Devil's Dream: A Novel About Nathan Bedford Forrest
Madison Smartt Bell
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
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.
staring after it. In the brighter light of the open area, the big cat looked more gray than black, except the black spot he could now make out on the very tip of its tail. He watched it go, feeling his own edge soften, half-regretting he hadn’t shot the panther, half-glad of it. A varmint, troublesome—but there were Yankees aplenty yet to be killed and no need to spend powder and shot on a varmint. He strapped on his belt and holstered the pistol in his right hand, then yawned and rolled his
chair in the parlor, now leaning forward, now back. A teacup on the table near held sweet-smelling dregs of a laudanum brew. A bullet in his spine from the Mexican War had left him crippled and he could not get comfortable to sleep stretched out. Indeed he slept little in any posture. For most of any night he waked and watched. When Mary Ann caught his eye, he shook his head. She perched on the edge of the love seat and began buttoning up her shoes. “I’ll go along with you,” John said. “I’d be
Blountsville at 10 a.m., departs at noon and is soon attacked in the rear by Forrest. After another battle on the shores of the Black Warrior River, Streight completes the crossing of the Black Warrior at 5 p.m. and heads for Gadsden. To rest his outnumbered men, Forrest is pursuing in shifts, and with a force of 600 he overtakes and attacks Streight at a bridge over Black Creek. Streight’s men burn the bridge after the crossing, but a local girl, Emma Samson, shows Forrest a nearby ford where
just a thread of golden hair leaking out of the net of her black veil to catch the summer sun, had tucked all her grief up under his left arm, against the rib cage where his heart beat on. CHAPTER EIGHTEEN June 1863 FORREST WAS PEELING a little green apple with a penknife when Lieutenant Gould came into the quartermaster’s office, carefully moving the smaller of the two blades in a spiral around the knotty fruit, so the apple skin came off all in one curly piece. The nitpicking
don’t understand you,” Little said. “What happened to the white folks, then?” “They died,” Henri told him. “That can’t be,” Little said. “Niggers running everything. It ain’t right. It ain’t natural. I don’t see how God could allow it.” “I don’t see how God allows you,” Henri said. “As a matter of fact you’ve been disallowed already and just don’t know it yet.” “But,” Kelley said, “why didn’t you stay in Haiti? I mean, I don’t understand why you would leave there and come over here to fight