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ceived at Sabine Cross-Roads, the arms of the Union met with reverses in two other quarters. One of these was the capture of Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi, on the 12th of April, by a rebel force under General Forrest, a capture marked in the history of the war by the atrocious butchery of the garrison after the surrender of the place. The garrison was composed of about six hundred men under command of Major Boyd, who was killed near the close of the fight. Of these six hundred about three hundred and fifty were colored troops. The attack was commenced in the early morning, and the garrison were driven from some outworks into the fort itself, which they defended with the assistance of a gunboat, till about four P. M., when the rebels made a final charge upon the fort from positions which they had occupied by taking advantage of a flag of truce sent to the fort to demand its surrender, and carried its defences by storm. The garrison thereupon threw down their arms and surrendered, but were shot down in cold blood until but few were left alive. Some were forced to stand up in line and were then shot. Some were shot when lying wounded on the ground. Women and children were shot or cut to pieces. The huts in which the sick and wounded had taken refuge were fired over their heads, and there were stories of even darker cruelties than these. Of the white officers who commanded the colored troops, but two were left alive, and these were wounded. Of the garrison there were left thirty-six white men and twentyone negroes, and forty were carried off as prisoners. Some of the negroes saved their lives by feigning death and digging out from the thin covering of earth which the rebels had thrown over their victims.
The news of this atrocity excited the deepest horror throughout the country, and there was a general call for retaliation. In order to have an authentic statement of the facts, Congress passed resolutions directing the Com mittee on the Conduct of the War to investigate the mat ter. The committee sent two of its members, Senator Wade and Mr. Gooch, to the spot. They examined many
witnesses, and on the 5th of May made their report, with the testimony which they had taken. The report showed that this proceeding of the rebels was in pursuance of a policy deliberately adopted, in the expectation of driving from the ranks of the Union armies not only the negroes, but also the “home-made Yankees,” as they termed the loyal Southerners.
The massacre was. referred to by the President in his speech at the opening of the Sanitary Commission Fair, in Baltimore, while it was still under investigation, and he then said that if the massacre was proved to have been committed, retribution should surely come; nor was this the first time that the question of retaliation had been brought to his attention. In fact, as early as July, 1863, the subject had been considered, and the conclusion which was then arrived at was announced in the following General Order :
EXECUTIVE MANBIon, WABHINGTON, July 80, 1863. It is the duty of every Government to give protection to its citizens, of whatever class, color, or condition, and especially to those who are duly organized as soldiers in the public service. The law of nations and the usages and customs of war, as carried on by civilized powers, permit no distinction as to color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies. To sell or enslave any captured person, on account of his color and for no offence against the laws of war, is a relapse into barbarism, and a crime against the civilization of the age.
The Government of the United States will give the same protection to all its soldiers; and if the enemy shall sell or enslave any one because of his color, the offence shall be punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our possession.
It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed ; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery, a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works, and continued at such labor until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war.
But whether from the President's tenderness of heart, which made it very hard for him to order the execution of a rebel soldier who had himself done no special wrong, even in retaliation for such barbarities as this at Fort Pillow, or from some other cause, the first part of this order was never executed. The latter part of it was once carried into effect with excellent results by General Butler during the siege of Petersburg. Having learned that some of our colored troops, who had been taken prisoners, were not treated as prisoners of war, but were made to work by the rebels on their fortifications, he at once took a number of rebel officers and set them at work upon the canal, which he was digging at Dutch Gap, where they were constantly exposed to the heavy fire which the rebels kept up to check the progress of the work. This treatment proveil speedily effectual. Our colored soldiers were relieved from their work on the fortifications, and the rebel officers were withdrawn from their exposed position and their · weary. la bors.
Another similar action led to a similar result. The rebels at Charleston, desirous of checking the fire of the "swamp angel" and other guns, which were making the city uninhabitable, placed some of our officers within reach of the shells, and notified our forces that they had done so. On our part a number of rebel officers of equal rank were immediately taken thither and also placed under fire. The only result was the exchange of the officers, and the rebels did not undertake again to defend themselves in that way.
