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soldiers killed long after they had surrendered. I also certify that I saw the rebels throw several negroes into the river while they were begging for life. One rebel came to me and took my percussion-caps, saying he had been killing negroes so fast that his own had been exhausted. He added that he was going to shoot some more. I also certify that I saw negroes thrown into the river by rebels, and shot afterward, while struggling for life.
William P. x Dickey.
mark. Witness: William Clearv,
Second Lieutenant Company B, Thirteenth Tennessee Vol. Car.
Mootcd Crrr, April IS, ISM. Statement of William F. Mays, Company B, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry.
Moosd Crrr, April 23, l.D. 1864.
Sworn and subscribed to before me this twenty-third day of April, 1864, at Mound City, Illinois. William Stanley,
Lieutenant and Assistant Provost-Marshal.
A true copy.
C. B. Smith,
Lieutenant and A.D.C.
Mocbd Citt, April 25, 1864.
Statement of Sergeant William A. Winn, Company B, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry Volunteers.
I was in Fort Pillow on Tuesday, the twelfth of April, 1804, when the attack was made by General Forrest upon that place. At the firing of the first gun I hastened on board the gunboat, as I had been wounded some time before, and could not fight The first thing I saw afterward was the rebel sharp-shooters on the top of the hill, and ours at quartermaster's department, firing at each other, and the rebels were also firing at the gunboat. The next thing I saw was a flag of truce come in, which was in waiting some half an hour. This was about one o'clock P.m., and as soon as it started back, the enemy immediately started up the hill on the double-quick, not waiting for the flag of truce to return. As soon as they came close to the Fort, and had their sharp-shooters distributed through our barracks, (which were just outside the Fort,) they opened fire upon the garrison, and then charged the works. Those troops which I saw came from the direction that the flag of truce did. I saw our men run down the bluff, the rebels after them, shooting them down as fast as they came op with them. I saw twelve or fifteen men shot down after they had surrendered, with their hands up begging for mercy. Next I saw them turn their cannon on us, (the boat,) and throw several shells at the boat, trying to sink her, but she steamed up the river, out of range, leaving behind us a scene of cold-blooded murder too cruel and barbarous for the human mind to express. W. A. Winn.
Sworn and subscribed to before me this twenty-fifth day of April, 1864.
Lieutenant and Assistant Provost-Marshal.
A true copy.
C. B. SMiTn,
lieutenant and A A.C.
I was at Fort Pillow on the twelfth of April, 1864, and engaged in the fight there. The pickets were driven in about six o'clock A.m., when skirmishers were thrown out to ascertain the position and number of the enemy. The contraband camp was then discovered to be on fire, and the firing of small arms was heard in the same direction. The skirmishing lasted about one hour, when our skirmishers were gradually drawn back toward the Fort on the bluff. They then attacked the Fort. Two assaults were made by them, and both repulsed. This was about eleven or twelve o'clock A.m., when a flag of truce was sent in, demanding a surrender. While the flag was being received and the firing suspended, the enemy were moving their forces into position, and occupied one position which they had been fighting to obtain all day, but had not been able to gain, Except under the protection of a flag of truce. It was from this position they made their heaviest assault, it being impossible to bring our artillery to bear upon them.
Question. Do you believe they could have taken the Fort or that particular position, had they not done so under cover of the flag of truce?
Answer. I do not They had been kept from it for six hours.
Question. What further took place? Go on with your statement.
Answer. In about five minutes after the disappearance of the flag of truce, a general assault was made upon our works from every direction. They were kept at bay for some time, when the negroes gave way upon the left, and ran down the bluff, leaving an opening through which the rebels entered, and immediately commenced an indiscriminate slaughter of both white and black. We all threw down our arms, and gave tokens of surrender, asking for quarter. (I was woundod in the right shoulder and muscle of the back, and knocked down before I threw down my gun.) But no quarter was given. Voices were heard upon all sides, crying: "Give them no quarter; kill them; kill them; it is General Forrest's orders." I saw four white men and at least twenty-five negroes shot while begging for mercy; and I saw one negro dragged from a hollow log within ten feet of where I lay, and as one rebel held him by the foot another shot him. These were all soldiers. There were also two negro women and three little children standing within twenty-five steps from me, when a rebel stepped up to them and said, "Yes, God damn you, you thought you were free, did you?" and shot them all. They all fell but one child, when he knocked it in the head with the breech of his' gun. They then disappeared in the direction of the landing, following up the fugitives, firing at them wherever seen. They came back in about three quarters of an hour, shooting and robbing the dead of their money and clothes. I saw a man with a canteen upon him, and a pistol in his
hand. I ventured to ask him for a drink of water. He turned around, saying, " Yes, God damn you, I will give you a drink of water," and shot at my head three different times, covering my face up with dust, and then turned from me, no doubt thinking he had killed mc, remarking, "God damn you, it's too late to pray now," then went on with his pilfering. I lay there until dark, feigning death, when a rebel officer came along, drawing his sabre, and ordered me to get up, threatening to run his sabre into me if I did not, saying I had to march ten miles that night. I succeeded in getting up, and got among a small squad he had already gathered up, but stole away from them during the night, and got among the dead, feigning death for fear of being murdered. The next morning the gunboat came up and commenced shelling them out, when I crawled out from among the dead, and with a piece of paper motioned to the boat; she came up, and I crawled on board.
