Imágenes de páginas
PDF

armaments, crews, and supplies. An average of probably five million dollars of public property is constantly at that point; I found it guarded by, perhaps, fifty men of the veteran reserve corps, not referring to gunboats lying there. Cairo, at the confluence of the great rivers, is the narrow gateway through which all military and naval operations of the Mississippi valley must be made. I cannot compute the amount or value of shipping and property at all times at this point. The Committee must observe that the loss of Mound City and Cairo would paralyze the Western army and navy. The points below Columbus and Island Ten are fortified places; while holding them, the rebels had control of the river. It required a prodigious effort to dislodge them. To concede to them any point on the river, even for a week, would bring disaster. Furthermore, the rebels now control Western Kentucky; they are murdering, robbing, and driving out the loyal men; they avow their determination to permit the loyal men to take no part in the approaching elections. Unless protected in their effort to protect themselves, the Union men must give way, and the country remain under insurrectionary controL

Question. Did you consider your force, as stated, adequate to the protection of your district?

Answer. Wholly inadequate, considering the interests at stake, and the hostile forces within attacking distance.

Question. When did you first hear that Forrest was advancing?

Answer. On March twenty-third, four days after I took command, Colonel Hicks, at Paducah, and Colonel Hawkins at Union City, advised me by telegraph of the presence in their neighborhood of armed bands, both fearing an attack. At night of the same day. Colonel Hawkins reported Forrest at Jackson, sixty-one miles south, with seven thousand men; and again that he expected an attack within twenty-four hours. He wanted reinforcements.

Question. Had you the means of reenforcing him?

Answer. Of my own command, I had not one hundred and fifty available men; however, some regiments and detachments of General Vcatch's division had arrived and awaited the arrival of boats from St. Louis to carry them up the Tennessee. General Veatch had gone to Evansville, Indiana. Simultaneously with the reports from Hicks and Hawkins, I received from General Sherman, then at Nashville, this despatch: "Has General Vcatch and command started up the Tennessee? If not, start them up at once." Down to this time it was uncertain whether Union City or Paducah was the real object of attack. Late in the evening I applied to Captain Fox, General Vcatch's Assistant AdjutantGeneral, to have two thousand meiuin readiness to move during the night, if wanted, promising to have them back in time to embark, on arrival of their transports. I telegraphed Hawkins that he would receive aid, directing him to "fortify

and keep well prepared." About half-past four o'clock of the morning of the twenty-fourth, I was satisfied that Union City was the point of attack. Boats were impressed, four regiments were embarked, and I left at ten; disembarked at Columbus, and arriving within six miles of Union City at four P.m., where I learned that a surrender had taken place at eleven A.m., and the garrison marched off. I turned back, and at three the next morning turned over General Veatch's men, ready to go up the Tennessee.

Question. Why did you not pursue Forrest?

Answer. For three reasons: First, his force was all cavalry; mine all infantry. Second, he was moving on Paducah, and, while I could not overtake him by land, I could head him by the rivers. Third, another despatch from General Sherman reached me as I was going out from Columbus, prohibiting me from diverting the troops bound up the Tennessee from that movement on account of the presence of Forrest My purpose was to save Union City, bring in its garrison, and have General Veatch's men back in time for their boats. While I was willing to risk much to secure a garrison supposed to bo yet engaged in gallant defence, I could do nothing to mitigate the accomplished misfortune of a surrender.

Question. Do you think the surrender premature?

Answer. The garrison was within fortifications; the enemy had no artillery. A loss of one man killed and two or three wounded does not indicate a desperate case. The rebels were three times repulsed. A flag of truce followed, and a surrender.

Question. How large was the attacking party?

Answer. I judge fifteen hundred, the largest portion of Forrest's force being evidently on the way to Paducah.

Question. How large was his entire force?

Answer. Apparently six thousand five hundred.

Question. When was Paducah attacked?

Answer. About three P.m., the next day, March twenty-fifth.

Question. Was Paducah reenforced previous to the attack?

Answer. It was not I had no men to send, but sent supplies.

Question. Where was General Veatch's command?

Answer. Embarking for the Tennessee.

Question. Was Paducah well defended?

Answer. Most gallantly, and with success. The conduct of Colonel Hicks and his entire command was noble in the highest degree.

