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'Under the Lie'
Mike the Exhile Cues the Crackpot on Custer and Forest
On Custer and Nathan Bedford Forest
Sat, Apr 3, 4:59 PM (3 days ago)
James,
How is your trip to Mordor going?
Been reading your recent exchanges with Fire and found them quite enlightening.
Have you written anything on Custer and Nathan Bedford Forest?
The more time I spend reading your site the more obvious it is that The Woman and Her historians didn't do them any favors : Custer was portrayed to me like an inept psychopath with delusions of grandeur who died foolishly charging a greater number of braves while Nathan Bedford Forest was simply presented as a racist who fought on the wrong side of history...
Be well under The Lie,
- Mike the Exile

Mike, I am surviving the floating exile, now in spring-summer short-term nomad living, usually moving every 3-5 days.
The dialogues with Fire have been interesting. As an alienated man, it is healthy, mentally, to field some reflections from the alienated versions of our opposite.
I have written three extensive articles on Nathan Bedford Forest as chapters in books. I do not know if these have been published in print and cannot remember which books I put them in.
I have not written much about Custer.
So, what I will do here, is discuss Custer and Forrest as like enemies, two of the last horse warriors of the Aryan tradition.
Custer and and Forest were perhaps the least educated men to attain the rank of general in the Civil War. Custer would be reduced to Colonel after the war when the army was miniaturized. Forest was an uneducated orphan, who would go back into private life after the war and was widely regarded as the single best military tactician and horse soldier in the war. Custer finished last in his West Point class and had grand Arthurian dreams of heroism. He was an upper class guy who wanted to be Forest but lacked the patience. They were both fearless and would have dueled with pistols or charged each other with sabers—but they served in different theaters.
Ironically, Custer was the foil of Forest's miniature eastern counterpart, partisan horseman Captain John Singleton Mosby, operating in the Shenandoah Valley, where both would distinguish themselves, with Mosby the much smarter man with the better men, and Custer, the bull leading steers to the slaughter. Custer was commanded by Phil Sheridan who would be his ultimate commander in the west against the Indians, who in turn served under Sherman against the Indians. Interestingly, Sherman, commander in the west during the Civil War [not the Far West, but between the Appalachians and the Mississippi], famously put a $10,000 price on Forest's head, against the Rules of War, and named him “That Devil.” Sherman was unable to collect, primarily because Sheridan with his 10-15,000 man horse army, of which Custer was a part, were terrorizing Mosby and would kill Jeb Stuart, the Eastern theater Confederate cavalry general and run Bobby Lee's army of Northern Virginia to ground.
This is irony, as plodding general Grant, needed the best horsemen in the east, leaving his wing man Sherman in the more horse-friendly west, with second rate horse generals.
In the ideal fantasy American Army fighting aliens in 1865, Forest would lead the horsemen, with Sheridan as his logistics man and Custer riding at the point of the spear. In an alternative Civil War simulation, which I fought as the Union player, I used Sheridan to hunt down Forest. Forest's counterpart was Sheridan, who would have sicked his dog Custer on Forest the wolf, and made a fight of it. Many of Forest's victories came courtesy of timid colonels and brigadiers and lieutenant generals. Custer would have died with his boots on charging into Forest's trap and would have gotten Forest killed by Sheridan like the mangled wolfhound dooms the wolf to be shot by the wolf-hunter.
Custer's Napoleonic counterpart would be Ney, bravest man in a brave France, and Forest's would be Cochrane, the sea captain and wizard of the sea, most ruthless seaman of a pirate nation.
World War II Counterparts would be Patton for Custer and Rommel for Forest.
As a working class man, Forest was very concerned about his men, where Custer could care less. For one, most of Custer's men were low caliber, the cast-offs of a capitalistic society. One guy who died with Custer had to be helped into his coat as he had a maimed shoulder. Custer fancied himself an aristocrat and surrounded himself, much like Alexander the Great with a set of masculine hunting and riding and fighting companions. He was a bad-ass and not the sharpest military mind. He was the right man to run down the Indians, as the other generals cut from the mold of the men who had surrendered to Forest or blundered into his traps, were too timid for the ruthless task at hand.
The Indians admired Custer. We are told that he was called Yellow Hair and that he did not understand the Indians. The caricature of him in the movie Little Big Man is one of the least accurate in the history of that vile medium of movies. The Sacred Ravens, his loyal Indian allies, named him Son of the Morning Star, after his ruthless butchering of men, women and children at the Washita, as he attacked as Venus rose in the still dark sky—like an Indian war chief. Custer fought like an Indian, attacking at dawn. Other Indians called him Hard Backsides, because he did not tire in the saddle. Against Indians in the Southwest he once lost troopers because he let his returning column straggle out as he raced home to his wife to get pussy. If they had served together, Forest would have crossed swords with him over that.
By an measure, Forest was the better man, but they were more like each other than any of us living today are like them or their enemies. When your army wins exclusively by pushing more men and material at a smarter enemy, you end up with leaders like Custer, not Forest, hence the wily Indians had their chance for victory.
Both men loved horses and dogs in the ancient Aryan tradition and both were the best horsemen that their friends and foes had known. If Crazy Horse calls you Hard Backsides, then you sure as hell can ride. I did walk the battlefield at little Big Horn, actually ran the circuit. While there, I spoke with a rancher, who looked at the rise Custer had ridden over and shook his head as he pointed to where Custer's men had been picked off, noting that the horses must have been hopelessly exhausted.
The best way to test these two old time men against each other would have been a cross country horse race from coast to coast. The only survivor of Custer's last stand was the Horse of Sergeant Miles Keough, who became an equine American hero. King Phillip, baddest American warhorse, and not among the 33 horses that had been killed underneath Forest, even attempted to battle conquering Yankees alone and unsaddled in his old age.
In battle, Custer would need 3-1 odds to make it even against Forrest, and in the war they shared he would have had those odds.
In a pistol duel I'd rate Custer as a 3-2 favorite.
Long gun shooting would favor Custer by 4-1.
With swords, Forest is a 4-1 favorite.
Knife fight—Forrest, 20-1.
Hunting and gambling is probably an even playing field.
Both of these men are hated and reviled today for only one reason: they were brave and unafraid.
Forest, who was known as The Wizard of the Saddle, and a major inspiration for the fictional Conan character created by Robert E. Howard whose uncle rode with Forrest, would have been the perfect man to lead Custer against any number of enemies. Faced with both of them, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull would have been deprived of their moment in the blood-drenched sun.

Books
Forrest
A Battle From the Start, Brian Steel Wills
Bust Hell Wide Open, author forgotten
...
Custer
Mosby's Raiders, author forgotten
Son of the Morning Star, author forgotten
The Greasy Grass Fight, author forgotten
...
On Other Horse soldiers of the Era
Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides
The Devil Knows How to Ride, author forgotten
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