The order was then given to retire inside the fort, and General Forrest sent in a flag of truce demanding an unconditional surrender of the fort, which was returned with a decided refusal.
During the time consumed by this consultation advantage was taken by the enemy to place in position his force, they crawling up to the fort.
After the flag had retired, the fight was renewed and raged with fury for some time, when another flag of truce was sent in and another demand for surrender made, they assuring us at the same time that they would treat us as "prisoners of war."
Another refusal was returned, when they again charged the works and succeeded in carrying them. Shortly before this, however, Lieutenant John D. Hill, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery, was ordered outside the fort to burn some barracks, which he, with the assistance of a citizen who accompanied him, succeeded in effecting, and in returning was killed.
Major Bradford, of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was now in command. At 4 o'clock the fort was in possession of the enemy, every man having been either killed, wounded, or captured.
There never was a surrender of the fort, both officers and men declaring they never would surrender or ask for quarter.
As for myself, I escaped by putting on citizen's clothes, after I had been some time their prisoner. I received a slight wound of the left ear.
I cannot close this report without adding my testimony to that accorded by others wherever the black man has been brought into battle. Never did men fight better, and when the odds against us are considered it is truly miraculous that we should have held the fort an hour. To the colored troops is due the successful holding out until 4 p. m. The men were constantly at their posts, and in fact through the whole engagement showed a valor not, under the circumstances, to have been expected from troops less than veterans, either white or black.
The following is a list of the casualties among the officers as far as known: Killed, Major Lionel F. Booth, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored); Major William F. Bradford, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry; Captain Theodore F. Bradford, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry; Captain Delos Carson, Company D, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored); Lieutenant John D. Hill, Company C, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored); Lieutenant Peter Bischoff,* Company A, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored). Wounded, Captain Charles J. Epeneter, Company A, prisoner; Lieutenant Thomas W. McClure, Company C, prisoner; Lieutenant Henry Lippettt, Company B, escaped, badly wounded; Lieutenant Van Horn, Company D, escaped, slightly wounded.
I know of about 15 men of the Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored) having escaped, and all but 2 of them are wounded.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, &c.,
DANIEL VAN HORN,
2nd Lieutenant Company D, Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored).
Lieutenant Colonel T. H. HARRIS,
*Not killed; was taken prisoner.