HEADQUARTERS OF THE POST,
Columbus, Ky., April 20, 1864.
CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report for the information of the general commanding that Brigadier General George F. Shepley arrived here on the morning of the 13th instant, on the steamer Olive Branch. He informed me that as they passed Fort Pillow he saw a flag of truce, and was informed that there had been severe fighting going on. As flag hurled down, or the halyards shot away, he could not tell which. Afterward saw a flag he could not make out, but not higher than a regimental flag. He then went on to say that he believed the fort had surrendered, and was at this time expecting an attack upon my post, and General Shepley offered me two batteries of light artillery, which he said were fully manned and equipped. I am informed there were some 200 infantry on board the steamer in addition to the artillery.
I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. HUDSON LAWRENCE,
Colonel, Commanding Post.
Numbers 9. Reports of Major General Stephen A. Hurlbut, U. S. Army, commanding Sixteenth Army Corps, of the capture of Fort Pillow.
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., April 15, 1864.
GENERAL: Fort Pillow, garrisoned by four companies Alabama Siege Artillery, under Major Booth, and about 250 recruits for Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, under Major Bradford was attacked by a heavy body of the enemy, commanded by Major-General Forrest in person, on the morning of the 12th instant.
A surrender was demanded and refused and the fort was held until about 3 p. m., at which time the enemy in overwhelming numbers carried the fortifications by assault. Resistance was gallantly made until the last moment, notwithstanding the loss of Major Booth, the brave commander, at an early period of the engagement. After resistance had ceased the enemy, in gross violation of all honorable warfare, butchered in cold blood the prisoners and wounded.
For the proof of these charges I refer you to the official report of Acting Master W. Ferguson, U. S. Navy, and of Lieutenant Van Horn, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored troops), late First Alabama Siege.
The list* of killed and wounded, so far as received, accompanies this report, and demonstrates the severity of the action. It is unquestionably true that the colored troops fought desperately and nearly all of them are now killed and wounded; but few are held as prisoners.
The armament of the fort: Two 10-pounder Parrotts, two 6-pounder field guns, two 12-pounder howitzers, with about 100 rounds to the piece, were captured in good order by the enemy, and are now held by them.
*See Van Horn's and Ferguson's reports, pp. 569 and 571.