Fort Pillow was not the only case of such atrocities on the part of the rebels. A somewhat similar affair took place on the 20th of April in North Carolina, on the capture of Plymouth on the Roanoke River, where a company of loyal North Carolinians and some negro troops were also murdered in cold blood after the surrender. The capture was mainly effected by the success of a rebel iron-clad, the Albe. marle, which was able to destroy some of our gunboats, and drive others down the river, the commander of the Miami, Lieutenant Flusser, being killed by the rebound of a shell, which he had himself fired against the iron sides of the rebel vessel. Our fleet being driven down the river, communication with our garrison in Plymouth as cut off, and the place, being attacked by a heavy relel force, was surrendered, aftera gallant defence for four days,
by its commander, General Wessels, with its garrison of fifteen hundred men and twenty-five guns. The effect of this success was to render the withdrawal of our troops from other places in North Carolina inevitable. The Albemarle had for a time complete control of the river, but coming down into the Sound, she was attacked by three of our wooden gunboats, and in a gallant fight was so injured as to be compelled to betake herself up the river again to Plymouth, which she never left afterwards, being sunk at her moorings, on the night of the 27th of October following, by a torpedo-boat, commanded by Lieutenant Cushing. .
In these smaller affairs, the rebels had been able to gain some successes, owing to the policy adopted by General Grant, of concentrating our forces from all quarters to strengthen the two great armies whose movements were to grind the Confederacy to powder.
General Grant, having been appointed to the command of the armies of the United States, went to Nashville, where he issued an order announcing his assumption of the command. After making what arrangements were necessary with reference to the Western army, which he left under the command of General Sherman, he came eastward, to conduct in person the campaign against General Lee. The preparations for the coming campaign took time, and it was not till the third day of May that all things were ready for the forward movement. The Army of the Potomac remained under the special command of General Meade, and lay about Culpepper Court-House. General Burnside had been collecting a strong force, in good part colored troops, at Annapolis. Another strong force was under the command of Gen. eral Butler and General Smith, at Yorktown, and yet another, not so strong, under General Sigel, at Winchester. Burnside's troops were put in motion, and passed through Washington on the 23d of April to a position whence they could follow the Army of the Potomac at a short distance - and all things were thus now ready for the great advance. At this time the following cor
respondence passed between the President and General
EXECUTIVE MANBIOX, WABUINGTON, April 80, 1864. Lieut.-General GRANT:
Not expecting to see you before the spring campaign opens, I wish to express in this way my entire satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I understand it.
The particulars of your plans I neither know nor seek to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant; and, pleased with this, I wish not to obtrude any restraints or constraints upon you. While I am very anxious that any great disaster or capture of our men in great number shall be avoided, I know that these points are less likely to escape your attention than they would be mine. If there be any thing wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me know it. And now, with a brave army and a just cause, may God sustain you.
Yours very truly,
HEAD-QUABTEBS ARMIES OP TIE UNITED STATES,
CULPEPPER COURT-House, May 1, 1864. 5 THE PRESIDENT:
Your very kind letter of yesterday is just received. The confidence you express for the future and satisfaction for the past, in my military administration, is acknowledged with pride. It shall be my earnest endeavor that you and the country shall not be disappointed. From my first entrance into the volunteer service of the country to the present day, I have never had cause of complaint; have never expressed or implied a complaint against the Administration, or the Secretary of War, for throwing any embarrassment in the way of my vigorously prosecuting what appeared to be my duty.
Indeed, since the promotion which placed me in command of all the armies, and in view of the great responsibility and importance of success, I bave been astonished at the readiness with which every thing asked for has been yielded, without even an explanation being asked. Should my success be less than I deserve and expect, the least I can say is, the fault is not with you. Very truly, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT, Liout.-General.
The interest and anxiety with which the people watched for the approaching movement of the army was very deep. Nor did it content itself with mere watchfulness. It took the right direction of work, and from every quarter the