War of the Rebellion: Serial 057 Page 0561 Chapter XLIV. FORREST'S EXPEDITION INTO W. TENN. AND KY.

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took back to the fort, the party remaining as before for an answer. It read as follows:

HEADQUARTERS CONFEDERATE CAVALRY,

Near Fort Pillow, April 12, 1864.

Major L. F. BOOTH,

Commanding U. S. Forces at Fort Pillow:

MAJOR: I do not demand the surrender of the gun-boat; twenty minutes will be given you to take your men outside the fort and surrender. If in that time this demand is not complied with I will immediately proceed to assault your works, and you must take the consequences.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

N. B. FORREST,

Major-General, C. S. Army.

After a short consultation with the officers of the garrison, it was unanimously voted not to surrender. In accordance with this decision I was ordered to white and deliver to the party in waiting the following communication:

HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,

Fort Pillow, Tenn., April 12, 1864.

Major General N. B. FORREST,

Commanding Confederate Cavalry:

GENERAL: I will not surrender.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

L. F. BOOTH,

Commanding U. S. Forces, Fort Pillow.

This I delivered to General Forrest in person, who broke open the envelope in my presence, and after a hasty perusal of its contents refolded it, when we simply saluted and each went our way.

During the cessation of firing on both sides, in consequence of the flag of truce offered by the enemy, and while the attention of both officers and men was naturally directed to the south side of the fort where the communications were being received and answered, Forrest had resorted to means the most foul and infamous ever adopted in the most barbarous ages of the world for the accomplishment of his design. Here he took occasion to move his troops, partially under cover of a ravine and thick underbrush, into the very position he had been fighting to obtain throughout the entire engagement, up to 3.30 p. m. Consequently, when the final decision of the garrison had been made known, the rebel charge was immediately sounded; when, as if rising from out the very earth on the center and north side, within 20 yards of our works, the rebels received our first fire, wavered, rallied again and finally succeeded in breaking our lines, and in thus gaining possession of the fort. At this juncture, one company of the Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery, colored troops, rushed down the bluff, at the summit of which were our works, and many of them jumped into the river, throwing away their arms as they fled.

Seeing that through a gross violation of the rules of civilized warfare the enemy had now gained possession of our works, and in consequence that it would be useless to offer further resistance, our men threw down their arms and surrendered. For a moment the fire seemed to slacken. The scene which followed, however, beggars all description. The enemy carried our works at about 4 p. m., and from that time until dark, and at intervals throughout the night, our men were shot down without mercy and almost without regard to

36 R R-VOL XXXII, PT I