Question. How did his colored troops behave?

Answer. As well as the rest. Colonel Hicks thus refers to them in his official report: "I have been one of those men who never had much confidence in colored troops fighting, but those doubts are now all removed, for they fought as bravely as any troops in the fort."

Question. Why was the city shelled and set on fire?

Answer. Our small force retired within the fort; the rebels took possession of the town, and from adjacent buildings their sharp-shooter's fired upon us. It was necessary to dislodge them. The gunboats Peosta, Captain Smith, and PawPaw, Captain O'Neal, and the Fort drove them out, necessarily destroying property. Most of the inhabitants being still rebel sympathizers, there was less than the usual regret in performing the duty.

Question. What became of the enemy after the repulse?

Answer. They went south, and on the twenty-sixth I was notified by Colonel Hicks and by Colonel Lawrence that they were approaching Columbus.

Question. What was done?

Answer. I went to Columbus again, with such men as could be withdrawn from Cairo, and awaited an attack, but none was made. We were too strong, of which rebels in our midst had probably advised them.

Question. Do you permit rebels to remain with your lines?

Answer. Of course; after they have taken tho oath.

Question. What is done in case they violate, by acting as spies, for instance?

Answer. I don't like to acknowledge that we swear them over again, but that is about what it amounts to.

Question. What became of your garrison at Hick man?

Answer. It was but fourteen miles from Union City ; too weak for defence, and unimportant. Having no reinforcements to spare, I brought away the garrison.

Question. Was Union City important as a military post?

Answer. I think not, except to keep the peace and dqive out guerrillas. The railroad was operated to that point at the expense of tho Government, being used in carrying out supplies, which went mostly into disloyal hands, or were seized by Forrest The road from Paducah to May field was used by its owners. Enormous quantities of supplies needed by the rebel army were carried to Mayfield and other convenient points, and passed into the hands of the rebel army. I found this abuse so flagrant and dangerous that I made a stringent order stopping all trade. I furnish a copy herewith, making it part of my answer, (Exhibit A.)

Question. What, in your opinion, is the effect of free tn^e in Western Kentucky and Tennessee?

Answer. Pernicious beyond measure; corrupting those in the public service, and furnishing needed supplies to enemies. I am in possession of intercepted correspondence, showjrig that while the trader who has taken the oath and does business at Paducah gets permits to send out supplies, several wagons at a time, his partner is receiving them within the rebel lines under permits issued by Forrest. A public officer is now jnder arrest and held for trial for covering up

smuggling of contraband goods under permits, and sharing the profits. Pretended loyal men and open enemies thus combined, and the rebel army gets the benefit. We are supplying our enemies with the means of resistance.

Question. Could not the rebels have been sooner driven out of your neighborhood?

Answer. They could by withdrawing men from duties which are presumed to be of greater importance. That point was settled by my su perior officers. Forrest's force was near May field, about equidistant from Paducah, Cairo, and Columbus, only a few hours from either. He was at the centre, I going round the edge of a circle. I could only watch the coming blow and help each weak point in turn. One evening, for instance, I sent four hundred men to Colum bus, expecting troublo there, and the next morn ing had them at Paducah, seventy-hve miles dis tant.

Question. Had you instructions as to the presence of that force so near you?

Answer. Not specific. General Sherman, on the twenty-third of March, telegraphed that he was willing that Forrest should remain in that neighborhood if the people did not manifest friendship, and on April thirteenth he expressed a desire that Forrest should prolong his visit until certain measures could be accomplished. I think General Sherman did not purpose to withdraw a heavy force to pursue Forrest, having better use for them elsewhere, and feeling that we had force enough to hold the important points on tho river. It may be that the strength ot the enemy and tho scattered condition of our small detachments was not fully understood. We ran too great a risk at Paducah. Nothing but great gallantry and fortitude saved it from the fate of Fort Pillow.

Question. What information had you of the attack of Fort Pillow?

