Civil War Talk Radio: December 15, 2006

by Brett Schulte on December 15, 2006 · 0 comments

Air Date: 121506
Subject: Nathan Bedford Forrest
Books: The Confederacy’s Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest & Gone With the Glory: The History of the Civil War in Cinema
Guest: Brian Steel Wills

Summary: Cavalry genius? War criminal? Both? The war produced no character more controversial than the man Grant called “that devil, Forrest.” Dr. Brian Steel Wills, author of The Confederacy’s Greatest Cavalryman: Nathan Bedford Forrest offers his views.

Brett’s Summary: Brian S. Wills is the foremost biographer of Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Gerry and Brian spent the better part of the first two segments discussing Forrest’s life.

In the first segment, Gerry made the comment that Forrest and Abraham Lincoln had very similar upbringings.  The main point Wills made time and again was that Forrest was a violent man who when challenged would typically respond with violence or the threat of violence.

The second segment goes over Forrest’s military campaigns.  Wills believes Forrest rarely got there “first with the most”, but typically got there “in time with enough”.  Forrest’s men typically fought dismounted once on the field of battle, making them essentially dragoons.  A good portion of this part of the show discussed Fort Pillow.  Wills agreed that when you see more killed than wounded, something is wrong.  However, he believes if Forrest had wanted to massacre the Fort Pillow garrison, he was the type of man who would have left very few or no prisoners at the end.

The third segment was spent talking about some of Wills’ other books, including Gone With the Glory: The History of the Civil War in Cinema.  Professor Wills spent some time briefly at the end of the show discussing his favorite and not so favorite Civil War movies.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public historians such as park rangers and museum curators, wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Round Table located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.

Check out more summaries of Civil War Talk Radio at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.

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