Past Dragoons Commander Willis' letter to the editor:
Moon Revises Forrest's History Inaccurately
The inaccuracies of Josh Moon’s column on Nathan B. Forrest are legion. Any historical fact he disagrees with he labels “revisionist.”
But we can check the facts for ourselves by examining primary source documents. For example, in his first inaugural address Lincoln said he had no desire “to interfere with slavery and no lawful right to do so.”
Nathan Bedford Forrest called for the KKK to be abolished in 1868 and personally volunteered to help apprehend those responsible for lynchings. In an 1875 address to the blacks of the “Pole-bearers” society Forrest encouraged them to seek out the professions of their choice including public office and declared “I am with you in heart and hand.”
In the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln publicly stated that the black man was not his “intellectual equal.” And when issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Lincoln told his cabinet that it was a necessary “war measure” since the Union was in the process of losing the war.
When the facts are examined it could be argued that Forrest is much more deserving of public praise than Lincoln. Regardless of current sentiment, Forrest was far ahead of his day (and Lincoln) in race relations. But sadly, propaganda rather than historical fact, usually wins the day.
Mr. Moon (perhaps out of sheer historical ignorance, or perhaps not) has added another layer of myth to further obscure the truth on Forrest. He could check the record to verify his folly, but undoubtedly this would not serve his divisive purposes.
Joseph W. Willis