Important Civil War Portrait of Dr. Horace W. King, by Helene DeLaunay, 1886
Helene DeLaunay | Portrait of Dr. Horace W. King | 1886 | Oil on canvas | Signed by artist | Gold gilt frame | 30″ x 26″
Historical Portrait of Confederate Major Horace W. King (3rd Missouri Infantry). Major King was a surgeon to CSA Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest (active in 1861 & 1862, present at several major battles including Battles of Shiloh and Vicksburg). This portrait is in excellent condition and signed (lower right) by Helene Delaunay and dated 1886. On the verso the canvas has some information written that says, “Horace King, Col. Surgeon in Forest Calvary, from Missouri – Confed Army.” The artist, Helene DeLaunay, was a prominent Civil War portrait artist and few of the artist’s works are said to have survived to the present.
Horace W. King Biography:
Birth: May, 1827, Jackson County, Alabama, USA
Death: 1905, Missouri, USA
Father: William M. King
Mother: Frances “Fanny” [maiden name unknown]
1850 – Merchant [probably with his father], Jackson Co, AL
01/08/1854 [or 01/10/854] – Married, Charlotte Ann Aughinbaugh, Jackson Co., AL (she died in 1897)
1860 – Practiced medicine, Kingsville, Johnson Co., MO
02/02/1862 – Appointed Major, 14th Cavalry Regt., 8th Division, Missouri State Guard
04/08/1862 – Battle of Fallen Timbers, where Nathan Bedford Forrest was shot and wounded, a musket ball having lodged in his pelvis.
04/14/1862 – When King was said to have removed the musket ball from Forrest, without anesthesia, which was unavailable.
01/09/1863 – Captured in W. Springfield, Greene Co., MO, as Surgeon, 3rd MO Infantry, after being left in charge of the hospital following an evacuation
01/23/1863 – Prisoner, Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis, MO
02/01/1863 – Prisoner, Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis, MO
03/05/1863 – Wrote a letter to Lt. Col. F. A. Dick, U.S. Provost Marshal of Missouri, while a prisoner at Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis, MO, about articles taken from him while he was a prisoner
03/13/1863 – Claimed to be Surgeon, 3rd MO Cavalry, [this unit was designated as the 6th MO Cavalry by the Confederate War Department] and a graduate of the Medical College of Nashville in a letter to the U. S. Provost Marshall, St. Louis, MO, and asked “to be returned within the lines of the Rebel Army.” Also he claimed that he had served five months as Major & Col of [the] 1st Batt[allion] 14th MO Cav. [Missouri State Guard]
03/14/1863 – Discharged from Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis, MO
05/23/1865 – “The last engagement [of the Civil War] in Ray County, Missouri, was about six miles northeast of Richmond, near Dr. Horace King’s farm, on the 23rd of May, 1865. The forces engaged were a portion of Captain Clayton Tiffin’s command and a force of guerrillas under the command of Arch Clemens. It was a sharp engagement for a short time and resulted in the rout of the guerillas.” [source: History of Ray County, MO (1881), Missouri Historical Co., St. Louis, p. 304]
1870 – Practiced medicine, Richmond Township, Ray Co., MO [erroneously indexed in the 1870 U.S. Census as Harris King]
1880 – Practiced medicine, Richmond, Ray Co., MO
1890 – Practiced medicine and farmed, Excelsior Springs, Clay Co., MO
1893 – Practiced eclectic medicine, Excelsior Springs, Clay Co., MO
1897 – Wife, Charlotte Ann, died
1900 – Practiced medicine, Fishing River Township, Clay Co., MO (widower)
1903 – Practiced medicine, Excelsior Springs, Clay Co., MO
00/00/1905 – Died, MO
Note: Although Dr. King claimed to be a graduate of the Medical College of Nashville, he is not listed in their 1910 alumni catalogue.
Attribution: This biographical sketch is from: Hambrecht, F.T. & Koste, J.L., Biographical register of physicians who served the Confederacy in a medical capacity. 04/01/2014. Unpublished database.