Answer. Fort Pillow is one hundred and seventy miles below here, not in my district, but Memphis. On April thirteenth, at six P.m., I telegraphed General Sherman as follows:

"The surrender of Columbus was demanded and refused at six this morning. Women and children brought away. Heavy artillery firing this afternoon. I have sent reinforcements. Paducah also threatened. No danger of either, but I think that Fort Pillow, in the Memphis district, is taken. General Shepley passed yesterday and saw the flag go down, and thinks it a surrender. I have enough troops now from below, and will go down, if necessary, to that point. Captain Pennock will send gunboats. If lost, it will be retaken immediately."

I was informed, in reply, that Fort Pillow had no guns or garrison; had been evacuated; that General Huribut had force for its defence, etc. I understand that Fort Pillow had been evacuated and reoccupied, General Sherman, not being aware of it On the fourteenth ho again instructed me as follows:

"What news from Columbus? Don't send men from Paris to Fort Pillow. Let General Hurlbut take cure of that quarter. The Cairo troops may reenforce temporarily at Paducah and Columbus, but should be held ready to come up the Tennessee. One object that Forrest has is to induce us to make these detachments, and prevent our concentrating in this quarter."

Question. Did you have any conversation with General Shcpley in relation to the condition of the.garrison at Fort Pillow when he passed by that point? If so, state what he said. What force did General Shcpley have with him? Did he assign any reason for not rendering assistance to that garrison? If so, what was it?

Answer. General Shepley called on me. He stated that as he approached Fort Pillow, fighting was going on; he saw the flag come down "by the run," but could not tell whether it was lowered by the garrison, or by having the halliards shot away; that soon after another flag went up in another place. He could not distinguish its character, but feared that it was a surrender, though firing continued. I think he gave the force on the boat as two batteries and two or three hundred infantry. When he came away, the firing was kept up, but not as heavily as at first He was not certain how the fight was terminating. In answer to a question of mine, he said the batteries on board could not have been used, as the bluff was too steep for ascent, or to admit of firing from the water's edge, and the enemy above might have captured them. This was about the substance of our conversation.

Question. What information have you relative to the battle and massacre at Fort Pillow, particularly what transpired after the surrender?

Answer. That place not being in my district, official reports did not come to me. However, under instructions from General Sherman, I detailed officers, and collected reports and sworn proofs for transmission to him, also to the Secretary of War. Having furnished the Secretary of War with a duplicate copy for the use of your Committee if he so desired, I refer to that for the information I have on the subject.

Question. Do you consider the testimony thus furnished entirely reliable?

Answer. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." Here are scores of them, living and dying. There are doubtless errors as to time and place, and scenes witnessed from different points of observation, but in the main I regard the witnesses honest and their accounts true.

Question. What did you learn concerning violations of the flag of truce?

Answer, t learn from official sources that at Paducah, Columbus, Union City, and Fort Pillow, the rebels moved troops, placed batteries, formed new lines, advanced, robbed stores and private houses, stole horses and other property, while protected by flags of truce. J. W. McCord and Mrs. Hannah Hammond state, in writing, that at Paducah they forced five women nurses

at the hospital out in front of their line, and kept them there for an hour, thus silencing our guns. Mrs. Hammond was one of the five. Reference is made to testimony furnished on the subject, and to official reports when transmitted to the War Department

Question. AVhat information have you as to the intention of the enemy to perpetrate such acts as the massacre at Fort Pillow?

Answer. I furnish the correspondence growing out of demands to surrender at Union City, Paducah, and Columbus, showing premeditation on the part of officers in command of the rebel army.

[Take in from reports of Lieutenant Gray, Colonel Hicks, and Colonel Lawrence, with which the Committee is furnished. See Appendix.]

Question. Has there been cooperation and harmony among commanders since these troubles began?

Answer. Entire and in every respect, so far as I know. Officers of the army in charge of troops temporarily here gave' all the aid possible. Tbey were under orders which prevented their going out in pursuit of Forrest, but they gave me detachments to guard our river posts when threatened.

Question. What have been the relations existing generally between you and Captain Pennock, of the navy, Fleet Captain of the Mississippi squadron?

Answer. Captain Pennock is commandant of the naval station at Cairo and Mound City, and I understand represents Admiral Porter in his absence. Our relations have been cordial, and we have coSperated in all movements. The aid given by his gunboats has been prompt, ample, and very efficient His admirable judgment and ready resources have always been available.

