Sons of Confederate Veterans ‘Put to Rest for Eternity’ Gen. Nathan Bedford in Columbia, Tennessee


COLUMBIA, Tennessee – Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was “put to rest for eternity” Saturday by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) at the National Confederate Headquarters and Museum at Historic Elm Springs in Columbia, Tennessee.

The general was reinterred with his wife Mary Ann Montgomery Forrest at a private ceremony that was free to attendees but required a ticket, the number of which was limited to about 2,000.

SCV, organized in Richmond, Virginia in 1896, is a non-profit organization whose members are male descendants of Confederate veterans of The Civil War.

A torrential downpour passed over the area not much more than an hour before the official start of the event, which didn’t deter the dozens of SCV motorcycle riders.


In addition to at least five tour buses observed in the parking areas, so were marker plates on passenger vehicles from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.

As attendees arrived even more than an hour before the ceremony, a couple hundred re-enactors were already gathered on the grounds, representing Confederate infantry, cavalry and artillery units as well as women dressed in the attire of the day.

Donald Kimbell and Ken McBride, who represented the 4th Louisiana Field Artillery, told The Tennessee Star that artillery units from all of the 11 states that seceded from the Union were represented.

Kimbell, who serves as Louisiana SCV’s chaplain, said that he decided to forego a vacation cruise in order to attend the interment ceremony.

“I’ve been on a cruise before, but I’ve never buried a Confederate General,” Kimbell told The Star.

As the discussion turned toward recent efforts to erase America’s history, McBride made the point about the interment ceremony for General Forrest, “History is being written right here today.”

The event was held as a funeral, with the caskets carried by nearly a dozen pallbearers each onto the field area between the Elm Springs mansion and the new museum, where the ceremony was held with attendees having set up lawn chairs they were advised to bring.

During the entrance portion of the ceremony, the crowd stood in notably silent and solemn reverence for nearly 10 minutes.

In attendance were several Forrest family members, including two great-great-grandsons and four cousins. Three other great-great-grandsons, while still alive, were not in attendance.

Following the presentation of colors and the invocation, opening remarks were given by the SCV Commander-in-Chief Larry McCluney, Jr.

McCluney noted the earlier heavy rain, but said, “I’ve never done a Confederate funeral, Confederate memorial service when God didn’t bless us with a break in the rain.  It’s always rained before.  It’s always rained after, but it always sun shine on such a momentous occasion.”

Indeed, the sun did come out from behind the clouds, making it quite warm during the more than hour-long ceremony.

The remains of Forrest and his wife were buried under a statue of the general in 1904, after being moved from their original resting place in a Memphis cemetery.

In the late-night hours of December 20, 2017, the city of Memphis arranged to have the statue taken down, circumventing state law that prohibits the removal of historic monuments from public property, by selling the public park to a non-profit.

The family then had to pursue legal action in order to gain approval to, once again, remove the remains, which the SCV agreed to oversee.

McCluney seemed mindful of the controversy without directly speaking about it when he addressed the family.

“I want to thank the family for allowing us to have the honor to carry on with these proceedings and to entrust us with the remains of their ancestors, who will finally be put to rest here at Elm Springs for eternity,” he said.

McCluney said the last phase of the long journey would be the relocation of the large monument depicting Forrest on a horse that was removed from the Memphis park and is currently being stored in an undisclosed location.

Brief comments were made by officials of SCV affiliated lineage societies, Mike Moore, adjutant general of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars and Dottie Meadows, president of the Tennessee Society Order of Confederate Rose.

Forrest’s farewell address to his men was read by SCV Past Commander-In-Chief Paul Gramling, Jr.

The eulogy was delivered by H. Edward Phillips, III, who is not just a cousin of Forrest, but also leader of the Forrest family legal team.

McCluney, who is an educator, used a referenced to the three R’s, but with a different meaning that was reflected in the day’s event:  Remembrance, Respect and Reverence.

“That’s what today is about,” said McCluney. “We’re here to remember a hero, not just of the south, but an American warrior.”

Following the formal remarks, wreaths of magnolia leaves, a garland of which also adorned the stage, were placed beside the grave sites into which the remains will be placed at a later time due to the impending rain.

The infantry and artillery units then honored Forrest with a rifle volley and cannon salute.

