Wednesday, April 15, 2015

4.12-13.2015 Tennessee Civil War Notes

APRIL 12-13



            12, one East Tennessee woman's notice of the bombardment of Fort Sumter

....Mr. Douglas commenced fighting at 4 o'clock this morning, at Charleston, continues until the 13th. Honor and Shame from no condition rise. Act well your part, there all the honor lies.

Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman, p. 90.[1]

            12, "The uniform is a beautiful dark green coat, with red pants and blue stripe, and cap with long brim." A juvenile military company in Memphis

The Tennessee Cadets.—This is a new company of lads from eleven to seventeen years of age, formed for the purpose of drill and future service under a southern flag which they will bear. The uniform is a beautiful dark green coat, with red pants and blue stripe, and cap with long brim. The officers elected are W. A. Flournoy, captain; F. A. Tyler, jr., first lieutenant; W. O. Lofland, jr., second lieutenant. We have no doubt they will some day give a good account of themselves. We could suggest to some of the patriotic young ladies of Memphis the matter of making and presenting for their encouragement a beautiful Confederate flag, for they sway the flag of the old Union has become too much soiled for their use, since the election of Hamlin.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 12, 1861.

            12, Report on a comical situation on the Nashville and Chattanooga railroad

A "Sitivation."—A comical correspondent of a Nashville paper tells a story, which may possibly be untrue, about a person who was going to Chattanooga on the railroad. When the train entered the tunnel and total darkness, said person asked a stranger how long it would be going through. Stranger was a bit of a wag, and replied "two hours."  Person thought he would avail himself of the opportunity to don a clean shirt, and about the time he had "shucked himself," the train dashed out into daylight, exposing person to the astounded gaze of some hundred pair of male and female eyes belonging to passengers. He had on  non linen, and about as much other clothes as the Apollo Belvidere—and no chance to run.

Daily Advocate [Baton Rouge, La.] April 12, 1861.

            13, The politics of secession in Jackson

Went to town before 12. There was a Union meeting to nominate…delegates to a convention in Nashville….They do not seem to comprehend the fact that the Union is dissolved & States already having seceded, Civil War hovering over us. Even today a telegraph report came that there had been a collision at Ft. Sumpter [sic] between the forces of the Confederate States & Federal troops. The North have by a systematic course of intermedling [sic] and agitation, abuse & slander, driven the South into Revolution. The end we cannot see. We are forced to take sides. Our sympathetic feelings, all rest with our Southern brethren. Their fate is or ought to be ours. Our interests are the same.

Robert H. Cartmell Diary.

            12, "Horrible Desecration."       

The Nashville Patriot [2]of the 13th says:

We have been credibly informed that some of the United States troops were yesterday [12th] rehearsing the skirmish drill and going through other evolutions in Mount Olivet Cemetery. No pretext in the world can justify such a shameful outrage upon the sacred feelings of the citizens of Nashville as this. The flowers and plants flourishing there are the sad mementoes of many a bereaved heard, perhaps the only comforts left to them in the wide world is to nourish and protect them, hoping some day to make their bed also their verdant beauty. How cruel, then, to deprive us, when thus situated, of this melancholy pleasure, when the whole world affords no other. One must feel to know how keep in the heart sinks an affliction of this character. We do not believe that any gentleman in the army would tolerate or let pass unrebuked that measures will be immediately taken by the proper persons to support and prevent a repetition of the offense.

Memphis Appeal, April 20, 1862.

            12, After the battle of Shiloh, in the wake of Buell's advance to Shiloh; the observations of Charles Alley, 5th Iowa Cavalry while in Savannah

….Genl. Buell's army had also passed and left desolation in their [sic] track, fences destroyed, grain fields used for pasture or roads. Oh, how clearly did it show the evil of war. Their trains were scattered along the road which from rain and travel was almost impassable. Last Sunday [6th] as I lay in bed I could hear the incessant war of artillery, and when I came back here I could see the gad fruits of it, wounded men in every direction. The rebels attacked our troops and the fight was a severe one. Oh May God bless our arms and make us victorious in every battle and may peace be speedily restored by the complete triumph of law and order over anarchy and rebellion, and may we give all the glory to the God who is our strength.

Alley Diary

            12, Report of Confederate Flag Waving in Manchester

We find the following items in the Huntsville Advocate of the 9th inst.

In Manchester, Tenn., the other day, about 70 Federal cavalry entered the town, there being no resistance. As they passed Mrs. E. N. Marcell's house (her husband being in our army) she waved a Confederate flag; the Captain demanded its surrender; she refused to give it up; he then threatened to burn her house, and finally ordered four men to present arms and take aim at her, but still she waved the flag and refused to give it up. At last, one of them snatched it from her and the 70 made off with it. All honor to her! Let the men of Tennessee and North Alabama imitate Mrs. Marcell's boldness.

Daily Chronicle & Sentinel [Augusta, Georgia], April 12, 1862.[3]

            12, "It is really laughable to me to hear a naturalized citizen attempting to ostracize people to the manor born." Pro-Union sentiment in Clarksville

For the Nashville Union.

Clarksville, April 12, 1862.

Mr. Editor: At last a paper is published in Nashville which need not blush at its name, "The Union." Thank God! the time for Free Speech, and a Free Press has come….

This town, as you are well aware, is strongly Secession having cast but one vote for the Union at the time the State went out. A few votes were cast for the Union in my district, but altogether in the country a very meagre sentiment only was expressed at the polls. Voting at that time, however, was but a poor index of what was the feeling then, much less of what it is now. I talked but yesterday with some of my farming friends, and two that I had never dreamed were anything but "rebels," I found to be strong Union men. One said that he had never voted on the Secession question at all, knowing that he could do no good, and the other said he only voted that way through advice of friends, that "we ought to be united, so as to prevent civil war in our own borders," but that now he regretted it—always thought it was wrong, &c., &c….Writing of the "Union men" in town here, let me assure you that there are a goodly number—more than I ever dreampt of while we were not allowed to speak our sentiments; and in the country (my word for it)—the next gathering at the polls will make the "Scottish chiefs," (as one of my neighbors calls them) of the rebellion, open their eyes. It is a fact that the most noisy of these fellows in town are Scotchmen—Scotch Tobacco buyers and Harness makers—rich and poor so they are Scotch; seem to think they can not be loud enough in their denunciations of the d----- Yankees. It is really laughable to me to hear a naturalized citizen attempting to ostracize people to the manor born. But till I hear from you, I dare not be lengthy, not knowing that your columns are open to correspondents, and especially to those who can give you nothing but country news.


Nashville Daily Union, April 18, 1862

            12, Shortage of help at the Irving Hospital

Servants Wanted.—We are directed by Dr. Fenner, the excellent physician of the Irving Hospital, to call attention to the fact that help is wanted very greatly, and those who will send negroes of either sex will render a great good to the suffering soldiers. Will country friends notice this?; All that can be has been obtained in the city. Milk, all kinds of vegetables, and old linen, will be very gladly received. The friends of the suffering soldier will do much good by noticing and doing what they can.

Memphis Daily Appeal, April 12, 1862.

            12 – June 5, 1862, U. S. Naval Operations on the Mississippi River against Fort Pillow, including engagement at Plum Point Bend, May 10, 1862


CAIRO, April 12, 1862. (Received 10 a.m., 13th )

The flag-officer left New Madrid at noon with the flotilla and mortar boats en route for Fort Pillow. A large body of troops accompanied.


Senior Officer.



Report of Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, of the arrival of the flotilla at New Madrid, Mo., en route to Fort Pillow.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, New Madrid, April 12, 1862.

SIR: I arrived here last evening with the flotilla, consisting of gun, mortar boats, tugs, towboats, and transports, and would this morning have proceeded down the river, but am detained for the present by the army, but hope that General Buford's two or three regiments will be ready early to-morrow, in which case I shall proceed down the river to Fort Pillow, or any place where opposition is made to our progress toward Memphis.

I am informed that there are lying about 15 miles from this place, down the river, some seven rebel gunboats, mounted with six and seven rifled and large caliber guns, upon an average; these are the General Polk, Pontchartrain, Livingston, McRae, Ivy, and one other, name not known. It is hardly probable that these boats will make a stand, but will run as we approach them till they reach the cover of their heavy batteries.

The fortifications at Fort Pillow, 80 or 90 miles above Memphis, I am also informed on good authority, consist of a long line of breastworks (some 3 to 5 miles), with a ditch and timber in front or before it, or in face, the fortifications being on top and at the front of steep bluffs and running inland, with quite a number of guns placed along the breastworks at the salient points. There are, or rather were, on the 17th March, upward of forty heavy guns mounted at Fort Pillow, and 1,200 negroes [sic] working on the batteries still, to strengthen this stronghold. The guns mounted are heavy rifled, some five or six 10-inch columbiads, some 8-inch, and remainder 32-pounders. We may also meet with some opposition at Osceola in running down the river, as a battery is said to be planted there.

As General Buford is prevented from accompanying us by General Pope's directions, I shall proceed immediately toward Memphis with the flotilla. General Pope, I believe, designs to follow this evening or to-morrow with quite a large force.

Please excuse this hurried communication, as the mail boat is waiting and we are getting underway.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


Report of Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, regarding the movement of the flotilla and transports under Major-General Pope, U. S. Army, to Fort Pillow.

FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, April 14, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 11th instant I proceeded with the flotilla from Island No. 10 to New Madrid, and left; that place with all our force on the 12th instant, and anchored the same evening near and just below the Arkansas line, 50 miles distant from New Madrid.

Early in the morning General Pope, with transports conveying his army of 20,000 men, arrived from New Madrid. At 8 a.m. five rebel gunboats rounded the point below us, when the gunboats, the Benton in advance, immediately got underway and proceeded in pursuit and when within long range opened upon the rebels, followed by the Carondelet and Cincinnati and the other boats. After an exchange of some twenty shots, the rebel boats rapidly steamed down the river and kept beyond our range till they reached the batteries of Fort Pillow, a distance of more than 30 miles. We followed them until within a mile of Fort Pillow, within easy range of their batteries, for the purpose of making a good reconnoissance, at considerable exposure, however, but it was not till we had rounded to, and ran some distance upstream, when the enemy opened fire upon us, and then with no effect, their shot, most of them, going beyond us. Having accomplished our object, I tied the flotilla up to the banks on the Tennessee side out of range of the forts for the night.

General Pope, with Assistant Secretary Scott, came aboard at 3 p. m., when it was arranged that the mortar boats should be placed in the morning on the Arkansas shore, within range of the forts, to be protected by the gunboats, and General Pope, with most of his force, should land 5 miles above, with the view of getting his army, if possible, to the rear of the fortifications and make the attack in rear while we should, with gun and mortar boats, attack them in front.

This place has a long line of fortifications, with guns of heavy caliber; their number or the number of their men I have not yet been able to ascertain. The secession feeling here, as I learn from several persons coming on board, is very strong, and they express the opinion that the resistance will be very determined.

3 p. m.-General Pope has returned with his transports, and informs me that he is unable to reach the rear of the rebels from any point of the river above, and proposes to cut a canal on the Arkansas side, which will enable us to get three or four of the gunboats below and thus enable him to cross the river below the upper forts, and thus cut off the batteries. We shall thus have three ironclad boats above and four below, which, I presume, will be all that will be required in case the six gunboats of the rebels make an attack upon either division, as three of our gunboats ought successfully to cope with six of theirs.

The mortars are now firing and have driven the rebel gunboats out of range down the river. I shall continue to keep the Department informed of all movements.

The effect of my wound has quite a depressing effect upon me, from the increased inflammation and swelling of my foot and leg, which have induced a febrile action, depriving me of a good deal of sleep and energy. I can not give the wound that attention and rest it absolutely requires until this place is captured.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy.



CAIRO, April 15, 1862. (Received 16th.)

The flotilla has been within three-quarters of a mile of Fort Pillow and then, returning, took up a position 2 miles farther up. The rebel gunboats escaped below the fort.

Ten mortar boats are in position and had opened fire.

This is up to 6 o'clock last evening. General Pope's command occupy the Arkansas side of the river.

A.M. PENNOCK, Senior Naval Officer.




PITTSBURG LANDING, [TENN.], April 15, 1862.

I have ordered General Pope's army to this place, but I think you had best continue the bombardment effort Pillow, and if the enemy should abandon it, take possession or go down the river as you may deem best.

General Pope will leave forces enough to occupy any fortifications that may be taken.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

Flag-Officer FOOTE, Mississippi River.



CAIRO, April 16, 1862. (Received 17th.)

The mortars opened fire on the 14th and soon cleared the river of all vessels, the shells falling in the rebel camp.

The rebel works are strong and extensive, and there will be much labor to get in their rear.

Two deserters came on board the gunboats and say Thomas [B.] Huger is in command at Fort Pillow and Hollins gone below.

A.M. PENNOCK, Senior Officer.


Letter from Major-General Pope, U. S. Army, to Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, transmitting copy of orders from Major-General Halleck.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, On board steamer J. D. Perry, April 16, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to enclose copy of dispatch this moment received from General Halleck.

I will leave with you two strong regiments, sufficient to garrison Fort Pillow when it is evacuated. I move with my command to-night.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. POPE, Major-General, Commanding.

Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE, U. S. Navy, Commanding Flotilla.




Move with your army to this place, leaving troops enough with Commodore Foote to land and hold Pillow should the enemy's forces withdraw.

H. W. HALLECK, Major-General.

Major-Genera] JNO. POPE.


Letter from Major-General Pope, U. S. Army, to Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, transmitting copy of orders issued to Colonel Fitch, U. S. Army, regarding cooperation.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, On board steamer J. D. Perry, April 16, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to enclose copy of order delivered to Colonel Fitch, commanding Indiana brigade.

I shall leave between 5 and 6 o'clock to-morrow morning.

I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. POPE, Major-General, Commanding.

Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE, Commanding Flotilla.



HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, On board steamer J. D. Perry, April 16, 1862.

COLONEL: The main portion of this army will move to-night. You will remain at this place with the two regiments under your command on board two steamers, which will be furnished to you by Brigadier-General Palmer.

Although not under the command of Flag-Officer Foote, commanding the flotilla, you will render him every possible assistance in his operations upon the river, communicating and cooperating with him as may be necessary.

You will continue the examination of the flats and bayous in this vicinity, to determine if it be practicable to cut through to the river a passageway for boats, and if it be found practicable, you will commence the work at once, and will hasten it to completion with the troops under your command.

In case Fort Pillow should be surrendered or evacuated, you will immediately occupy the place with your command.

You will report by letter at every opportunity to the general commanding this army your progress and position, giving a detailed and full account of all matters pertaining to your command, and directed to Pittsburg, Tenn.

By order of General Pope:

SPEED BUTLER, Assistant Adjutant. General.

Colonel GRAHAM N. FITCH, Commanding Indiana Brigade.


Report of Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, announcing the withdrawal of the forces under Major-General Pope, U. S. Army, for operations in the Tennessee River.

FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, April 17, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that yesterday and the day preceding I had, with General Pope, made such arrangements, by combining our own with the forces of the army, that our possession of this stronghold seemed to be inevitable in less than six days. I had even stronger hopes of this desirable result than I entertained even at [Island] No. 10 till the actual surrender was tendered. Our object then, after leaving a force to garrison the place, was to proceed to Memphis immediately, where, I had good authority for stating, we would have been received without opposition. But the sudden withdrawal of the entire army of General Pope this morning, under orders to proceed directly up the Tennessee River to join General Halleck's command at Pittsburg, has frustrated the best matured and most hopeful plans and expectations thus far formed in this expedition. Two volunteer regiments under command of Colonel Fitch were left here by General Pope to cooperate with the flotilla. While I deeply regret the withdrawal of General Pope's command, I am not at all questioning the propriety and even the necessity of its presence at Pittsburg, and I shall use every exertion, with the force remaining, to accomplish good results.

It is a great object to obtain early possession of this place and Memphis, as ten of the rebel gunboats are now at Fort Pillow and ten others are reported as en route to Memphis and daily expected at that place. It is reported that Commander Hollins left Fort Pillow on Sunday to bring up the heavy gunboat Louisiana, now about completed at New Orleans. With the exception of this latter vessel, however, we have little to apprehend from the other rebel gunboats, according to the representation of the four or six deserters lately coming to us from the gunboats at Fort Pillow. At all events, the Department may rest assured of every exertion being made on our part to accomplish the great work entrusted to this expedition.

I send herewith copies of orders from Generals Halleck and Pope, from which it will be seen, by one from the latter to Colonel Fitch, that, while I am acting under the orders of General Halleck, and the gunboats absent from my immediate command are acting under those of the generals where they are, that even a colonel here is wholly independent of my orders and command. If this be right, I presume that this command is also equally independent of the army, and that I am to govern myself accordingly.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


Report of Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, expressing regret at the delay caused by the withdrawal of troops under Major-General Pope, U. S. Army.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, April 19, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that, since my last communication of the 17th instant, we have been occasionally throwing shells into the rebel fortifications from the mortar boats, which have been returned from their rifled guns without producing any effect. Ours have compelled one encampment to remove its quarters; and from several deserters we learn, have otherwise discomfited them.

One or two examinations made by Colonel Fitch, commanding the two regiments left to cooperate with the flotilla by General Pope on withdrawing his army, have been unsuccessful thus far in finding a bayou for our boats and a position below Fort Pillow where a battery can be placed to command the river below. I shall again render him assistance by sending our small boats, in hopes that at a distance farther up the river we may be able to discover a bayou leading into a lake in which water sufficient may be found for our gunboats, with a view of erecting a battery under their protection which will blockade the river below and enable his force, although not exceeding 1,500 men, to come upon the rebels in rear, while, with the remaining gunboats here, we attack them in front.

I am greatly exercised about our position here, on account of the withdrawal of the army of 20,000 men, so important an element in the capture of the place. Fort Pillow has for its defense at least forty heavy guns in position and nine gunboats, six of them, however, being wooden boats, but armed with heavy guns, with a force of 6,000 troops. Our force consists of seven ironclads and one wooden gunboat, sixteen mortar boats, only available in throwing shells at a distance and even worse than useless for defense, and a land force of two regiments not exceeding 1,500 troops. Under these circumstances an attack on our part, unless we can first establish a battery below the fort under the protection of the gunboats, and to cooperate with it after its completion, would be extremely hazardous, although its attempt might prove successful, and even be good policy under other circumstances, but it can hardly now be so regarded, as a disaster would place all that we have gained on this and other rivers at the mercy of the rebel fleet, unless the batteries designed to command the river from below are completed at No. 10 or at Columbus, which I very much doubt. I therefore hesitate about a direct attack upon this place now, more than I should were the river above properly protected, although by it, and loss of time, the rebels may succeed in getting up to Fort Pillow their entire fleet of gunboats. As I stated in my last communication, had not General Pope's army been withdrawn, we have every reason for believing that a plan we had adopted would have insured the fall of Fort Pillow in four days, and enabled us to have moved on Memphis in two days afterwards. It has always been my expectation that a large army would cooperate with the gunboats, and now the fall of Corinth and movement of our troops on to Memphis seem to be essential to our holding this place and reaching Memphis with the flotilla.

I am surprised to see published in the papers that I have informed the War Department that several gunboats are below Fort Pillow, and that Commodore Foote regards its early capture as certain. I have not, of course, communicated with the War Department at all, neither have I ever said anything to warrant any portion of the fabricated notice in the papers.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.



CAIRO, April 19, 1862----10 p. m.

News from the flotilla to 18th, morning. The mortars continued firing to the annoyance of the enemy.

The flag-officer thinks the fort would have been taken in a few days if the army had not been withdrawn.

General Pope's army left to-day, upward bound.

No communication with Cairo by rail nearer than Mound City.

Magazines flooded; ammunition saved and stored in scows and steamers. River rising, and nearly over top of levee.

Let us know in time if flag-officer is to officer the rams building at Pittsburg and Cincinnati.

A.M. PENNOCK, For Flag-Officer.




CAIRO, ILL., April 19, 1862.

On the evening of the 16th General Pope received an order from General Halleck to move his army immediately to Pittsburg Landing, leaving with gunboats force enough to garrison Fort Pillow, if evacuated by the enemy. Our fleet left Fort Pillow next morning at daylight, and will all pass Cairo during this night. Two regiments were left with gunboats. I report fully by mail, and will go up Tennessee, reporting daily by telegraph and mail if possible.


Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


Report of Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, regarding continued bombardment of the batteries at Fort Pillow.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, April 23, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that since my last communication, with the exception of a day or two, when the heavy rains caused the mortars to recoil dangerously on the wet platform, we have been shelling the rebel batteries at Fort Pillow, and most of the time kept their gunboats beyond our range. Colonel Fitch, in command of the 1,200 infantry left here by General Pope, has been examining bayous and creeks with a view of getting guns to blockade the river and prevent the new gunboats from coming up from New Orleans and Memphis; but, as the rebels are in great force, and no tools or conveniences for cutting through the swamps were left by General Pope when his army, so unfortunately for us, was withdrawn, he has made as yet no satisfactory progress.

I am doing all in my power toward devising ways and means preparatory to a successful attack on the forts, and shall continue to do so, but as the capture of this place was predicated upon a large land force cooperating with the flotilla, or its being turned by the army marching upon Memphis; and considering the difficulties of fighting the flotilla downstream with our slow boats, compared with upstream work, the Department will not be surprised at our delay and having made no further progress toward the capture of this stronghold of the rebels. I shall, however, do all in my power to be successful here, and exert myself even beyond my impaired health and strength toward the accomplishment of this great object.

