Nathan Bedford Forrest Statue Along I-65 Has Been Removed

Nathan Bedford Forrest Statue Removed
photo by Donna Vissman

The Nathan Bedford Forrest statue, which prominently sat along I-65 N on private property, was removed on Tuesday.

The 25-foot statue, designed by Jack Kershaw, was surrounded by Confederate flags on a 3.5-acre parcel of land owned by Bill Dorris, who died in 2020.

Over the years, Dorris received many requests to remove the statue but he chose not to take it down even after the statue was vandalized.

News Channel 5 reports Dorris left in his will $5 million to his border collie Lulu, a building and flag display to The Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the remaining of his property which included the statue to The Battle of Nashville Trust.

A statement from The Battle of Nashville Trust was released to News Channel 5 about the property.

Mr. Dorris had no prior affiliation with the Battle of Nashville Trust, Inc. and the Trust had no idea it was a beneficiary of his will until well after Mr. Dorris passed.

The Dorris will leaves the Hogan Road property to the Battle of Nashville Trust, Inc. There are some restrictions and we will let the court decide all of this.

Preservation of history is critical. The Nashville battlefield was one of the largest in the Civil War and the least protected. It spans from the Cumberland River near Charlotte Pike east to the other side of Nolensville Road and South from the hills just south of town all the way to Brentwood. The core battlefield covers most of Green Hills all the way east to I-65. The citizens of Nashville tried to protect some of the site as early as the 1920s but were unsuccessful. Development and time have made the battlefield virtually unrecognizable. However, the Trust, in conjunction with its partners including Metro Nashville, have been able to save some of the sites for all Americans. The interest in the Civil War and the battle here is huge. We have had over a million visitors to our website from all over the country and the world. People want to know where their great great great grandfather fought and his roots in time and history. We are proud of what we have accomplished. Our sites are hidden gems in the community-protected forever-for all to enjoy.

The battle here was perhaps the most decisive victory for the United States during the war and it ended major fighting in the western campaign. The largest attack of the war by African Americans -the USCT-occurred here on Franklin Pike near Battery Lane and their casualties were enormous. History is important. It tends to repeat itself. And it is all in our backyards. The Battle of Nashville was a pivotal moment in our nations bloodiest conflict. The Hogan Road property is not core battlefield land. It is a sliver of the retreat. Putting aside a debate about Forrest as a person and commander and all of the related controversy, the position of the Trust on this statue is:

1. Forrest was not present at the Battle of Nashville

2. The property has no historical significance related to the battle other than a spring house and ice house that was part of a large estate where CSA Brig. General Claudius Sears was taken for a leg amputation-the home has long since been destroyed by Interstate 65

3. The statue is ugly

4. Even Forrest would think it is ugly

5. It hinders our mission and what we are trying to accomplish.

The Trust is grateful for the gift by Mr. Dorris.

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