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ever, was not long left in doubt, and Forrest, by his attack on Fort Pillow, followed by the massacre of the garri son, stamped himself and those with
situated on the Ohio, at the mouth of the Tennessee River. The town was held by Col. S. G. Hicks, with about 700 Kentucky and Illinois troops, including 250 negro soldiers in the artil- | him with perpetual infamy. The fort
lery service. Aided by two gun boats in the river, Col. Hicks resolved to defend the works at the place. Forrest sent an imperative demand, March 25th, for a surrender, concluding with these significant words: "If you surrender, you shall be treated as prisoners of war, but if I have to storm your works you may expect no quarter." Hicks replied gallantly, that having been placed there to defend the post, he should do it without fear or favor. Forrest, having disposed his forces for attack, pushed forward his lines, and occupied with sharpshooters the houses near the fort. The first advance was met by a deadly fire from the works, and repulsed for that day, the gun boats shelling the houses which covered the enemy. On the next morning, a second charge was made, and also repulsed. After repeated attempts 1864. to capture the garrison with his greatly superior force, Forrest, content with the pillage and injury he had in flicted, withdrew in the direction of Columbus. The Union loss was stated at fourteen killed and forty-six wounded; Forrest's loss was probably much greater. A large portion of the town was destroyed, partly by the guns from the fort, and partly, or principally by the rebels.
Subsequently to this, there were various rumors of attacks about to be made on one point and another by this noted rebel raider. The matter, how
was located on the Mississippi, about seventy miles above Memphis, and at the time of the assault was garrisoned by nineteen officers and 538 enlisted men, of whom 262 were blacks, comprising one battalion of the 6th United States heavy artillery, formerly the 1st Alabama artillery of negro troops, under the command of Major L. F. Booth, one section of the 2d United States light artillery (black), and one battalion of the 13th Tennessee cav alry (white), commanded by Major A. F. Bradford. Major Booth, being the ranking officer, was in command of the fort.
On Monday, the 12th of April, just before sunrise, the pickets of the garrison were driven in, that being the first intimation our forces there had of any intention on the part of the enemy to attack the place. Fighting soon became general, and about nine o'clock Major Bradford succeeded to the command and withdrew all the 1864.
forces within the fort. Extending back from the river on either side of the fort was a ravine or hollow, the one below the fort containing several private stores and some dwellings, and some government buildings, with commissary stores.
The ravine above the fort, was known as Cold Bank Ravine, the ridge being covered with trees and bushes. To the right or below, and a little to the front of the fort, was a level piece of gi bund
THE FORT PILLOW MASSACRE.
not quite so elevated as the fort itself, During the time these flags were fly. on which had been erected some log huts or shanties, which were occupied by the white troops, and also used for hospital and other purposes. Within the fort tents had been erected with board floors for the use of the negro troops. There were six pieces of artillery in the fort, consisting of two 6pounders, two 12-pounder howitzers, and two 10-pounder Parrotts.
The rebels continued their attack, but up to about three o'clock in the afternoon they had not gained any decisive success. Our troops, both black and white, fought steadily and bravely, and were in good spirits. The gun boat New Era took part in the conflict, shelling the rebels as opportunity offered. There being, however, but one gun boat, it was unable to render any very effective service.
About one o'clock, the fire slackened somewhat, the New Era moved out into the river to cool and clean her guns, and the rebels, chagrined at their ill success thus far, resorted to their favorite mode of gaining advantage by means of flags of truce. The first flag conveyed a demand from Forrest for the immediate and unconditional surrender of the fort. Major Bradford replied, asking an hour for consultation with his officers and the officers of the gun boat. In a short time the second flag of truce appeared, with a communication from Forrest, that he would allow Bradford only twenty minutes in which to move his troops out of the fort, and if it was not done in that time, an assault would be ordered. Bradford refused peremp torily to surrender.
VOL. IV. 53
ing, the rebels were moving down the ravine, and taking positions from which the more readily to charge upon the fort. Immediately after the second flag of truce retired, the rebels made a rush from the positions they had so treacherously gained, and soon 1864. obtained possession of the fort, raising the cry of "no quarter." But little opportunity was allowed for resistance. Our troops, black and white, threw down their arms and sought to escape by running down the steep bluff near the fort, and secreting themselves behind trees and logs, in the bushes and under the brush; some even jumping into the river, leaving only their heads above the water as they crouched down under the bank.