The rebels are strongly fortified on land, and have eleven gunboats lying near, or rather below their fortifications. A resident of the place informs me this morning that thirteen gunboats are now here, seven of which, however, are mere river steamers, with boilers and machinery sunk into hold and otherwise protected, but they carry from four, six, to eight guns of heavy caliber, some of which are rifled. The other boats are iron-plated or filled in with cotton. The large steamer of sixteen or twenty guns, being plated and named the Louisiana, has not arrived, but is daily expected from New Orleans.

I have thus given the Department the best information I can obtain from the most reliable sources from resident Union men and the twelve deserters from the enemy, whose accounts, however, are conflicting, many of them giving fabulous numbers of men, guns, and gunboats. We have not force enough to hold the place if we take it.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. H. FOOTE, Flag-Officer.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.

P. S.-In a picket skirmish yesterday the rebels lost one killed, and one or two wounded, no loss on our side. A. H. F.


Mrs. General Buckner, when here from Columbus, said that there they feared the gunboats, and only the gunboats, and she was anxious to visit them. The rebel papers and prisoners all say that the gunboats demoralize their army.

In Pillow's official report, who says that he and Floyd were in Fort Donelson, and that the gunboats made a most desperate attack upon it, and did the fort great injury, but that the fort sunk two of the gunboats and disabled the other two. The rebels in person and in their papers speak with great respect of the gunboats. An army major told me that we were purposely held back from Nashville that General Buell might take it, although that officer sent for a gunboat, which went off Nashville before he entered the city. General Halleck refers to General Smith taking possession of Clarksville and says not a word about gunboats, whereas three days before, I took possession, hoisted our flag on the forts, and issued my proclamation.

[A. H. FOOTE.]

Pillow's official report was destroyed by mistake. I get this information from Lieutenant Shirk.


Report of Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, proposing an initiative movement by running the blockade of Fort Pillow.

FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, April 30, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that, from information deemed reliable, the rebels have thirteen gunboats and rams a few miles below Fort Pillow, and that on the 27th instant, at 3 a.m., an attack was contemplated by those boats on the flotilla, and preparations made accordingly. The attack, however, has not taken place. The reason assigned for its delay, or abandonment, as given by several deserters, is that a council of war was held and the rebels concluded the attack was impracticable. We are prepared for an attack at any moment, but unless there is an additional number of rebel gunboats reinforcing them, I question whether the attack will be made. Should it be made, however, our position here is a bad one, as our slow steamers can hardly stem the current, and in grappling with the enemy we should drift under the guns of the fort, which are but 4 or 5 miles below the upper gunboats. In view of this, there are strong reasons for our taking the initiative, and in a dark night, by running the blockade, get below the fort and attack the rebel boats and rams with our seven ironclad gunboats. I should much prefer this course, and our officers and men are ready for the hazardous service, which, if successful, would enable us to turn from below, after destroying the rebel fleet, and attack the fort upstream, and afterwards proceed to Memphis.

On the other hand, the objections are that in running the blockade we might leave one or two rebel steamers behind us, which would come up to destroy our transports, mortar boats, and command the river above us, soon leaving us without coal or ammunition below; and, added to this, we have but 1,200 troops, a portion, or one regiment of which, a military officer of rank informs me, is not in all respects efficient, and thus the force is not equal to holding the place, while we should proceed on to Memphis; and again, if disaster should occur to us, the rebel gunboats would have complete possession of the river or rivers above us, as I believe that No. 10 is [has] not even yet had its guns mounted to command the river, although I have strongly urged it. Had General Pope not been ordered away with his 20,000 troops, we should, before this, humanly speaking, [have] been in possession of Fort Pillow and Memphis, and even had the general left a sufficient number of troops under General Buford, who so effectually cooperated with me at No. 10 and wanted to remain with me with his 2,000 men, we would have been able to do more than we can do now, although Colonel Fitch is an officer of the highest intelligence and gallantry, but wants more men.

The Department will see from this statement the difficulties and embarrassment of my position. My course of action must soon be decided upon, and I shall act with a single eye to what is deemed best, under the circumstances, to insure success in our operations.

I must beg the indulgence of the Department for the appearance of this communication, as I am especially weak and unfit for writing to-day.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant.

A. H. FOOTE, Flag Officer.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


Order of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Commander Dove, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Louisville, to report for duty at Fort Pillow or below.

U. S. FLAG STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 10, 1862.

SIR: On the receipt of this order you will immediately get underway with your vessel and make all possible dispatch in reporting yourself to me at this point or below.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Commander B. M. DOVE, U. S. Navy, Commanding Gunboat Louisville, Hickman, Ky.


Order of Flag-Officer Davis, U. S. Navy, to the captain of Bell-Boat No. 8.

U. S. FLAG STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 10, 1862.

The captain of the Bell-Boat No. 8 will be pleased to make all possible dispatch in reaching this squadron.

The services of the boat are required for the Government use immediately, and whatever private engagements the boat may have they must be for the present disregarded.

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.



FLAGSHIP BENTON, Above Fort Pillow, Mississippi River, May 10, 1862.

(Via Cairo, Ill., 11th.) The naval engagement for which the rebels have been preparing took place this morning. The rebel fleet, consisting of eight ironclad gunboats, four of which were fitted with rams, came up handsomely. The action lasted one hour. Two of the rebel gunboats were blown up and one sunk, when the enemy retired precipitately under the guns of the fort. Only six vessels of my squadron were engaged. The Cincinnati sustained some injury from the rams, but will be in fighting condition to-morrow. Captain Stembel distinguished himself. He is seriously wounded. The BENTON is uninjured. Mortar boat No. 16, in charge of Second Master Gregory, behaved with great spirit. The rebel squadron is supposed to be commanded by Commodore Hollins.

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River pro tem.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary Navy.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, commanding Mississippi Flotilla pro tem., regarding engagement at Plum Point Bend, above Fort Pillow.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 11, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that yesterday morning, a little after 7 o'clock, the rebel squadron, consisting of eight ironclad steamers, four of them, I believe, fitted as rams, came around the point at the bend above Fort Pillow and steamed gallantly up the river, fully prepared for a regular engagement.

The vessels of this squadron were lying at the time tied up to the bank of the river, three on the eastern and four on the western side, and (as they were transferred to me by Flag-Officer Foote) ready for action. Most of the vessels were prompt in obeying the signal to follow the motions of the commander-in-chief.

The leading vessels of the rebel squadron made directly for mortar boat No. 16, which was for a moment unprotected. Acting Master Gregory and his crew behaved with great spirit; during the action he fired his mortar eleven times at the enemy, reducing the charge and diminishing the elevation.

Commander Stembel, in the gunboat Cincinnati, which was the leading vessel in the line on that side of the river, followed immediately by Commander Kilty, in the gunboat Mound City, hastened to the support of the mortar boat, and were repeatedly struck by the enemy's rams, at the same time that they disabled the enemy and drove him away.

The two leading vessels in the middle of the enemy's line were successfully encountered by this ship. The boilers or steam chest of one of them was exploded by our shot, and both of them were disabled; they, as well as the first vessel encountered by the Cincinnati, drifted down the river.

Commander Walke informs me that he fired a 50-pound rifle shot through the boilers of the third of the enemy's gunboats of the western line, and rendered her, for the time being, helpless. All of these vessels might easily have been captured if we had possessed the means of towing them out of action, but the steam power of our gunboats is so disproportionate to the bulk of the vessels that they can accomplish but little beyond overcoming the strength of the current, even when unencumbered.

The action lasted during the better part of an hour, and took place at the closest quarters. The enemy finally retreated with haste below the guns of Fort Pillow.

I have to call the especial attention of the Department to the gallantry and good conduct exhibited by Commanders Stembel and Kilty and Lieutenant Commanding S. L. Phelps.

I regret to say that Commander Stembel, Fourth Master Reynolds, and one of the seamen of the Cincinnati, and one of the Mound City, were severely wounded; the other accidents of the day were slight.

The Cincinnati and Mound City are injured, and must, sooner or later, go up the river to be repaired.

I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Mississippi Flotilla, pro tem.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.


Report of Commander Walke, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Carondelet, regarding engagement at Plum Point Bend.


SIR: About half past 6 o'clock this morning the rebel fleet, consisting of eight gunboats, made their appearance, steaming up the river toward our mortar boat and the gunboat Cincinnati. I had all hands called, beat to quarters immediately, and prepared for action. About 6:30 got underway by your order and steamed down the river toward the enemy's leading boat, which appeared to be a ram, intent on running down the Cincinnati.

Being about three-eighths of a mile distant, I opened fire on her with our bow guns. The ram ran into the Cincinnati, striking her on the starboard quarter as she attempted to avoid the enemy's prow, firing her broadside and bow guns into her before and during the collision. Both vessels turned, the Cincinnati heading up the river, and the ram down the river, evidently disabled and unmanageable, as she dropped down without firing a shot, as far as I saw or can ascertain. I kept our bow guns firing upon her until two other rebel gunboats came up, steaming rapidly for the Cincinnati, when I turned our bow guns on them, bringing our port broadside guns to play upon the ram. As the enemy's second and third gunboats approached the Cincinnati, we fired a 50-pound rifled shot (apparently) through the boilers of one of them while running into the Cincinnati, as they exploded immediately, and she dropped downstream, helpless, leaving her consort above us. By this time we had drifted down below the rest of our fleet. Our head being up the river, we kept our broadside and stern guns constantly firing on the enemy's fleet until they retreated out of sight.

We were struck by fragments of an exploded shell; also by two grapeshot, amidships, which appeared to come from the gunboat Pittsburg. She fired several shot just over us and we were at the time more in dread of her shot than those of the enemy, but providentially there were no killed or wounded on board the Carondelet. We expended fifty-seven 64-pounder, 32-pounder and rifled solid shot, and three rifled shells.

Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

H. WALKE, Commander, U. S. Navy.

Commodore C. H. DAVIS, Commanding Mississippi Flotilla.


Report of Second Master Gregory, U. S. Navy, regarding engagement at Plum Point Bend.

MAY 10, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to report that in accordance with your order, I have opened fire from mortar boat No. 16 upon Fort Pillow at 6 o'clock a.m.

After firing five shells the enemy's gunboats rounded the point above the fort in full view and not more than three-fourths of a mile distant. I at once trained my mortar upon them, loaded for that short range, and fired, bursting my shell directly over them. I continued that practice during the engagement that ensued, which lasted about forty minutes, in which our whole fleet of gunboats were engaged as also were theirs.

During the action I received two 32-pound shots through my boat above the deck. Several appeared to go over us. We had no one hurt.

The enemy retired, with what damage I do not know.

I continued to fire after their retreat until 5 p. m., when I received orders to cease firing. I have expended 57 charges during the day.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

T. B. GREGORY, Second Master, in charge of one division of the mortar boats.

Capt. HENRY E. MAYNADIER, Commanding U. S. Mortar Boats on the Western Waters, near Fort Pillow.


Mortar boat No. 16, in charge of Second Master Gregory, participated in the engagement, firing the first shell and continuing the firing during the action. A rebel gunboat, supposed to be the Sumter, came within 60 feet of the mortar boat and fired two 32-pound shot through the iron blinds, and two volleys of musketry, which did not penetrate. The crew of the boat consisted of the second master and 14 men, none of whom were injured.

Respectfully submitted.

HENRY E. MAYNADIER, Captain, U. S. Army.



CAIRO, May 11, 1862.

The rebel gunboats and rams made an attack on our flotilla yesterday morning. Two of their gunboats were blown up and one sunk. The remainder returned with all possible haste to the protection of their guns at Pillow.

WM. K. STRONG, Brigadier-General.

Major-General HALLECK.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, announcing the death of Fourth Master Reynolds, of the U. S. S. Cincinnati.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 12, 1862.

SIR: It is with great regret that I have to inform the Department that Mr. G. A. Reynolds, fourth master of the U. S. gunboat Cincinnati, died this morning at 2 o'clock from the wound received during the engagement on the morning of the 10th instant.

He was a young man of unblemished character, and distinguished himself during the engagement and while at the closest quarters with the enemy, by courage and devotion to his duty.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Hon. Groton WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, rewarding injuries to vessels, Captain Stembel's wounds, and the valor of Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Hoel, of the U. S. S. Cincinnati.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 12, 1862.

SIR: The gunboats Mound City and Cincinnati were so much injured by the enemy's rams that it was necessary to run them on the banks. When the former was freed from water it was discovered that it was impossible to repair her here; she was therefore sent to Cairo yesterday. The Cincinnati is not yet clear, but I have sent for the necessary means. I am in hopes, when we are able to examine her injuries, that we shall find it possible to repair her with the means in our own hands.

The severity of Captain Stembel's wounds rendered it expedient, according to medical advice, to send him to Cairo.

After he was wounded, the command of the Cincinnati devolved upon Acting [Volunteer] Lieutenant William R. Hoel. I can not praise more than they deserve his high valor and ability. He sets the highest example to those below him, and if it were possible to give him a permanent position worthy of his merits, the Navy would be the gainer as well as himself.

Our scouts report the enemy employed in repairing their gunboats. The present reduced number will probably be increased by additions from below. Flag-Officer Foote thought it might be the intention of the enemy to pass the flotilla and ascend the river, and if they should attempt to do so, such is their vast superiority in speed, that pursuit would be hopeless. Everything indicates an intention on the part of the enemy to come up again; and if there are rams, as I understand there are, being fitted up under the direction of the War Department, at Pittsburg, Cincinnati, or elsewhere, for service in this river, now is the time to make them useful.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.

[Endorsement 1.]

DEAR GENERAL: Can't the rams be hurried?




[Endorsement 2.]

Mr. Watson says that all that can be done to hurry up the rams is already done. Of the two heaviest vessels, one started for New Albany last night and the other will start to-morrow night, guns or no guns. These are the last.

Yours, respectfully,


G. V. Fox, Esq., Assistant Secretary Navy.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, referring to the position of the flotilla since the action at Plum Point.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 13, 1862.

SIR: Since my communication of yesterday nothing of real importance has transpired.

As a result of the engagement of Saturday the flotilla occupies a position nearer to Fort Pillow than before.

Hoping to profit by this, the enemy, fired mortars and heavy guns during the whole night, but without doing us any injury.

At noon a flag of truce from below brought up Doctor William R. Thrall, U. S. Army, released on parole in exchange for Doctor Yandell of the other side.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla pro tem, Mississippi River.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.



Report of Lieutenant Phelps, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. BENTON, regarding the engagement at Plum Point Bend.

U. S. GUNBOAT BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 11, 1862.

MY DEAR SIR: You will have heard of the fight yesterday morning. Eight rebel gunboats came up to the point, and four or five of them proceeded at once toward the Cincinnati, then covering the mortar boat, one of the rebel boats, with masts, being considerably in advance. Captain Stembel, in the most gallant manner, steamed up, rounded to, and opening fire, stood down for the rebels. As he approached the fire was withheld, the ram striking Stembel's vessel in the quarter and swinging both broadsides to, when, the muzzles absolutely against the rebel boat, a broadside was poured into her, making a terrible crashing in her timbers. The rebel swinging clear made downstream, with parting salute of other guns, in a helpless condition. By this time the BENTON, Mound City, and Carondelet were far enough down, half way at least, to Stembel's assistance to open an effective fire the Pittsburg not yet clear of the bank and the Cairo just sending a boat out to cast off her hawsers. The St. Louis came down pretty well; two rams were making for the Cincinnati and one again hit her in the stern, receiving the fire of the stern guns. That boat struck Stembel twice, doing little damage, but using sharpshooters to such effect as to dangerously wound Stembel and the fourth master, Mr. Reynolds, and one man in the leg. By this time we were in their midst and I had the satisfaction to blow up the boilers of the ram that last hit the Cincinnati by a shot from our port bow 42 rifle. I fired it deliberately with that view, and when the ram was trying to make another hit. Another ram had now hit the Mound City in the bows, and had received the fire of every gun of that vessel in the swinging that followed the contact. We interposed between another and the Mound City and the rascal, afraid to hit us, backed off, when he also blew up from a shot I fired from the same rifle, hitting only a steam pipe or cylinder. All their rams drifted off disabled and the first one that blew up could not have had a soul remaining alive on board, for the explosion was terrific. We could have secured two or three of them had we had steam power to do so, but as it was, saw them drift down helpless under the fort, and one is said to have sunk in deep water. The mortar boatmen acted with great gallantry, firing away to the end. The rebels fired two 32-pounder shots through the mortar boat and two volleys of musketry into her, without hurting a man.

The Mound City had her bow pretty much wrenched off and was run onto the shoal opposite where we had been lying. The Cincinnati ran to the bank below where we laid when you left, and sunk in 11 feet of water.

The Champion, steamer, fortunately arrived, having on board a 20-inch steam pump, and the Mound City is now afloat, but greatly damaged. The Cincinnati will be raised in twenty-four hours. My plan of logs suspended is immediately to be tried. The wounded of the squadron are 5; killed, none. Stembel we hope will recover. He did splendidly; so all did, saving as above stated. The loss of the rebels must be very heavy; their vessels were literally torn to pieces, and some had holes in their sides through which a man could walk. Those that blew up--it makes me shudder to think of them.

I have written very hastily, knowing that you would be anxious to hear and would find excuses for my style and writing, in remembering with what busy circumstances we must be surrounded just now, and I am very nervous from an unwonted amount of exertion and movement. I count off the days, anxious for them to roll around, when you will return, and the Eastport, with some power, come to the squadron with your flag flying.

All hands went into the fight with a will. We have no news from below. Colonel Fitch will land his force in the morning.

This I believe is the first purely naval fight of the war.

May heaven bless you, my dear sir, and restore you to us in health very soon.

Respectfully and very truly, yours,


Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE, U. S. Navy, Cleveland, Ohio.


Report of Fleet Captain Pennock, U. S. Navy, regarding the engagement at Plum Point Bend.

U. S. NAVAL DEPOT, Cairo, May 13, 1862.

MY DEAR FLAG-OFFICER: Mr. Mitchell has just arrived here on the Pollard with Captain Stembel, who is attended by Doctor Beau-champ, of the Great Western.

I am most happy to be able to state that the captain's wound, although very severe, and causing him a vast deal of suffering, will not prove fatal. The ball entered his shoulder just above the shoulder blade, on the right side, and passing through the neck, came out in the front of the throat, directly under the chin. The surgeon is of the opinion that no arteries have been severed and that no secondary hemorrhage will ensue, particularly as at the present time he is so rapidly improving in his breathing.

The attack, it appears, was not intended to be a general one on the part of the rebels, but merely an endeavor to sink the gunboat guarding the mortar, to cut the latter loose and allow it to drift down with the current and then secure it for their own use. The rebel fleet made its appearance at a few minutes past 7 o'clock on Saturday morning--eight gunboats and rams and two or three tugs.

They made directly for the mortar which had greeted their appearance by a shell which exploded directly over the largest boat. The Cincinnati was guarding the mortar, and immediately slipped her hawser, and stood out to meet them, apparently endeavoring to get below and fight them bow on, but failed. One of the rams then made for her and struck her twice astern, doing but little injury. The other was preparing to assist her when the Mound City came into the fight, thus leaving the Cincinnati but one antagonist. At this juncture Captain Stembel so handled the Cincinnati, and at the same time shooting the pilot of the ram, she veered and struck the Cincinnati on the plating amidship. As she struck a broadside was poured into her from the Cincinnati, which disabled her, and she drifted away from the action and at the same moment Captain Stembel was shot from the deck of the ram; one of the sailors killed the man who shot him immediately. All of the boats were engaged by this time. The BENTON fired into one of them and it is said blew her up. The Cincinnati had received a blow on her starboard quarter, which opened her clear to the shell room, and when the rebels retreated she was run out on the bar, immediately below where the BENTON formerly lay, and where she settled in 12 feet of water. The Mound City received a blow in the bow which damaged her considerably, and she ran her head on the bank and rigged a temporary bulkhead. She arrived here to-day for repairs. As soon as I received word that she was coming I sent for Mr. Hambleton and made arrangements for having her hauled out immediately.

She will be ready for service in about four days. Fortunately for us I had sent down the steamer Champion, whose boats have pumps rigged for pumping out sunken vessels, and after she had pumped the water out of the Mound City, and assisted her part of the way up the river, she started back to raise the Cincinnati. I also sent down the submarine bell boat and I hope in a short time to be able to inform you that she is raised. The Louisville has also joined the flotilla. I sent to-day your keys and the letter of General Villepigue by mail.

Trusting that a change of scene and climate may speedily insure your return to the flotilla, I remain, my dear flag-officer,

Very respectfully, yours,


[Flag-officer FOOTE.]


Letter from Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Lieutenant-Colonel Hogg, U. S. Army, regarding the services of a gunboat.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 11, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I have had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 9th instant, to which I have given the most careful consideration.

In the action with the rebel fleet yesterday morning two of my gunboats, the Cincinnati and Mound City, were placed hors de combat. The enemy, having still a considerable force, lies below the guns of Fort Pillow and is actively employed in repairing damages. It is possibly his intention to renew the engagement. Under these circumstances I must have the Louisville with me until the Cincinnati and. Mound City are ready, for service. This will be very soon. I will leave you the least possible time without a gunboat.