Family links: Spouse:Charlotte A. King (1833 – 1897)
Burial: Richmond Cemetery, Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, USA
Horace King is listed as being a part of the 3rd Missouri Infantry CSA in several of the databases.
The following is a letter signed by the same Horace W. King (“H W King”). While a prisoner of war at the Gratiot Street Prison, St. Louis, MO, Confederate Surgeon Horace W. King wrote this letter, dated March 13, 1863, to the Office of the [U.S.] Provost Marshal General asking to be returned to the lines of the Rebel Army. The original of this document is in the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.
King is also believed by some to be the surgeon who saved General Forrest’s life at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6 to 7, 1862). “Forrest had commanded a Confederate rear guard after the Union victory. In the battle of Fallen Timbers, he drove through the Union skirmish line. Not realizing that the rest of his men had halted their charge when reaching the full Union brigade, Forrest charged the brigade single-handedly, and soon found himself surrounded. He emptied his Colt Army revolvers into the swirling mass of Union soldiers and pulled out his saber, hacking and slashing. A Union infantryman on the ground beside him fired a musket ball into Forrest’s spine with a point-blank musket shot, nearly knocking him out of the saddle. The ball went through his pelvis and lodged near his spine. Steadying himself and his mount, he used one arm to lift the Union soldier by the shirt collar and then wielded him as a human shield before casting his body aside after he had found his way to safety. Forrest is acknowledged to have been the last man wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. Forrest galloped back to his incredulous troopers. A surgeon removed the musket ball a week later, without anesthesia, which was unavailable. Forrest would likely have been given a generous dose of alcohol to muffle the pain of the surgery.”
Nathan Bedford Forrest (Tennessee, July 13, 1821 – October 29, 1877), called Bedford Forrest in his lifetime, was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
A cavalry and military commander in the war, Forrest is one of the war’s most unusual figures. Although less educated than many of his fellow officers, before the war Forrest had already amassed a fortune as a planter, real estate investor, and slave trader. He was one of the few officers in either army to enlist as a private and be promoted to general officer and corps commander during the war. He created and established new doctrines for mobile forces, earning the nickname The Wizard of the Saddle. 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 use Forrest’s talents.
Ulysses S. Grant called him “that devil Forrest.” Sherman, it is reported, considered him “the most remarkable man our civil war produced on either side.” He was unquestionably one of the Civil War’s most brilliant tacticians. Without military education or training, he became the scourge of Grant, Sherman, and almost every other Union general who fought in Tennessee, Alabama, or Kentucky. Forrest fought by simple rules: he maintained that “war means fighting and fighting means killing” and that the way to win was “to get there first with the most men.” His cavalry, which Sherman reported in disgust “could travel one hundred miles in less time it takes ours to travel ten,” secured more Union guns, horses, and supplies than any other single Confederate unit. He played pivotal roles at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, the capture of Murfreesboro, the Nashville campaign, Brice’s Cross Roads, and in pursuit and capture of Streight’s Raiders.
Forrest was notoriously accused of war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow for allowing forces under his command to massacre hundreds of black Union Army and white Southern Unionist prisoners. However, Union Major General William T. Sherman investigated the allegations and did not charge Forrest with any improprieties.
Forrest was a pledged delegate from Tennessee to the New York Democratic national convention of 4 July 1868.
After the Civil War broke out, Forrest returned to Tennessee from his Mississippi ventures, enlisted in the Confederate States Army (CSA), and trained at Fort Wright in Randolph, Tennessee. On July 14, 1861, he joined Captain Josiah White’s Company “E”, Tennessee Mounted Rifles as a private, along with his youngest brother and 15-year-old son. Upon seeing how badly equipped the CSA was, Forrest offered to buy horses and equipment with his own money for a regiment of Tennessee volunteer soldiers.
His superior officers and the state Governor Isham G. Harris were surprised that someone of Forrest’s wealth and prominence had enlisted as a soldier, especially since major planters were exempted from service. They commissioned him as a lieutenant colonel and authorized him to recruit and train a battalion of Confederate mounted rangers. In October 1861, Forrest was given command of a regiment, the 3rd Tennessee Cavalry. Though Forrest had no prior formal military training or experience, he had exhibited leadership, and soon proved he had a gift for successful tactics.
