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pictured is a monument to confederate general nathan bedford forrest's surrender to union general james h. wilson on may 9 th 1865. forrest had just lost the battle of selma to wilson and later learned that general robert e. lee had surrendered the army of northern virginia at appomattox courthouse to union general grant. knowing that future fighting was futile forrest decided to surrender. at this site forrest gave his famous farewell to his troops.
"civil war, such as you have just passed through naturally engenders feelings of animosity, hatred, and revenge. it is our duty to divest ourselves of all such feelings; and heretofore so widely, but honesty, differed. neighborhood feuds, personal animosities, and private differences should be blotted out; and when you return home, a manly, straightforward course of conduct will secure the repect of your enemies. whatever your responsibilities may be to government, to society, or to individuals meet them like men.
the attempt made to establish a separate and independent confederacy has failed, but the consciousness of having done your duty faithfully, and in the end, will, in some measure, repay for the hardships you have undergone. in bidding you farewell, rest assured that you carry with you my best wishes for your future welfare and happiness. without, referring to the merits of the cause in which we have been engaged, your courage and determination, as exhibited on many hard fought fields, has elicited the respect and admiration of friend and foe. and i now cheerfully and gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to the officers and men of my command whose zeal, fidelity, and unflinching bravery have been the great source of my past success in arms.
i have never, on the field of battle, sent you where i was unwilling to go myself, nor would i now advise you to a course which i felt myself unwilling to pursue. you have been good soldiers, you can be good citizens. obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the government to which you have surrendered can afford to be, and will be magnanimous."
nathan bedford forrest, may 9 th 1865.
Updated May 22, 2012
Address: state street (AL 39)