They at first sent in a flag of truce demanding a surrender, which Major Booth, then commanding the post (Major Booth of the Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery, colored), refused. Shortly after this Major Booth was shot through the heart and fell dead.
Major William F. Bradford, then commanding the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, assumed command of the fort, and under his orders a continual fire was kept up until about 1 p. m., when our cannon and the rifles of the sharpshooters were moving the rebels down in such number that they could not make an advance. The rebels then hoisted a second flag of truce and sent it in, demanding an unconditional surrender. They also threatened that if the place was not surrendered no quarter would be shown. Major Bradford refused to accept any such terms; would not surrender, and sent back word that if such were their intentions they could try it on. While this flag of truce was being sent int he rebel officers formed their forces in whatever advantageous positions they were able to select. They then formed a hollow square around our garrison, placed their sharpshooters within our deserted barracks, and directed a galling fire upon our men. They also had one brigade in the trenches just outside the fort, which had been cut by our men only a few days before, and which provided them with as good protection as that held by the garrison in the fort.
Their demand of the flag of truce having been refused, the order was given by General Forrest in person to charge upon the works and show no quarter. Half an hour after the issuance of this order a scene of terror and massacre ensued. The rebels came pouring in solid masses right over the breast-works. Their numbers were perfectly overwhelming. The moment they reached the top of the walls and commenced firing as they descended, the colored troops were panic-stricken, threw down their arms, and ran down the bluff, pursued sharply, begging for life, but escape was impossible. the Confederate had apprehended such a result, and had placed a regiment of cavalry where it could cut off all effective retreat. This cavalry regiment employed themselves in shooting down the negro troops at fast as they made their appearance.
The whites, as soon as they perceived they were also to be butchered inside the fort, also ran down. They had preciously thrown down their arms and submitted. In many instances the men begged for life at the hands of the enemy, even on their knees. they were only made to stand upon their feet, and then summarily shot down.
Captain Theodore F. Bradford, of Company A, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was signal officer for the gun-boat, and was seen by General Forrest with the signal flags. The general in person ordered Captain Bradford to be shot. He was instantly riddled with bullets, nearly a full regiment having fired their pieces upon him. Lieutenant Wilson, of Company A, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was killed after he had surrendered, he having been previously wounded. Lieutenant J. C. Ackerstrom, Company E, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, and acting regimental quartermaster, was severely wounded after he had surrendered, and then nailed to the side of the house and the house set on fire, burning him to death. Lieutenant Cord Revelle, Company E, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was shot and killed after surrender.
Major William F. Bradford, commanding our forces, was fired upon after he had surrendered the garrison. The rebels told him he could no surrender. He ran into the river and swam out some 50 yards,