Visitation was held on September 17, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sons of Confederate Veterans National Headquarters and Museum and Historic Elm Springs in Columbia, Tennessee.

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Laura Baigert is a senior reporter with The Star News Network, where she covers stories for The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News.







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39 Thoughts to “Sons of Confederate Veterans ‘Put to Rest for Eternity’ Gen. Nathan Bedford in Columbia, Tennessee”

  1. […] Elm Springs in Columbia, where they were interred at a period-appropriate ceremony, The Star reported, after being removed from Memphis, […]

    1. Robert Branam

      Nathan Bedford Forrest was a man of great honor and integrity,
      Something you would know little to nothing about there at the SPLC

  2. Robert Orians

    I hope to drive down and see that monument to a great man and his wife one day soon . I will take my Great Grandkids and tell them of his exploits and honor his memory . God bless those citizens of Tennessee that honor our heros and may those that try to divide America be cursed .

  3. Julie Barnes

    I personally came all the way from South Carolina midlands to honor the Great General Forrest and his beloved wife ! It was a privilege to be part of such an historic and once in a lifetime event ! I only wish wish those that are trying to destroy our history would truly wish to know real history and not simply the current political propaganda that is ruining our country ! Men like Forrest and Cleburne and Lee, Jackson , Stuart , Hill snd more are names and characters that will live long after the haters , the leftists and the current ( flash in the pan pan culture ) is long gone ! Deo Vindice my fellow Southern Patriots and American true believers ! ❤️❗️❤️

  4. Laura Bailey

    I was honored to be able to attend such an amazing show of historic recognition. My great grandfather fought under NBF and I am honored to listen to such historical tributes that were given to him on the weekend long memorial service and reinterment. Those that continue to speak of all the lies of General Forrest’s life should step back and educate yourself of the true history of this honorable soldier and his bride. That is before the idiots of this day in time try to erase it all. These are the things our Nation were built on whether you want to admit it or not. Thank you for such a remarkable story you have depicted of this Historical moment.

  5. Benny Orduno

    Wasn’t he a founder of the k k k .

  6. Dawn Street

    Thank you for writing such a wonderful piece about the funeral and interment. I could not believe what Memphis did to their fallen hero and citizen. I am happy they have a new place to rest where they will receive the respect and reverence they deserve. My family was from Ripley, MS and were well acquainted with him and respected him. My 3rd great grandfather named his last child Virginia Lee Forrest Crowder. General Forrest was a true Southern gentlemen.

  7. Luis

    I believe everyone should know what had taken place in the past but not let the past take advantage of ones self today. The past is the past. So instead of dwelling on it do something to make things better for everyone. I believe in the United States Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta. If it hadn’t been for that I never would have been able to take a stand for justice and against racism. I have done my part by writing this book.

  8. Eugene Wood

    General Forrest was the very 1st Guest speaker to be invited to talk at the predecessor to the NAACP in front of the many in numbers of ex-slaves because they knew he was trying his best for the advancement of all Black peoples in giving them Jobs on the railroad, building Churches and Schools for them and much more. He was never a Grand Wizard of the KKK and was cleared of that or any wrong doing in front of a Congressional hearing that included several Union Generals he had fought against “William T. Sherman” during the late War and others. There had been a smear Campaign run against his good name then and continues even today which is completely false.

  9. Russell Grayson

    Thank you Laura Baigert for a fair and accurate–and respectful–piece of honest journalism.

  10. Randall Davidson

    God Bless Gen. Forrest and his wife. May they now rest in peace finally.

    1. William Delzell

      Forrest and his wife are a couple of war criminals who deserve our contempt, not our respect!

      1. jamesb

        your opinion only. had he been a war criminal i am sure the hatred at that point in history would have tried him

        1. David Johnson

          I’m just wondering does anyone know that his personal guard consisted of forty out of forty five slvesthat he promised freedom to no matter what the outcome of the War of Northern Aggression and he said they were the fiercest soldiers he had. If I am wrong about this please feel free to fact check me.

          1. tereasa cotter

            Forest freed all the slaves that went with him before the war ended. ALL but one remained with him till the end of the war.

      2. Danny Odom

        Reading can be eye opening compared to drive by history from CNN

      3. Steve Fowlet

        You have to be one of those entitled people or just slap ass ignorant. Stop listening to CNN and get your history right before you make stupid remarks.

