Forrest, Nathan Bedford (1821–1877), a Confederate army officer. An outstanding cavalry commander and one of the ablest generals of the war, Forrest harassed Union forces in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama by raiding supply lines or isolated detachments of troops. He commanded cavalry at the battles of Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Nashville. Forrest's formula for success is popularly quoted as “git thar fustest with the mostest men,” though in fact he said “get there first with the most men.” He was made a lieutenant general shortly before his surrender in May, 1865.
The most controversial incident of Forrest's career was the massacre at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. After taking the fort in April, 1863, his troops, with no apparent justification, killed many of its defenders, including a large number of Negroes. Forrest did not order the massacre, but he has been condemned for failing to control his troops.
Forrest was born near Chapel Hill, Tennessee. Though wholly without formal education, he rose from poverty to become a wealthy cotton planter, real estate broker, and slave dealer. After the Civil War he was for some time president of the Selma, Marion and Memphis Railroad, and for a short time he was associated with the Ku Klux Klan.