As near as I can learn, there were about 500 men in the fort when it was stormed. I received about 100 men, including the wounded and those I took on board before the flag of truce was sent in. The rebels, I learned, had few prisoners; so that at least 300 of our troops must have been killed in this affair.
I have the honor to forward a list* of the wounded officers and men received from the enemy under flag of truce.
I am, general, your obedient servant,
Acting Master, U. S. Navy, Commanding U. S. Steamer Silver Cloud.
Numbers 18. Report of Brigadier General George F. Shepley, U. S. Army, of affairs April 12.
HEADQUARTERS NORFOLK AND PORTSMOUTH,
Norfolk, Va., May 7, 1864.
SIR: At my own request, having been relieved from duty as military governor of Louisiana and ordered to report for duty to the commanding general of the army, I left New Orleans on the evening of the 6th of April as a passenger in the Olive Branch, New Orleans and Saint Louis passenger steamer, not in the service of the Government, but loaded with male and female passengers and cargo of private parties. The steamer was unarmed, and had no troops and no muskets for protection against guerrillas when landing at wood yards and other places.
The boat stopped at Vicksburg, and I went ashore. When I returned to the boat, as she was about leaving, I found that a detachment of a portion of the men of two batteries-one Ohio and one Missouri-belonging to the Seventeenth Army Corps, wight he horses, guns, caissons, wagons, tents, and baggage of the two batteries, had been put on board, with orders, as I afterward learned on inquiring, to report to General Brayman at Cairo.
The horses occupied all of the available space, fore and aft, on the sides of the boilers and machinery, which were on deck. The guns, caissons, baggage wagons, tents, garrison and camp equipage were piled up together on the bows, leaving only space for the gang-plank.
The men had no small-arms, so that then the boat landed, as happened in one instance, at a wood-yard where guerrillas had just passed, the pickets thrown out to prevent surprise were necessarily unarmed.
As the boat was approaching, and before it was in sight of Fort Pillow, some females hailed it from the shore, and said the rebels had attacked Fort Pillow and captured two boats on the river, and would take us if we went on.
The captain of the Olive Branch said they had probably taken the Mollie Abel, which was due there about that time from Saint Louis. He turned his boat, saying he would go back to Memphis.
I objected to going back; stopped the boat below the next point; hailed another smaller steamer without passengers, which I saw approaching, and ordered it alongside. I ordered the captain of this
*Nominal list (omitted shows 4 officers, and 37 white and 16 colored enlisted men.