Imágenes de páginas

thousand and nine thousand men altogether. That includes this division of Buford's that operated up here. I have somewhere among my papers a list of all his brigades. I know nearly all of them. I have run against nearly all of them. He had five of the oldest regiments in the confederate service detailed expressly for this purpose as a nucleus of his organization. These were troops that had seen a great deal of service along the line below Memphis—Chalmers's brigade, Ely's brigade, Bell's brigade, and McCullough's. I cannot estimate Forrest's force at less than between eight thousand and nine thousand men. The cause of this raid, unquestionably, was the fact that so large an amount of troops which had been holding this region of country had been removed — a portion of them up the Tennessee River to Decatur, and a portion up the Red River—also the fact that he knew perfectly well, from his spies at Memphis, the condition of our cavalry. Memphis, from the nature of the ground there, is a place that requires not less than five thousand men to garrison the outer line. It is the worst place to cover that I ever saw. We have a fort there that was built that would take seven thousand men as a reasonable amount to line the parapets. We have immense stores there, for from Memphis not only the Sixteenth and Seventeenth army corps are supplied, but General Steele's army at Little Rock are supplied from there also. We have large hospitals there, scattered all over the city. We have an unsteady and unreliable population; and the daily interior guard duty, for the city proper, requires over three hundred men. I considered then, and I consider now, that the removal of any force competent to make any serious impression upon Forrest would have imperilled Memphis; and I believe that was what General Forrest wanted done.

Question. How large a force did you retain there for the safety of that place?

Answer. I retained the infantry—four thousand men. I kept the cavalry out all the time as far as they could go.

Question. How came you to reoccupy Fort Pillow? Had it been abandoned?

Answer. No, sir. When I moved to Meridian, the Fifty-second Indiana regiment, which had been there, was withdrawn, and made a part of the expedition, and the Thirteenth Tennessee cavalry, which was recruiting, was moved down there as a recruiting point. I afterward reenforced it by sending up Major Booth with four companies of colored heavy artillery and six guns, and a section of light artillery, making in all about six hundred men.

Question. Do I understand you to say that the post had never been entirely abandoned?

Answer. No, sir. When the Fifty-second Indiana was taken away it was temporarily abandoned until the Thirteenth Tennessee came down to hold it as a recruiting point. I considered Fort Pillow as a place which ought to be held with a small garrison, and I think so yet, and

any navy officer or river man will tell you that the situation of the channel there requires it.

Question. I am not questioning that at all. 1 merely inquired as to the fact

Answer. I sent Major Booth there because 1 had great confidence in him as a soldier. Ho was an old soldier who had served in the regular army, and I considered him the best man I had for that purpose. I received a report from him "that he could hold that post against any force for forty-eight hours," which was all I expected him to do, and if he had not been killed I think he would have held it. I have no doubt that his death was the immediate cause of the capture of the place.

Question. Just in this connection, please to state why you deemed it important to keep up a garrison at that place f

Answer. The steamboat channel at Fort Pillow runs right under the bluff*, and brings every boat as it passes within musket-shot of the shore, and a couple of guns mounted up above there would stop most effectually the navigation of the river, and drive away any of the tin-clad gunboats we have, for a plunging fire would go right through them, and they could not get elevation enough to strike. The whole life of the army below, especially while these large movements were going on, depended upon an uninterrupted communication by the river, and the stopping that communication for two or three days might deprive us of necessary supplies just at the moment that they were required. These were my reasons for holding the place.

Question. What information have you in regard to the attack upon Fort Pillow; its capture, and the barbarities practised there?