William F. + Mays.
Sworn and subscribed to before me this twenty-seventh day of April, 1804.
William Stanley, , Lieutenant and Assistant Provost-Marshal. A true copy.
0. B. Smith,
Lieutenant and A.D.C.
Official Statement of Facts connected with the Attach, Defence, and Surrender of the United States Military Post at Union City, Tennessee, on the twenty-fourth of March, 1864.
Cairo, Illixois, April 4,1864.
On the twenty-third of March it was generally understood at the said post that at least a portion of the rebel General Forrest's command were advancing on us. At about eight o'clock P.m. of that day the advance of the enemy were seen and fired upon, near Jacksonville, six miles from Union City, by a small scouting-party sent in that direction from our post. This party reported the facts immediately to Colonel Hawkins, of the Seventh Tennessee cavalry, who was commander of the post.
The picket-guard was then doubled, and two or three companies were ordered to keep their horses saddled during the night.
I was notified at half-past four A.m. of the twenty-fourth of March to order my horses saddled. About five o'clock firing commenced all around the line of pickets. The main part of company B, Captain Martin, were abreast, and a part of company I, also, I think. The remaining force, about five hundred strong, were distributed around at the breastworks. The pickets were driven in, with a loss of two killed and several wounded. About half-past five A.m. a cavalry charge was made from the south side. It was repulsed with but little difficulty. The same 'vcre immediately dismounted and charged again, this time coming within twenty or thirty I yards of the breastworks. They were repulsed |
again, and with considerable loss this time. Immediately following this, another charge was made in front, from the north-west, and again repulsed. Immediately following this, the fourth charge, and last, was made from the north-cast, which charge confronted my company, and were repulsed again with loss. This charge was made at about eight A.m. About this time the Colonel came to this part of the works; I remarked to him that it was my opinion the rebels were defeated in their first programme; that they would cither leave the field or assemble and make a consolidated charge. Our troops were in fine spirits. Sharp-shooting lasted till half-past nine A.m., when an escort, with a flag of truce, approached my position. I sent notification to Colonel Hawkins of the approaching truce flag, and then advanced in person and halted the truce escort two hundred yards from the defences. Then Colonel Hawkins came; a document was handed him, the contents of which I know not At this time the rebel troops were in full view, in the logs and stumps. The truce escort retired, and in twenty minutes after again came. I again halted them on the same ground as before, and remained with them during this interview. This time an order was handed to Colonel Hawkins, which I read. As near as I can remember, it read as follows:
Headquarters Confederate States Forces, )
Commanding Officer United States Forces, at
Union City, Tennessee:
Sir: I have your garrison completely surrounded, and demand an unconditional surrender of your forces. If you comply with the demand, you. are promised the treatment due to prisoners of war, according to usages in civilized warfare. If you persist in a defence, you must take the consequences.
By order of N. B. Forrest,
Then followed a council of our officers, in which a large majority violently opposed any capitulation whatever with the enemy. Notwithstanding this, the Colonel made a surrender at eleven A.m., which, to the best of my knowledge and belief, was unconditional. No artillery was seen or used. The surrendered troops were very indignant on hearing of the surrender. Only one man had been killed and two or three wounded inside of the works. It was generally believed to be a rebel defeat. Our troops, after grounding arms, were marched away on foot The rebel troops were commanded by Colonel Duckworth, and as nearly as I could estimate them, there were eight hundred.
A list of prisoners was made on the twentysixth, at Trenton, which numbered four hundred and eighty-one, including ten of Hard)''s men and a few of the Twenty-fourth Missouri infantry, who were doing provost duty.