Question. During the operations consequent upon the movements of Forrest, did you or did you not receive cordial cooperation and support from Lieutenant Commander Shirk, commanding the Seventh division Mississippi squadron?

Answer. I can only repeat my answer to the last question. Lieutenant Shirk is an admirable officer, vigilant, brave, and of exceedingly safe judgment.

Moral) Cut, Illinois, April 28,18M.

Surgeon Horace Wardner sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:

Question. Have you been in charge of this hospital, Mound City Hospital? *

Answer. I have been in charge of this hospital continually since the twenty-fifth of ApriL 1863.

Question. Will you state, if you please, what you know about the persons who escaped from Fort Pillow 1 And how many have been under your charge r

Answer. I have received thirty-four whites, twenty-seven colored mon, and one colored woman; and seven corpses of those who died on their way here.

Question. Did any of those you have mentioned escape from Fort Pillow?

Answer. There were eight or nine men, I forget the number, who did escape and come here; the others were paroled. I learned the following facts about that: The day after the battle a pun boat was coming up, and commenced shelling the place; the rebels sent a flag of truce for the purpose of giving over into our hands what wounded remained alive; a transport then landed, and sent out details to look about the grounds and pick up the wounded there, and bring them on the boat They had no previous attention.

Question. They were then brought under your charge?

Answer. They were brought immediately to this hospital.

Question. Who commanded that boat?

Answer. I forget the naval officer's name.

Question. How long after the capture of the place did he come along?

Answer. That was the next day after the capture.

Question. Did all who were paroled in this way come under your charge, or did any of them go to other hospitals?

Answer. None went to other hospitals that I am aware of.

Question. Please state their condition.

Answer. They were the worst butchered men I have ever seen. I have been in several hard battles, but I have never seen men so mangled as they were; and nearly all of them concur in stating that they received all their wounds after they had thrown down their arms, surrendered, and asked for quarters. They state that they ran out of the Fort, threw down their arms, and ran down the bank to the edge of the river, and were pursued to the top of the bank and fired on from above.

Question. Were there any females there?

Answer. I have one wounded woman from there.

Question. Were there any children or young persons there?

Answer. I have no wounded children or young persons from there.

Question. Those you have received were mostlp combatants, or had been?

Answer. Yes, sir; soldiers, white or colored.

Question. Were any of the wounded hero in the hospital in the Fort, and wounded while in the hospital?

Answer. I so understand them.

Question. How many in that condition did yoti understand?

Answer. I learned from those who came hero that nearly all who were in the hospital were killed. I received a young negro boy, probably sixteen years old, who was in the hospital there sick with fever, and unable to get away. The rebels entered the hospital, and with a sabre hacked his head, no doubt with the intention of splitting it open. The boy put up his hand to j

protect his head, and they cut off one or two of his fingers. He was brought here insensible, and died yesterday. I made a post-mortem examination, and found that the outer table of the skull was incised, the inner table was fractured, and a piece driven into the brain.

"Question. This was done while he was sick in the hospital?

Answer. Yes, sir, unable to get off his bed.

Question. Have you any means of knowing how many were murdered in that way?

Answer. No positive means, except the statement of the men.

Question. How many do you suppose from the information you have received r

Answer. I suppose there were about four hundred massacred—murdered there.

Question. What proportion white, and what proportion colored, as near as you could ascertain?

Answer. The impression I have, from what I can learn, is, that all the negroes were massacred except about eighty, and all the white soldiers were killed except about one hundred, or one hundred and ten.

Question. We have heard rumors that some of these persons were buried alive ; did you hear any thing about that?

Answer. I have two in the hospital here who were buried alive.

Question. Both colored men r

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. How did they escape?

Answer. One of them I have not conversed with personally; the other I have. He was thrown into a pit, as he states, with a great many others, white and black, several of whom were alive; they were all buried up together. He lay on the outer edge, but his head was nearer the surface; he had one well hand, and with that hand he was able to work a place through which ho could breathe, and in that way ho got his head out; he lay there for some twenty-four hours, and was finally taken out by somebody. The others, next to him, were buried so deep that they could not get out, and died.

Question. Did you hear any thing about any of them having been thrown into the flames and burned?

Answer. I do not know any thing about that myself. These men did not say much, and in fact I did not myself have time to question them very closely.

