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Sunday, February 22, 2009

1864 :: Mollie remembers Nathan Bedford Forrest

Mary Annie (Mollie) West Nettles (1852-1939) and her great-granddaughter, Mary Beth (daughter of Miss Ruby), ca. 1938

This ca. 1938 image is a photo of Mary Annie Mollie Nettles nee West holding one of her great-grand-daughters . . . as of ca. 1932, this Mollie (1852-1939) still had very specific memories about what was happening on the 22nd day of February during the 12th winter of her life (1864) in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi . . .

Closer came the fighting until one day we could hear the cannon booming as a battle was fought over a bridge maybe twelve miles from our home. I remember what they called that bridge, though I don't know how you would spell it ... Sookietoncha, it sounded like [i.e., Sakatonchee].

It made cold chills run over you to hear that cannon. We had already had several wounded soldiers to take care of . . . Aunt Mary [Mary Valentine nee Carter (1814-1892)] and Mother [Sally West Thomas nee Carter (c. 1820-1868)] were fine nurses ... but now they really poured into the house.

I remember that Col. [Jeffrey] FORREST had come by the day before and asked Aunt Mary for a horse to ride. She had told him to take his pick, only leave her old Tom to ride, since he was real gentle. But he insisted on using Tom, and in anger she told him, "I hope he does you no good, Sir!"

Late the next day, after the battle at the bridge, old Tom came home riderless with blood all over the saddle. Col. FORREST had been killed on him. Aunt Mary wept in remorse and never again rode old Tom. Col. [Jeffrey] FORREST and Gen. [Nathan Bedford] FORREST were brothers, and we saw them often.

Assuming the above family story is true . . . then Old Tom is mayhaps depicted in the painting, Vengeance at Okolona, by John Paul Strain . . . these recollections of the years of the war between the states were told to Ruby Vance nee Nettles (1910-2003) by her paternal grandmother, Mollie . . . this same Mollie is a 2nd great-grandma to the keeper of this family history blog . . .

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