War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0560 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. Chapter XLIV.

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out accomplish the desired end, save only to the row nearest to the fort. From these barracks the enemy kept up a murderous fire on our men, despite all our efforts to dislodge him.

Owing to the close proximity of these buildings to the fort, and to the fact that they were on considerably lower ground, our artillery could not be sufficiently depressed to destroy them, or even render them untenable for the enemy. Musketry and artillery firing continued, however, on both sides with great energy, and although our garrison was almost completely surrounded, all attempts of the enemy to carry our works by assault were successfully repulsed, notwithstanding his great superiority in numbers.

At 3.30 p. m. firing suddenly ceased in consequence of the appearance of a white flag displayed by the enemy. The party bearing the flag was halted about 150 yards from the front, when we were informed by one of the party that they had a communication from General Forrest to the commanding officer of the U. S. forces at Fort Pillow. I was ordered out, accompanied by Captains Bradford and Young, to receive this communication, which I took back to the fort while the party bearing the same remained for an answer. As nearly as I can remember the communication was as follows:


Near Fort Pillow, Tenn., April 12, 1864.

Major L. BOOTH,

Commanding U. S. Forces at Fort Pillow:

MAJOR: Your gallant defense of Fort Pillow has entitled you to the treatment of brave men. I now demand the unconditional surrender of your forces, at the same time assuring you that you will be treated as prisoners of war. I have received a new supply of ammunition and can take your works by assault, and if compelled to do so you must take the consequence.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major-General, Commanding Confederate Cavalry.

To this communication I was ordered to make the following reply, which I placed in a sealed envelope, addressed to Major-General Forrest, and delivered to the party in waiting:


Fort Pillow, Tenn., April 12, 1864.

Major General N. B. FORREST,

Commanding Confederate Cavalry:

GENERAL: Yours of this instant in received, and in reply I have to ask one hour for consultation and consideration with my officers and the officers of the gun-boat.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major, Commanding U. S. Forces.

Desiring to conceal from the enemy the fact of the death of Major Booth and cause him to believe that he was still in command, it was deemed not only proper but advisable that I append his name to the communication.

I again repaired to the front, where I had been but a few minutes when the party bearing the white flag again made its appearance with a second communication, and I was again sent out to meet the same. This time, just as an officer was in the act of handing me the communication, another officer galloped up and said, "That gives you twenty minutes to surrender; I am General Forrest." This I