Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad Company Notes Signed by Nathan Bedford Forrest
Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad Company Notes Signed by 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. The notes have been archivally framed in a very attractive way; the reverse of the sides of both notes are visible through windows made in the back of the matting. Both of these notes are difficult to find and are from a much sought after issuer; both notes bear the printed signature of this venture’s President, well known former Confederate cavalry officer N.B. Forrest. The notes are both in uncirculated condition. The fractional $.25 note is the Marion, AL- Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad Co. 25¢ March 1, 1871 Rosene 178-1. The two dollar note is Marion, AL- Selma, Marion & Memphis Railroad Co $2 March 1, 1871 Rosene 178-2BR. This is a bright and attractive scarce note with a large green “2″ overprint.