Answer. I am not positive about dates, but my recollection is that Fort Pillow was attacked on the twelfth of April. Just about dusk of the twelfth a boat came down to Memphis from Fort Pillow, bringing information that the place was attacked, but that Major Booth was perfectly confident of being able to hold out until he could be reenforced. I immediately ordered a regiment to be got ready, with four days' rations and an extra supply of ammunition; took the steamer Glendale, dropped her down to Fort Pickering, and the regiment was in the very act of going on board when another boat came down with the information that the Fort was captured. The order to move up the regiment was countermanded, for there was no use in sending it then. There were at Fort Pillow two ten-pound Parrotts, two six-pounder field guns, and two twelve-pounder howitzers, and about six hundred men. I cannot tell precisely the number of the Thirteenth Tennessee cavalry, for it was a recruiting regiment, and filling off and on. If the men had been left in the position in which they had been placed by Major Booth, and from which position he had already repelled an assault of the enemy, I think they would have been able to have held the Fort until reenforced. I believe that the ground there is so strong that six hundred men with that artillery ought to have held it; but the command devolved upon a very good gentleman, but a very young officer, entirely inexperienced in these matters. The enemy rushed on the Fort from two or three directions, and confused him, I think, and broke him and carried it. The information which I have from all sources, official and otherwise, is that—whether by permission of their officers, or contrary to their permission, I cannot say—a butchery took place there that is unexampled in the record of civilized warfare. We always expect, in case of a place carried by assault, that some extravagance of passion will occur; but this seems to have been continued after resistance had ceased, when there was nothing to keep up the hot blood, and to have been of a nature brutal to an extent that is scarcely credible, and I have embodied in my official report to General McPherson (my present superior officer) my opinion that the black troops will hereafter be uncontrollable, unless the government take some prompt and energetic action upon the subject I know very well that my colored regiments at Memphis, officers and men, will never give quarter.

Question. They never ought to.

Answer. They never will. They have sworn it; and I have some very good colored regiments there.

Question. What do you say of the fighting qualities of the colored troops?

Answer. That depends altogether upon their officers. If they are properly officered, they are just as good troops as any body has. I have two or three regiments at Memphis that I am willing to put anywhere that I would put any soldiers which I have ever seen, with the same amount of experience.

Question. Did you learn any thing of the particulars of those atrocities that were committed there at Fort Pillow?

Answer. I learned the particulars from the reports of the officers.

Question. Did you learn any thing about any flags of truce being taken advantage of?

Answer. They always do that; that is a matter of habit with them.

Question. And they took advantage of them in this case, as you learn?

Answer. Yes, sir; and they did it at Paducah, and they tried it at Columbus.

Question. Did you hear any thing about their setting firo to hospitals, while the wounded were in there?

Answer. I learn, from what I consider unquestionable authority, that bodies were found which had been wounded by musket-shots, and then their eyes bayoneted out; men wounded in a similar way, with their bowels cut open; and I have heard many other instances of equal barbarity.

Question. Did you hear, recently after that capture, of any body being nailed to a building and burned?

Answer. I heard that Lieutenant Akerstrom was so treated.

Question. Did you learn that from a source that you could give credit to?

Answer. I had no reason to doubt it, with the exception of the identification of the body. The fact that somebody was so treated, I consider to be sufficiently proven; the identification, I think, is doubtful.

Question. Is there any thing more you wish to state? If so, will you state it without further questioning?

Answer. I do not know that I can state any thing more than my opinion in regard to certain things that might have been done. I do not know that it is worth while to do that As I am under censure myself, at present, I prefer not to.

Question. Will you give us a description of the situation of Fort Pillow?

Answer. It is a very difficult thing to describe. The original fortifications, as made by the rebels, were very much too large to be held by any force that we could spare. It was intended for a very large force; but there are two crowning heights—bold knobs—that stand up there, which command the entire region of approach, and which Major Booth was directed to occupy. He went up and examined the ground, and reported to me. A light work was thrown up upon one of them, and there was a portion of a work upon the other. The one to the south was not occupied during the fight; the one to the north of the ravine, which leads down to the landing, was occupied. That was the point which I considered should have been held; and I think yet it could have been, and would have been, if Major Booth had lived.

Question. Can you describe the position in which the men were placed by Major Booth?

Answer. Major Booth had his artillery upon • this knoll, and held the slope of the hill with some rifle-pits. From these rifle-pits, as I am informed, he repulsed the enemy. The troops were afterward drawn in by Major Bradford, into the fortifications proper, and that was attacked on all sides. My opinion is, that Major Bradford lost his head—got confused. The rush was too strong for him. The amount of the enemy's force that actually attacked there I do not know, but from all the testimony I could get, I should judge it to have been not less than two thousand five hundred men.

Question. Who do you understand led the enemy's forces?

Answer. Forrest was there personally. I understand, however, that the main body of the force was Chalmers's command, who was also there. There was also a portion of Forrest's force there. Forrest will carry his men further than any other man I know of; ho is desperate.

