HDQRS. U. S. COLORED TROOPS IN TENNESSEE,
Memphis, Tenn., April 14, 1864.
Honorable E. B. WASHBURNE,
Washington, D. C.:
MY DEAR SIR: Before this letter reaches you will have learned of the capture of Fort Pillow and of the slaughter of our troops after the place was captured. This is the most infernal outrage that has been committed since the war began. Three weeks ago I sent up four companies of colored troops to that place under Major Booth, a most brave and efficient [officer], who took command of the post. Forrest and Chalmers, with about 3,000 devils, attacked the place on the 12th at 9 a.m. and succeeded after three assaults, and when both Major and Major Bradford, of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, had been killed, in capturing the place at 4 p.m. We had, all, less 500 effective men, and one-third of whom were colored.
The colored troops fought with desperation throughout. After the capture our colored men were literally butchered. Chalmers was present and saw it all. Out of over 300 colored men, not 25 were taken prisoners, and they may have been killed long before this.
There is a great deal of excitement in town consequence of this affair, especially among our colored troops. If this is to be the game of the enemy they will soon learn that it is one at which two can play.
The Government will no doubt take cognizance of this matter immediately and take such measures as will prevent a recurrence.
It is reported that Forrest will move on this place in a few days. I do not believe it. I am hurried and can write no more to-day. I am feeling dreadfully over the fate of my brave officers and men. Like all others, I feel that the blood of these heroes must be avenged.
Forrest will probably try to get out of West Tennessee as soon as he can. We have re-enforcements coming in, and we shall soon be on his track.
In haste, sincerely, your friend,
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS, HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Chattanooga, Tenn., April 14, 1864.
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IV. It having been ordered that the Eleventh and Twelfth Army Corps be consolidated to form the Twentieth Army Corps, the following is announced as the organization of the latter, Major General Joseph Hooker commanding:
The Third Division, Twentieth Army Corps, Major General Daniel Butterfield commanding:
First Brigade, Brigadier General W. T. Ward commanding: Seventieth Indiana Infantry, Seventy-ninth Ohio Infantry, One hundred and second Illinois Infantry, One hundred and fifth Illinois Infantry, One hundred and twenty-ninth Illinois Infantry.
Second Brigade: Twenty-second Wisconsin Infantry, Nineteenth Michigan Infantry. Thirty-third Indiana Infantry, Eighty-fifth Indiana Infantry, Fifth Connecticut Infantry.