I am expecting some of Mr. Ellet's rams down the river every moment, and I will send you, if not the Louisville, a vessel that will afford sufficient protection to the post you command as soon as this juncture of affairs is terminated.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Lieutenant-Colonel HARVEY HOGG, Commanding U. S. Forces at Hickman, Ky.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, referring to the condition of the U. S. steamers Cincinnati and Mound City.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 14, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that nothing new has transpired since yesterday.

The vessels containing the requisite means for clearing the Cincinnati have arrived, and we are now at work with every promise of success. I mentioned in my last dispatch that the Mound City had been sent to Cairo. I have since learned that her injuries are more serious than we thought. I hope to be able to send the Cincinnati to Cairo to-day.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.

Personal letter of congratulation from Flag-Officer Foote, U. S. Navy, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, on the engagement at Plum Point Bend.

CLEVELAND, May 15, 1862.

MY DEAR DAVIS: I congratulate you and hope that a vote of thanks and passage of the naval bill will make you an admiral for your ready coming to my relief when too ill to do my duty, and making such a glorious fight.

I was interested to find those fellows so plucky, and must confess to some little envy in not being able to have taken a hand in your dashing affair.

I reached here with less fatigue than I anticipated, but was bored by the good people everywhere to speak and show myself. I feel it to be unmerited on my part, this wonderful attention, and it is particularly unpleasant, associated with my leaving to you liability for another fight at any moment.

I am in a great hurry to return and relieve you; my heart is with the flotilla, but I was in a condition wholly unfit to command when I left, and did right in leaving, as the interests of the flotilla required it. I feel rather better, and hope in two weeks to leave for Cairo to join you as soon as possible.

Excuse my incoherent note.

Yours, ever affectionately,



Letter of congratulation from the Acting Secretary of the Navy to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, forwarding promotion for Acting Master Gregory.

NAVY DEPARTMENT, May 16, 1862.

SIR: Your dispatch of the 11th instant, reporting your successful engagement on the 10th instant, is received.

You have performed your whole duty. The officers and men of the flotilla educated to victory under Flag-Officer Foote have fulfilled the expectations of the Department.

Promote Acting Master Gregory to an acting [volunteer] lieutenant.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. V. Fox, Acting Secretary.

Flag-Officer CHAS. H. DAVIS, Commanding (pro tem) the Western Flotilla, Cairo.


Order of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, U. S. Navy, transmitting order for Captain Maynadier, U. S. Army, commanding mortar fleet.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 16, 1862.

SIR: I enclose herewith an order upon Captain Maynadier, commanding the mortar fleet, for the detail of the crews of the navy howitzers to be landed in the proposed expedition; each howitzer will be accompanied by a seaman from the squadron.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Commanding U. S. Naval Forces, Western Waters.

Lieutenant-Commander LE ROY FITCH, U. S. Navy, Commanding Steamer Judge Torrence, Mississippi River.


U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 16, 1862.

SIR: It is the intention of the colonel commanding to take with him four of the mounted navy howitzers in the proposed expedition, and I will thank you therefore to detail from the mortar fleet a sufficient number of men for crews for these howitzers. This number will be fixed by Lieutenant Commanding Fitch. One man from the squadron will accompany each howitzer.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant.

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Commanding U. S. Naval Forces, Western Waters.

Captain H. E. MAYNADIER, U. S. Army, Commanding Mortar Fleet, Mississippi River.



Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, regarding condition of injured naval vessels and referring to discussion of plan of attack upon Fort Pillow.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 16, 1862.

SIR: The gunboat Cincinnati left for Cairo last evening. The injury she sustained proved to be much more serious than at first reported. It is reported to me that the repairs on the Mound City are nearly concluded.

General Quinby, from Island No. 10, visited me this morning early, in company with Colonel Fitch, commanding the brigade at this place. A plan of combined operation having for its object the capture of Fort Pillow was discussed and agreed upon. The preliminary steps are now in progress.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River, pro tem.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.


Report of Lieutenant Phelps, U. S. Navy, regarding various matters of interest.

U. S. GUNBOAT BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 17, 1862.

MY DEAR SIR: Since my very hurried letter after the fight the other morning I have absolutely been unable to write.

The Cincinnati was only raised night before last and got off for Cairo.

The bell boat had no crew, and we had trouble about the machine. Mr. Hoel was left alone. One master killed and two sick. We ran the Benton to the stern of the Cincinnati and remained there till she left, and I assisted Mr. Hoel, besides getting logs, chains, railroad iron, etc., with which to secure the boats against rams. We are putting railroad iron about the stem of this boat, which is her weak part. General Quinby is coming down with some artillery, cavalry, and infantry, and a combined attack is to be made on the fort in about three days' time. Everything has been quiet about the fort and where the gunboats lie below. Two of their rams are missing. Deserters say that 108 were buried from their vessels after the fight. A good many deserters and refugees are coming in and passing up to Cairo, some 30 to 50 per day.

We are now anchored across the river a little below where we lay when you left. Captain Dove is here with the Louisville. Now we have the Cairo, Pittsburg, and Louisville to "count" among the six vessels of the fleet. I would rather have either one of the other two than all three. [Commander] Kilty did handsomely in the fight. Neither the Pittsburg nor Cairo got into it, and the St. Louis can hardly be said to have done so. Commander Davis now has got the run of matters very well. The plan of attack proposed is the old one--land on the bluff, open heavy mortar fire, and follow up with attack by gunboats. What the rebel boats can do remains to be seen.

The great craft building in Memphis has been taken up the Yazoo to be finished, and a mechanic from there says it will be fifteen days before she will be ready. We must catch her there before she can be fitted out. I have not time this morning, being so much interrupted, to write about all the little matters of the fleet of which I know you would like to be informed. Suffice it to say that things go much as before. I miss you a great deal, as all do, though, of course, with such a gentleman as Captain Davis there could be nothing but the most agreeable relations. Captain Pennock writes that the Eastport will be ready in thirty days. I trust then you may be entirely recovered and come to realize a little pleasant cruising in what will be the dashing vessel of the fleet. Thirty days make but a little count and will soon pass.

I am, respectfully and very truly, yours,


Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE, U. S. Navy, Cleveland, Ohio.


Appointment by Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, of Robert B. Smith as fourth master on the U. S. S. Cincinnati, for faithful performance of duty.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER, BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 18, 1862.

SIR: In consequence of the faithful and energetic manner in which you have performed the duties of executive officer of the gunboat Cincinnati since our late engagement, made known to me by the report of Acting [Volunteer] Lieutenant Hoel, you are hereby appointed fourth master of that vessel, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the death of the gallant and lamented Mr. Reynolds.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Commanding U. S. Naval Forces, Western Waters.

ROBT. B. SMITH. Esq., Fourth Master Gunboat Cincinnati, Cairo, Ill.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, announcing the arrival of reinforcements.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 21, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to say to the Department that General Quinby arrived last evening with reinforcements.

He is employed to-day in a reconnoissance, which is to determine the route to be taken by the troops.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.



CAIRO, May 21, 1862. (Received 22d, 12:15 a.m.)

Advices from flotilla announce probable evacuation of Fort Pillow. The steamer Kennett, which went down with flag of truce with number of prisoners to be exchanged, returned to flotilla without seeing any signs of life at the fort, or as far as could be seen below it. General impression is that enemy has fallen back on Fort Randolph, 12 miles below. Two hours after the Kennett returned, rebel steamer with flag of truce came up from below, took off prisoners from Kennett, and steamed down the river.

H. E. THAYER. Colonel E. S. SANFORD.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, acknowledging Department's letter of commendation.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 22, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the very gratifying letter of the Department of the 16th instant. Its approval and commendation of the conduct of the officers and men of the Western Flotilla in the naval engagement of the 10th instant will be an additional stimulus to them to perform their duty again on a similar occasion.

In compliance with the orders of the Department, I shall have the pleasure to promote Acting Master Gregory to the rank of acting [volunteer] lieutenant, dating the appointment on the 10th instant.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Commanding Western Flotilla.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.


Semiofficial report of Lieutenant Phelps, U. S. Navy, regarding matters of interest.

U. S. GUNBOAT BENTON, Near Fort Pillow, May 22, 1862.

MY DEAR SIR: * * *

The Mound City is now here ready for service again, and the Cincinnati will be ready in about one week. It is strange how that inevitable month in the case of the Eastport drags its slow length along, never beginning, always one day in advance of present time. To-day's mail informs us that she will be ready in one month; so did the mail on the 22d of April last. General Quinby examined the river bank opposite Fulton to-day, and the guns have arrived to put in battery there, so that by day after to-morrow we may hope to have something doing. The commodore sent Captain McGunnegle down with the party reconnoitering. Seven gunboats are reported at Fulton. They are all, except one or two, strangers to the colonel, those exceptions being the rams, that came up before to attack. All the boats there now are probably rams. Driving those away with a battery, so as not to be in our way while under the fort, is, of course, leaving us free for the main work. Some of the boats are secured to a considerable extent about the bow and stern and all have logs suspended along the sides where there is no plating. We are putting railroad iron on the stern and quarters of this vessel. The rebels have dismounted nearly every gun on their vessels, depending on small arms and rams. Jeff Thompson, the nightmare of every post commander on the Mississippi, is the commander of the rebel fleet just below us, yet the commandant at New Madrid this night lies in an unquiet bed, assured that the immortal Jeff is after him with those naked and starved swamp rats. The Tyler and Lexington are forced out of the Tennessee by low water, and will join the fleet here, being much needed. Will you believe it, application was made for them to remain at Cairo to protect that place, there being considerable apprehension? The Conestoga is to look after Hickman and Columbus and will be within call of Cairo. Affairs go on much as usual with the squadron. Some few changes among the lower officers caused by sickness. Mr. Thomas M. Parker has gone as fourth master to the Louisville. I fear he will fail. Mr. Reed has applied for a master's mateship on board the Great Western. I suggest sending Mr. Henry Wilkins there and keeping Mr. Reed here, as the better of the two for our purposes. Captain Walke I have not seen for several days. Little Thompson is very busy getting his vessel secured, so that when the rebels come around the point again he can pitch into them. Of the Cairo nothing is known except that she was heard of to-day as wanting coal, being about out of that commodity and pretty much run ashore for provisions. The St. Louis, I am satisfied, will now be found up to time everywhere. That hospital boat has not yet come down. It takes so long to do anything. There are a good many sick; in this vessel more than one-tenth.

Very respectfully and truly, yours,


Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE, U. S. Navy, Cleveland, Ohio.


Order of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Lieutenant McGunnegle, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. St. Louis, to assist in army reconnoissance.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 22, 1862.

SIR: You will report yourself this Thursday morning at 7:30 o'clock to Brigadier-General Quinby, commanding the military forces of the United States at this point, to take part in a reconnoissance to be made under his direction at and near Craighead Point, [Ark.].

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Comdg. U. S. Naval Forces, Western Waters.

Lieutenant Commanding W. McGUNNEGLE, U. S. Navy, Commanding Gunboat St. Louis, Mississippi River.


Order of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Lieutenant Blodgett, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Conestoga, to assist in army reconnoissance.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 23, 1862.

SIR: On the receipt of this communication you will consider your vessel at present subject to the orders of General Quinby. Any previous orders conflicting with this are hereby canceled.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Comdg. U. S. Naval Forces, Western Waters.

Lieutenant Commanding G. M. BLODGETT, U. S. Navy, Commanding Gunboat Conestoga, Mississippi River.


Report of Lieutenant Blodgett, U. S. Navy, of receipt of orders.

U. S. GUNBOAT CONESTOGA, Off Hickman, Ky., May 23, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of my orders, dated May 22, 1862. I shall act in obedience to them and inform you if anything of importance transpires.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. M. BLODGETT, Lieutenant, Commanding, U. S. Navy.

Flag-Officer C. H. Davis, Commanding Naval Forces, Western Waters.


Report of Lieutenant Blodgett, U. S. Navy, of receipt of orders.

U. S. GUNBOAT CONESTOGA, Off Columbus, Ky., May 24, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I have received your communication dated May 23, 1862, placing this vessel under the orders of General Quinby.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. M. BLODGETT, Lieutenant, Commanding, U. S. Navy.

Flag-Officer C. H. DAVIS, Commanding Naval Forces, Western Waters.



Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, giving the results of a reconnoissance by Brigadier-General Quinby, U. S. Army.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 24, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that the result of General Quinby's reconnoissance is that he considers a greater number of troops than that which he has with him necessary for the success of the operations we have had in contemplation.

He has returned to Hickman with his command, where he will wait for reinforcements.

We have reliable information concerning the enemy's force on shore and afloat. The force on shore numbers about 3,000 men, including a well-trained Louisiana regiment of 1,200 men. The force afloat has recently been increased by the addition of another gunboat or ram.

Since I last wrote the Department, Lieutenant Colonel Ellet has brought down four of the rams, hastily prepared for service. I have no doubt that they will be useful in the event of another engagement.

The Mound City has rejoined the flotilla.

All the gunboats are to be defended forward and aft in their weak and unprotected parts by a framework of cypress logs.

It is far from my expectation that the rebel gunboats will venture to renew the attack.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River, Pro tem.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.


Letter from Colonel Pitch, U. S. Army, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, informing him of the operations of the enemy in strengthening the works at Fort Pillow.

HEADQUARTERS, On board Steamer Henry Von Phul, May 26, 1862.

DEAR SIR: The enemy in Fort Pillow have within the past few days repaired and remounted one battery near the water line, and have a considerable force now at work upon another, which is assuming somewhat large proportions.

These facts I know from personal observation had this p. m. from the shore of the main channel of the river opposite the fort. They may have been previously known to you, yet I deem it my duty to communicate them, notwithstanding the seeming probability from the long silence of our mortar fleet that the policy concluded upon may be to permit the enemy to quietly complete his works.

Yours, respectfully,

G. N. FITCH, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Commodore DAVIS, Commanding Flotilla.


Report of Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet off Fort Pillow, ready for aggressive action.

ABOVE FORT PILLOW, May 26, 1862.

I arrived at my fleet yesterday, leaving one of my boats at New Albany, ready to follow in twenty-four hours. The others are all here.

I visited Commodore Davis immediately to obtain his views and offer cooperation. The commodore intimated an unwillingness to assume any risk at this time, but will communicate with me again, after further reflection, touching my proposition to him to run below these batteries and surprise the enemy's fleet and transports before they can escape up the tributaries.

To me, the risk is greater to lie here with my small guard and within an hour's reach of a strong encampment of the enemy, than to run by the batteries and make the attack. I shall, if necessary, repeat the proposition the moment the Switzerland arrives' with the barges I have prepared to shelter the boats. I wish to take advantage of the high water.


CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, requesting pass for an official messenger.


Colonel Ellet wishes to send the bearer, Mr. Roberts, with a mail and official dispatches to the Secretary of War; and will be obliged to Commodore Davis, if it is compatible with the discipline he has established, to order that a pass from Colonel Ellet shall be sufficient to allow his messengers to go on the mail boats on public business, so as to avoid detention and the necessity of establishing a separate line for his fleet.

Commodore DAVIS.


Letter from Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, furnishing pass requested by the latter.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 26, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I have the pleasure to send you herewith a pass for your orderly, Mr. Roberts, which I have put in a general form in order that he may make use of it from day to day.

If Colonel Ellet should desire to add a second messenger, a steward, or servant, he can do so upon his own order, which the captains of the mail boats will be required to respect as a sufficient authority.

I have the pleasure to be, colonel, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer.

Colonel Ellet, etc.,

Colonel E. will be obliged to make provisions for the subsistence of his orderly, etc.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, proposing to run below Fort Pillow and attack the Confederate fleet.

STEAM RAM QUEEN OF THE WEST, Above Fort Pillow, May 28, 1862.

COMMODORE: Referring to the suggestion which I submitted when I called on you the 25th instant, for a combined movement with a view to surprise and destroy the enemy's gunboats, rams, and transports, now lying below the guns of Fort Pillow, I beg leave to suggest in addition that, unless such a movement is promptly made, I fear the opportunity for it may possibly be lost altogether.

The river is now in good condition but falling rapidly. Commodore Farragut's fleet is probably advancing, and as it approaches Memphis the rebel steamers of all classes will doubtless seek to hide in tributaries which are now navigable for them to enter, but which, if our advance is delayed, may not be navigable for us when we wish to pursue.

I would be pleased, therefore, if the proposition, after the consideration you have given it should meet your concurrence, to join the whole or a portion of rams under my command to the whole or even a single one of your gunboats, and placing them all under the shelter of barges which I have prepared for the purpose, and hope will very soon arrive, run below Fort Pillow by daylight and attack the rebel fleet wherever it can be found.

The stern-wheel boats which I have provided and fitted up as rams will make excellent towboats for carrying along any amount of coal which may be needed to run as far as we may wish and return.

The importance of this movement is, I think, likely to be very great, in view of the battle which is now daily expected at Corinth. If that battle results in our favor, by occupying the river below and by destroying the rebel fleet, we will deprive the defeated army of its means of crossing the Mississippi and renewing the contest on the other side. If the battle should result in our defeat, we can still afford most valuable service by cutting off the river supplies of the enemy.

Submitting this suggestion again for your consideration, I have the honor to be, commodore, with high respect, your obedient servant,

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding, etc.

Commodore C. H. DAVIS. Flag-Officer of the Mississippi Gunboat Squadron.


Minutes of conversation between Commodore Davis, U. S. Navy, and Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, above Fort Pillow, May 27, 1862.

I proposed an advance of our joint fleets, pass Fort Pillow, surprise and attack the enemy's gunboats, etc., below, and hold the river there.

The commodore would consider it, and did not feel disposed at present to incur any risk. He was apprehensive of a movement below, but in case of disaster the commerce and cities above might be exposed to the rebel gunboats.

May 27.-2 o'clock p. m., received a message from the commodore requesting me to send a boat down the river to protect some mortar boats which had just commenced shelling the enemy. He had sent the Carondelet.


Letter from Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, proposing mode of attack upon Fort Pillow and Confederate fleet.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, May 28, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I have thought over a great deal the subject of our conversation on Monday morning, and have come to the following conclusion:

It will be most expedient and proper that the gunboats should take the front rank in a naval engagement with the enemy, and that the rams, coming up in the rear, should watch for an opportunity, either to take the enemy in the flank, to assail any straggler, to assist any disabled vessel of our squadron, and to pounce upon and carry off any disabled vessel of the enemy.

The gunboats of the flotilla and the rams bear to each other the relation of heavy artillery and light skirmishers; to expose the latter to the first brunt and shock of battle would be to misapply their peculiar usefulness and mode of warfare.

It is my wish, therefore, in the event of a naval engagement, that the rams under your command should follow in the rear and on the wings of my squadron; particular instructions being given to their captains to profit by every opportunity of assailing a vessel of the enemy's flotilla, or making a prize of one of his disabled boats.

If these directions are agreeable to you, I will thank you to communicate them to the captains under your immediate command; if not, we will confer again upon the subject.

When one or more of the mortar boats go down to take the station for bombardment I will thank you to direct one of the rams to go down also and take a station near them, and to be ready to encounter a sudden dash on the part of one of the rebel rams. But I take the liberty to say, colonel, that the rams, being, as they are, unarmed, incur an unnecessary risk in running under the range of the enemy's guns as the ram now on guard has done this morning, and that it would be a matter of great mortification if any vessel of our combined squadron were to suffer an injury from the guns of the rebels without the means of retaliation.

Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Colonel ELLET, Steamer Queen of the West, Mississippi River.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, regarding method of cooperation.

QUEEN OF THE WEST, Above Fort Pillow, May 28, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I have just received your note of to-day, touching the subject of our conversation of Sunday morning and the mode in which the rams can best cooperate with the gunboats in resisting an attack by the enemy.

The enclosed communication, which I had written this morning and was about to send to you when I received your note, will explain the current of my own thoughts on the same subject, my view being, as you will perceive, to act as soon as possible, on the offensive. I will be much obliged to you for your views on the suggestions which I have ventured to submit in this note, whenever your conclusion is formed.

I concur in your opinion of the needless exposure of the rams to the enemy's guns, to which you allude, and had myself gone out to forbid it, and to direct them to lie above the mortars which it is their business to guard. But I was myself on board the little tug which subsequently dropped down below Craighead Point, wishing to see the position of the batteries which it may presently be necessary for me to pass by, and to obtain a precise knowledge of the bearing of the channel from the pilots on board.

Allow me to add, commodore, that almost the only efficient service these rams can render is that for which they were specially built, viz.,: to run into the enemy, with good speed and head on, and sink him.

With that view my instructions which I have given have been to wait while we remain here until the enemy advances so far above the Point that he can not refuse the collision and retreat, and then go in, each boat for itself, and strike wherever the blow can be delivered to the best advantage.

I fear it would be unsafe to change this order at this late hour for to-night, but I will be very happy to confer with you fully on the whole subject, so that the orders for the future may be well understood and made as simple as possible.

I am, with high respect, your obedient servant,

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding, etc.

Commodore C. H. Davis, Flag-Officer, etc.


Letter from Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Colonel Fitch, U. S. Army, regarding measures for the relief of refugees.

MAY 29, 1862.

COLONEL: It was my intention to have the Conestoga up the river [Mississippi] to afford relief to the refugees along its banks and to bring them to this place [Fort Pillow ?] for protection or for passage to Cairo. But the state of affairs at Hickman and in that vicinity renders it expedient that the Conestoga should remain under the orders of General Quinby.