Question. Have we any force at Fort Pillow now?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Do you consider that a point which should be occupied by a force, in order to make the navigation of the river safe?

Answer. I do.

Question. What force do you deem should be placed there to hold it?

Answer. I think five hundred steady troops, properly supplied with artillery, and properly covered with works, could hold the place until rcenforced—hold it, all that is necessary.

Question. Did you ever have any instructions or orders to evacuate Fort Pillow; or did you, at any time, ever propose to evacuate it?

Answer. I never had any orders to evacuate it My orders from General Sherman were to hold certain fortified points on the river. I never had any instructions with regard to Fort Pillow one way or the other that I recollect. I considered it necessary to hold it, and never intended to abandon it

Question. Had it been held by us for some considerable time?

Answer. It had been held since we first occupied the river.

Question. Do not the same reasons exist for holding it now that had existed during all that period?

Answer. The same. The reasons are geographical, and do not change.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. Then I understand you to state that your instructions, in spirit, required you to hold it, and that it was necessary that it should be held?

Answer. My opinion is distinct that it should be held always, and there is nothing in my instructions that requires it to be abandoned. Some discretion, I suppose, belongs to an officer in charge of as much range as I have had to hold; and I certainly should not abandon that place, if I had troops to hold it

By the Chairman:

Question. Will you tell us what you know about the attack on Union City?

Answer. Colonel Hawkins, of the Seventh Tennessee regiment, was at Union City as an advanced post He had in round numbers about six hundred men. He was threatened by about one thousand five hundred, I should think. They attacked him, and were repulsed. General Brayman moved from here with two thousand troops, and got down as far as the bridge, six miles from Union City, before Hawkins surrendered. They commenced the flag of truce operation on him, when they found they could do nothing else, threatening to open upon him with artillery, and to give no quarter. Contrary to the entreaties, prayers, and advice of all hi« officers, and all his men, he did surrender his post, with a relieving force within six miles of him; and surrendered it, as I have no doubt, from pure cowardice.

Question. Was he aware of the reinforcements approaching?

Answer. I think so, but I will not bo positive. General Brayman can tell more about that than I can. I was at Columbus when General Brayman returned.

Question. Where is Colonel Hawkinwiow?

Answer. He is a prisoner. This is the second time he has surrendered to Forrest

Captain Thomas P. Gray, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. What is your rank and position in the army?

Answer. For the last four months I have been holding the place of captain in the Seventh Tennessee cavalry, but I have not been mustered in yet.

Question. Had you been in service before?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. For how long?

Answer. I enlisted in Illinois on the twentyfourth of July, and was mustered into the United States service August first, 1861.

Question. Were you at Union City when the late attack was made there?

Answer. I was.

Question. Will you give us an account of what occurred there?

Answer. On the twenty-third of March last it was generally understood by the troops there that the rebels were advancing upon us; we supposed under General Forrest That night two companies, I think, were ordered to keep their horses saddled. The first orders I received were about half-past four, the morning of tho twentyfourth. The adjutant of our regiment came to me, and told me to have my horses saddled. In perhaps half an hour after that we were ordered into line, and I held my company in lino for some time waiting for orders. As Colonel Hawkins came by I asked hiin if he wanted me to tako my position at the breastworks, and he said he did. I then took my position at a place where I thought I was most needed, at some breastworks that my company had thrown up on the east side. At this time the rebels were firing on our pickets. I think there was no general charge until about half-past five or six o'clock. That charge was made by cavalry, on the south side. They did not charge a great way, and were easily repulsed. The same men then reassembled, dismounted, and charged on the Fort. This time they came very close to the breastworks, but were again repulsed. After that our troops were very exultant, and ready to meet the rebels anywhere. Tho next charge was made on the north-west; that was easily repulsed The last charge was made on the north-east, fronting ray position; that was repulsed tolerably easy, but with more loss to the rebels than previously. Then there was sharp-shooting jbr about an hour and a half, and we were all in good spirits. At the expiration of that hour and a half a flag of truce came in in my front I sent word to Colonel Hawkins that there was a flag of truce coming. I went in person to meet the flag, and halted it about two hundred yards from the breastworks, and asked them what they desired. They said they wished to see the Commander of the forces there. I told them I had 1

the officers and men, so far as you know, that the surrender was wholly unnecessary?