T. P. Gray,
Captain Company 0, Seventh Tesaesaee Cavalry.
HEADQUARTERS POST OF PADUCAH, 1
Piddui, Kentucky, April 6,1804. )
Sir: I have the honor to report in relation to the late engagement with the rebel General Forrest On the twenty-fifth instant my scouts came in at about twelve o'clock M., bringing no news of the enemy's whereabouts. I immediately ordered out others, and directed them to proceed on the Mayficld road. They had gone but three miles when they were met by Forrest's advance-guard, who fired upon them. They hurriedly fell back and gave the alarm, and in less than ten minutes after they reported, the enemy were driving in my pickets, who opened a skirmish-fire and fell back to Fort Anderson, according to previous instructions. I immediately ordered the little force under my command to double-quick to the Fort, which order was promptly obeyed; yet, before they could reach there, such was the impetuosity of the attack, that their rear was fired into by the enemy.
At two P.m. the enemy took position surrounding the Fort, and a sharp fight commenced, which in a few minutes became furious, and continued for about one hour, when it was announced that a flag of truce was approaching. I immediately ordered my men to cease firing, and sent out to meet the bearer, from whom I received the following demand for a surrender:
Headquarters Forrest's Cavalrt Corps, 1
Colonel: Having a force amply sufficient to carry your works and reduce the place, and in order to avoid the unnecessary effusion of blood, I demand the surrender of the Fort and troops, with all public property. If you surrender, you shall be treated as prisoners of war; but if I hare to storm your works, you may expect no quarter. N. B. Forrest,
Major Central Commanding Confederate Troops.
Commanding Federal Forces at Paducah.
To which I replied as follows:
Headquarters Post Of Paducah, 1 Padocah, Kentucky, March 25,1864. J
I have this moment received yours of this instant, in which you demand the unconditional surrender of the forces under my command. I can answer that I have been placed here by my Government to defend this post, and in this, as well as all other orders from my superior, I feel it to be my duty as an honorable officer to obey. I must, therefore, respectfully decline surrendering as you may require.
Very respectfully, S. 6. Hicks,
Colonel Commanding Post. Major-General N. B. Forrest,
Commanding Confederate Forces.
While the flag of truce was near the Fort, and during its pendency, the enemy were engaged in taking position and planting a battery. As soon as the answer was returned they moved forward, and our forces opened on them, and the fight became general- They attempted to storm our works, but were repulsed. They rallied and tried it again, and met the same fate. They
made a third effort, but were forced to abandon their design. It was in this last struggle that Brigadier A. P. General Thompson (confederate) was killed.
I now discovered, on examination, that my ammunition was growing short, and out of thirty thousand rounds, (the amount we commenced the fight with,) twenty-seven thousand had been already expended. In this emergency I ordered the remainder to be equally distributed; the men to fix their bayonets; to make good use of the ammunition they had, and, when that was exhausted, to receive the enemy on the point of the bayonet, feeling fully determined never to surrender while I had a man alive. When this order was repeated by the officers to their respective commands, it was received with loud shouts and cheers.
The enemy's sharp-shooters in tho mean time got possession of the houses around and near the Fort, from which position they picked off some of my gunners, shooting nearly all of them in the head.
Toward dark the enemy took shelter behind houses, in rooms, and hollows, and kept up a scattering fire until half-past eleven o'clock, when it entirely ceased, and the rebel General withdrew his command out of the range of my guns, and went into camp for the night.
On the morning of the twenty-sixth the enemy again made a demonstration by surrounding the Fort in the distance. As soon as I discovered this, I ordered Major Barnes, of the Tenth Kentucky cavalry, to send out squads to burn all the houses within musket-range of the Fort, from which the sharp-shooters had annoyed us the day previous.
While the houses were burning General Forrest sent in a second flag of truco, with the following communication:
Headquarters Forrest's Gavai.rt Corps, 1
Sir: I understand you hold in your possession in the guard-house at Paducah a number of confederate soldiers as prisoners of war. I have in my possession about thirty-five or forty Federal soldiers who were captured here yesterday, and about five hundred who were captured at Union City. I propose to exchange man for man, according to rank, so far as you may hold confederate soldiers.
Respectfully, N. B. Forrest,
Major-General Commanding Confederate Forces.
Colonel S. G. Hicks,
Commanding Federal Forces at Paducah, Ky.