Question. What is the general condition now of the wounded men from Fort Pillow under your charge?

Answer. They are in as good condition as they can be; probably about one thiiid of them must die.

Question. Is your hospital divided into wards, and can we go through and take the testimony of these men, ward by ward r

Answer. It is divided into wards. The men from Fort Pillow are scattered through the hospital, and isolated to prevent erysipelas. If I should crowd too many badly wounded men in one ward, I would bo likely to get the erysipelas among; thorn, and lose a great many of them.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. Are the wounds of these men such as men usually receive in battle?

Answer. The gunshot wounds are; the sabre cuts are the first I have ever seen in the war yet. They seem to have been shot with the intention of hitting the body. There arc more body wounds than in an ordinary battle.

Question. Just as if they were close enough to select the part of the body to be hit?

Answer. Yes, sir. Some of them were shot with pistols by the rebels standing from one foot to ten feet of them.

The Committee then proceeded to the various wards, and took the testimony of such of the wounded as were able to bear the examination.

The testimony of the colored men is written out exactly as given, except that it is rendered in a grammatical form, instead of the broken language some of them used.

Mouxd City Hospital, Illinois, April 22,1SW.

Elias Falls, (colored,) private, company A, Sixth United States heavy artillery, or First Alabama artillery, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. "Were you at Fort Pillow when the battle took place there, and it was captured by the rebels?

Answer. I was there; I was a cook, and was waiting on the captain and major.

Question. What did you see done there? "What did the rebels do after they came into the Fort?

Answer. They killed all the men after they surrendered, until orders were given to stop; they killed all they came to, white and black, after they haj surrendered.

Question. The one the same as the other?

Answer. Yes, sir, till he gave orders to stop firing.

Question. Till who gave orders?

Answer. They told me his name was Forrest.

Question. Did you sec any body killed or shot there?

Answer. Yes, sir; I was shot after the surrender, as I was marched up the hill by the rebels.

Question. Where were you wounded?

Answer. In the knee.

Question. Was that the day of the fight?

Answer. The same day.

Question. Did you see any men shot the next day?

Answer. I did not

Question. What did you see done after the place was taken?

Answer. After peace was made, some of the secesh soldiers came around cursing the boys that were wounded. The}- shot one of them about the hand, aimed to shoot him in the head, as he lay on the ground, and hit him in the hand; and an officer told the secesh soldier if he

did that again he would arrest him, and he went off then.

Question. Did they burn any buildings?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Was any body burned in the buildings?

Answer. I did not sec any body burned ; I saw them burn the buildings; I was not able to walk about; I staid in a building that night with some three or four white men.

Question. Do you know any thing about their going into the hospital and killing those who were there sick in bed?

Answer. We had some three or four of our men there, and some of our men came in and said they had killed two women and two children.

Duncan Harding, (colored,) private, company A, Sixth United States heavy artillery, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. Were you in Fort Pillow at the time it was captured?

Answer. Yes, sir; I was a gunner Number Two at the gun.

Question. What did you see there?

Answer. I did not sec much until next morning. I was shot in the arm that evening; they picked me up and marched me up the hill, and while they were marching me up the hill they shot me again through the thigh.

Question. Did you see any body else shot after they had surrendered?

Answer. The next morning I saw them shoot down one corporal in our company^

Question. What was his name?

Answer. Robert Winston.

Question. Did they kill him?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What were you doing at the time?

Answer. I was lying down.

Question. What was the corporal doing?

Answer. When the gunboats commenced firing he was started oft" with them, but he would not go fast enough, and they shot him dead.

Question. When you were shot the last time, had you any arms in your hands?

Answer. No, sir.

Question. Had the corporal any arms in his hands?

Answer. No, sir; nothing.

By the Chairman:

Question. What do you know about any buildings being burned?

Answer. I saw them burn the buildings; and that morning as I was going to the boat I saw one colored man who was burned in the building.

Question. When was that building burned?

Answer. The next morning.

Question. The morning after the capture?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. How did you get away?

Answer. I started off with the rebels; we were all lying in a hollow to keep from the shells; as their backs were turned to me, I crawled up in some brush and logs; and they all left; wheal

« AnteriorContinuar »