Answer. Yes, sir; every man I ever heard say any thing about it.

Question. To what cause do you attribute the surrender?

Answer. Some said that the Colonel was half rebel, any way; others said that he was a little cowardly, and surrendered to an imaginary foe— to a force that was not there. Those were the reasons that I have heard.

Question. What was your force there?

Answer. About five hundred men.

Question. Did you have any colored troops?

Answer. None.

Question. What was the force of the enemy?

Answer. As near as I could judge—and I tried to estimate their number—they had about eight hundred after the surrender; I think they must have had a thousand at first

Question. Could you have held that position against them?

Answer. I am satisfied we could have held it all day, unless our ammunition had given out.

Question. Had you any information in regard to any reenforcements approaching to your relief?

Answer. For the last two hours we had expected to see them at any time.

Question. What reason had you to expect reenforcements?

Answer. We had a communication that they knew our situation at Columbus, that they knew the rebels were advancing on us, and, of course, I thought they would send us reenforcements.

Question. From what point did you expect reenforcements?

Answer. From Columbus. I remarked to the men, as soon as the surrender was made, that I would be ten times more mad if I should hear afterward that our reenforcements were right close to us, which I expected was the case.

Question. What occurred after the surrender?

Answer. The men were marched on foot; the officers were allowed to ride their horses. They were marched two days—it was rainy and muddy weather — nearly east, toward Dresden. They had nothing to eat for two days, until eight o'clock the second night, and then we got some cornbread and meat. The second day they turned from the Dresden road, toward Trenton, through the country, not in the regular road. On the evening of the third day we arrived at Trenton, Tennessee. There all our money, and I think all our watches were taken—I know some of them were—and the pocket-knives were taken from the men; all done officially, one company at a time.

We laid over the fourth day at Trenton. On the fifth day at noon we marched toward Humboldt, and arrived there in the evening, just before dark. At seven o'clock, or nearly seven o'clock, I left them. My intention was to go to the Commander at Memphis, and get him to send . a force fcut to make the rebels release our troops.

notified him, and he would be there in a moment At that time they ordered me under arrest, because I made myself easy looking around upon their position. I demanded their right to order me under arrest under a flag of truce, and told them I had as much right to look around as they had. They then ordered me to sit down. I told them that was played out; that I was not only there under the right of a flag of truce, but that I was there to give them their orders if they made any mismoves. They gave up then, as Colonel Hawkins was in sight When the Colonel came a document was handed him. I do not know any thing about it; for, as soon as the Colonel came near, I went back to the breastworks. The flag of truce then retired. As soon as I got back I made it my business to go around inside the breastworks, to get a view of the rebel troops. They were there upon stumps and logs, and every place where they could see.

In about twenty minutes, I think it was, they came again with another flag of truce. I met them as before. This time a demand for surrender was handed to Colonel Hawkins. I remained there this time, and saw the communi cation. I could once give almost the exact language of it. At any rate, it was a demand for unconditional surrender, promising us the rights of prisoners of war if the surrender was made; if not, then we must take the consequences. After consulting with them for a little time, Colonel Hawkins was allowed fifteen minutes to go to camp and back again. I remained there about fifteen minutes with the rebel truce-bearers. During this time I could observe in every move and remark they made that they were beaten. Perhaps I should have said before, that when Colonel Hawkins was talking about the matter, I gave my opinion in regard to it. This was before the flag of truce came in at all. Colonel Hawkins came down to my corner of the breastworks. I told him that the rebels were beaten on their first programme, at any rate; that it was my opinion that they would either consolidate and make a charge on one side, or else they would leave the field, or else lie there and sharpshoot until they could get reeenforcements. I state this merely to show what our feelings were —that we were satisfied they were whipped, were beaten.

When the Colonel came back from his second flag of truce, I left them, and went inside the breastworks. I was satisfied from appearances that the surrender would be made, and I hid a couple of revolvers, and some other things I had; I did not know whether I should ever find them again or not The troops considered that the surrender was made as soon as they saw a rebel officer coming back with the Colonel, and every man tried to hide his stuff. Some broke their guns, and all were denouncing Colonel Hawkins as a coward, in surrendering them without cause. That is all I know of the matter up to the time of the surrender.

