Fake News? Nathan Bedford Forrest


I use older newspaper articles as a source for my data. I do enjoy the Digital library of Georgia and Chronicling America. Feel free to Google both and search for information., Elephind is also a good source for newspaper information. Charles Fort based a lot of his research on newspapers. I would love to say I am Fortean but not close enough. One trick I like to do is to place the source of the news article at the bottom of the article image. This way if someone shares the image the article info is there. Lets Begin

Daily Intelligencer, Jul. 15, 1865 -- page 2This is the article that started it all. While scrolling through the Atlanta Newspapers I came across this and posted to a civil war forum with lots of Nathan Bedford Forrest Fans like me. One of the responses I got was that this was fake news. None of Forrest’s biographies and books mentioned this event. This led me to search for more.

Alexandria gazette_, July 15, 1865, Image 2

I found a second article that was pretty cost to the first. Which would lend to the fact that early newspapers share articles in much the same way as the Associated Press does today. I still refused to say this is fake news but this is what the forum argued.

Daily Intelligencer, Jul_ 25, 1865 -- page 2Found another article from the same paper just a little later. Has a little more detail but not much.

The tri-weekly news_, July 20, 1865, Image 1

This article is a little more telling. it mentions more about the accident.


This above may give some idea of what the spider car was. A plank caught the brake of the car and threw it off the track.


The Standard. (Clarksville, Tex.), Vol. 23, No. 43, Ed. 1 Saturday, July 22, 1865

This article offers a little more detail. Still find it hard to believe that fake news would produce different views od the same event.

Evansville Daily Journal, Volume 17,Evansville, Vanderburgh County, 12 July 1865

This article makes the mistake of referring to Nathan Bedford Forrest as T B Forrest. However its still the same news. one important thing to note is it lists two witnesses to the event. First though misspelled is Colonel Luke William Finlay of Memphis of the 4th Tennessee Consolidated Infantry.  It turns out Finlay was a Yale Graduate. finlay

I believe the other passenger was Colonel Josiah Patterson of the 5th Alabama Cavalry and had later moved to Memphis.



US Congressman. With the advent of the Civil War, he was a lawyer in practice when he enlisted in the Confederate Army. Commissioned a 1st Lieutenant in the 1st Regiment, Alabama Cavalry, he rose through the ranks to Colonel in command of the 5th Regiment, Alabama Cavalry. After the war, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, continued to practice law and was a member of the Tennessee State House of Representatives, (1883-85). In 1891, he was elected as a Democrat to the Fifty-second, Fifty-third and Fifty-fourth Congresses, serving until 1897. An candidate for reelection, he resumed the practice of law until his death at age 66

Josiah was a solicitor for the Tennessee Midland Railroad.

At this point I am convinced the story is not “fake news” as it was repeated by many. The question was then asked why were they on the train together in 1865? One thought may be the ties all had to the railroad and they may have been investors. Forrest and the other two officers could have also been visiting other veterans or under orders. The accident may not have been so serious for men who could dust themselves off and keep on going. U di however make sure I am not spreading fake news.







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s