It was then that the ferocity of Forrest and his men manifested itself in deeds of outrage unparalleled in civilized warfare. "The rebels commenced an indiscriminate slaughter, sparing neither age nor sex, white nor black, soldier nor civilian. The officers and men seemed to vie with each other in the devilish work. Men, women and their children, wherever found, were deliberately shot down, beaten and hacked with sabres. Some of the children, not more than ten years old, were forced to stand up and face their murderers while being shot. The sick and wounded were butchered without mercy, the rebels even entering the hospital buildings and dragging them out to be shot, or killing them as they lay there unable to offer the least resistance.
All around were heard cries of no quarter.' 'kill the niggers,' 'shoot
Such, in substance, is the story of the "Massacre of Fort Pillow," which must ever remain on record to the disgrace of the rebel leaders and their men. Pollard, and persons of his stamp, while denouncing the garrison as a "motley herd of negroes, traitors, and Yankees,” and while making very light of the whole matter, yet admit the substantial truth of the narrative given above "There is no doubt," says Pollard, "that for some moments, the Confede rate officers lost control of their men, who were maddened by the sight of the negro troops opposing them." Ac cording to another rebel report, both Forrest and Chalmers "entered the fort from opposite sides, simultaneously, and an indiscriminate slaughter followed. The fort ran with blood. Many jumped into the river, or were drowned, or were shot in the water." A rebel gen eral, S. D. Lee, in a letter, dated June 28th, affirms that the flag was not hauled down in token of surrender, and re ¦ fers "to history for numerous cases of indiscriminate slaughter after successful assault, even under less aggravating circumstances. The case under consideration is an almost extreme one. You had a servile race armed against their masters, and in a country which had been desolated by almost unprecedent
them down.' All who asked for mercy were answered by the most cruel taunts and sneers. Some were spared for a time, only to be murdered under circumstances of greater cruelty. These deeds of murder and cruelty closed when night came on, only to be renewed the next morning, when the demons carefully sought among the dead lying about in all directions for any other wounded yet alive, and those they found were deliberately shot. Scores of the dead and wounded were found there the day of the massacre by the men from some of our gun boats, who were permitted to go on shore and collect the wounded and bury the dead. Many other instances of equally atrocious cruelty might be enumerated; but your committee feel compelled to refrain from giving here more of the heart-sickening details, and refer to the statements contained in the voluminous testimony herewith submitted. Those statements were obtained by them from eye-witnesses and sufferers. At least 300 were murdered in cold blood after the fort was in possession of the rebels, and our men had thrown down their arms and ceased to offer resistance. Of the surviving, except the wounded in the hospital at Mound City, and the few who succeeded in making their es-ed outrages." With such lame excuses cape unhurt, nothing definite is known, and attempts at palliation, we leave the and it is to be feared that many have Fort Pillow massacre to the reader's been murdered after being taken away consideration.* from the fort."*
* For the full report of the committee, with the evidence, as obtained by Senator Wade and the Hon. D. W. Gooch, see the voluminous proceedings of the joint committee on the conduct of the war.
The next movement, and one in which the rebels were successful, was
* See Pollard's "Third Year of the War," p. 254: also, Appleton's "American Annual Cyclopædia” for 1834, pp. 61-62.
CAPTURE OF PLYMOUTH, N. C.
compelled to surrender, with the garrison at Plymouth, on Wednesday, April 20th. The rebels claimed to have captured, beside prisoners, twenty-five pieces of artillery, vast quantities of commissary supplies, ordnance stores, etc., and were especially gratified, inasmuch as Plymouth protected the whole Roanoke Valley.
Only two places now remained in our hands on the coast of North Carolina, Washington, at the mouth of the Tar River, and Newbern, at the mouth of the Neuse. The loss of Plymouth led to the evacuation of Washington, at the end of the month; on which occasion the town was set on fire and burned, an act severely reprobated by Gen. Palmer, who had succeeded Gen. Peck in command of the department.