Under these circumstances it will be necessary to employ a transport for this service, in execution of which I invite your cooperation.

I will put a howitzer on board the steamer Wisconsin or Champion, placing her under the command of Lieutenant Erben, of the Navy, if you will have the goodness to put on board what, in your judgment, will be a sufficient number of troops with their subsistence for a day. You will dispatch her as soon as possible after receiving your reply to this communication.

I have the honor to be, colonel, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag Officer, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Colonel G. N. FITCH, Commanding Brigade, Near Fort Pillow, Tenn.


Letter from Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Captain Maynadier, U. S. Army, giving information obtained from a deserter regarding mortar practice.

MAY 29, 1862.

DEAR CAPTAIN: A very intelligent deserter came in this morning, who told us, among other things, that the mortar practice had been very good yesterday and the day before and that a piece of one of the bombs had gone through General Villepigue's quarters.

The name of the man about whom Captain Pennock wrote and I spoke to you about the other day is John Driscoll.

Yours, truly,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag Officer, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

H. E. MAYNADIER, Captain, Tenth Infantry, Commanding Mortar Fleet.


Report of Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, proposing to move alone against Fort Pillow and Confederate fleet.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER, Above Fort Pillow, May 30, 1862.

Immediately on arriving here, five days ago, I called to see Commodore Davis on the flagship BENTON, and then suggested a joint movement to destroy the enemy's fleet and command the Mississippi below Fort Pillow. The commodore promised to communicate with me again on that subject after giving it further consideration.

Not hearing from him, I renewed the suggestion in a note three days afterward, and was promised a reply yesterday. Up to this time I have not received it. I shall inform him to-day of my readiness to move alone next Monday morning, unless, in the meantime, he should conclude to allow one or more of his gunboats to participate. Delay will be fatal to the usefulness of this fleet.


CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding Ram Fleet.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


Letter from Brigadier-General Quinby, U. S. Army, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, regretting inability to cooperate.


COMMODORE: Your favor of the 28th instant was received last evening, and, though I have nothing of importance to communicate, I reply to it thus promptly to express my high appreciation of its kind and cordial tone, and also my unqualified conviction of the wisdom of your policy in remaining in your present position until events further develop themselves.

I deeply regret my inability, as now situated, to cooperate with you effectively. The safety of the different points within my district is of the first importance, and I feel that it would be unwise to withdraw from them, even temporarily, troops enough to aid materially in reducing the rebel works before you. I have both written and telegraphed for reinforcements, and hope that Major-General Halleck can find it in his power to send them. Should he do so, I will call upon you at once and consult upon the place of operation.

The De Soto has just arrived with your second note and the Mr. Jones, escaped from Fort Pillow. His statements are evidently colored by his feelings and his desire to have his persecutors punished. As he was a close prisoner while at Fort Pillow, he could have had but little opportunity to judge of the strength of the works and the number and disposition of the rebel forces. I am disposed to take his statements with some abatement.

The package of tea was duly received, for which, and your instructions to the captain of the B. to accept my passes, you will please accept my heartfelt thanks.

I am, commodore, with high respect, your friend and obedient servant,


Commodore C. H. DAVIS, U. S. Navy, Commanding Western Flotilla, Fort Pillow, Tenn.


Letter from Colonel Fitch, U. S. Army, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, regarding a rumor of the proposed evacuation of Fort Pillow.

MAY 31, 1862.

SIR: Please examine these men, this morning from the fort. According to their statement the fort is about to be evacuated to-day or to-night, although such statements do not accord exactly with the further statement that General Price is expected there. I propose to have the reported expected arrival of four transports to-day watched, and shall myself go down to take a look at Island 34, where the presence of a party was yesterday reported. I will send another small party around Craighead Point to opposite the fort.


G. N. FITCH, Colonel, Commanding.

Commodore DAVIS, U. S. Navy, Commanding Flotilla.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, regarding an intended attack upon Confederate gunboat.


DEAR SIR: I am just now informed that a rebel gunboat is lying opposite the point on the Tennessee shore. I propose, therefore, to send down a little tug and try to bring her within reach of a couple of rams which I will hold in readiness in the bend on the Arkansas side.

Yours, very respectfully,

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding, etc.

Commodore C. H. DAVIS. Flag-Officer, etc.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, stating his intention of running the batteries of Fort Pillow.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER, Above Fort Pillow, June 1, 1862.

COMMODORE: I am very anxious, for the reasons already submitted, to avoid further delays; and I am therefore preparing to run below Fort Pillow, in accordance with my previous suggestions to you, weather permitting, at early dawn next Tuesday.

The hope of obtaining the support of at least one gunboat has induced me to postpone this expedition from day to day, being not only deeply impressed with the influence which the presence, bearing, and example of a portion of your brave command would have on my raw recruits, but also with a sense of the substantial addition to the strength of my fleet, which the guns of a single armed boat would afford. But should you not deem it expedient to allow even one gunboat to share this enterprise, permit me to say that I would be very much gratified to have on board my vessels, as volunteers, the company of a few of the gallant gentlemen and brave men of your command, for the sake of the example alone which all connected with the Navy are sure to offer whenever the opportunity is presented to them to engage in a daring and patriotic enterprise.

I remain, commodore, with high respect, your obedient servant,

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding, etc.

Commodore C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, etc.


Instructions of Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, regarding proposed attack upon Confederate gunboat.


A rebel gunboat or ram is reported on the Tennessee shore below Craighead Point. Lieutenant George E. Currie will go on board the tender Dick Fulton and take command of Lieutenant Hunter's detachment and direct Captain Cadman to drop down toward the rebel boat, but well off from the point, the object being to incur as little risk as possible from the fire of the fort, though enough, if the position of the rebel boat permits it, to induce her to endeavor to capture the Fulton.

Lieutenant Currie is instructed to drop down stern foremost when nearing the point, so as to be always ready to retreat. He will move on his retreat so as to expose the pursuing steamer to an attack from the Queen of the West, the Lancaster, the Lioness, and the Horner, which will be kept in position in the bend on the Arkansas side, far enough above the point to enable them to gain headway at the moment of collision.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet, who will command the Lancaster, Lieutenant Crandall of the Lioness, and Lieutenant Davis on the Horner, will all act in accordance with their instructions, and judge by the motions of the Queen, which will be the flagship in this movement, when to make their attack.

If either boat should be disabled she should anchor at once, and it will be the duty of the others to bring her off.

[C. ELLET, Jr.], Colonel, Commanding.



Letter from Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, extending good wishes for success.

BENTON, June 1, 1862.

DEAR SIR: I have received your note proposing to bring a rebel gunboat within reach of your rams. I heartily wish you all possible Success.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla.

Colonel CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Commanding, etc.


Letter from Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, declining cooperation.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, June 2, 1862.

SIR: I have received your letter of yesterday. I decline taking any part in the expedition which you inform me you are preparing to set on foot to-morrow morning at early dawn.

I would thank you to inform me how far you consider yourself under my authority; and I shall esteem it a favor to receive from you a copy of the orders under which you are acting.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding Ram Fleet, Mississippi River.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, commanding Western Flotilla, stating his view of their relations.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER, Above Fort Pillow, June 2, 1862.

COMMODORE: I have received your note of this morning, informing me that you decline taking any part in the expedition I have been preparing to set on foot to-morrow morning at early dawn, and requesting me to inform you how far I consider myself under your authority, and also desiring me to furnish you a copy of the orders under which I am acting.

While regretting sincerely your indisposition to cooperate in a movement against the enemy's fleet, lying within easy reach, I take great pleasure in giving you all the information you ask for.

I do not consider myself at all under your authority. My fleet was fitted up under the orders of the War Department, and was sent forward in great haste, in the hope that it might be here in time to contribute to avert such a disaster anticipated at the Department as that which recently befell two of the gunboats when assailed by the rebel rams.

I will, with pleasure, send you such portions of my instructions as have any relation to my duties here to-morrow morning, merely stating to you now that it is the expectation and intention of these instructions that I shall not move against the enemy without your concurrence, provided you consider the particular movement which I propose as bearing hurtfully upon the general operations which you are conducting.

In that case it is intended that your disapprobation shall restrain me. But I do not understand that you are to be held in any way responsible for my operations, or are at liberty to interfere with them if they merely involve hazard to my own command.

Should you have received any instructions at all conflicting with these I would be obliged to you to inform me of the discrepancy.

In the meantime, permit me to say that I came here to do good service, and for nothing else, and to that end I shall waive all question of your right to indicate to me any attack proper to be made; and will respond to your call with the utmost, alacrity, and give you as instantaneous and complete use of my whole force as if you had the right to command it.

I trust, therefore, that no question of authority need be raised. It is my intention to continue, as I have done, to communicate all my plans to you in advance, and to keep prepared to aid in the execution of all yours as soon as you deem it proper to intrust me with them; to do nothing contrary to your wishes, but to move against the enemy the moment you intimate that you are yourself ready, or that my advance will not interfere with your own programme.

I continue, commodore, with high respect, your obedient servant,

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding, etc.

Commodore C. H. DAVIS, Commanding Western Flotilla.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, regarding the spirit of his instructions from the War Department.

STEAM RAM SWITZERLAND, Above Fort Pillow, June 3, 1862.

SIR: My instructions received from the honorable Secretary of War run through various dispatches, the greater portions of which are wholly irrelevant to the points which now interest you.

In a dispatch dated April 25, the honorable Secretary uses this language:

It is unnecessary to say, except to guard against misapprehension, that the expedition must move upon the enemy with the concurrence of the naval commander on the Mississippi River, for there must be no conflicting authorities in the prosecution of war. If any doubt should arise in your mind and you need further instructions, please telegraph, etc.

A part of my reply to this dispatch, of the same date, April 25, I will also quote, as the best means of showing you the spirit of my instructions:

The clause in your instructions requiring the concurrence of the naval commander on the Mississippi might embarrass me much. That officer might not have confidence in my mode of warfare. My purpose has not been to remain with the gunboats, or even to show my fleet there, until ready to push on, pass the batteries, drive my rams against the enemy's armed vessels and transports wherever they can be found, relying much on the suddenness and audacity of the attack for its success.

I fear that the naval commander might not concur in the propriety of such a movement, which is not in accordance with naval usage, and that he might compel me to lie idle above some fortified position until the flood abated, and the opportunity to surprise the enemy in my own way would be lost.

I trust you may think proper to reconsider this limitation of my authority, and leave me free to act on my own judgment, but of course with respectful deference to the gallant officer in command on the Mississippi, by whose good advice I certainly shall not fail to profit.

In response to this, April 26, the honorable Secretary uses the following language:

The peculiarity of the enterprise which you have undertaken induced the expression "concurrence," instead of placing you distinctly under the command of the naval commander. There ought not to be two commanders on the same element in war operations. But, as the service you are engaged in is peculiar, the naval commander will be so advised, and will be desired not to exercise direct control over your movements, unless they shall manifestly expose the general operations on the Mississippi to some unpardonable influence, which is not however anticipated.

The expression, "unpardonable influence," is doubtless a telegraphic misprint, but means some irreparable injury.

From this you will be able to gather the spirit of my instructions, which contemplate an advance beyond these fortified positions, whenever I may think it practicable or advisable to go by, with the single reservation that I must respect your objection to the movement, if, in your opinion, the success of your general operations will be jeopardized by that which I propose to undertake.

I remain, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding Ram Fleet.

Commodore C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, etc.


Report of Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, of proposed attack on Confederate gunboat.

ABOVE FORT PILLOW, June 3, 1862.

I am about to move with two of my boats against a rebel gunboat lying under the guns of Fort Pillow. An exaggerated view of the powers of these rebel rams has spread among my fleet from the gunboats, and I feel the necessity of doing something to check the extension of the contagion.

I am fully impressed with the hazards of this enterprise, but I deem the object sufficient to warrant the movement. I will take command of the Queen. My brother, Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet, will follow with the Monarch, so as to double the chance of reaching the rebel boat.

I wish you to understand, however this enterprise may turn out, that it is not a rash act, but one which I have deliberately contemplated with a definite and sufficient object.

I wish also to place on record the fact that for whatever ill befalls this fleet you are not responsible, for you have given me from the commencement all the support and aid which it was in your power to contribute. I shall take volunteers only on both boats.


[C. ELLET, Jr.], Colonel, Commanding.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, regarding results of a reconnoissance.

STEAM RAM SWITZERLAND, Above Fort Pillow, June 3, 1862.

SIR: I sent out a small party last evening under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet, and accompanied by a detachment from the command of Colonel Fitch, and also by several pilots from this fleet, with a view to ascertaining whether the rebel gunboat was still lying off the point and in a position where I could reach her with one of my rams without exposing her too long to the enemy's batteries.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet has reported to me that the gunboat had left, and that he then allowed two of his men to go over to a tow-head where they could examine the fortifications on the opposite shore at closer view. The conclusion at which he arrived, from what he and his party saw, was that Fort Pillow is being evacuated.

I propose to send out another party to-day, if the weather is clear enough for observation, to go farther down the river, with a view to ascertain whether the enemy's fleet may not have also evacuated, and if it has not, what facilities its position presents to assail it, intending, if the report should justify the advance, to move immediately against it.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding.

Commodore C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, etc.


Letter from Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, to Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, defining the relations between them.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Off Fort Pillow, June 3, 1862.

COLONEL: I have had the honor to receive your letters of the 2d and 3d instant, the latter containing a copy of the instructions of the War Department defining your position.

I understand from these instructions that your vessels are not under my control, that I am not responsible for their movements, and that your undertakings do not necessarily require my concurrence or approval.

On your arrival here I communicated to you a general outline of the plan of operations agreed upon between General Quinby and myself, and when the time arrives for putting it into execution I shall have the pleasure to make you acquainted with all the details, and to invite your cooperation. In the meantime I have no desire to oppose or circumscribe your movements. My opinion is unfavorable to your attack, as I understand it, but your mode of warfare is novel, and the service is peculiar; and under the circumstances of the case I willingly defer to your judgment and enterprise.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Colonel CHARLES ELLET, Commanding Ram Fleet, Mississippi River.

P. S.-I shall wait with interest to hear the result of your reconnoissance of to-day.


Letter from Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, to Colonel Fitch, U. S. Army, informing him of the continuance of the reconnoissance.


DEAR SIR: I think it most prudent to let you know that I have just sent out a very small party to start below the open field, near the cabins, and move down the levee toward Fulton, to continue the reconnoissance commenced yesterday. I give you this information to guard against any mishap from the possible meeting of your scouts and this little party if you should have any out.

Yours, truly,

CHARLES ELLET, JR., Colonel, Commanding.

Colonel G. N. FITCH.


Report of Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, regarding the expedition against the Confederate gunboat.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER, Above Fort Pillow, June 4, 1862.

SIR: For the purpose of testing the temper of a doubtful crew and ascertaining the strength of the enemy's position, I determined yesterday to take the Queen of the West and try to reach a rebel steamer lying around Craighead Point under the guns of Fort Pillow.

The captain, two out of three of the pilots, the first mate, and all the engineers, and nearly all the crew, declined the service, and were allowed to go off with their baggage to a barge.

Hastily forming a new crew of volunteers, I took command of the boat and directed Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet to follow in the Monarch at supporting distance. The captain, David M. Dryden, and all the crew of the Monarch stood at their posts. The rebel steamer slipped lines and escaped before I could reach her. The firing of the fort was it short range, and quite brisk, but I think only revealed about seven or eight guns, corresponding with the count previously made in two land reconnoissance by Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet. My boat was not hit. While the strength of the rebel batteries seems to be greatly overrated, their fleet of rams and gunboats is much larger than mine. It consists of eight gunboats, which usually lie just below the fort, and four others at Randolph, a few miles farther down.

Commodore Davis will not join me in a movement against them, nor contribute a gunboat to my expedition, nor allow any of his men to volunteer so as to stimulate the pride and emulation of my own. I shall therefore first weed out some bad material and then go without him.


CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding, etc.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.


Report of Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet, commanding steam ram Monarch, regarding the part taken by that vessel in the expedition against the Confederate gunboat.


SIR: I have the honor to report to you that, in accordance with your instructions received yesterday, the steam ram Monarch was got underway immediately after the Queen of the West started and followed her down the river, keeping at such a distance as not to impede in any way the action of the Queen and vet near enough to afford assistance or protection if she should be fortunate enough to engage the enemy in action. The Monarch was held in this position until she had been for some minutes in fair range of the enemy's batteries, and until the enemy's gunboat, toward which you were directing the Queen, was observed to have made good her retreat, and the Queen was rounding to return upstream. I then ordered the Monarch to be put about and returned unharmed through the enemy's fire to our former anchorage.

It affords me great pleasure here to state that not one man on this boat, from the first master to the cabin boy, accepted the offer to remain behind if they did not like the expedition; every man went. And it is but justice here to say that each one acted coolly and prudently in his own department, and did his duty manfully and well, handling the boat under the enemy's fire with as much coolness as if on a holiday excursion.

Most respectfully submitted, etc.


Lieutenant-Colonel, Commanding the Steam Ram Monarch.

Colonel CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Commanding Steam Ram Fleet.


Report of Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, regarding the appointment of engineers.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER, above Fort Pillow, June 4, 1862.

SIR: When all the engineers of the Queen declined the hazard of the expedition of last evening two young men from my military guard offered to handle the engines and run the boat wherever I wished to take her, and did so coolly and skillfully.

I trust that I have not exceeded my authority in detailing R. L. Groomes and W. W. Jackson, both privates of Company G, Sixty-third Illinois Regiment, and giving the first the position and pay of chief, and the second the position and pay of first assistant engineer, for which they have licenses. I must have men who will stand by the engines and wheel under all circumstances. Not one of the soldiers on board hesitated to share the fate of the steamer.

CHARLES ELLET, Jr. Colonel, Commanding, etc.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D.C.



FORT PILLOW, TENN., June 5, 1862--4:30 A.M.

Arrangements were completed for a combined assault on the fort at 7 a.m. at a weak and accessible point, but the works were abandoned last night, and the guns and commissary stores destroyed. We are in possession, but propose proceeding to-day toward Memphis. I report by mail.

G. N. FITCH, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Major-General POPE, commanding District of Mississippi.


Report of Colonel Fitch, U. S. Army, regarding an extended reconnoissance.

FORT PILLOW, TENN., June 5, 1862-- 4:30 a.m.

On June I a laborious reconnoissance was made, which developed the fact that behind Flower Island, parallel with the chute between that island and the main shore, an approach to Fort Pillow could be made by infantry to Cole [Cold] Creek, within 30 yards of the enemy's outer works and near the junction of the creek and Flower Island chute.

* * * *

The following morning this reconnoissance was renewed and its results verified, and it was also ascertained that at the point where Cole [Cold] Creek could be crossed not a gun from the batteries could be brought to bear, while the ridges in the rear of and overlooking the fortifications would enable our infantry to approach and command them.

On the third morning three companies of this command, under Major Bringhurst, of the Forty-sixth Regiment of Indiana Volunteers, was ordered to open a road parallel with the chute, secreted from observation by the timber on Flower Island and the mainland. * * * Unfortunately, four of Colonel Ellet's rams, not knowing this detail had been sent forward, dropped around Craig head Point, for the purpose of observation, and were fired upon by the enemy, and the shot overreaching the boats, fell in the vicinity of the working party in the woods, whereupon the major commanding deemed it prudent to retire and abandon the work.

It being too late after this unfortunate movement to do anything more that day, Captain Schermerhorn, of the Forty-sixth Regiment Indiana Volunteers, was ordered the next morning, with a detail from that regiment and the Forty-third Indian a Volunteers, to finish the contemplated works. This he promptly accomplished undiscovered by the enemy. * * * All the troops were ordered on board the transports the same evening, with the intention of surprising and storming the fort, and all arrangements perfected for having a combined attack between the land forces and the gunboats last evening; but appearances, as well as the statement of a deserter last evening, made us apprehend that the enemy was evacuating. Therefore, instead of marching by the contemplated route, I dropped down at 3 a.m. with a small party on one of the transports (the Hattie Gilmore), preceded by open rowboats, containing Captain Sill and Lieutenant Troxell, with a few men. We dropped directly but cautiously toward the fort, and found our apprehensions verified. The enemy was gone, having left at about 1 or 2 o'clock this morning. * * * The Hattie Gilmore, in passing the ram fleet and BENTON, gave notice what her signal would be if the enemy had left and what if they remained, and was followed very soon by Colonel Ellet's rams, and after an interval by the gunboats and the other transports, the signal that there was no enemy in sight having been given.

I am not able to state at this time the amount of property in the fort, but my impression is that it can not be properly garrisoned without a new armament and a corps of artillerists. For all practical purposes one or two gunboats would be more effective than my command of infantry, I propose, therefore, to proceed directly toward Memphis this p. m., leaving one company here to collect the property. Captain Davis, commanding flotilla, leaves also one gunboat, I await orders.

Yours, respectfully,

G. N. FITCH, Colonel, Commanding Brigade.

Major-General JOHN POPE, Commanding District of Mississippi.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, transmitting copy of a delayed dispatch announcing the evacuation of Fort Pillow.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Memphis, June 12, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit to the Department a copy of a telegraphic dispatch which I sent from Fort Pillow, but which, through a misapprehension of the captain of the mail boat, was not delivered.

