Devil's Dream: A Novel About Nathan Bedford Forrest
Madison Smartt Bell
A powerful new novel about Nathan Bedford Forrest, the most reviled, celebrated, and legendary of Civil War generals. With the same eloquence, dramatic energy, and grasp of history that marked his award-winning fictional trilogy of the Haitian Revolution, Madison Smartt Bell now turns his gaze to America’s Civil War. We see Forrest on and off the battlefield, in less familiar but no less revealing moments of his life; we see him treating his slaves humanely even as he fights to ensure their continued enslavement; we see his knack for keeping his enemy unsettled, his instinct for the unexpected, and his relentless stamina. As Devil's Dream moves back and forth in time, a vivid portrait comes into focus: a rough, fierce man with a life full of contradictions.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Walked back toward Matthew and the wagon. “We best get on,” he said, as he climbed aboard. Matthew nodded and joined him on the decorated box. Ben clucked to the drowsing mule and the wheels began to turn. “You oughtent to spend so much time talken to dead folks,” Benjamin told him. “They’s a whole lot of life ahead of you yet.” CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX November 1864 FORREST, with his escort about him, sat his horse to the east of the Lewisburg Pike, from a point where he could see.
Of the attack, having ridden seventy-two miles in twenty-seven hours. Booth has been killed inside the fort by one of Forrest’s sharpshooters, though the Confederate besiegers don’t know this. During his first reconnaissance Forrest is rolled on by a horse shot from under him. “They are not many, we must take them,” he concludes. Forrest’s demand for surrender offers to treat all the men (black Union soldiers implicitly included) as prisoners of war, adding, “Should my demand be refused I cannot.
The breathless dancers took their seats, leaving Forrest dancing a hornpipe alone to the quickening tune, capering and clicking his heels and somehow finding wind all the time to pronounce a long brag of how he and his Rangers would whup the Yankees and drive them home; counting off their heroic virtues one by one. When the tune had ended, Forrest fell into his chair (there was still a loaded plate before him), but he wasn’t quite done yet with the roster— “Old Ornery here,” Forrest stabbed the.
This mornen.” Willy pointed to where the horse stood snuffling at the stony dirt. “That much to the good then.” Forrest winced slightly as he stooped to gather the reins from the ground. “Ain’t I done tolt ye not to let the leathers trail thataway?” he snapped. “Well, never mind. Hit’s still a fight on our hands, ain’t it.” Cowan watched him as he mounted, then began to repack his saddlebag. He thought of other times when there was nothing Forrest could do about whatever it was. There weren’t.
That flag comes down.” A gust from the river teased out the cloth of the Union flag above the battlement. It seemed that all of them were looking at it for a second. The darkness rising in Henri’s mind suddenly took on a definite form. “General,” he said. Forrest, interrupted, turned on him hotly. “General—” He saw it plain now, why couldn’t he say it? “Mister Nolan is out in advance of Barteau. In the ravine by Coal Creek.” Forrest looked at him like he’d lost his mind. “Why wouldn’t he be?.