djvu/338

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332 Southern Historical Society Papers.

pursued the enemy from the battle for nigh sixty miles, killing num- bers all the way. The battle and this long pursuit were all accom- plished in the space of thirty hours. When another Federal general was dispatched to try what he could do against this terrible South- erner, the defeated Sturgis was overheard repeating to himself, as he sat ruminating in his hotel, " It can't be done, sir; it can't be done! " Asked what he meant, the reply was, " They c-a-n-'t whip old For- rest!" General Sherman's report, in cipher, of this battle was: "He (Forrest) whipped Sturgis fair and square, and now I will put him against A. J. Smith and Mower, and let them try their hand."

In these operations Forrest was again badly wounded; but, not- withstanding this misfortune, he took the field once more early the following August. Unable to ride, he followed in a buggy. He struck at Sherman's line of communication, tore up railroads, de- stroyed bridges and viaducts, captured gunboats, burned transports and many millions of dollars worth of stores and supplies of all sorts. Well justified, indeed, was Sherman when he wrote to Grant in November, 1864: "That devil Forrest was down about Johnson- ville, making havoc among the gunboats and transports."

He took part in General Hood's disastrous Nashville campaign, and covered the retreat of that general's army from Columbia. This most trying of duties he discharged with his usual daring, ability and success. No man could have done more than he did with the small force then at his disposal. Throughout the winter of 1864-65 everything looked blacker for the Confederacy day by day, until at last all hope faded away and the end came. It was a gallant strug- gle from the first, and, as it were, a pitched battle between a plucky boy and a full-grown man. The history of both armies abounds in gallant and chivalrous deeds done by men who fought for their respective convictions and from a sincere love of country. If ever England has to fight for her existence, may the same spirit pervade all classes here as that which influenced the men of the United States, both North and South. May we have at the head of our govern- ment as wise and far-seeing a patriot as Mr. Lincoln, and, to lead our mounted troops, as able a leader as General Forrest !

A man of Forrest's characteristics is only possible in a young and partially-settled territory, where English human nature has been able to show its real solid worth, untrammeled by Old World notions of conventionality and propriety where men do what they deem right, but not because of laws enacted for the benefit and protection of the community, or of policemen kept to enforce those laws in the main-