I received this morning your telegraphic dispatch of the 10th, which I have answered by telegraph.

A division of the squadron, under Commander A. H. Kilty, was on the point of sailing for White River to form a junction with General Curtis, but will now be delayed until Colonel Fitch can prepare the commissary transports to accompany it.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag Officer, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River, pro tem.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Fort Pillow, Thursday morning, June 5, 1862.

Fort Pillow is evacuated; the last of the rebels left between 1 and 2 o'clock this morning.

The artillery and commissary stores are mostly destroyed. Preparations were set on foot for a combined attack which was to have taken place on Wednesday morning, but was unavoidably postponed until this morning, when it was anticipated by the retreat of the enemy.

I am making preparations for moving down the river with the greater part of my force, accompanied by transports having on board Colonel Fitch and his brigade.

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, announcing the evacuation of Fort Pillow by the Confederate forces.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Fort Pillow, Thursday Morning, June 5, 1862-8 a.m.

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that on Tuesday Colonel Fitch communicated to me the result of an important reconnoissance on the Tennessee bank of the river, which he had just completed. This reconnoissance led to the discovery of a mode of approach to an unguarded point of the enemy's works, laid open by the falling of the water, but the construction of a floating bridge over Cole's [Cold] Creek and other similar preparations were necessary for the passage of the troops.

It was agreed between us that a combined attack should take place on Wednesday morning as soon after daylight as possible, but an unforeseen occurrence, by interrupting the construction of the bridge, compelled us to postpone the attack until this morning.

Yesterday, however, the works at Fort Pillow were abandoned by the rebels, the last of whom disappeared between 1 and 2 o'clock this morning.

We are now in possession of the works, where we find the artillery and a great amount of commissary stores destroyed. I am not yet informed whether any of the great guns remain uninjured.

I am moving down the mortar fleet, the ordnance and store vessels, towboats, barges, etc., and preparing to proceed down the river.

Colonel G. N. Fitch, at the head of the whole or a portion of his brigade, will accompany the squadron in his own transports.

It is our intention to occupy Memphis with the least possible delay.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Captain, Commanding Western Flotilla, Mississippi River.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.



WASHINGTON, [D.C.], June 5, 1862.

I have a dispatch from Colonel Ellet, commander of the ram fleet at Fort Pillow, dated at that place yesterday. He informs me that he has been there a considerable time, and has made repeated applications to Captain Davis, commander of the gunboats, for leave to attack the enemy's fleet, but has been uniformly refused. Captain Davis not only refuses to join Mr. Ellet or give him the protection of a single gunboat, but also refuses to allow Ellet to attack on his own hook, nor will he allow any of his force to volunteer with Ellet. I regret the President would not place the fleet under your command. Ellet, however, made one demonstration, but the rebels slipped anchor and escaped. He says the strength of the rebel batteries is greatly overrated. He declares his intention to go on without the gunboats.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

Major-General HALLECK, Corinth.



FORT PILLOW, June 5, 1862. (Received 11.40 p. m. 8th.)

On my return to Fort Pillow I found the gunboats moving down the river. I presume that there will be no further obstacle unless we encounter one at Memphis.

CHAS. ELLET, Jr., Commanding Ram Fleet.



Report of Colonel Ellet, commanding Ram Fleet, announcing the evacuation of Fort Pillow.


SIR: To my mortification the enemy evacuated Fort Pillow last night. They carried away or destroyed everything of value. Early this morning Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet and a few men in a yawl went ashore, followed immediately by Colonel Fitch and a part of his command. The gunboats then came down and anchored across the channel.

I proceeded with three rams 12 miles below the fort to a point opposite Randolph, and sent Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet ashore with a flag of truce to demand the surrender of the place. Their forces had all left, two of their gunboats only an hour or two before we approached.

The people promised to respect the flag which Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet planted.

The guns had been dismantled and some piles of cotton were burning. I shall leave Lieutenant-Colonel Ellet here in the advance and return immediately to Fort Pillow to bring on my entire force. The people attribute the suddenness of the evacuation to the attempt made night before last to sink one of their gunboats at Fort Pillow.

Randolph, like Fort Pillow, is weak, and would not have held out long against a vigorous attack by water.

The people express a desire for the restoration of the old order of things, though still professing to be secessionists.

CHARLES ELLET, Jr., Colonel, Commanding.

Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War.



CAIRO, June 6, 1862.

Dispatch boat just arrived; reports the evacuation of Fort Pillow and occupation by our troops. Most of the flotilla had passed below Randolph.

A.M. PENNOCK, Commander, etc.

Hon. G. WELLES, Secretary Navy.


Report of Lieutenant Thompson, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Pittsburg, regarding condition of affairs in Fort Pillow after evacuation.

U. S. GUNBOAT PITTSBURG, Off Fort Pillow, Tenn., June 8, 1862.

SIR: I find, on examination of the works here, the rebels have done but little damage to the works before they left, and they are in a good condition to be occupied by either party. Some of the guns are I differently spiked, others are not spiked at all, the carriages having only been fired.

In the fort are carriages upon which, for ordinary use, the guns can be easily mounted, and will effectually command the channel.

I respectfully request to know if I shall spike the guns.

There is also scattered about the works a large quantity of shell, grapeshot, etc., which can be easily removed by teams.

I learn many of those residing back in the county are violent secessionists, and several farmers have come in requesting permission to go up the river to avoid guerilla bands they say are organizing.

I hear of a man residing some distance in the country endeavoring to get a band organized.

One or more guns could easily under cover of night be mounted, or with musketry from behind the earthworks, hills, etc., they could suddenly at night annoy considerably our transports, and before I could bore through the embrasures, etc., to harm them, they could retreat to a place of safety.

I would respectfully state I am of the opinion to occupy, their works will tend much to avoid annoyance to our transports, give an asylum to those that love the Union, and keep the back country quiet.

I learn the rebel authorities have had small bands roaming through the country destroying cotton, etc., to avoid its failing into our hands.

Of those coming in to go up the river is an individual who has furnished information to the squadron. He says he has been posted on their blackboard and has to secrete himself in the woods until he can get his family ready to leave. I respectfully request to know if conveyance will be afforded for those desiring to leave, and what answer shall I give them.

I have two and a half days' coal, full steaming, on board and request to know where I am to get coal.

In obedience to your orders, I secured the anchor and cable which was used for the coal barges and have it now on board. It is of considerable weight, and I would like to dispose of it as soon as convenient.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

EGBERT THOMPSON, Lieutenant, Commanding.

Commander CHARLES H. DAVIS, U. S. Navy, Commanding Western Flotilla.

P. S.-Two deserters, representing themselves from the rebel army at Memphis, have come on board, requesting to go up the river. I will forward them by the first boat.


Report of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, transmitting report after examination of the works at Port Pillow by Lieutenant Phelps, U. S. Navy, and Colonel Pitch, U. S. Army.

U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Memphis, June 15, 1862

SIR: I have the honor to inform the Department that I requested Lieutenant Commanding S. L. Phelps, of this ship, to employ a part of our brief stay at Fort Pillow in making a rapid inspection of the works, in company with Colonel Fitch, and I have the pleasure to transmit herewith, for the archives of the Department, the report containing his description of their extent and strength.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

C. H. DAVIS, Flag-Officer, Comdg. Western Flotilla, Mississippi River, pro tem.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.



U. S. FLAG-STEAMER BENTON, Fort Pillow, Tenn., June 5, 1862.

S IR: In conformity with your directions I made a hasty examination of the works at this point, only, however, having time to pass over the more prominent portions.

The outer line of entrenchments, flanking upon Cold Creek, at a point some 600 yards above the water battery, ascends the bluff in an irregular zigzag, to a prominent and narrow ridge lying between the Hatchee [sic] River and the Mississippi, whence it trends away, at a sharp angle, along the ridge in the direction of Fulton and flanks upon the bluffs on the Mississippi above that landing, making a circuit of from 4 to 5 miles.

These lines consist of a heavy embankment, planked upon the inner face, with a dry ditch of an average of 8 feet depth and width. Considerable numbers of pieces of artillery have once been mounted along this extended line. An abattis of fallen timber is cut without the entire length.

There is an inner line of works of similar construction, though not of one unbroken circuit as in the case of the outer line, and altogether it is estimated the entrenchments are 10 miles in length.

The entire land embraced within the circuit of these works is exceedingly rough and broken, sharp ridges, deep gorges, and valleys, with small spring runs, traverse it in all directions, while the greater part of the surface is covered with a heavy growth of timber. There are prominent points along the inner line of defense from which artillery swept the outer works, while the entrenchments and rifle pits were disposed to enfilade and command the approaches effected by the broken surface.

Two crescent batteries are also erected near the summit of the river bluffs to assist in the landward defenses.

The water batteries are constructed at the base of the bluffs in the face of it, and in the gorges by which it is broken. The water battery proper consisted of ten guns, but was much injured in the late flood. A heavy columbiad was mounted in a casemated work constructed in a ravine higher up the river and above the level of the ten-gun battery. This work is destroyed by fire. To the left and higher up is a sunken battery of six heavy guns, and still higher up is a 10-inch columbiad occupying another ravine and sweeping over a large arc. On the river below the ten-gun battery, and constructed by excavation from the bluff at some elevation, is a bastioned work of six heavy guns in front and several flanks. In this is a 13-inch mortar, burst. Still higher up on the bluff are other columbiads, mounted mostly in works across ravines and in batteries of one and two guns.

Single guns (32-pounders) are also placed in position along the bluffs to as far as Fulton, 3 miles below the fort.

These works are constructed and disposed with great skill and with vast labor; but a fatal mistake had been made in the depression that could be given the guns in all save the water battery, since, in a moderate stage of the river, our boats could have hugged the shore and passed under their fire.

I will here mention that Colonel Fitch, commanding Forty-sixth Indiana Regiment, had constructed a road through swamps on the upper side of Cold Creek, where no such attempt seems to have been anticipated, and had made preparations for crossing the creek and entering there within the lines while the fleet should open fire in front. From thence he could easily have captured, by a rear attack, the crescent battery on the bluff above, after which the different river batteries would have been entirely exposed to his riflemen, firing from above and in rear. The movement was made in accordance with this plan, adopted and prepared for during several previous days, but the rebels had fled from the works during the night, burning everything in their power.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. L. PHELPS, Lieutenant, Commanding, and Acting Fleet Captain.

Flag-Officer CHAS. H. DAVIS, U. S. NAVY, Commanding (Pro tem.) Flotilla Western Waters.


Extracts from diary of Captain Davis, U. S. Navy, commanding Western Flotilla, pro tem., May 13 to 31, 1862.

May 11, [1862].-The enemy came up yesterday in very gallant style; the vessels were commanded by spirited fellows, who had evidently made up their minds to take it at the closest quarters and in the roughest way. We had scouts out yesterday, and we find that they are hard at work repairing damages, though only six of their gunboats were in sight. These gunboats of the rebels were built, I believe, by individual subscriptions; and Colonel Fitch, the military commander here, had in his hands day before yesterday two numbers of a Memphis paper in Which the severest comments were made upon the inefficiency of their commanders. Colonel Fitch said, when he told me of it, that he thought they would be stimulated to some effort of a desperate nature.

It is evident that the public opinion, such as it may be, demands some effort, some display of earnestness and determination, on the part of these people, who have collected a force without, at first, any apparent purpose of using it. I have no doubt we shall have another fight soon if our gunboats do not come up the river, or if Corinth and Memphis do not fall.

If the Cincinnati and Mound City were not so completely crippled, Colonel Fitch and I would be already engaged in the execution of a plan for reducing Fort Pillow, of which he is the author, and which I found on the tapis when I came out. As it is we must wait for several days.

May 21, [1862].-General Quinby came down last evening with reinforcements, and last night we had a council of war. According to the best information, they (the rebels) have very few people now at Fort Pillow. The story is that they have gone down to Randolph....Their gunboats are not in their usual anchorage. Our plot is a good plot. We require a little luck to carry it out successfully.

There are at Cairo and St. Louis, on the stocks and unfinished, vessels that would make us perfect masters of the river and everything in it. But they will not be finished till the war is over. Is not this truly provoking?

* * * *

I can not tell what damage I did to the rebel fleet. Two of their vessels dropped out of action, enveloped in steam and smoke, in the first fifteen minutes, and one appeared to sink as she rounded the point. The information given by the refugees (who are numerous) is that she was kept afloat twenty-four hours and then sank, and that we killed 108 of the rebels. This is the least estimate; others give more.

I am doing nothing just now. General Quinby, after reconnoitering the ground, came to the conclusion that he had not men enough to undertake the combined movement we had agreed upon, and he has gone back to wait for more. * * *

May 28, [1862].-A party of deserters from the fort came in day before yesterday and another yesterday. They agree in the number of troops, etc., and also in portraying the condition of the rebel soldiers as one of suffering from want of good and sufficient food, and of general disgust and discontent.....

May 29, [1862].-I have now an addition of five or six rams to the squadron, and the gunboats have received the protection of cypress logs and iron rails in their weakest parts. If I could get at them (the enemy's fleet), I should make the attack myself, and my own anxiety is now, not to avoid, but to renew the fight clear of the guns of Fort Pillow...

I am sending a steamer up the river to-day to pick up the poor refugees, who stand on the banks begging our mail boats to take them on board with their families. * * *

May 31, [1862].--Fort Pillow has neither been evacuated nor reinforced. We know its status pretty well from day to day (the deserters are frequent), and to-day is the first time we have had any intimation of a movement looking toward evacuation, and to-day we receive intelligence, which we think reliable, of the evacuation of Corinth. Our scouts are always on the alert.

Of one thing be assured, that, if ever I get near that rebel fleet again, I shall destroy it, unless they anticipate me themselves.

June 3, [1862].- * * * There has been a little skirmish between two scouting parties, in which a rebel officer was killed; and further, there have been some movements during the night and during the two previous days, indicating an intention on the art of the rebels to evacuate. * * * If General Quinby were here we would try to anticipate their movements.

June 5. [1862].-Colonel Fitch discovered several days ago a weak and assailable point by which he proposed to attack the enemy's works by land while I encountered the batteries in front. It was agreed between us that this should come off yesterday morning, but a foolish movement of Colonel Ellet prevented it in a way that could not have been foreseen. The movement was then to have been made this morning, as soon after daylight as possible. But the rebels retreated yesterday and last night, after, as usual, destroying everything. * * * These works are very extensive and very strong....

I am now lying under the batteries of Fort Pillow, waiting for Colonel Fitch to return from some examinations he is making. As soon as he comes back we will make our preparations for going down the river. I do not believe that there is any force at Randolph. If not, there is probably no interruption between here and Memphis, except, perhaps, the enemy's gunboats, and they would detain us but a short time.


Report of Brigadier-General Thompson, C. S. Army, regarding the operations of the enemy.

C. S. RIVER DEFENSE SERVICE, Gunboat General Bragg, Sunday, May 4, 1862--3 p. m.

GENERAL: We are patiently awaiting the turn of events, and do not see much prospect for a fight at the present time. The enemy have changed their position since I came here, and keep their gunboats on each side of the river in a position to command a long stretch, where we can not reach them without being under a cross fire for from forty to fifty minutes. They have twelve mortar boats, but never have more in position than two, which fire at irregular periods during the day, but are towed away each night. We have eight boats of the river-defense fleet here. The navy boats are dismounting their guns. We are doing a good service by keeping the enemy at a distance from Fort Pillow, but I have not the confidence in the fleet which I was led to expect by the representations made me. The majority of these boats are not fast enough to catch a retreating boat, but any that may pass Fort Pillow are at our mercy, and should any of their boats be imprudent enough to lie at the point they occupied when we came here, we can sink them with our three fast boats. We will wait and watch and hope.

Yours, most respectfully,

M. JEFF THOMPSON, Brigadier-General, Missouri State Guard Commanding Marines and Gunners.

Major-General G. T. BEAUREGARD, C. S. Army, Corinth, Miss.


Already answered as follows: "Hope ere long you will be able to test with success the efficiency of your boats, which are now the last hope of closing the river to the enemy's gunboats. Should you not have speed enough against the boats upstream, I hope you will be able to destroy those of the enemy reported to be coming up from New Orleans.


Navy OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pp.4 54.

            13, Reconnaissance on Purdy Road (near Adamsville) [see March 31, 1862 above]

            13,Colonel Pope's triumphal entry into Shelbyville

Union Feeling in Tennessee.—An officer of Col. Pope's Fifteenth Kentucky Regiment, writing to his brother in this city and describing its entrance into the town of Shelbyville, Bedford county, Tenn., gives the following glowing and cheering account of the loyalty of the inhabitants.—Louisville Journal.

They came out in showers to welcome us, and the ladies waved their handkerchiefs and flags to such a degree that it set us all wild. Such shouts and huzzas you never heard. As we drew near Shelbyville it was raining pitchforks, but that made no difference; some of the ladies came out in the rain, to the fences, and waved their handkerchiefs and cheered us. And the men—you ought to have seen them. The rain was coming down in torrents, and they had kept their hats close down to keep it from running down their necks, but when they saw the flags they had to pull off their hats, rain or no rain, wave them, and yell as loud as possible. Lieut. Col Jouett had his hat off so long and got his head so wet that the hair commenced sprouting on top of it! Then when we got into camp, it seemed as if they could not do enough for us. They sent us all sorts of things."

Nashville Daily Union, April 13, 1862. [4]

            13, Combined Navy and Army Destruction of the Charleston & Memphis Railroad Bridge at Bear Creek

Destruction of railroad bridge over Bear Creek, Tennessee River, April 13, 1862.

Report of Lieutenant Gwin, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. S. Tyler.


Pittsburg, Tenn., April 14, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor to inform you that the Tyler and Lexington convoyed two transports, containing 2,000 troops, infantry and cavalry, under the command of General Sherman, to Chickasaw, Ala., where they disembarked and proceeded rapidly to Bear Creek Bridge, the crossing of Memphis and Charleston Railroad, for the purpose of destroying it and as much of trestlework as they could find.

I am happy to state that the expedition was entirely successful. The bridge, consisting of two spans, 110 feet each, was completely destroyed (i.e., superstructure), together with some 510 feet of trestlework and half mile of telegraph line.

The rebels made a feeble resistance to our cavalry, 120 in number, but soon made a hasty retreat, losing 4 killed; our loss none.

I regret to state that in firing a salute on the 12th, John D. Seymore, boatswain's mate, was so much injured by the premature discharge of a gun as to cause his death yesterday morning.

Allow me to congratulate you and those under your command on your great success at Island No. 10.

Enclosed I send you Lieutenant Commanding Shirk's report.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant, Commanding Division of Gunboats

on Tennessee River.

Flag-Officer A. H. FOOTE,

Commanding Naval Forces on Western Waters

NOR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pp. 22-23.

            12, Skirmish at Stewartsborough

APRIL 12, 1863,-Skirmish at Stewartsborough, Tenn.

Report of Col. William W. Lowe, Fifth Iowa Cavalry.

FORT DONELSON, April 13, 1863.

Yesterday one company of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry, Capt. [D. A.] Waters, of Maj. Garrid's [?] command (now out seizing horses), had a highly successful engagement with rebels, completely routing them, killing and wounding several, capturing 17 prisoners and 25 horses, besides arms, &c. Among the prisoners are Maj. Blanton, Capt. Lealer, of Cox's regiment, and the adjutant and surgeon of Owen's battalion. This Blanton is the same who was captured during the winter by one of my scouting parties, and made his escape somewhere north of Cairo.

W. W. LOWE, Col., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, p. 239.

            12, Confederate attack on a train near Franklin [see April 10, 1863, Confederate attack on a train near Hermitage on Cumberland River above]

            12, Federal suppression of the press in Memphis

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 68., HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., April 12, 1863.

* * * *

V. In pursuance of orders this day received from the major-general commanding department it is ordered that Lieut. Col. M. Smith, provost-marshal, fortheith cause the entire press of the City of Memphis to be suppressed. He will take possession of the officers and material thereunto belonging, leaving the same in safe custody, not to be used without orders from these headquarters.

The editors of the Bulletin newspaper, Messrs. Hough and Nabors, will be immediately arrested and sent under guard to the headquarters of the commanding general by the first boat.

By order of Maj. Gen. S. A. Hurblut:

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 5, p. 476.

            12, Report on Confederate cavalry activity in "the Peninsula," from Liberty to Lebanon

No circumstantial reports filed.

MURFREESBOROUGH, TENN., April 12, 1863--11 p. m.

Maj. Gen. H. W. HALLECK, Gen.-in-Chief:

The enemy's cavalry has returned in force into the Peninsula, from Liberty to Lebanon. Gen. Burnside had better send down toward Tompkinsville a couple of brigades, one of which, occupying Carthage, would give us two for advance toward McMinnville. We only want our battery and cavalry horses, and the return of our spare baggage, and we shall be ready to move; but I regard it as a matter of great importance, if it can possibly be done, to send an expedition up the Tennessee, making their first depot at Eastport, their second at Tuscumbia. I have concerted with Hurlbut an expedition on Tuscumbia, and to cut the Georgia Railroad. Sent 1,900 picked men. If this succeeds, rebels must be driven into Georgia. River low and falling; weather fair.

W. S. ROSECRANS, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 232.

            12, Major-General Gordon Granger's proposes strategy to combat Confederate Major-General Van Dorn

FRANKLIN, April 12, 1863.


