Bandy Lecture At Dalton State To Examine Controversial Life Of Nathan Bedford Forrest

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest

The impact of history on the reputation of Nathan Bedford Forrest, antebellum millionaire, Civil War general, and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan, will be examined in a free Bandy Heritage Center lecture by Dr. John D. Fowler on Tuesday, April 1, at Dalton State College.

The program will begin at 6 p.m. in Room 105 of Dalton State’s James E. Brown Center at the north end of the Dalton State campus.

Dr. Fowler, executive director of the Bandy Center and BJ and Dicksie Bandy Chair of History at Dalton State, will present “Hero or Villain: Nathan Bedford Forrest and His Image in American History” in which he will discuss the life and military career of Confederate General Forrest and how his actions both during and after the Civil War shaped his contemporary and current image and reputation.

The lecture will be supplemented by artworks that interpret Mr. Forrest’s image to today’s audience. 

“A self-made millionaire prior to the Civil War, Forrest joined the Confederate cause as a private and rose to general’s rank and command of a cavalry division in the Western theater,” Dr. Fowler said. “Although lacking in formal military training, Forrest possessed a gift for strategy and tactics and used these abilities to design and execute new doctrines for mobile warfare that earned him the nickname, ‘The Wizard of the Saddle.’”

“Perhaps the most feared and respected of all Confederate cavalry leaders, Forrest was held responsible for the massacre of African-American Union troops at Fort Pillow and also served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization he helped found after the war,” Dr. Fowler said.

Those with questions about the program are invited to contact Brian Hilliard for more information. He can be reached at


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