the capture of Plymouth, N. C. This town is situate on the south bank of the Roanoke, about eight miles from its entrance into Albemarle Sound, and was strongly fortified by a breast work, with forts at different points along the line. Fort Gray, a strong work, was about a mile further up the river, opposite which a triple row of piles had been driven, with torpedoes attached, to serve as a protection to the fleet below, and, if possible, prevent a formidable rebel ram, named the Albemarle, from getting below and joining in the attack. Gen. Wessells was in command at Plymouth, and had a garrison of about 2,400 men. On Sunday afternoon, April 17th, the rebels, under Gen. R. F. Hoke, numbering some 10,000, with a heavy artillery train, made their appearance, quite unexpectedly, On the 5th of May, the rebel ram in the rear of the town. An artillery Albemarle, in company with the Cotton fire was opened upon Fort Gray, which Plant and her capture, the Bombshell, was steadily and bravely resisted, and, was met in Albemarle Sound by a in several assaults upon the other forts, squadron of Union gun boats, when on Monday, the rebels were repulsed the Bombshell was retaken, and a spiwith slaughter, our gun boats assisting rited effort made to run down in the work. One of the latter, the Albemarle by Lieut. Roe, the Bombshell, was disabled and of the Sassacus. The formidable ram sunk by the enemy's battery. Early in fairly staggered in the encounter, when the morning of Tuesday, before daylight, an action ensued between the two ves the rebel ram, a powerful iron-clad vessels, sustained by the Sassacus with sel, armed with two heavy guns, came great gallantry. Though the boiler of down the river, passing Fort Gray, and the latter was pierced by a 100-pound making for the gun boat Southfield, for- Parrott shot from her adversary, and merly a ferry-boat in the bay of New the vessel was filled with steam, her York, which she struck with her prow guns were so well directed at close and caused to sink immediately. The re-quarters, within a few feet, as to enter maining gun boats were now compelled the port-holes of the Albemarle, and to retire, and as they were relied upon compel her to retire disabled to Plyas the main defence of the town, in case mouth. Thenceforth the rebels did not of a serious attack, Gen. Wessells was attempt to prosecute their designs
against Newbern, which it was sup thereon, now engaged the universal atposed would be attacked by the forces tention, not only in the loyal states, but | under Hoke. The greater and more also among those who had wickedly set important operations in Virginia, at on foot and maintained, thus far, the! the opening of the spring campaign, "Great Rebellion," as it will ever be and the momentous results dependent | termed in the history of our country.
OPENING OF THE CAMPAIGN IN VIRGINIA, UNDER GRANT.
Need of changes in the military management of affairs — Grant made lieutenant-general and commander in chief of all the armies - Sherman and McPherson assigned to command in the West - Grant's views of the position of affairs-Situation of the loyal forces, and the great work before them-Situation of the rebels-Grant orders the reorganization of the Army of the Potomac - The command under SigelButler's forces and what was expected of them-Directions to Meade - Preparations for opening the campaign - Army moves early in May - Crossing of the Rapidan-The Wilderness - Lee's activity and boldness - Battle of the Wilderness - Terrible struggle for two days, heavy losses, etc. - Death of Gen. Wadsworth-Grant's next movement - Butler's position and Grant's urgency - Butler's advance by the James River-Occupation of Bermuda Hundred-Lee's stand at Spottsylvania Court House-Severe and bloody battle-Death of Gen. Sedgwick - Battle of the next day - Heavy losses - Grant's tenacity of purpose Battle of May 12th, fourteen hours in length-The deadly struggle and loss of lifeSheridan's expedition against rebel communications - Dash and spirit displayed-Great success — Rebel cavalry commander, J. E. B. Stuart, killed — Reached James River, May 14th.
FOR a long time past, there had ex-in one part of the field was of no adisted in the public mind a feeling of vantage towards securing the ultimate deep dissatisfaction with the position of end had in view. The rebels were able, our army affairs. Gen. Halleck, at no by rapid movements, while holding one time a popular man, had accomplished of the two great armies in check, to nothing, so far as the people could see, hasten to the relief of their hardlyin his lofty post as general in chief; he bestead troops beaten by the other, and was berated on all hands, with much thus to neutralize the effects of our vicseverity, and opinions in regard to his tories. In truth, as Mr. Swinton says, incompetency and unfitness for the work" for three years there was presented with which he was charged, were freely the lamentable spectacle of a multitude expressed. There was an evident lack of independent armies, acting on various of combination of effort in the operations carried on by our armies in the East and in the West; and it was continually happening that great success
lines of operations, and working not only with no unity of purpose, but frequently at cross-purposes; while in the military councils at Washington there,