My opinion is that if we move on Van Dorn with force enough to crush him, he will scatter and run. If he has the stronger force and position, and is sure of beating us, it is no use to drive him across Duck River, unless we have sufficient force on this flank to keep him there; otherwise he will return to near our front, wherever that may be. This point is quite as far from our base as it is safe to push troops, considering our communication with the base and center. You do not seem to understand why it is so difficult to surprise and crush Van Dorn. In the first place, he keeps every road and lane and hill-top for miles picketed; the country people are his friends and are always ready to give information. His policy is to fight when he is sure to win, and always run when his success is doubtful. The nature of his troops, being mounted, without baggage or transportation, enables him to do this with great facility; besides, a portion of his troops were [raised] here, and know every road and by path. If my force here had always been sufficiently large to cope with and beat Van Dorn, he never could have gained any advantage over us; but the truth is, I have been kept here with a force about one-half as large as his, of new and inferior troops, working night and day on fortifications and doing arduous guard duty. When it becomes necessary to punish or move against Van Dorn we are compelled to bring troops from distant points, which, of course, becomes at once known to him. He holds himself in readiness to run, and the golden opportunity is lost before they arrive. In case we move against Van Dorn, and he gives us battle, I can defeat him. I think it will amply pay for the needful movements and risk. I am extremely anxious to whip Van Dorn, and settle up accounts with him contracted at Thompson's Station and Brentwood.

G. GRANGER, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, pp. 232-233.

            12, GENERAL ORDERS, No. 78, relative to tent allowance for the Army of the Cumberland while in active field service


Murfreesborough, Tenn., April 12, 1863.

The following allowance of tents is prescribed for the troops of this army, in active service in the field:

For the headquarters of an army corps, division, or brigade, one wall tent for the commanding general, and one for every two officers of his staff; for the field and staff officers of every regiment, three wall tents; for the sick of every regiment, one hospital tent; for regimental hospital stores, one wall tent; for every company of infantry and cavalry, one wall tent; for every battery of artillery, two wall tents; for every commissioned line officer, one shelter tent; for every two non-commissioned officers, soldiers, officers' servants, and authorized camp followers, one shelter tent.

There will be allowed for office purpose-for the headquarters of an army corps, one hospital and four wall tents; for the headquarters of a division, four wall tents; for the headquarters of a brigade, three wall tents.

Where regiments are supplied with other than wall tents, the allowance prescribed by this order for companies and for hospital stores will be retained from the tents belonging to the regiment.

The allowance of tents to companies and batteries is prescribed, in order to provide a place in which the company books and papers may be properly kept. Cmdg. officers will, therefore, see that these tents are not used for any purpose which will interfere with that contemplated in these orders.

All the tentage of this army, in excess of this allowance, will be immediately packed and made ready for storage. Each tent will be plainly marked with the name of the regiment to which it belongs, and packed in such a manner that the mark can be readily seen.

By command of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 234.

            12, Major General W. S. Rosecrans' bad news for Andrew Johnson about his son Robert

Murfreesboro, Apl 12th 1863

Gov And. Johnson


Robert has been drinking so as to become a subject of remark everywhere. I sent for him told him I wanted him to stop and he promised me he would. If he keeps his word I will do all I can for him, but he is Junior to several other Colonels. It depends upon himself for he can distinguish himself if he will[.]

W. S. Rosecrans Maj Genl

Papers of Andrew Johnson, Vol. 6, p. 211.

            12, Brigadier General John Beatty's confession and word of warning to historians of the battle of Stones River

The historian who accepts these reports as reliable, and permits himself to be guided by them through all the windings of a five-days' battle, with the expectation of finally allotting to each one of forty brigades the proper credit, will probably not be successful. My report was called for late one evening, written hastily, without having before me the reports of my regimental commanders, and is incomplete, unsatisfactory to me, and unjust to my brigade.

Beatty, Citizen Soldier, p. 252.

            12, "Now Fannie Dear I will tell you of a scrape I got into which came very near costing me dear." Frank M. Guernsey's letter to Fannie

Memphis, Tennessee

Ap. 12th, 1863

[Dear Fannie,]

I have just returned from church and have a few leisure moments which I will devote to writing to you. We had the Episcopal form of service for the first time since our regiment was organized. It went off first rate for the first time, and I understand that our Chaplain proposes to use that form hereafter. I like it very much there is a good deal of solemnity about it and then the Chaplain dont [sic] have to preach so long sermons which I suppose makes it easier for him. The Col. just steped [sic] in and said that there was a man from Wis who was going to address the Regiment on some subject so I think I will close this for the present and finish after the speech. I will then give you a history of a scrape I got into last night and how it came out.

Monday eve [sic] Well [sic] the speech is made and a very good one it was too. He talked to the boys on the subject of religion, and related many little stories to the boys of what he had witnessed while going through the army as a colporter [sic], many of which brought tears to the eye of those who had endured the dangers of our campaign without the least particle of emotion. I tell you Fanny that when you talk even to us rough and hard hearted soldiers of the love and mercy of Jesus, how he suffered and died for man, there is a power in it that tells after he had finished speaking he distributed among the boys quite a large amount of Tracts and Books which were gladly received I assure you.

Now Fannie Dear I will tell you of a scrape I got into which came very near costing me dear. Night before last I together with Capt Hodges and Sergt. Tabor went down to the theatre to see the play entitled Jack Sheppard, we did not starte [sic] from camp until late so that the play had commenced when I got there the seats were nearly all taken so we three had to seperate [sic] and find seats where we could. I finally succeeded in getting a seat on the end of a seat next to the aisle the Capt. and Sergt. found seats about half way across the house from me. we [sic] were soon all very deeply interested in the play and enjoying it very much. I was watching the stage very earnestly when I was startled by the report of revolver very close to me and an officer sitting on the end of the seat directly opposite me fell over onto the floor, we were surrounded where we were sitting by citizens, some one of whome [sic] had shot this officer as I thought. I jumped to my feet and drew my revolver calculating to shoot the first person that I saw make a motion, this was rather indiscreet in me as when the whole audience humped to their feet to look and see what was the matter there I stood like a rock with my revolver in my hand ready to shoot the first man who said boo, or made a motion, this fastened the suspicion of the deed, on me and for a few moments I was looked upon as the murderer sure. it [sic] was supprising [sic] to see how quick nearly every man had a revolver in his hand ready to shoot poor Frank or any other man, but I never was more cool and collected in my life laying at my feet was an officer weltering in his gore, and turned on me was perhaps a thousand eyes flashing with anger just then Capt. Fox of Genl. Veatchs [sic] staff came up and enquired of me what the cause of the rowe [sic] was. I told him in as few words as possible all I knew of the matter and I suppose that my cool and collected manner disarmed him of all suspition [sic] he entertained in regard to me. He however said he should order me under arrest and detain me until morning as evidence, so the Sergt. of the guard was ordered to take me in custody and keep me in durance vile, until the next morning. I was kindly provided with a bed (by a fellow prisoner) on the floor in the morning I was breakfasted and upon a statement of the facts of my case to the officer of the day I was released unconditionally. on [sic] arriving at camp I found the camp very much excited as they had been informed by Capt. Hodges that I was arrested for murder, and was in the Irvin Block, (the military prison). the [sic] Col. was just going down town to see about my case when I went into his tent to report. he was very glad to see me safe and sound but I presume I have wearied your patience by this long yarn, so I will close, please give my best regards to your people and write soon, accept much love and a dozen kisses from

Yours Affectionately

Frank M. Guernsey

P.S. I have recovered my health and shall go on duty tomorrow.

Guernsey Collection.

            12, "He vowed I was the meanest girl he ever saw & he would not tell me anything else." An excerpt from the diary of Mary L. Pearre

It is so pleasant to retire to my room, that is to the sitting room. I sleep in there this winter. It makes no difference [in] these war times. We have so few gentleman visitors and when these few happen to stay all night, I put them upstairs above this room and retire to bedroom above Mags [sic] room.

I believe I started to say it was pleasant to sit here alone, to write, to read, or to think. Just as I choose, with no one to disturb me.

Bro. Bob came home for a few minutes last night. Is spending the night here tonight.

Will have to skidaddle [sic] by daylight. The "Yankees" are scouting around. Had another near Franklin on Friday. He escaped again. Thank God for his goodness to us in sparing him.

Mag, my dear kind sister, her health I fear is gone. She has a chill every day now, is quite sick tonight, has such a violent headache. I am really uneasy about her. Her poor pale face and wasted form haunt me, even in my dreams. She is the best friend I have. More like a Mother than a sister in her tender kindness toward me, her only but wilfull [sic] and at times perverse sister.

I dare not think of the future if she were taken.

I will change this theme or tears will flow. I am so far from well myself. Yet I sit up here of nights, sometimes until midnight. I cant [sic] sleep. If I do, am seeing unpleasant visions or lie there half asleep, thinking vaguely of everything.

Sometimes, I fear I will go mad. I do very well during the day at school eight hours and the rest of the time busy sewing, nursing, feeding the chickens, or putting the house in order.

I lead a tolerable busy life. Arise at five or five thirty. Make up my bed, sweep the room, dust the furniture, make my bed, bathe Bobby, and get him ready for breakfast. Sometime set the table for Lottie. After breakfast, sew until 7:30, then eight hours at school.

Then come home am generally occupied or other until supper. After we have eaten, spend an hour or two with Dotts, Mag & Mat & then steal off to her. Brother Dotts often comes in and chats or read for an hour or so.

I have made but two visits in six weeks. Have no desire to go.

Bob Cotton called tonight. Had supper and stayed for an hour afterwards. Suspect he came to spend the night but found Bro. Bob here &changed his mind, for he knows Bro. Bob does not like him. He says Bob C. is a liar & a hypocrite. Perhaps so. I know he is too fond of talking. He and I got into a dispute tonight and I told him he talked too much. He said half justingly [sic]. Confound you Mary! You are always lecturing me and telling me my faults.

After a while we got upon another subject in which he paid me some compliments. I have forgotten what. At which I pretended to be angry and retorted with, ["]I dont [sic] thank you sir. I will not stand being 'confounded' and flattered all together.["]

He jestingly reached his pistol towards me saying ["]here, take this and blow my brains out if you wish – I coldly extended my hand to take it. He drew it back saying, ["]I dont [sic] like the expression of your eyes. I believe you would as lief[5] shot as not.["] I told him yes, just for the sake of a new sensation, etc.

Yet after all his confidence and our long-long head and heart confabulations, we are scarcely friends. I told him so tonight & that our intimacy was a mere pretense and pastime.

He vowed I was the meanest girl he ever saw & he would not tell me anything else. I told him I did not care what he thought of me. He could hate me if he chose, ect. [sic] ect [sic] He went off laughing.

Mary Pearre Diary

            13, Three Federal regiments sent to Rome to protect U. S. shipping on the Cumberland River [see April 13-15, 1863 U. S. forces protect boats on Tennessee River below]

            13, Skirmish near Chapel Hill

APRIL 13, 1863--Skirmish near Chapel Hill, Tenn.

Report of Brig. Gen. James B. Steedman, U. S. Army.


COL.: The enemy have been remarkably reserved for the past four days. Two companies of my cavalry, under the command of Lieut.-Col. [J. P.] Brownlow, went on the 13th within 2 miles of Chapel Hill, and attacked a forage train of the enemy, killing 1 of the rebels and dispersing the guard; but before they succeeded in destroying the train, the approach of a body of the enemy's cavalry forced them to retire.

The whole force of the enemy at Chapel Hill is one regiment of cavalry ([Josiah] Patterson's). There is a brigade of cavalry at Rover, under the command of Col. [A. A.] Russell.

Van Dorn is quiet at Spring Hill, with his force.

In the destruction of property, under the order of Maj.-Gen. Stanley to his command to burn the houses of all citizens who have sons or near relatives in the Confederate service, a large amount of forage was burned. On one plantation (John E. Tulles'), a large barn, full of hay and oats, sufficient to have loaded 25 wagons, was burned. I sent a train yesterday for the forage, and the officer in charge, Maj. Boynton, Thirty-fifth Ohio Volunteers, reports to me that the barn and contents were destroyed. The major also reports to me that on several other farms the forage had been burned by Gen. Stanley's cavalry. I do not suppose that Gen. Stanley knew anything about the destruction of the forage, or that he would have permitted it had he known that it was being done.

Everything is going on smoothly. My command is in excellent condition and spirits.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

JAMES B. STEEDMAN, Brig.-Gen., Cmdg. Third Division.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. I, pp. 239-240.

            13, Retaliatory actions against guerrillas and supporters, Franklin to Murfreesborough

No circumstantial reports filed.

FRANKLIN, April 13, 1863--8 a. m.


My troops are on the way back, by the direct road. I have given them orders to retaliate for the attack on the train [at Antioch on the 10th]. I intend to burn down every house that has a rebel member in Dick McCann's force. Will be at Murfreesborough to-night.

D. S. STANLEY, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 236.

            13, Plea to Confederate Secretary of War for release of prisoner of war from Maury County

COLUMBIA, TENN., April 13, 1863.

Hon. JAMES A. SEDDON, Secretary of War.

DEAR SIR: Under ordinary circumstances I would not intrude upon your valuable time, but I am constrained from a sense of duty to ask your attention to a few words in relation to a worthy citizen, a neighbor of mine. To be brief, Dr. Joseph E. Dixon, a citizen of Maury County, Tenn., was taken prisoner at Donelson and was released, being surgeon. He returned to his home in this country then in the enemy's lines, reported himself to Gen. Negley, in command of the Federal forces, and in some fifteen or twenty days Gen. Negley gave him a pass to go to Richmond and Doctor Dixon went via Huntsville, Ala. There he reported himself to Gen. Buell and received a pass to Decatur, but when next morning it was reported that fighting was going on in the neighborhood of Decatur and he called to have his route changed and Gen. Buell being out, Gen. Rousseau gave him a pass to go by way of Battle Creek to Chattanooga. With this pass he arrived upon Battle Creek and unfortunately for him a battle was expected there and Gen. McCook, in command of the Federals, complained to Gen. Buell of Gen. Rousseau for granting said pass and Gen. Buell him arrested and sent to Johnson's Island, where he has been confined ever since, now seven or eight months. I have the facts upon reliable information. Doctor Dixon was surgeon of the Ninth Battalion of Tennessee Cavalry, commanded by Lieut.-Col. Gantt. He was released as a surgeon while his battalion was still in prison and was on his way to report to his Government and with the pass of the Federal general in his possession. There have been several general jail deliveries since his imprisonment but he seems to be forgotten. His wife and family and friends are in deep distress. I beg leave to suggest for your consideration that you make a special demand for his case and if possible that you have him released.

With my best wishes for your official and personal success, I am, your friend,


[First indorsement.]

Is not this the case in reference to which Mr. Ould made a report to the Secretary of War?

[Second indorsement.]

APRIL 28, 1863.

Respectfully referred to Hon. R. Ould.

By order of the Secretary of War:

J. A. CAMPBELL, Assistant Secretary of War.

[Third indorsement.]

OFFICE EXCHANGE OF PRISONERS, Richmond, Va., April 30, 1863.

Respectfully returned.

The case of Surg. J. E. Dixon will receive special attention. I have already made a report to the Secretary of War in this case.

RO. OULD, Agent of Exchange.

[Fourth indormsent.]

Answer that the special attention of Col. Ould, agent, &c., has been directed to the case of Surgeon Dixon.

OR, Ser. II, Vol. 5, pp. 927-928.

            13, Letter from Lafayette McDowell in the Army of Tennessee at Tullahoma to his sister Amanda in White County, relating conditions in the army

Tullahoma, Tennessee

April 13, 1863

Dear Sister:

I send a letter every chance but received nothing from you. Polly Morris says she will go to see you and take this letter, and I know of another she will have to take. Tell Pollie Stone so if you see her.

I suppose Mrs. Camron had heard that we were all starving to death. You never saw such a load of provisions in your life as they all brought down. I live well enough these times. I have wished many times I had not written for anything and should not have done so only that Mr. Shugart told me you had more four than you had any use for and I have to buy here. If Mr. Shugart comes down, you can send the flour at least and anything else you please but don't send anything that will spoil. All the people are sending provisions which they always do when we are starved. We will fight here before long, which may cause us to move, but I believe it will be forward. I do not calculate a hard battle for our regt. [sic] this time. As we had the hardest place before, we are apt to have the easiest this time.

I do not feel very uneasy for us this time. But of one thing you may be sure, if the Yankees are able to hold us half a fight, it will be the greatest battle ever fought in the south [sic], for this army in its present condition could fight three times the force we fought at Murfreesboro as easy as we fought them there. I never saw an army in such trim. The Gens. may easily say we are ready for a fight.

I shall as much as possible keep my business so arranged as to place what I am able to own at your disposal in case of accident. If the time should come that you should have to live without me, remember that raising your support on a very small scale is worth more than all the wages you can ever earn. The main object is [to] live during the war, which you easily do by raising all you can this summer with he start you have. I shall not make money hereafter (unless I am promoted). As for an honest watch or horse trade now and then as I used to make, I acknowledge rascally speculators have shamed me out of countenance. None but a rascal can trade to any advantage here. So I give up the chase. I want to hear from Father to know what he has done with the money I left at home and that I sent by Mr. Shugart. In my last I spoke of being out of money, but I now have more, having collected some I had loaned. Uncle Jeff owes me $200 yet, which I can get when Capt. Dibrell comes back; at the end of this month, if I have luck, I shall have $300 to dispose of some way. It will take $100 for my expenses until my next draw, I mean from the time of this one at the end of this month, or at least I shall retain that amount in my pocket. With the rest I desire to pay what may remain unpaid of Father's debts. What is then left I desire to spend for valuable property at even high expense

Diary of Amanda McDowell.

            13-15, U. S. forces protect boats on Tennessee River

CARTHAGE, TENN., April 15, 1863.


Chief of Staff, Army of the Cumberland, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:

I sent three regiments to Rome day before yesterday to protect the boats by that point. They returned by way of Middleton yesterday morning. They came upon the enemy there in force; skirmishing ensued without much result on either side.

* * * *

I have a secret expedition between here and Gallatin. I have but one boat (Fisher) here. I cannot send it to Nashville until some boat takes its place. The river is rising, and probably this will be the last opportunity to get supplies here by water. My requisitions for the necessary supplies have been sent. Will there be any cavalry here soon? When will the gunboats be sent here? We need them.



OR, Ser. I, Vol. 23, pt. II, p. 240.

            12, Skirmish at Pleasant Hill Landing

No circumstantial reports filed.

            12, Orders to reinforce Fort Pillow

HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., April 12, 1864--7 p. m.

GEN.: You will send with all possible dispatch a good regiment, with four days' rations and full supply of ammunition, to re-enforce Fort Pillow. They will embark at the earliest moment on the steamer Glendale, or such other boat as may be furnished by the quartermaster's department.

Promptness is all important.

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF MEMPHIS, Memphis, Tenn., April 12, 1864.


SIR: You will send with all possible dispatch the Fifty-fifth United States [colored], with four days' rations, or as much as they can carry in their haversacks, to re-enforce Fort Pillow. The men will take 40 rounds of ammunition in cartridge-boxes, and you will send 100 rounds extra on wagons to the boat. They will embark at the earliest moment on the steamer Glendale, or such other boat as may be furnished by quartermaster's department. Promptness is all important.

By order of Brig.-Gen. Buckland:

ALF. G. TUTHER, Capt. and Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 336-337.

            12, Capture of Fort Pillow[6]

JACKSON, TENN., April 15, 1864.

GEN.: I attacked Fort Pillow on the morning of the 12th instant with a part of Bell's and McCulloch's brigades, numbering 1,500, under Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers. After a short fight drove the enemy, 700 strong, into the fort under the cover of their gun-boats. Demanded a surrender, which was declined by Maj. L. F. Booth, commanding U. S. forces. I stormed the fort, and after a contest of thirty minutes captured the entire garrison, killing 500 and taking 200 horses and a large amount of quartermaster's stores. The officers in the fort were killed, including Maj. Booth. I sustained a loss of 20 killed and 60 wounded. Among the wounded is the gallant Lieut. Col. Wiley M. Reed while leading the Fifth Mississippi. Over 100 citizens who had fled to the fort to escape conscription ran into the river and were drowned. The Confederate flag now floats over the fort.

N. B. FORREST, Maj.-Gen.

HDQRS. FORREST'S CAVALRY, Jackson, Tenn., April 15, 1864.


* * * *

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 [sic] 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.

* * * *

I am, colonel, with respect, your obedient servant,

N. B. FORREST, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 609-611.


Another source indicates that a massacre took place at Fort Pillow. A letter by Sergeant Achilles V. Clark, a member the Twentieth (Russell's) Tennessee Cavalry of Forrest's cavalry and participant in the battle, written to his sisters just two days after the battle gives a believable account of the massacre:


"The slaughter was awful....Their fort turned out to be a great slaughter pen....human blood stood about in pools and brains could have been gathered up in any quantity. I with several other tried to stop the butchery, and at one time had partially succeed, but Gen. Forrest ordered them shot down like dogs, and the carnage continued. Finally our men became sick of blood and the firing ceased."

Jones, Every Day In Tennessee History.[7]


Another letter, from Dr. S. H. Caldwell at camp near Brownsville, to his wife, Mrs. S. H. Caldwell, spoke about the fight and consequent massacre:

Camp Near Brownsville, April 15, 1864.

