the enemy to their boats and fortifications, held the town for ten hours, capturing a large amount of clothing, several hundred horses, a large lot of medical stores for the command, burning a steamer, the dock, and all cotton on the landing. Could have held the place longer, but on account of the prevalence of small-pox in the place thought it prudent to withdraw.
On Monday last I moved against Fort Pillow, and attacked it on Tuesday morning with Chalmer's division. The advance of our troops after getting within the outer works was cautiously and slowly made. The cannonading from the fort and the gun-boats was very heavy and rapid. Having gained the desired position, surrounding the fort with the troops from the river above to its bluff below, a surrender was demanded, which they asked an hour, but were given twenty minutes, to consider. It was held by about 700 white and negro troops. At the expiration of the twenty minutes the fire was renewed, the assault was made, and the works carried without a halt, the men and officers displaying great gallantry and courage. The enemy attempted to retreat to the river, either for protection of gun-boats or to escape, and the slaughter was heavy. There were many Union men who had taken shelter in the fort also, many of whom in their fright leaped into the river and were drowned. It is safe to say that in troops, negroes, and citizens the killed, wounded, and drowned will range from 450 to 500.
My loss is 20 killed and 60 wounded.
After securing all the stores we could remove and the artillery (six pieces) I withdrew my troops and destroyed all the buildings and the works as far as practicable, burying the dead and removing the wounded. The victory was complete, and the conduct of my troops and the officers commanding them shall meet with due attention land mention in my official report.
I am ordered back to Okolona, Miss., by General Polk with my command to meet, in conjunction with General Lee, an anticipated raid through Alabama from Middle Tennessee. It is my opinion that no such raid will be made from Decatur or any point west of there. General Lee has about 7,000 cavalry, and with our forces united a move could be made into Middle Tennessee and Kentucky which would create a diversion of the enemy's forces and enable us to break up his plans, and such and expedition, managed with prudence and executed with rapidity, can be safely made.
I am gratified in being able to say that the capture of Hawkins at Union City, and Bradford at Fort Pillow, with a recent defeat (by Richardson's brigade, of my command) of Colonel Hurst, has broken up the Tennessee Federal regiments in the country. Their acts of oppression, murder, and plunder made them a terror to the whole land. For murders committed I demanded that Fielding Hurst and such of his men as were guilty of murder should be delivered to me, to be dealt with as their offenses required. The demand has been referred to the proper Federal authorities and investigations ordered. Hurst and his command have, as I learn, been sent, in consequence of this demand, to some other locality.
Mr. William McGee, who carries you this, belongs to a Louisiana battery. He is a native of Tennessee, and his relatives and friends are here. He is anxious to change his command and report to me, and if consistent with the good of the service, and it meets your approbation, I should be glad to have him ordered to me for duty,