Public debate surrounded Tennessee’s decision to join the Confederacy. Both the CSA and the Union armies recruited soldiers from the state. More than 100,000 men from Tennessee served with the Confederacy (more per capita than any other state), and 50,000 served with the Union. Forrest posted ads to join his regiment for “men with good horse and good gun” adding “if you wanna have some fun and to kill some Yankees”.
At six feet, two inches (1.88 m) tall and 210 pounds (95 kg; 15 stone), Forrest was physically imposing and intimidating, especially compared to the average height of men at the time. He used his skills as a hard rider and fierce swordsman to great effect; he was known to sharpen both the top and bottom edges of his heavy saber.
Historians have evaluated contemporary records to conclude that Forrest may have killed more than 30 enemy soldiers with saber, pistol, and shotgun. Not all of Forrest’s feats of individual combat involved enemy troops. Lt. A. Wills Gould, an artillery officer in Forrest’s command, was being transferred, presumably because cannons under his command were spiked by the enemy during the Battle of Day’s Gap. On June 14, 1863, Gould confronted Forrest about his transfer, which escalated into a violent exchange. Gould shot Forrest in the hip; Forrest mortally stabbed Gould.
Forrest’s command included his Escort Company (his “Special Forces”), for which he selected the best soldiers available. This unit, which varied in size from 40 to 90 men, was the elite of the cavalry.
Forrest received praise for his skill and courage during an early victory in the Battle of Sacramento in Kentucky, where he routed a Union force by personally leading a cavalry charge that was later commended by his commander, Brigadier General Charles Clark. Forrest distinguished himself further at the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862. After his cavalry captured a Union artillery battery, he broke out of a Union Army siege headed by Major General Ulysses S. Grant. Forrest rallied nearly 4,000 troops and led them across the river.
A few days after Fort Donelson, with the fall of Nashville to Union forces imminent, Forrest took command of the city. Local industries had several millions of dollars worth of heavy ordnance machinery. Forrest arranged for transport of the machinery and several important government officials to safe locations.
A month later, Forrest was back in action at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6 to 7, 1862). He commanded a Confederate rear guard after the Union victory. In the battle of Fallen Timbers, he drove through the Union skirmish line. Not realizing that the rest of his men had halted their charge when reaching the full Union brigade, Forrest charged the brigade single-handedly, and soon found himself surrounded. He emptied his Colt Army revolvers into the swirling mass of Union soldiers and pulled out his saber, hacking and slashing. A Union infantryman on the ground beside him fired a musket ball into Forrest’s spine with a point-blank musket shot, nearly knocking him out of the saddle. The ball went through his pelvis and lodged near his spine. Steadying himself and his mount, he used one arm to lift the Union soldier by the shirt collar and then wielded him as a human shield before casting his body aside after he had found his way to safety. Forrest is acknowledged to have been the last man wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. Forrest galloped back to his incredulous troopers. A surgeon removed the musket ball a week later, without anesthesia, which was unavailable. Forrest would likely have been given a generous dose of alcohol to muffle the pain of the surgery.
By early summer, Forrest commanded a new brigade of “green” cavalry regiments. In July, he led them into Middle Tennessee under orders to launch a cavalry raid. On July 13, 1862, he led them into the First Battle of Murfreesboro, which Forrest is said to have won.
According to a report by a Union commander:
The forces attacking my camp were the First Regiment Texas Rangers [8th Texas Cavalry, Terry’s Texas Rangers, ed.], Colonel Wharton, and a battalion of the First Georgia Rangers, Colonel Morrison, and a large number of citizens of Rutherford County, many of whom had recently taken the oath of allegiance to the United States Government. There were also quite a number of negroes attached to the Texas and Georgia troops, who were armed and equipped, and took part in the several engagements with my forces during the day.