      4. Brenda Morris

        And you sir are a revisionist wishing to destroy history for your twisted feelings.

      5. Malcom Gilcrease

        An imbecilic trolling comment that is iconic of the ranks of the intellectually challenged. You will never muster and inkling of the honor and respect these two people continue to inspire.

      6. HUBERT CASH

        Ignorance like yours deserves one of my famous and infamous curses. There you have it .

      7. Ben

        I’m sure Willy read the contents of the failed Corwin Amendment of 1859. In short it said keep paying the Tarrifs and slavery will be left up to the States as they see fit. You won’t believe this, the Southern States rejected that foolishness. We know that Ohio and Rhode Island voted to Ratify. Rhode Island, the slave ship making capitol for the North. Ohio, the Amendment creator. Gee Wizz, since you history buffs say the War over states rights was all about slavery, it would have been averted if only we had ratified the Corwin Amendment. The fact is D.C. like today is greedy for power and cash and wanted to rob the riches the Southern States were working so hard for. So they took it by force. History repeating itself today. And never forget, the continent of Africa rounded up their own people and brought them to port in chains. And the British Empire facilitated slavery all around the World and brought thousands of them to America long before this Country was formed, and we warmed their A$$ in 1776. As far as the British flag is concerned, it is the root of slavery in modern times. Chew on that willy. This only touches on a tiny portion of what is swept under the rug.

      8. Jerrison Howard

        If you consider the great Gen. NATHAN BEDFORD FORREST a “war criminal” then Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant are the pure definition of war criminals. All 3 were just as bad as Hitler, or Stalin.

      9. Gary Towery

        J never knew of war crimes.
        Sherman and Sheridan were more in that category.

  11. John Pennington

    Excellent article and I’m glad that my hometown has become his and his wife’s final resting place.

  12. Lemuel H.

    Thank you to the author for a very well written article and a fair description of General Forrest. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is the only organization in America working to protect the truthful legacy of Southern soldiers, and explaining the South’s true reasons for secession. The SCV should be commended for its education and hard work.

  13. jamesb

    think it fitting to be buried at such a peaceful sounding sounding place as elm springs instead of a litter scattered street in memphis. i am near memphis and have driven past the former burial spot many, many times. i never realized he was buried there as i belive 80% of memphis .
    it is that woke generation that caused the controversy. i guess in a few years they will be wanting to exhume boss e.h.crump and sent him back to holly springs,miss.

  14. Tim Price

    I am too Rick. To persecute someone, who has been dead over 100 years, is beyond belief especially as Forrest repented of his actions before he died.

    But the NAACP director of Maury County was a redo gentleman who said there was no need in continuing the persecution of Forrest.

    The piece was on Tennessee website so you can look it up I think.

  15. Jubal A. Early

    When asked to name the greatest soldier of the war, Robert E. Lee replied, “A man I have never seen, sir. His name is Forrest.” Even William T. Sherman, a leading UNION general, judged Forrest “the most remarkable man our Civil War produced on either side.” The pigsty known as Memphis isn’t fit house his or his wife’s remains. May that pigsty of a city-and many others-burn to the ground by woke snowflakes.

    Anyway, with praise like that, there can be no doubt. All hail Nathan Bedford Forrest!!!

    1. Steven Coyle

      Both quotes are accurate. Forrest was a strong unionist until Lincoln called for troops to stop the “rebellion” in the cotton states. When Tennessee seceded, Forrest volunteered to fight for independence.

  16. John Bumpus

    Thank you Tennessee Star for this story. Lt. Gen. Forrest was a great Tennessean. And after the War Between the States, Forrest proved himself to be a great American. (Those who say otherwise don’t know the facts, OR they don’t want anyone else to know the facts.) I am told that the importance of his military thinking was, and continues to be, such that Forrest is one of the few military commanders whose tactics are still taught at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York to this day. My own ancestors (most of them) fought for the Confederacy, and some of them fought under Forrest’s command. And I am as proud of my own ancestors as anyone else is of theirs!

    1. Patrick Patterson

      Well stated. NBF is my 3rd Great-GrandUncle .

  17. Rick

    I am proud for the family that the Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife Mary remains were finally laid to rest in Columbia and I am embarrassed that the s- -t hole city of Memphis is part of Tennessee..