In answer to which I sent the following:
Headquarters Post Of Paducah, ) Paducah, Kentucky, March 26,1864. J
Sir: I have no power to make the exchange.
If I had, I would most cheerfully do it.
Very respectfully, S. G. Hicks,
Colonel Fortieth Illinois Infantry, Commanding Post. Major-Gcneral N. B. Forrest, Commanding Confederate Forces.
With the above General Forrest sent a list of the names of the prisoners captured, (!) all of whom, with one exception, were convalescents in the general hospital, and too feehle to get to the Fort
The following troops composed my command during the fight:
Companies C, H, and K, One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois infantry, commanded by Major J. F. Chapman, one hundred and twenty men; Sixteenth Kentucky cavalry, Major Barnes commanding, two hundred and seventy-one men; First Kentucky heavy artillery, (colored,) two hundred and seventy-four men, commanded by Lieutenant R. D. Cunningham, of the Second Illinois artillery, making a total of six hundred and sixty-five men.
Opposed to this was the rebel force under the command of Generals Forrest, Buford, J. G. Harris, and A. P. Thompson, of six thousand five hundred men.
The casualties of my command were fourteen killed and forty-six wounded.
The enemy's loss, according to the most reliable information that I can obtain, was three hundred killed and from one thousand to one thousand two hundred wounded. His killed and wounded may be safely set down at one thousand five hundred.
General Forrest admitted, in conversation with some of his friends in this city, that in no engagement during the war had he been so badly cut up and crippled as at this place.
Our loss in government stores was inconsiderable. The Quartermaster's depot, a temporary wooden building, was burned, and in consequence thereof a small lot of quartermaster's property was lost. Our commissary stores, and most of our government horses, mules, wagons, etc., were saved.
In justice to the officers and soldiers under my command, allow me to say that they acted well their part, proving themselves worthy of the great cause in which they are engaged, and all deserving of the highest praise.
The three companies of the One Hundred and Twenty-second Illinois were the only portion of my command that had ever been under tire beore. And here permit mo to remark that I have been one of those men who never had much confidence in colored troops fighting, but tho.se doubts are now all removed, for they fought as bravely as any troops in the Fort.
The'gunboats Peosta, Captain Smith, and Paw Paw, Captain O'Neal, were present and rendered valuable aid in shelling the city and operating on the ilank of the enemy as they surrounded the Fort
A list of the names of the killed and wounded I will furnish hereafter. Respectfully submitted.
S. G. Hicks,
Colonel Fortieth Illinois Infantry, Commanding Port.
Captain J. 11. Odlin,
Hradqoartrrs CosrennRATi Btatbs, 1 Biroas Culumdcs, KuKTtJCiT, April 18, 1864. f
Fully capable of taking Columbus and its gar-1
rison by force, I desire to avoid the shedding of blood, and therefore demand the unconditional surrender of the forces under your command. Should you surrender, the negroes now in arms will be returned to their masters. Should I, however, be compelled to take the place, no quarter will be shown to the negro troops whatever; the white troops will bo treated as prisoners of war. I am, sir, yours,
The Commanding Officer,
United States Forces, Columbus, Kentucky.
Hradquartrrs Op Thr Post. I
General: Your communication of this date to hand. In reply, I would state that, being placed by my Government with adequate force to hold and repel all enemies from my post, sur-' render is out of the question.
I am, General, very respectfully,
Wm. Hudson Lawrence,
Col. Thirty-Fourth New-Jersey Vols., Commanding Post
Brigadier-General A. Buford,
Commanding Confederate Forces before Columbus, Ky.
The following affidavit was furnished, at the request of the Committee, by General W. S. Rosecrans, from St Louis:
IlBADQtJARTSRS DKPARTMRNT Of THR Ml530mM, I
Saint Lows, April 26,1864. f
Respectfully forwarded to Hon. B. F. Wade, Cairo, Illinois, Chairman Congressional Committee on Conduct of the War.
W: S. Rosecrans,
By O. D. Green, A. A G.,
Absence of General.
Statement of Edward B. Benton, upon oath, relative to the Massacre by the Confederate Troops under General Forrest, at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.
I was born in Waltham, Vermont.
Question. Where have you resided last?
Answer. I was in Missouri engaged in furnishing beef to the Government troops on the NorthMissouri Railroad until a year ago last July. I then went down to Fort Pillow, and have been there ever since.
Question. What was your business there?
Answer. I owned two hundred and fifteen acres of the Fort, bordering on the river, and the very land we fought on. I was putting in one hundred acres of cotton just outside the fortifications, which was my principal business.