Promoted in July 1862 to brigadier general, Forrest was given command of a Confederate cavalry brigade. In December 1862, Forrest’s veteran troopers were reassigned by Gen. Braxton Bragg to another officer, against his protest. Forrest had to recruit a new brigade, composed of about 2,000 inexperienced recruits, most of whom lacked weapons. Again, Bragg ordered a raid, this one into west Tennessee to disrupt the communications of the Union forces under Grant, which were threatening the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Forrest protested that to send such untrained men behind enemy lines was suicidal, but Bragg insisted, and Forrest obeyed his orders. On the ensuing raid, he showed his brilliance, leading thousands of Union soldiers in west Tennessee on a “wild goose chase” to try to locate his fast-moving forces. Never staying in one place long enough to be attacked, Forrest led his troops in raids as far north as the banks of the Ohio River in southwest Kentucky. He returned to his base in Mississippi with more men than he had started with. By then, all were fully armed with captured Union weapons. As a result, General Grant was forced to revise and delay the strategy of his Vicksburg campaign. “He [Forrest] was the only Confederate cavalryman of whom Grant stood in much dread,” a friend of Ulysses was quoted as saying.
Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest
The Union Army occupied Tennessee in 1862 and for the duration of the war, taking control of strategic cities and railroads. Forrest continued to lead his men in small-scale operations until April 1863. The Confederate army dispatched him with a small force into the backcountry of northern Alabama and west Georgia to defend against an attack of 3,000 Union cavalrymen commanded by Colonel Abel Streight. Streight had orders to cut the Confederate railroad south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, to cut off Bragg’s supply line and force him to retreat into Georgia. Forrest chased Streight’s men for 16 days, harassing them all the way. Streight’s goal changed to escape the pursuit. On May 3, Forrest caught up with Streight’s unit east of Cedar Bluff, Alabama. Forrest had fewer men than the Union side, but he repeatedly paraded some of them around a hilltop to appear a larger force, and convinced Streight to surrender his 1,500 exhausted troops.
Forrest served with the main army at the Battle of Chickamauga (September 18 to 20, 1863). He pursued the retreating Union army and took hundreds of prisoners. Like several others under Bragg’s command, he urged an immediate follow-up attack to recapture Chattanooga, which had fallen a few weeks before. Bragg failed to do so, upon which Forrest was quoted as saying, “What does he fight battles for?”  The story that Forrest confronted and threatened the life of Bragg in the fall of 1863, following the battle of Chickamauga, and that Bragg transferred Forrest to command in Mississippi as a direct result, is now considered to be apocryphal and the invention of Dr. J. B. Cowan. On December 4, 1863, Forrest was promoted to the rank of major general.
On March 25, 1864, Forrest was at Paducah, Kentucky where he unsuccessfully demanded surrender of U.S. Col. Stephen G. Hicks:
… if I have to storm your works, you may expect no quarter.
Battle of Fort Pillow
On April 12, 1864, General Forrest led his forces in the attack and capture of Fort Pillow, in Henning, Tennessee, on the Mississippi River. Many African American Union soldiers were killed in the battle. A controversy arose May 3, 1864 about whether Forrest conducted or condoned a massacre of negro soldiers, white Tennessee Unionists, and Confederate deserters, who had surrendered there. President Abraham Lincoln asked his cabinet for opinions as to how the Union should respond to the massacre.
According to reports filed by Union Captain Goodman, Union forces never surrendered; he said it was agreed that if the fort was surrendered, the whole garrison, white and black, would be treated as prisoners of war. General Forrest sent additional communiques to Major Lionel F. Booth demanding total surrender, but Major Booth had been fatally shot in the battle and the command of Fort Pillow had already been assumed by Major William F. Bradford. The delayed reply to Forrest’s demands bore the name of Major Booth, asking for more time to decide about surrendering the fort and the gunboat Olive Branch. General Forrest replied that the gunboat was not expected to be surrendered, but the fort alone. Hours later during the truce, after many communiques, the Union sent their answer, “a brief but positive refusal to capitulate”.
Forrest’s men insisted that the Union soldiers, although fleeing, kept their weapons and frequently turned to shoot, forcing the Confederates to keep firing in self defense. Confederates said the Union flag was still flying over the fort, which indicated that the force had not formally surrendered. A contemporary newspaper account from Jackson, Tennessee, stated that “General Forrest begged them to surrender”, but “not the first sign of surrender was ever given.” Similar accounts were reported in many Southern newspapers at the time.
