Brigadier-General Chalmers, commanding McCulloch's and Bell's brigades, was ordered to make the necessary preparations for moving to Okolona by way of Abbeville, that being the only route upon which forage could be obtained with facility. Colonel J. J. Neely, commanding Richardson's brigade, was ordered to put himself in readiness to report to and follow General Chalmers as early as possible. Brigadier-General Buford, commanding one brigade in Kentucky, is ordered to this point, and will be here by Tuesday next (the 19th), when he will follow on also. They will proceed to Okolona and there report to you. I am in hopes to be able to come on at the same time, but am now suffering from exhaustion, caused by hard riding and bruises received in the late engagement. I will leave Colonel Duckworth's regiment and Lieutenant-Colonel Crews' battalion for the purpose of conscripting the State and holding the guerrillas in check. You will please give such instructions as you may desire to my quartermaster and commissary, whom I ordered to remain at Aberdeen, that being a central point. Please communicate your instructions to me or Brigadier-General Chalmers at Okolona. Have dispatched by telegraph of the capture of Fort Pillow.
Arrived there on the morning of the 12th and attacked the place with a portion of McCulloch's and Bell's brigades numbering about 1,500 men, and after a sharp contest captured the garrison and all of its stores. A demand was made for the surrender, which was refused. The victory was complete, and the loss of the enemy will never be known from the fact that large numbers ran into the river and were shot and drowned. The force was composed of about 500 negroes and 200 white soldiers (Tennessee Tories). The river was dyed with the blood of the slaughtered for 200 yards. There was in the fort a large number of citizens who had fled there to escape the conscript law. Moist of these ran into the river and were drowned.
The approximate loss was upward of 500 killed, but few of the officers escaping.
It is hoped that these facts will demonstrate to the Northern people that negro soldiers cannot cope with Southerners. We still hold the fort.
My loss was about 20 killed and about 60 wounded. Among the letter I regret to state Lieutenant Colonel W. M. Reed, commanding George's regiment. He was shot in three places, and it is feared that his wounds my prove mortal. The country can ill afford to lose the services of so good and brave an officer at this time. There has been no larger force up the Tennessee River than 1,500 Yankees, who came out to Purdy but were driven back to their boats by one regiment, when they went up to Waterloo and thence across the Athens, Ala. A small squad of about 50 cavalry came across the river, but hearing of our force immediately returned.
I have done but little conscripting from being so constantly employed in operating against the enemy. Large numbers of the Tories have been killed and made away with, and the country is very near free of them. Greenbacks have gone down, and are being refused. Could I but stay here a month would have everything in fine condition. Parties have come up and expressed their willingness to take Confederate money. Kentucky could be placed in the same condition had I the time.
In conclusion, I desire to bring to the notice of the lieutenant-general commanding the great want of artillery, and it is hoped that the guns recently captured will be fitted up and put in such a con-