My Dear Darling Wife:

We are ordered to Alabama some where [sic] in the neighborhood of Tuscaloosa. Am very much surprised at the order but must obey-I suppose the Yanks are making a raid into that State & we are to check it-

We are just [back] from Fort Pillow which fort we attacked on Tuesday the 13th. 1864[8] &carried by storm. It was garrisoned by 400 white men & 400 negroes [sic] & out of the 800 only 168 are now living.[9] So you can now guess how terrible was the slaughter. It was decidedly the most horrible sight that I have ever witnessed-

They refused to surrender-which increased [sic] our men & if General Forrest had not have run between our men & the Yanks & his Pistol and sabre [sic] drawn not a man would have been spared-we took about a hundred & 25 white men & about 45 negroes [sic] the rest of the 800 are numbered with the dead-they sure heaped upon each other 3 days-[10]

After the fight they commenced to plunder the town[.][11]The men fire[d] new new [sic] stores full of goods[.] I got nothin [sic] except what the boys brave me which was a new hat-a pair of the finest boots you ever saw-a pair of pants-2 shirts-2 ladies collars & 2 pair of shoes too large for anybody & 2 bolts of seailand [sic] domestic all of which I thought I would send home to you. But this order knocks it all in the head. Will have to give them all away for my horses can't possibly pack them-Am very much disappointed at not being able to send them home particualrerly [sic] the domestic. Chap[12] is dressed as fine as any man you ever saw -- says that he believes he will like the army a great deal better than he thought he would-Has new boots and new hats and new coats & breeches & is perfectly delighted-He says to tell Sythe that he thinks a great deal of her and that she must not marry until he comes home -- sends his love to all at home & is better satisfied than he has ever been. I think that our loss in killed & wounded will not amount to over 80 or 90 -- the loss of Bells Brig. is 37-five killed & 32 wounded-among the killed was Rueben Burrow-a son of Uncle Reuben. A better soldier never lived or died. He died on the parapet of the fort-was prepared to die & expressed a perfect willingness to leave this world-I would give worlds if I owned them-not a soldier who know him but wepted [sic] at the sad news of his death-I am writing by candle light and my eyes are so sore that it was nearly impossible for me to see the paper much less the lines. Tell Wayne that I have got his pistol that he lost at Okalona & will deliver it to him when he brings my mare & not before.

Nothing more but to remain your devoted husband,

S. H. Caldwell

W. P. A. Civil War Records, Vol. 4, p. 61.

An excerpt from the account of Dr. Charles Fitch, a surgeon with the U. S. Army at Fort Pillow likewise indicates a massacre took place. According to Dr. Fitch:


....every man seemed to be crying for Quarters[,] the Rebs [sic] paying no attention to their cries except to reply if you Damn scoundrels surrender, fall into line, there were over 20 who fell into one line, near the edge of the River, when there was a volley fired into them bringing them all down but two, these men were all holding up their hands pleading for quarters. I has started to get into this line, and was within fifteen or twenty feet of the lower end of the line, when they were fired into, The [sic] two that were not killed swam out into Coal Creek, and got behind a log, there were several shots fired at them behind the log, killing one of them, the other one remained there until 9 o['clock] when he came out, he was my steward[.] his name is George, he belongs to the 7th Kansas Cavalry, he and myself were standing together among the wounded soldiers, they were encircled, as it were, with red flags stationed around them[.] I think they were all killed except two, the most of them were chopped to pieced with Sabres; the two there [who] were not killed belonged to the 6th U. S. Heavy Artillery A.D., one was a Captain[,] the other was a Lieut. I do not know their names. I saw them on the 13th among the Prisoners in the Rebel Camp and shook hands with them, the Captain was wounded on the side of his head, a scalp wound, the Lieut. had a severe wound in his left fore arm. I formed lock step with a Rebel Soldier who was leading a horse up the Bluff. I inquired who was in command? a soldier replied Genl[.] Forrest. I asked where is he? he pointed to Forrest saying that is him sighting the Parrot Gun on the Gun boat, the breech of the gun was not over forty feet from me. I sprang instantly to Forrest addressing him, are you Genl. Forrest? He replied yes sir, What do you want? I told him I was the Surgeon of the Post, and asked protection from him that was due a prisoner. He said, you are Surgeon of a Damn Nigger Regiment. I replied, I was not. You are a Damn Tenn. Yankee then. I told him I was from Iowa. Forrest said what in hell are you doing down here for? I have a great mind to have you killed for being down here. He then said if the North west had staid at home the war would have been over long ago, then turning to a Soldier told him to take charge of me and see that I was not harmed. For which I thanked him. I was taken to the south side of the Breast works, where I was guarded until about 10 Oclock [sic] P.M. while here I saw them kill every negro that made his appearance dressed in Federal uniform. I had not been blessed with a Guard but a few moments, before White soldiers as they gained the bluff, and seeing a Guard with me, rushed to him claiming protection[.] In a short time there was a Guard detailed under the command of a Lieut. and placed over us. It was but a short time before some drunken Rebel soldiers came up and fired in among the Prisoners with their Revolvers, wounding some four or five. General Chalmers riding up and seeing such conduct, ordered a strong Guard, the Guard to be mounted in double file, forming a hollow square around us, after which we were not molested. About 5 Oclock [sic] the Rebs [sic] commenced burying our dead, and continued until near 10 Oclock [sic] in the night. The dead were placed mostly in the Entrenchments on the south side of the Breastworks. Major Booth [the slain commander of the fort] and some of the other Officers were buried in separate graves, close up to the Entrenchment. I saw them place Major Booth in the grave. A Rebel soldier had taken off his uniform, and was parading around with it on....About 10 Oclock [sic] P.M. the Prisoners we[re] marched out, East from the River some three miles. We passed close by the Hospitals, they were still standing. On arriving in Camp the Rebs [sic] built good fires for us and gave us plenty to eat. On the morning of the 13th about sunrise the brought us our breakfasts, after we had eaten it, we were formed into line, and our names token. There were 101 prioress....twenty...wounded....

Dr. Fitch's Report on the Fort Pillow Massacre[13]The January 1, 1865 account of the battle from the point of view of one of the defenders of Fort Pillow, Lieutenant and Adjutant of the 14th Tennessee Cavalry, Mack J. Leaming told how:


Hardly a nucleus of the command remained after the vengeance of the rebel soldiery had been wreaked upon the brave but overpowered defenders of our flag. For ten long hours they held out against overwhelming numbers of the enemy, all the while sending death and destruction into their ranks, and repelling with terrible slaughter their repeated charges. With every temporary advantage thus obtained, cheer after cheer was sent up by the brave 'boys in blue' as they beheld with infinite delight the rebel horde recoiling in confusion before their well directed fire. Finally, at about four o'clock, the enemy through a violation of his flag of truce, succeeded in overpowering the garrison and compelling it to surrender. Up to this juncture only three of our officer who participated in the fight had fallen, but after the blood-thirsty barbarity of the rebels had been dealt out to their unarmed and helpless prisoners, only three of our officers were found to be alive....

* * * *

Report of the Adjutant General, pp. 646-647.


Evidently Forrest was very sensitive about the massacre at Fort Pillow, and even more worried about the reported determination of Negro troops to never again surrender to Confederates. The following excerpts from correspondence between Major-General Cadwallader C. Washburn, U. S. Army, and Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest, C S. Army, regarding Negro troops and the debacle at Fort Pillow.

HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Memphis, Tenn., June 20, 1864.

Col. E. D. TOWNSEND, Asst. Adjt. Gen., U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:

COL.: I have the honor to inclose copies of correspondence between Maj.-Gen. Forrest and myself. As it pertains to the treatment of colored troops, I beg to request that the attention of the Secretary of War be specially called to it.

It gives me pleasure to state that the conduct of the colored troops on the occasion of the late fight was of the most gallant character.

I am, colonel, your obedient servant,

C. C. WASHBURN, Maj.-Gen.

[Inclosure No. 1]

HDQRS. FORREST'S CAVALRY, In the Field, June 14, 1864.

[Maj. Gen. C. C. WASHBURN:]


* * * *

There is a matter also to which I desire to call your attention....It has been reported to me that all the negro troops stationed in Memphis took an oath on their knees, in the presence of Maj.-Gen. Hurlbut and other officers of your army, to avenge Fort Pillow, and that they would show my troops no quarter.

* * * *

In all my operations since the war began I have conducted the war on civilized principles, and desire still to do so, but it is due to my command that they should know the position they occupy and the policy you intend to pursue. I therefore respectfully ask whether my men now in your hands are treated as other Confederate prisoners; also, the course intended to be pursued in regard to those who may thereafter fall into your hands.

* * * *

N. B. FORREST, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 587-588.



Memphis, Tenn., June 19, 1864. Maj. Gen. N. B. FORREST,

Cmdg. Confederate Forces:


* * * *

You say in your letter that it has been reported to you "that all the negro troops stationed at Memphis took an oath on their knees, in the presence of Maj.-Gen. Hurlbut and other officers of our army, to avenge Fort Pillow, and that they would show your troops no quarter." I believe that it is true that the colored troops did take such an oath, but not in the presence of Gen. Hurlbut. From what I can learn, this act of theirs was not influenced by any white officer, but was the result of their own sense of what was due to themselves and their follows, who had been mercilessly slaughtered...

* * * *

I am left in doubt by your letter as to the course you and the Confederate Government intend to pursue hereafter in regard to colored troops, and I beg you to advise me with as little delay as possible as to your intention....If you intend to treat such of them as fall into your hands as prisoners of war, please so state. If you do not so intend, but contemplate either their slaughter or their return to slavery, please state that, so that we may have no misunderstanding hereafter. If the former is your intention, I shall receive the announcement with pleasure, and shall explain the fact to the colored troops at once, and desire that they recall the oath that they have taken. If the latter is the case, then let the oath stand, and upon those who have aroused this spirit by their atrocities, and upon the Government and the people who sanction it, be the consequences.

* * * *

C. C. WASHBURN, Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 588-589.


HDQRS. FORREST'S CAVALRY, Tupelo, June 25 [23], 1864.

Maj. Gen. C. C. WASHBURN, Cmdg. U. S. Forces, Memphis:


* * * *

I regard your letter as discourteous to the commanding officer of this department, and grossly insulting to myself. You seek by implied threats to intimidate him, and assume the privilege of denouncing me as a murderer and as guilty of the wholesale slaughter of the garrison at Fort Pillow, and found your assertions upon the ex parte testimony of your fiends, the enemies of myself and country.

I shall not enter into the discussion, therefore, of any of the questions involved...

* * * *

I regard captured negroes [sic] as I do other captured property and not as captured soldiers, but as to how regarded by my Government and the disposition which has been and will hereafter be made of them, I respectfully refer you through the proper channel to the authorities at Richmond [sic] It is not the policy nor the interest of the South to destroy the negro-on the contrary, to preserve and protect him-and all who have surrendered to us have received kind and humane treatment.

Since the war began I have captured many thousand Federal prisoners, and they, including the survivors of the Fort Pillow massacre (black and white), are living witnesses of the fact that with my knowledge or consent, or by my order, not one of them has ever been insulted or in any way maltreated.

* * * *

N. B. FORREST, Maj.-Gen.

HDQRS. FORREST'S CAVALRY, In the Field, June 23, 1864.

Maj. Gen. C. C. WASHBURN, Cmdg. U. S. Forces, Memphis, Tenn.:


* * * *

....You ask me to state whether "I contemplate either their slaughter or their return to slavery." I answer that I slaughter no man except in open warfare, and that my prisoners, both white and black, are turned over to my Government to be dealt with as it may direct. My Government is in possession of all the facts as regards my Official conduct and the operations of my command since I entered the service, and if you desire a proper discussion and decision, I refer you again to the President of the Confederate States.

* * * *

....The negroes [sic] have our sympathy, and so far as consistent with safety [we] will spare them at the expense of those who are alone responsible for the inauguration of a worse than savage warfare.

Now, in conclusion, I demand a plain, unqualified answer to two questions, and then I have done with further correspondence with you on this subject. This matter must be settled. In battle and on the battle-field, do you intend to slaughter my men who fall into your hands?

* * * *

N. B. FORREST, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 590-593.[14]


One witnesses[15] testimony is included here:

CAIRO, ILL., April 23, 1864.

Elois Bevel, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

I am a citizen of Osceola, Ark. I was driven from my home by guerrillas. I arrived at Fort Pillow, Tenn., on the night of the 11th of April, 1864. I was at Fort Pillow during the engagement between the rebel forces under Forrest and Chalmers and the United States garrison at that place on the 12th of April instant, 1864. About sunup the alarm of rebels being in the fort was received at Maj. Booth's headquarters. I took a position where I could see all that was done by the rebel and United States forces. Deponent further saith: I saw the contraband camps in flames at different points; could see the skirmishers of the rebels. Signals were given by Capt. Bradford to Capt. Marshall, of the Navy, commanding gun-boat No. 1, which was in sight of the fort which was done by Capt. Marshall. About one hour after sunrise brisk skirmishing began. The bullets from rebel infantry caused me to move from where I was and take position behind a large stump near the fort where. I could better see the rebels who swarmed the bluff. The rebels were here so near the gun-boat that the crew under Capt. Marshall had to close their ports and use their small-arms. At 1 p. m. the firing on both sides ceased; a flag of truce was sent from the rebel lines to demand an unconditional surrender. While the flag of truce was approaching three fort I saw a battery of artillery moved to a better position by the rebels, and saw their sharpshooters approaching the fort from another quarter. At 2 o'clock the fight began again; about fifteen or twenty minutes after I saw a charge made by about 2,000 on the breast-works, and near it on the bluff. Sharp fighting took place inside the fort of about five minutes' duration. I saw their bayonets and swords. I saw the Union soldiers, black and white, slaughtered asking for quarter; heard their screams for quarter, to which the rebels paid no attention. About 100 left the fort and ran down the bank of the bluff to the river, pursued by the rebels, who surrounded them. In about twenty minutes every one of them, as far as I could see, was shot down by the rebels without mercy. I left at this time, getting on the gun-boat. On Thursday, the 14th of April, I met Capt. Farris, of Forrest's command, about 6 miles from Fort Pillow, at Plum Point; his soldiers said they were hunting for negroes [sic]. I asked him if they took any prisoners at Fort Pillow. He said they took some of the Thirteenth Tennessee, who surrendered, but no others.


OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, p. 520.


An excerpt from a letter by Bryan McAlister,[16] at Meridian Mississippi, provides more information relative to Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Fort Pillow Massacre.

"Before the large chimney-place of a small cabin-room, surrounded by a group of Confederate officers and men, the room dimly lighted by a small tallow candle, I first saw Lieutenant-General N.B. Forrest, commanding a corps of cavalry in the rebel army. Forrest is a man of fine appearance, about six feet in height, having dark, piercing hazel eyes, carefully trimmed mustache, and chin-whiskers dark as night, finely cut-features, and iron-grey hair. His form is lithe, plainly indicating great physical power and activity. He was neatly dressed in citizen's clothes of some gray mixture -- the only indication of military service being the usual number of small staff-buttons on his vest. I should have marked him as a prominent man had I seen him on Broadway; and when I was told that he was the 'Forrest of Fort Pillow," I devoted my whole attention to him, and give you the result of our conversation. My first impression of the man was rather favorable than otherwise. Except a home guard of some hundred Federal soldier, more than half a mile away, I was, with the exception of another person, the only Yankee in the room, and being dressed in citizen's clothes, was never suspected, except by the landlord.

'"General,' said I, 'I little expected to be seated by this fire with you.'

'"Why so?'"

"' Well, because your name has been in the mouth of every person for a long time.'

"'Yes,' said he, displaying the finest set of teeth that I think I have every

"'I have waked up the Yankees everywhere, lately.'

"'Now that you have time, General, do you think you will ever put upon paper the true account of the Fort Pillow affair?'

"'Well,' said he, 'the Yankees ought to know. They sent down their best men to investigate the affair.'

"'But are to believe their report, General?'

"'Yes, if we are to believe anything a nigger says. When I went into the war, I meant to fight. Fighting means killing. I have lost twenty-nine horses in the war, and have killed a man each time. The other day I was a horse ahead; [?] but at Selma they surrounded me, and I killed two, jumped my horse over a one-horse wagon, and got away.'

"I began to think I had some idea of the man at last. He continues:

"'My Provost-Marshall's book will show that I have taken thirty-one thousand prisoners during the war. At Fort Pillow I sent in a flag of truce, and demanded an unconditional surrender, or I would not answer for my men.[17] This they refused. I sent them another note, giving them one hour to determine. This they refused. I could see, on the river, boats loaded with [Federal] troops. They sent back, asking for an hour more. I gave them twenty minutes. I sat on my horse during the whole time.

"'The fort was filled with niggers and deserters from our army;-men who lived side by side with my men. I waited five minutes after the time, and then blew my bugle for the charge. In twenty minutes my men were over the works, and the firing had ceased. The citizens and Yankees had broken in the heads of whiskey and lager-beer barrels, and were all drunk. They kept up firing all the time, as they sent down the hill [toward the Mississippi river]. Hundred of them rushed to the river, and tried to swim to the gunboats, and my men shot them down. The Mississippi River was red with their blood for three hundred yards. During all this, their flag was still flying, and I rushed over the works and cut the halyards, and let it down, and stopped the fight. Many of the Yankees were in tents in front, and they were in their way, as they concealed my men and some of them set them on fire. [?] If any were burned to death, it was in those tents.

"'They have a living witness in Captain Young, their quartermaster, who is still alive [sic]; and I will leave it to any prisoner I have ever taken if I have not treated them well.' 'You have made some rapid marches, General,' said I. 'Yes,' said he, 'I have five thousand men that can whip any the thousand in the world.'

* * * *

Forrest is a thorough bravo-a desperate man in every respect. He was a negro-trader before the war, and in 'personal affairs,' as he calls them, had killed several men....

* * * *

Any one hearing him talk would call him a braggadocio. As for myself, I would believe one half he said, and only dispute with him with my finer upon the trigger of my pistol....

* * * *

Anecdotes, pp. 451-452.


Finally, that there was at least a taint of racism associated with the event can be substantiated by the following words of Brigadier-General James R. Chalmers in his April 20, 1864 address to his troops after their West Tennessee Raid, which included the attack on Fort Pillow: "....the lion-hearted McCulloch, with his 'fighting brigade' of Missourians, Texans, and Mississippians, nobly assisted by Col. Bell, with his gallant brigade of Tennesseeans [sic]...stormed the works at Fort Pillow...and taught the mongrel garrison of blacks and renegades a lesson long to be remembered."

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 31, pt. I, p. 623.

            12, Report on Federal fortifications at Columbia


Capt. WILLIAMS, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

CAPT.: Pursuant to order receive from Maj.-Gen. Rousseau, I visited Columbia, Tenn., to examine the fortifications at that place. They consist of two small circular, or nearly so, breast-works thrown up, one within the other, on the top of a step, conical hill, which overlooked the town and country for miles; they are small affairs, and would be of little avail against a spirited attack. Moreover, they do not protect the town, though they might prevent the enemy from holding it. In the work there is a small magazine, entirely too small to hold the ammunition kept on hand. I saw a considerable quantity of ammunition piled up on the ground and covered with tarpaulins, the magazine being entirely filled, on which account I was unable to examine thoroughly, but it appeared to be dry. There were four howitzers in the works. There is no water to be had inside the works nor are there any tanks or other means of keeping it on hand. If it is deemed advisable to construct any fortifications at Columbia I think it would be best to built a small redoubt on the hill already occupied and to put the main work on the hill close to the railroad depot, which affords a place to build store-houses and to cover them from attack, besides being close to the railroad depot.

I am having a plan of the works at Franklin, Tenn., made out by an assistant engineer; when finished I shall send you a copy. I visited Franklin, and found the principal work, Fort Granger, in a dilapidated condition; no attempt appears to have been made to keep it in proper order or repair. The magazines are very damp and entirely unfit to store ammunition. I noticed green mold on the ceiling. All the heavy guns are being remounted, and I understand it is the intention to keep two field pieces in the fort. I rode on the locomotive during my trip for the purpose of observing what work had been done on the block-houses now being built on the Nashville and Decatur Railroad. They were in an unfinished condition, and I should judge they were three-fourths done; the most of the work remaining to be done is to put on the roofs. I have sent a copy of this report to Capt. William E. Merrill, chief engineer Department of the Cumberland, so that he may give his opinion and instructions relative to putting up works at Columbia, should Gen. Rousseau desire it to be done. I expect to visit McMinnville, Tenn., this week, if I find I can do so without detriment to the engineer department at Nashville, Tenn.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

JAMES R. WILLETT, First Lieut. Thirty-eighth Illinois Infantry, Inspector Fortifications District of Nashville.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 331-32.

            12, First Lieutenant Robert Cruikshank, 123rd New York Infantry Regiment, letter home to his wife Mary

Camp 123rd Regt. [sic], N. Y. S. V.

Elk River, Tenn.,

April 12, 1864.

Dear Wife,-

Last Sabbath and the Sabbath before we had preaching by Mr. Ver of Argyle, N. Y., almost like one from home. He will be with us three weeks longer if we do not move.

We are yet under marching orders. General Hooker is in command of our Corps. General Slocum has been assigned to the command of another.