Question. You lived outside the Fort f
Answer. Yes, sir — slept there. I was in the Fort every day; it was only about a mile from the landing—not a mile from the fortifications.
Question. Just say when you saw Forrest's men; the day and the time of day, and what you did?
Answer. On Tuesday morning, the twelfth of this month, I was awakened about five o'clock, or half-past five, by a little darkey boy, who came up to my room and says: "0 Mr. BeU' ton! all of Forrest's men have come, and they arc just going into the Fort. What will I do?" I got out of bed and looked out of the window toward the Fort, and saw about three or four hundred of Forrest's men drawn up in line, and some one was making a speech to them, which was answered'by cheering. They cheered, and then the pickets fired I put somo things in my valise and started for the Fort in a roundabout way, and got in, by running the pickets, about six'o'clock, and went immediately to Major Booth and asked for a gun, and took my stand with the soldiers inside the breastworks, where I remained and shot at every person of Forrest's men that I could get a chance at, firing forty-eight shots in all, until the flag of truce was sent in.
Question. About what was the time of day it came in?
Answer. It came in about two o'clock,! should think —half-past one or two o'clock in the afternoon.
Question. Had they made any attack then?
Answer. Oh I yes, sir.
Question. Had they tried to carry the Fort by storm and been repulsed?
Answer. At one time the confederate troops had all disappeared.
Question. Were four hundred all there were there?
Answer. Those were all I saw there. This was when they first made their appearance when I first saw these four hundred. After getting into the Fort we saw more than a thousand coming in at the different passes, and the sharpshooters were stationed on every hill on every side of us except the river side.
Question. Do you recollect how many attacks they made to carry the Fort before the flag of truce came?
Answer. It is not proper to call their fighting but one attack upon the Fort, although they all, or nearly all, seemed to be driven outside the outside works at one time, and soon came back fighting harder and in greater force than before.
Question. Did they use artillery?
Answer. Yes, sir. They did not hurt us with that; they shot at the gunboats.
Question. When the flag of truce came in, did they make any disposition of their troops around the Fort there?
Answer. Yes, sir; after the flag of truce was sent in and the firing ceased they came up on all sides to within ten yards of the very embankments that screened us.
Question. While the flag of truce was waiting?
Answer. Yes, sir; more especially on the northern side, just under the bank looking toward Coal Creek.
Question. How long was that flag inside of our lines?
Answer. One hour was the time. I suppose it was all of an hour.
Question. Do you know the nature of it?
Answer. It was for an unconditional surrender.
Question. It was refused by Major Booth? Answer. By Major Bradford, yes, sir. Major Booth had been killed. He asked for time to consult with the gunboat, and finally returned the answer that there was none of Hawkins's men there, and he never would surrender.
Question. Did not Major Bradford make any protest against troops coming up under the flag in that way? Answer. I don't know, sir. Question. When the flag went back did they commence firing again? Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Kept it up for how long? Answer. They commenced firing again, but the firing didn't last fifteen minutes. Up to this time there had not been twenty killed on our side.
Question. What was the strength of the garrison?
Answer. Five hundred and eighty, I think, just
Question. How many of these were negroes?
Answer. About three hundred and eighty—■ nearly four hundred — I don't know exactly to a man.
Question, now many citizens beside yourself?
Answer. William W. Cutler, of Chicago, and a young man by the name of Robinson; he was a soldier but in citizen's clothes, and got off on that plea.
Question. The second flag that came in—about how long was it after the first?
Answer. Well, there was no second flag of truce, except the one. There was no firing in the interim.
Question. Was there no firing while the first was in?
Answer. No, sir, not a single shot fired on either side. After the flag of truce had been rejected, or the surrender had been rejected, they were so close to the Fort that about three thousand of them just sprang right in, and the whole garrison threw down their arms at once. The bigger portion of the darkeys jumped down the bank toward the Mississippi River, without any arms at all, and were followed by Forrest's men and shot indiscriminately, black and white, with handkerchiefs held over them in a great number of instances—as many as fifty I should think.
Question. Did you see any of those prisoners formed in line and shot down?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. How many?
Answer. They were collected at least four different times.
Question. How long a line?
Answer. Well, it was more in a collection than it was properly in a straight line. There was a line probably as long as this room, or longer — about thirty or thirty-five feet
Question. These lines were scattered by rebel shots several times?
A. They were.
Question. These men were unarmed?