Marion, Selma and Memphis Railroad Company Notes Signed by Gen. N.B. Forrest


Marion, Selma and Memphis Railroad Company Notes Signed by Gen. N.B. Forrest - 

These two rare notes or company scrip, issued in 1871, are clearly and boldly signed by the famed Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Nathan Bedford Forrest (July 13, 1821 – October 29, 1877) was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He is remembered both as a self-educated, innovative cavalry leader during the war and as a leading southern advocate in the postwar years. He served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. A cavalry and military commander in the war, Forrest was one of the war’s most unusual figures. Less educated than many of his fellow officers, Forrest had already amassed a fortune as a planter, real estate investor, and slave trader before the war. He was one of the few officers in either army to enlist as a private and be promoted to general officer and division commander, by the end of the war. Although Forrest lacked a formal military education, he had a gift for strategy and tactics. He created and established new doctrines for mobile forces, earning the nickname “The Wizard of the Saddle”. Forrest was accused of war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow for allowing forces, under his command, to conduct a massacre of hundreds of black Union Army and white Southern Unionist prisoners. Union Major General William T. Sherman investigated the allegations and did not charge Forrest with any improprieties. In their postwar writings, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee both expressed their belief that the Confederate high command had failed to fully utilize Forrest’s talents. He later found employment at the Selma-based Marion & Memphis Railroad and eventually became the company president. He was not as successful in railroad promoting as in war, and under his direction, the company went bankrupt. Nearly ruined as the result of the failure of the Selma, Marion and Memphis Railroad in the early 1870′s, Forrest spent his final days running a prison work farm on President’s Island in the Mississippi River. Forrest’s health descended into steady decline, and he and his wife were forced to live in a log cabin they had salvaged from his plantation.

These two notes or company scrip are wonderfully framed, in an archival manner, so that both sides of each note is visible. The notes are in superb condition, retaining great color and crisp edges. We have had Selma, Marion and Memphis bonds, also signed by Forrest, but these two notes are only the second examples we have handled.

Measurements: Frame – Height: 15”; Width – 14.25”

Notes – 25 cent note – Length: 7.25”; Height: 3”

2 dollar note – Length: 71/8”; Height: 3”