Question. Do you say it was the opinion of all

Before I left the rebels, after I had concluded to leave them, I commenced getting up a plot to break the guards, and see if we could not redeem our name a little in that way, and get off. It was working finely, but I met the opposition of the officers, because it was the general opinion that if we were caught, one in every ten would be killed. I abandoned that and escaped. I travelled on foot twenty-five hours without stopping, through the brush, dodging the rebels and guerrillas. I was then directed by a negro to a farm where there were no whites, and where, he said, I could get a horse. When I got there I found I was so tired and sleepy that if dared not risk myself on a horse, and I secreted myself, and rested there until early the next morning; I got a little refreshment there, too. I then got an old horse, with no saddle, and rode into Fort Pillow, just forty miles, in a little more than five hours. I reached there a little before noon, on the thirtieth of March.

The morning after I escaped from the rebels I wrote myself a parole, which screened me from a great many rebels whom I could not avoid. I was chased by two guerrillas for some distance at this place, where I stopped over night and got a horse. I knew two guerrillas had been chasing me over ten miles. I told the negroes, as I laid down, that if any strangers came on the place, or any one inquiring for Yankees, to tell them that one had been there and pressed a horse and gone on. They did so; and more than that, they told the guerrillas that I had been gone but a few minutes, and if they hurried they would catch me. They dashed on five miles further, and then gave up the chase and turned back. That is the way I avoided them.

After I got to Fort Pillow I got on a boat and went to Memphis, reaching there before daybreak on the morning of the thirty-first of March, and waked General Hurlbut up just about daybreak, and reported to him.

Question. Did you have much conversation with these rebels, or hear them express opinions of any kind, while you were with them?

Answer. I was talking almost continually with them. Somehow or other I got a little noted in the command, and a great many came to me to discuss matters about the war. They seemed to be confident that they were all right, and would succeed. I did not hear the command I was with say they intended to attack Fort Pillow; but while I was on my way from there to Fort Pillow, the report was current along the road that the rebels were going to attack it But I reported to Major Booth, when I got to Fort Pillow, that I did not think there was any danger of an attack, because I thought I should have seen or heard something more to indicate it I told him, however, that 1 thought it would be well to be on the lookout, though I did not think they would attack him. I heard the rebels say repeatedly that they intended to kill negro troops wherever they could find them; that they had heard that there were negro troops at Union City, and that they had intended to kill them if

they had found any there. They also said they had understood there were negro troops at Paducah and Mayfield, and that they intended to kill them if they got them. And they said that they did not consider officers who commanded negro troops to be any better than the negroes themselves.

Question. With whom did you have this conversation?

Answer. With officers. I did not have any extensive conversation with any officer higher than captain. I talked with three or four captains, and perhaps twice that number of lieutenants.

Question. Did you see Colonel Hawkins, or have any conversation with him, after the surrender?

Answer. I did not I felt so disgusted with him that I never spoke a word to him after the surrender.

Captain John W. Beattie, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. To what regiment do you belong?

Answer. I am a Captain in the Seventh Tennessee cavalry.

Question. Were you at Union City when it was surrendered?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What was our force there?

Answer. Something near five hundred, altogether. There were some there that did not belong to our regiment

Question. What was the force that attacked you?

Answer. From one thousand five hundred to one thousand eight hundred, as near as we could learn from the rebel officers while we were with them.

Question. What rebel officers were in command there?

Answer. The surrender was made to Colonel Duckworth ; but I am not certain whether it was Duckworth or Faulkner who had the command.

Question. Will you state briefly the circumstances attending the attack and surrender of Union City?

Answer. Our pickets were driven in about four o'clock in the morning. We sent some men out to see what force it was. As soon as it was light enough to see, we found the rebels were all around our camp. Skirmishing commenced all around. Those of our men who were out, and could get in, came in; but some of the pickets did not get in at all. My company were almost all out on picket The enemy, mounted men, made a charge on our camp; they came up on all sides, but we drove them back. They then dismounted and made three other charges, and we drove them back each time. I did not see but one of our men killed; and I did not sec any that were wounded at all. One of my sergeants was killed. About nine o'clock, I should think, the enemy got behind logs and stumps, and all such places, and commenced sharp-shooting. If a man raised his head up, there would be a shot

« AnteriorContinuar »