These statements, however, were contradicted by Union survivors, as well as the letter of a Confederate soldier who graphically recounted a massacre. Achilles Clark, a soldier with the 20th Tennessee cavalry, wrote to his sister immediately after the battle:
The slaughter was awful. Words cannot describe the scene. The poor, deluded, negroes would run up to our men, fall upon their knees, and with uplifted hands scream for mercy, but they were ordered to their feet and then shot down. I, with several others, tried to stop the butchery, and at one time had partially succeeded, but General Forrest ordered them shot down like dogs and the carnage continued. Finally our men became sick of blood and the firing ceased.
Ulysses S. Grant, in his Personal Memoirs, says of the battle:
These troops fought bravely, but were overpowered. I will leave Forrest in his dispatches to tell what he did with them. ‘The river was dyed,’ he says, ‘with the blood of the slaughtered for two hundred yards. The approximate loss was upward of five hundred killed, but few of the officers escaping. My loss was about twenty killed. It is hoped that these facts will demonstrate to the Northern people that negro soldiers cannot cope with Southerners.’ Subsequently Forrest made a report in which he left out the part which shocks humanity to read.
At the time of the massacre General Grant was no longer in Tennessee but had transferred to the east to command all Union troops. Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, Commander of the Military Division of the Mississippi, which included Tennessee, wrote:
The massacre at Fort Pillow occurred April 12, 1864, and has been the subject of congressional inquiry. No doubt Forrest’s men acted like a set of barbarians, shooting down the helpless negro garrison after the fort was in their possession; but I am told that Forrest personally disclaims any active participation in the assault, and that he stopped the firing as soon as he could. I also take it for granted that Forrest did not lead the assault in person, and consequently that he was to the rear, out of sight if not of hearing at the time, and I was told by hundreds of our men, who were at various times prisoners in Forrest’s possession, that he was usually very kind to them. He had a desperate set of fellows under him, and at that very time there is no doubt the feeling of the Southern people was fearfully savage on this very point of our making soldiers out of their late slaves, and Forrest may have shared the feeling.
Historians have differed on interpretation of events. Richard Fuchs, author of An Unerring Fire, concludes:
The affair at Fort Pillow was simply an orgy of death, a mass lynching to satisfy the basest of conduct – intentional murder – for the vilest of reasons – racism and personal enmity.
Andrew Ward downplays the controversy:
Whether the massacre was premeditated or spontaneous does not address the more fundamental question of whether a massacre took place… it certainly did, in every dictionary sense of the word.
John Cimprich states:
The new paradigm in social attitudes and the fuller use of available evidence has favored a massacre interpretation… Debate over the memory of this incident formed a part of sectional and racial conflicts for many years after the war, but the reinterpretation of the event during the last thirty years offers some hope that society can move beyond past intolerance.
The site is now a State Historic Park.
Forrest’s greatest victory came on June 10, 1864, when his 3,500-man force clashed with 8,500 men commanded by Union Brig. Gen. Samuel D. Sturgis at the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads. Here, his mobility of force and superior tactics led to victory. He swept the Union forces from a large expanse of southwest Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Forrest set up a position for an attack to repulse a pursuing force commanded by Sturgis, who had been sent to impede Forrest from destroying Union supplies and fortifications. When Sturgis’s Federal army came upon the crossroad, they collided with Forrest’s cavalry. Sturgis ordered his infantry to advance to the front line to counteract the cavalry. The infantry, tired and weary and suffering under the heat, were quickly broken and sent into mass retreat. Forrest sent a full charge after the retreating army and captured 16 artillery pieces, 176 wagons, and 1,500 stands of small arms. In all, the maneuver cost Forrest 96 men killed and 396 wounded. The day was worse for Union troops, which suffered 223 killed, 394 wounded, and 1,623 men missing. The losses were a deep blow to the black regiment under Sturgis’s command. In the hasty retreat, they stripped off commemorative badges that read “Remember Fort Pillow”, to avoid goading the Confederate force pursuing them.
