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296

MASSACRE AT FORT PILLOW.

now demanded a surrender of the place, and Major Bradford asked an hour in which to consult with his officers. Forrest replied that he would give him but twenty minutes, and in the meantime moved his men along a ravine to the position he desired. Bradford rejecting the summons to surrender, the rebels made a sudden rush, and, with the cry, ,

"No quarter!” cleared the ramparts with a bound. There was no fighting-overwhelmed by superior numbers, the troops, black and white, threw down their arms, and precipitated themselves down the steep bluff near the fort-some hiding themselves under the brush that lined the river shoresome taking refuge in the water itself, and lying with their heads just far enough out to allow them to breathe. Then commenced a scene of cruelty and murder that finds its parallel in our land only in Forts Mimms and Raisin. All of the savage was there—the thirst for blood, remorseless hate and barbarity, and fiendish yells--all but the scalping-knife. Neither sex, nor age, nor color, was spared--everything went down before that bloody onslaught. Even children were hacked to death or coolly shot down, while their tearful, despairing faces were turned pleadingly on their murderers. The sick were not spared by these fiends, who seemed determined to enact a scene that should shock the civilized world. The matter was one that demanded some official action, and the Joint Committee on the Conduct and Expenditures of the War appointed Messrs. Wade and Gooch a sub-committee to proceed to the spot, and investigate it. That we may not seem to exaggerate the conduct of the rebels, we quote a portion of the report of this Committee:

"Immediately after the second flag of truce retired, the rebels made a rush from the positions they had so treacherously gained, and obtained possession of the fort, raising the cry of "No quarter!' But little opportunity was

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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 erouched down under the bank...)

" Then followed a scene of cruelty and murder without a parallel in civilized warfare, which needed but the tomahawk and scalping-knife to exceed the worst atrocities ever committed by savages. The rebels commenced an indiscriminate slaughter, sparing neither age nor sex, white nor black, soldier or civilian. The officers and men seemed to vie with each other in the devilish work; men, women, and even 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 the wounded were butchered without mercy—the rebels even entering the hospital-building, and dragging them out to be shot, or killing them as they iay there unable to offer the least resistance. All over the hill-side, the work of murder was going (m; fumbers of our men were collected together in lines or groups, and deliberately shot; some were shot while in the river, while others on the bank were shot, and their bodies kicked into the water, many of them still living but unable to make any exertions to save themselves from drowning. Some of the rebels stood on the top of the hill, er a short distance down its side, and called to our soldiers the best way to them, and as they approached, shot them down in cold blood; if their gws or pistols missed fire, forcing them to stand there until they were again prepared to fire. All around were heard cries of 'No quarter!' "No quarter!' 'Kill the damned niggers; shoot them down!' All who asked for mercy, were answered by the

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most cruel-taunts and sneers. Some were spared for a time,
only to be murdered under circumstances of greater cruelty.
No cruelty which the most fiendish malignity could devise,
was omitted by these murderers. One white soldier, who
was wounded in one leg so as to be unable to walk, was
made to stand up while his tormentors shot him; others who
were wounded and unable to stand, were held up
shot. One negro, who had been ordered by a rebel officer
to hold his horse, was killed by him when he remounted;
another, a mere child, whom an officer had taken up behind
him on his horse, was seen by Chalmers, who at once ordered
the officer to put him down and shoot him, which was done.
The huts and tents in which many of the wounded had
sought shelter, were set on fire, both that night and the
next morning, while the wounded were still in them—those
only escaping who were able to get themselves oịt, or who
could prevail on others less injured than themselves to help
them out; and even some of those thus seeking to escape
the flames, were met by those ruffians and brutally shot
down, or had their brains beaten out. One man was delib.
erately fastened down to the floor of a tent, face upward,
by means of nails driven through his clothing and into the
boards under him, so that he could not possibly escape, and
then the tent set on fire; another was nailed to the side of
a building outside of the fort, and then the building set on
fire and burned. The charred remains of five or six bodies
were afterward found, all but one so much disfigured and
consumed by the flames that they could not be identified,
and the identification of that one is not absolutely certain,
although there can hardly be a doubt that it was the body
of Lieutenant Akerstrom, Quartermaster of the Thirteenth
Tennessee cavalry, and a native Tennessean; several wit-
nesses who saw the remnails, and who were personally

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acquainted with him while living, have testified that it is their firm belief that it was his body that was thus treated.

"These deeds of murder and cruelty ceased 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 of the wounded yet alive, and those they found were deliberately shot. Scores of the dead and wounded were found there the day after the massacre, by the men from some of our gunboats, who were permitted to go on shore and collect the wounded and bury the dead. The rebels themselves had made a pretense of burying a great many of their victims, but they had merely thrown them, without the least regard to care or decency, into the trenches and ditches about the fort, or the little hollows and ravines on the hill-side, covering them but partially with earth. Portions of heads and faces, hands and feet, were found protruding through the earth in every direction. The testimony also establishes the fact that the rebels buried some of the living with the dead, a few of whom succeeded afterward in digging themselves out, or were dug out by others—one of whom your Committee found in Mound City hospital, and there examined. And even when your Committee visited the spot, two weeks afterward, although parties of men had been sent on shore, from time to time, to bury the bodies unburied, and rebury the others, and were even then engaged in the same work, we found the evidences of this murder and cruelty still most painfully apparent; we saw bodies still unburied (at some distance from the fort) of some sick men who had been met fleeing from the hospital, and beaten down and brutally murdered, and their bodies left where they had fallen. We could still see the faces, hands and feet of men, white and black, protruding out of the ground, whose graves had not been reached by those engaged in reinterring the victims of the massacre; and,

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although a great deal of rain had fallen within the preceding two weeks, the groogd, more especially on the side and at the foot of the bluff where the most of the murders had been committed, was stix discolored by the blood of our brave but unfortunate men, and the logs and trees showed but too plainly the evidences of the atrocities perpetrated there.

“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; many of them, as they were examined by your Committee, were lying upon beds of pain and suffering, some so feeple that their lips could with difficulty frame the words by which they endeavored to convey some idea of the cruelties which had been inflicted on them, and which they had seen inflicted on others.

“How many of our troops thus fell vetims to the malignity and barbarity of Forrest and his followers, cannot yet be definitely ascertained. Two officers belonging to the garrison, were absent at the time of the capture and massacre. Of the remaining officers, but two a known te haga and they are wounded, and now in the hospitai at Mouna City. One of them, Captain Potter, may even now be Free as the surgeons, when your Committee were there, expressed no hope of his recovery. Of the men, from three hundred to four hundred are known to have been killed at Fort Pillow-of whom at least three hundred were murdered in cold blood, after the post was in possession of the rebels, and our men had thrown down their arms and ceased to offer resistance. Of the survivors, except the wounded in the hospital at Mound City, and the few who succeeded in

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