down the Fulton road to Gaines' farm; thence north to the fort on a road running parallel with the Mississippi River; Wilson's regiment, of Bell's brigade, moved on the direct road from Brownsville to Fort Pillow, and Colonel Bell with Barteaus' and Russell's regiments moved down Coal Creek to attack the fort in the rear.
The works at Fort Pillow consisted of a strong line of fortifications, originally constructed by Brigadier-General Pillow, of the C. S. Army, stretching from Coal Creek bottom, on the left, to the Mississippi River on the right, in length about 2 miles and at an average distance of about 600 yards from the river. Inside of this outer line and about 600 yards from it stood an interior work on the crest of a commanding hill, originally commenced by Brigadier-General Villepigue, C. S. Army, which covered about 2 acres of ground. About 300 yards in rear of this, above the junction of Coal Creek and the Mississippi River, stood the last fortification, which was a strong dirt fort in semicircular form, with a ditch in front of it 12 feet wide and 8 feet deep.
The enemy did not attempt to hold the outer line, but trained their artillery so as to play upon the only roads leading through it. The fight was opened at daylight by McCulloch. He moved cautiously through the ravines and short hills which encompassed the place, protecting the men as much as possible from the enemy's artillery, five pieces of which from the fort, aided by two gun-boats on the river, played furiously upon him. Moving in this manner he succeeded about 11 o'clock in taking the work, which I have spoken of as having been commenced by General Villepigue, and the flag of the Eighteenth Mississippi Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Chalmers commanding, which had been the first regiment to enter the fort, was quickly flying above it.
While Colonel McCulloch had been moving up on the left, Colonel Bell moved up on the right and rear, and Colonel Wilson moved up on the center, taking advantage of the ground as much as possible to shelter their men. Affairs were in this condition, with the main fort completely invested, when Major-General Forrest arrived with Colonel Wisdom's regiment of Buford's division. After carefully examining the position he ordered a general charge to be made. The troops responded with alacrity and enthusiasm, and in a short time took possession of all the rifle-pits around the fort and closed up on al sides within 25 or 30 yards of the outer ditch. Here a considerable delay occurred from the ammunition being exhausted. A supply, however, was obtained as quickly as possible from the ordnance train and everything was made ready for another advance. To prevent the unnecessary effusion of blood Major-General Forrest now demanded, under flag of truce, the surrender of the place, which after a parley of about thirty minutes was refused. The bugle then sounded the charge a general rush was made along the whole line, and in five minutes the ditch was crossed, the parapet scaled, and our troops were in possession of the fort.
The enemy made no attempt to surrender, no white flag was elevated, nor was the U. S. flag lowered until pulled down by our men. Many of them were killed while fighting, and many more in the attempt to escape. The strength of the enemy's force cannot be correctly ascertained, though it was probably about 650 or 700. Of these, 69 wounded were delivered to the enemy's gun-boats next day, after having been paroled. One hundred and sixty-four white men