Conclusion of the war
One month later, while serving under General Stephen D. Lee, Forrest experienced tactical defeat at the Battle of Tupelo in 1864. Concerned about Union supply lines, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman sent a force under the command of Maj. Gen. Andrew J. Smith to deal with Forrest. The Union forces drove the Confederates from the field and Forrest was wounded in the foot, but his forces were not wholly destroyed. He continued to oppose Union efforts in the West for the remainder of the war.
Forrest’s raid into Memphis
Forrest led other raids that summer and fall, including a famous one into Union-held downtown Memphis in August 1864 (the Second Battle of Memphis), and another on a Union supply depot at Johnsonville, Tennessee, on November 4–5, 1864 (the Battle of Johnsonville), causing millions of dollars in damage. In December, during the disastrous Franklin-Nashville Campaign, he fought alongside General John Bell Hood, the newest (and last) commander of the Confederate Army of Tennessee in the Second Battle of Franklin. Forrest argued bitterly with Hood (his superior officer) demanding permission to cross the river and cut off the escape route of Union Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield’s army. He made the belated attempt, but was defeated.
After his bloody defeat at Franklin, Hood continued to Nashville. Hood ordered Forrest to conduct an independent raid against the Murfreesboro garrison. After success in achieving the objectives specified by Gen. Hood, Forrest engaged Union forces near Murfreesboro on December 5, 1864. In what would be known as the Third Battle of Murfreesboro, a portion of Forrest’s command broke and ran. After Hood’s Army of Tennessee was all but destroyed at the Battle of Nashville, Forrest distinguished himself by commanding the Confederate rear guard in a series of actions that allowed what was left of the army to escape. For this, he earned promotion to the rank of lieutenant general. A portion of his command, now dismounted, was surprised and captured in their camp at Verona, Mississippi, on December 25, 1864, during a raid of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad by a brigade of Brig. Gen. Benjamin Grierson’s cavalry division.
In 1865, Forrest attempted, without success, to defend the state of Alabama against Wilson’s raid. His opponent, Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson, defeated Forrest at the Battle of Selma, April 2, 1865. When he received news of Lee’s surrender, Forrest also chose to surrender. On May 9, 1865, at Gainesville, Forrest read his farewell address.
Forrest’s farewell address to his troops, May 9, 1865
Cannon in front of the Nature Center and Veteran’s Memorial in Covington, Tennessee: The marker in the background cites Nathan Bedford Forrest’s last speech. (2007)
The following text is excerpted from Forrest’s farewell address to his troops:
Civil war, such as you have just passed through naturally engenders feelings of animosity, hatred, and revenge. It is our duty to divest ourselves of all such feelings; and as far as it is in our power to do so, to cultivate friendly feelings towards those with whom we have so long contended, and heretofore so widely, but honestly, differed. Neighborhood feuds, personal animosities, and private differences should be blotted out; and, when you return home, a manly, straightforward course of conduct will secure the respect of your enemies. Whatever your responsibilities may be to Government, to society, or to individuals meet them like men.
The attempt made to establish a separate and independent Confederation has failed; but the consciousness of having done your duty faithfully, and to the end, will, in some measure, repay for the hardships you have undergone. In bidding you farewell, rest assured that you carry with you my best wishes for your future welfare and happiness. Without, in any way, referring to the merits of the Cause in which we have been engaged, your courage and determination, as exhibited on many hard-fought fields, has elicited the respect and admiration of friend and foe. And I now cheerfully and gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to the officers and men of my command whose zeal, fidelity and unflinching bravery have been the great source of my past success in arms.
I have never, on the field of battle, sent you where I was unwilling to go myself; nor would I now advise you to a course which I felt myself unwilling to pursue. You have been good soldiers, you can be good citizens. Obey the laws, preserve your honor, and the Government to which you have surrendered can afford to be, and will be, magnanimous.
— N.B. Forrest, Lieut.-General
Headquarters, Forrest’s Cavalry Corps
May 9, 1865
Artist / Maker
1886, 19th Century
American Civil War, Figurative, Historical, Portrait