How do the people like the last call for men? I am not afraid of being drafted into the service. I should not like the name of being a conscript. I came into the service in the right time. Some here say I have a lucky star. I call it a Providence.

I received a letter from Mrs. Hawley saying that Salem ladies had sent a box to the Company in my care. I hope it will come before we move. I shall write her when it arrives.

With love,

R. Cruikshank.

Robert Cruikshank Letters.

          12, A Gruesome Discovery in Day's Creek, Shelby County

April, Tuesday 12, 1864

….we heard there was a Yankee Negro Soldier dead on Day's Creek, so Bettie, Kate, Robert and Mary & myself started in search. We found him, and it was an awful sight, he was in the Water in full uniform, his napsack [sic] on the bank of the creek, oh! I would give anything if I had not seen it….

Diary of Belle Edmondson

            13, Major-General Sherman's solution for refugee problem and newspaper reporters


Gen. SCHOFIELD, Knoxville, Tenn.:

You can get rid of all citizens in your department by ordering them to enlist or go away. All passes are made void by fraud or crime. You can apply these principles without my using names. I will write to John Sherman on the matter you ask. Try and get rid of those newspaper reporters; they will detect and publish our movements in time for Joe Johnston to guess at our plans.

W. T. SHERMAN, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 343.

            13, Skirmish at Mink Springs, near Cleveland

APRIL 13, 1864.-Skirmish at Mink Springs, near Cleveland, Tenn.


No. 1.-Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, commanding brigade.

No. 2.-Capt. James M. Comstock, First Wisconsin Cavalry.

No. 1.

Report of Col. Edward M. McCook, Second Indiana Cavalry, commanding brigade.

CLEVELAND, TENN., April 13 1864.

I have the honor to report that this morning at daylight the enemy, about 800 strong, surrounded and attacked our outpost at Mink Springs at crossing of Ducktown and Federal roads, capturing-two of whom were wounded. Capt. Smith, topographical engineer of Gen. Johnson's staff, was captured with his papers. No blame attached to the conduct of men. I have sent an adequate force in pursuit, and hope to overtake the enemy.

EDWARD M. McCOOK, Col., Cmdg.

CLEVELAND, TENN., April 13, 1864.

There was an omission in dispatch sent this morning. One commissioned officer and 18 men were captured, 2 of whom were wounded.


No. 2.

Report of Capt. James M. Comstock, First Wisconsin Cavalry.

CAMP FIRST WISCONSIN CAVALRY, Cleveland, East Tenn., April 15, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that I was stationed on outpost duty on the Cleveland and Ducktown road, 6 miles from Cleveland, on the morning of the 12th of April, 1864, with 2 commissioned officers and 100 men. I sent Lieut. Caldwell, in command of 25 men, all of the First Wisconsin Cavalry, to relieve an outpost picket 4 miles beyond on the same road.

On the morning of the 13th instant, at daybreak, I was informed through the citizens that a large body of the enemy's cavalry, probably 1,500 strong, was advancing in the direction of the outpost, 4 miles beyond me. I immediately dispatched a party in the direction of the picket, and ascertained that they had been attacked at daylight on all sides by largely superior numbers; that after resisting a short time, in which 1 rebel was report killed and 1 wounded, the lieutenant and 19 men, with arms, horses, and equipments, were captured; 2 of the latter were wounded. Six men escaped, losing all of their horses and equipments and a portion of their arms.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. COMSTOCK, Capt. First Wisconsin Cavalry, Cmdg. Outpost.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 668-669.

            13, Skirmish at Pleasant Hill Landing

No circumstantial reports filed.

            13, Increased Federal cavalry patrols ordered north of Loosahatchie and between the Loosahatchie and the Wolf Rivers

HDQRS. SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS, Memphis, Tenn., April 13, 1864.

Brig. Gen. B. H. GRIERSON, Cmdg. Cavalry Division, Sixteenth Corps:

GEN.: You have probably heard that Fort Pillow has been captured....

The cavalry patrols on all roads must be kept strong and well out, and a strong detachment should sweep up on the north side of Loosahatchie and in the space between Loosahatchie and Wolf. The construction of bridges should be watched, and every precaution taken against surprise.

Your cavalry must be kept up to its full strength by the use of all horses fit for service. Officers must be kept with their men, and men must not be allowed to race their horses in the manner they are now doing. If no other way can be devised, men will not be allowed to leave the camp on horseback to visit the city except on duty and in charge of an officer.

S. A. HURLBUT, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, pp. 345-346.

            13, Federal cavalry reconnaissance ordered between Memphis and the Wolf River


Col. GEORGE E. WARING, Cmdg. First Brigade Cavalry:

COL.: Information has been received that there are several hundred of the enemy on this side of Wolf River, at what point is not known.

The general commanding directs that you send out about 200 men to scour the country well between this point and the Wolf, and to examine closely the river at all points to see that the enemy are not preparing crossings. They should look well on toward the crossing on the Macon and Memphis road.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. L. WOODWARD, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 346.

            13, J. G. M. Ramsey to President Davis relative to conditions in East Tennessee and sales of Confederate bonds to confederate citizens and soldiers

DEPOSITORY OF CONFEDERATE STATES, Now at Atlanta, Ga., April 13, 1864.

Hon. JEFFERSON DAVIS, President Confederate States of America:

SIR: The importance of the subject of this letter will, I know, lead you to excuse me for bringing it to the attention of the Executive and his Cabinet. I was authorized by the honorable Secretary of the Treasury to repair from this place around to Jonesborough, Bristol, and other adjacent points in East Tennessee and there to give members of the Army and our citizens generally an opportunity to fund their Treasury issues. I executed the mission promptly and with great pleasure. All holders there were loud in expressions of thanks to Mr. Memminger for this act of considerate kindness to them on his part. My presence in East Tennessee gave me a good opportunity of realizing the real condition of things in that ill-fated and unfortunate country. Its evacuation last August by Gen. Buckner was a miserable military blunder, which time cannot soon repair. Its abandonment on a more recent occasion, though perhaps less inexcusable under the circumstances, is accompanied with evils scarcely to be realized or exaggerated. As the army of Longstreet fell back toward Virginia those of our southern citizens who had the means of doing so fell back too, and many of them will be able to find shelter and subsistence elsewhere. But my heart bleeds to have witnessed the condition of the families of our soldiers and our poorer people of true Southern proclivities. What will become of them? They are unprotected and without supplies-a prey to the rapacity, the cruelty, and the revenges of the unrelenting and malicious Union men of that country, to say nothing of the hostilities of the Yankees. A citizen there told me that if it were not for the fish in Chucky River many of them must starve. In its retreat the army swept the country of all its supplies. With the recuperative energy that characterizes that Scotch-Irish population, many of our farmers had endeavored to repair the desolation made before the reoccupancy of the country by Longstreet, were rebuilding their fences, &c., and doing other spring work on their plantations preparatory to planting some corn. Now, since our forces are withdrawn, the horses stolen, their fences burned the second and the third time, and no prospect of further protection from the pillaging enemy, the heart sickens at the contemplation of the spring and summer before them. No Egypt is at hand to which these virtuous, patriotic, and indigent people can repair to procure bread. They must not be left there to suffering and starvation. As the soldiery of Tennessee are standing like a bulwark of defense against the invasion of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, leaving their desolated homes and destitute families to the benignant care of the Government, will you listen to an appeal from one of their countrymen, an exile himself, and houseless and homeless, too, when, he suggests to the Confederate authorities to order at once the purchase or the impressment in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia of a supply of corn, the establishment immediately of a store-house or houses on our lines, and the authorized invitation to loyal destitute families to come there and be fed at least till harvest. "Fas est ab hoste doceri."[18] The execrable enemy are before us in this labor of love and humanity. Maynard has been sent to Memphis, Brownlow to Nashville, Netherland to Louisville, others (Nelson, I believe) to Cincinnati, and Everett to Boston to solicit benefactions for the oppressed Union people of East Tennessee. And can it be possible that even greater efforts than these should not be inaugurated and carried into speedy consummation for such a class of our people as the families of our loyal East Tennessee soldiers and citizens? The President will excuse me for repeating what I have heretofore often said to him, that there is not in this wide Confederacy a single spot where genuine loyalty to your Government, self-sacrifice and self-denial, an elevated patriotism, or a holier chivalry exist to the same extent and to a higher intensity. There is no such people-none truer to their friends, their principles, or our cause. None have suffered more for their devotion to their country, its rights, or its honor. None have such malignant and implacable enemies amongst their own wicked and revengeful neighbors. And the Government, if it cannot give us further protection at home, can at least give bread to the families whose natural protectors and guardians are fighting for the defense of other communities not more patriotic or more worthy of its care. May I suggest that Spring Place, Ga., and Zollicoffer, or Bristol, Tenn., should be points at which these supplies should be deposited? The agent for the procurement and distribution of this corn should be selected with great care and caution. The unhallowed greed of gain has become a passion so general and all-absorbing that some will seek it for the purpose of speculating on the very charities of the Government by placing it in the hands of the unworthy or the disloyal. I cannot at this time suggest the names of the most suitable. Let them be not tinctured with the slightest suspicion of Unionism or the stain of peculation or money-making. I am done. I do not speak in my own name. Were it otherwise proper or necessary every Tennessee refugee in Georgia would sign this. To call a meeting of my co-refugees to memorialize you would be to expose to the enemy the nakedness of the land.

I therefore sign it alone, and am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


[First indorsement.]

Respectfully referred by direction of the President to the honorable Secretary of War for perusal, &c.

BURTON N. HARRISON, Private Secretary.

[Second indorsement.]

APRIL 27, 1864.

Whatever sympathy is felt for the evils depicted, the powers of this Department do not enable us to administer relief in the manner suggested.

J. A. S., Secretary.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 52, pt. II, pp. 655-656.

            13, Elvira Powers' first day of duty as a lady nurse at the Small Pox Hospital, Nashville

Entered upon my duties to-day, as lady nurse of two divisions of tents at Small Pox Hospital.

Not obliged to come here, but have accepted this most disagreeable place, as there are so few who are willing to take it. Expect to be quite confined to the place; and the hope of doing good in a position which otherwise would be vacant, is the inducement.

The Hospital is about a mile out from the city, and near Camp Cumberland. It consists of tents in the rear of a fine, large mansion which was deserted by its rebel owner. In these tents are about 800 patients-including convalescents, contrabands, soldiers and citizens. Everything seems done for their comfort which can well be, with the scarcity of help. Cleanliness and ventilation are duly attended to; but the unsightly, swollen faces, blotched with eruption, or presenting an entire scab, and the offensive odor, require some strength of nerve in those who minister to their necessities. There are six physicians each in charge of a division. Those in which I am assigned to duty are in charge of Drs. R. & C. There is but one lady nurse here, a side from the wives of three surgeons,-Mrs. B., the nurse, went with me through the tents, introduced me to the patients and explained my duties.

Powers, Pencillings, p. 42.

            13, Riding with Yankees in McMinnville

….It was on the 21st of last April that the "Wilder raid" took us by storm at home, but on Wednesday, the 13th [1864], a still wilder [sic] raid overwhelmed us here – a woman's raid [sic]. Col. Gilbert, Commander of [the] Post at McM, came up, whether on military business or not – no one knows – he had an escort of some 30 men and 5 girls, of the "Union element" of McM….what in the name of common sense and common decency, the mothers of those girls could be thinking of?...I don't see how those girls could help seeing that their conduct seemed to us very improper-and I should not wonder if they visit it on us sometime. The P's condemned the affair and thro them the raid will get hold of our opinion. Well, I can't help it. I did feel horrified – and I would tell Mrs. Armstrong any time, if necessary, that I considered it a great impropriety – that I was sorry to see the girls in it-and sorrier still that she allowed it….

War Journal of Lucy Virginia French, April 17, 1864.

            13, Rosecrans on the need to interdict contraband trade between Memphis and St. Louis

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT  OF THE MISSOURI, Saint Louis, Mo., April 13, 1864.

Admiral D. D. PORTER:

SIR: Personal experience in this department has fully satisfied me of the very great importance of having an able and thoroughly reliable detective at Memphis. With such an officer there, having a clear and full understanding with the provost-marshal-general of this department, I am persuaded that the contraband trade and travel on the river, between here and Memphis, could be broken up and a great public good accomplished. Permit me, therefore, to suggest the propriety of authorizing Lieut. J. B. Devoe, who is now here, to take up his quarters, for a while at Memphis, and take charge there of the duties indicated.

I am, sir, very respectfully,

W. S. ROSECRANS, Maj.-Gen.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 34, pt. III, p. 148.

            13, Newspaper report on the last phase of Longstreet's retreat from East Tennessee


Longstreet on the Retreat-The Rebel Forces One Hundred Twenty Thousand Strong-John C. Breckinridge Taking Care of the Salt Works-Pursuit of the Enemy, &c.

Knoxville, April 3. The Rebel army continues to get away from our front, and appears to be going for good. As evidence of this, they are destroying the railroad bridges, and taking up the rails and carrying them off, cutting down and carrying away the telegraph wire along the route, and laying waste the country as they retire. This they are doing, not hurriedly, but deliberately and thoroughly as they go. We are deficient in cavalry to make a rapid pursuit, and the Rebel mounted troops are reported to be sweeping a broad swath along every frequented and unfrequented road, their only object being to live.

TO "let live" does not seem to be in all their thoughts, for they literally take everything, leaving nothing for families or animals to subsist upon. The enemy's force, which has so recently evacuated Bull's Gap, consists of four divisions, viz:-Fields', formerly Hood's division, the latter having been promoted and being absent; this latter division cover the rear. McLaw's division, covers the rear; McLaw's division, which, having been mounted for the purpose of the contemplated raid into Kentucky, now that project has been abandoned, had again been dismounted, and is acting as infantry; Bushrod Johnson's or Buckner's division, and Ransom's; total about one hundred and twenty thousand men, so called.

Among these were about two thousand five hundred cavalry, lately under command of Martin which were sent to Georgia about three weeks ago under Wheeler. Armstrong has gone home, and his command is now under Colonel Dibrell, say three thousand five hundred. This cavalry is not in the neighborhood of Kingsport, Tenn., Bluntville [sic], and other places in the upper counties, for the protection of the salt works. They were intended to be sent to Breckinridge, and go to Kentucky. Breckenridge and go to Kentucky Breckinridge is watching the salt works with about eight thousand men, including the cavalry above names.

At last accounts the rebel army has passed the Watauga River. Our army, as on former occasions, when the enemy has withdrawn, is advancing, and last night reached Sick Creek. The destruction of the railroad and wagon bridges necessarily retards our movements. The necessarily retards our movements. The weather for two week has been cold and disagreeable for campaigning, and for two days has been rainy, rendering the roads very muddy.

Adams' Express Company now run their car to Knoxville, the first express matter, several tons, having arrived on the evening of the 31st of March, in charge of Mr. Wescott. Captain E. B. Whitmore, A. Q .M., promptly provided them facilities, and a portion of the large depot building was set apart for the clerks and agents, as an office. This is one of the most agreeable events of the week, as thousands are interested in the establishment of a trustworthy express, by which they may sent and receive packages, money, &c.

By the aid of the saw-mill of A. A. M. Chamberlain, which is running night and day to turnout lumber for Government use, the town is fast resuming its former respectable appearance. The houses and gardens, so long lying in open commons, are being fast inclosed and substantial board fences, may of them much better than the former ones, which fell to prey to the necessities of the soldier during the siege. Planting and gardening is going on in all directions in and around the city, and those who are fortunate enough to raise vegetables w ill find a ready market at ample prices at their doors.

Philadelphia Inquirer, April 13, 1864.

13, "…our worst enemy or the one that I fear most is sickness…."

Prospect Tennessee April 13 1864

Dear Father

I take my pen& paper to write to you again. I am still in the enjoyment of good health& hope that this may find you all the same. We are still here but it is probable that we shall move in some direction before long appearances at least indicate as much. One thing our veteran soldiers have been called out to drill the orders are that we shall drill 6 hours a day so as to perfect us in the drill immediately & target shooting one hour each day for the recruits. Another thing they are making fortifications here. One large block house here is nearly finished& I understand that they are going to build another one a short distance from here across the river. So that one hundred men with the aid of these fortifications can withstand as much as one thousand without them. It is the prevailing opinion that when they are completed that we shall leave here for more active service. There is also great activity commenced on the railroad that runs through here. a short time since there was not more than one train each day Now there is as many as six each way to carry provisions & stores ammunition etc. to the army south it is likely that the spring campaign will soon be opened vigorous[ ly] very soon. It is about time to do something or the heat of the season will be stronger than either of the contending parties &compel them to lay inactive till another fall. There are some days now that were it as warm north you would say this will make the corn grow. We dont know as much here about the operations of the army as you do where you get the regular papers at the north, but we know more about a soldiers life I am not disappointed I have not had to suffer half the inconvenience yet that I expected to or may even have to do in future but our worst enemy or the one that I fear most is sickness & as long as I can avoid that why all right. There has been a noted rebel guerilla caught not far from here called Moore he has played about these parts considerable robbing army wagons plundering killing etc. since we came here he gobbled up two of our boys who had got outside the picket line in search of a cow that belonged to the regimental hospital but they gave him the slip & got back to camp here again There has been some deserters come to our camp from the rebel army they give a deplorable account of the condition of the rebel army say that they were pressed into it etc. but no reliance can be put upon themI think that the government are too easyupon those rebels that are not in arms againstthem. I don't believe that there is one good rebel or union citizen in Giles Co Ten but they are allowed to come within the lines with passes which the got from the regimental officers signed by the Colonel we have quiet a chance to find out their principal when we go on picket truly many of them have lost their last cow & pig & would just as soon shoot a picket as not but they ought to swing too it makes some of the boys curse & swear those them round with their butternut-colored clothes & brass buttons as near rebel uniform as they dare come & durst not pull a trigger on them. I have had but one letter from you & I dont know why I dont get more I want to hear at least once a week or oftener & another thing I want some postage stamps I have to borrow & it will soon run out on that score. I must say that H. J. Smith is promoted to first Lieutenant-I conclude Direct the same as before

Charles B Seniorto all at Home

Senior Correspondence.

            13-14, Anti-guerrilla mission to Sale Creek [19]

Head Quarters O. V. S. S.

Chattanooga Tennessee

April 15 1864

My Dear HL

I have received no letters since my last although it is Friday and I owe you an apology for not writing as usual on Wednesday [13] evening. The reason is that on Wednesday I got an order from head quarters to send two companies up the river about 40 miles to the mouth of Sale creek to protect the people from guerrillas and I was hurried to get them off. They left on Thursday [14]. I sent my company and Capt Barton under command of Capt. Barton. I applied for permission to go with my own company but was told that I was on post duty at Head Quarters and could not be spared….There is nothing new here. Troops are being sent to the front continuously and everything dictates action work soon. The Atlanta [fight] has not come to head….

Barber Correspondence.

            ca. 13-15, Scout from Jackson to Dresden to Columbus, Kentucky

HDQRS. OF THE POST, Columbus, Ky., April 15, 1864.

Capt. J. H. ODLIN, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Cairo, Ill.:

CAPT.: I have a scout just in from Jackson, Dresden, and that line, and I have every reason to believe his reports reliable. He was employed by Gen. Smith and Col. Waring. He reports as follows: Gen. Forrest has two divisions-First Division, 3,400 strong, which is concentrated at Jackson, Tenn.; Second Division, 2,000 strong, concentrated at Dresden; 1,000 under Duckworth, from Jackson's command. Forrest said that a large force of our troops had landed at Pittsburg Landing, and that he was going to drive them back and across into North Alabama. The Second Division is said to be about to cross at the mouth of the Big Sandy into Middle Tennessee. My scout thinks their object is to get behind Chattanooga, somewhere about Winchester. Col. Aaron Forrest, brother of the general, died at Jackson on Thursday night last. Gen.'s Fitzhugh [Stephan D.?] Lee and Jackson, with 9,000 men, are reported near Memphis. I shall try and rebuild the telegraph between us to-morrow. All the small squads are ordered to join their commands immediately at Dresden, under Gen. Buford, who is on his march there.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. HUDSON LAWRENCE, Col., Cmdg. Post.

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. III, p. 374.

            12, SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 95; reorganization of the Memphis Enrolled Militia

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 95. HDQRS. DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE, Memphis, Tenn., April 12, 1865.

I. The Fourth Regt. [sic] Enrolled Militia, Col. W. C. Whitney commanding, and the Third Regt. [sic] Freedmen Enrolled Militia, Col. Henry von Heyde commanding, and the Railroad Battalion, commanded by Maj. Farrell, are hereby disbanded, and all ordnance and ordnance stores will be turned over to the U. S. ordnance officer, and all quartermaster's stores to the depot quartermaster. All persons enrolled in either of the above regiments who are not Government employed or in the employ of the city government, will enroll themselves at once in one of the remaining militia regiments. Quartermasters, commissaries, and will require their employed to surrender up their militia passes and receive in place certificate that they are in the employ of the Government.

* * * *

By order of Maj. Gen. C. C. Washburn:

OR, Ser. I, Vol. 49, pt. II, p. 333.

            12, Restoration of Civil Law



NASHVILLE, TENN., April 12, 1865.

GENERAL ORDERS, No. 21.-A large portion of Northern Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Western North Carolina being now within the lines of the Federal army, the Major-General commanding desires to restore the authority of the civil law in several counties of these States embraced within this department at as early a period as possible.

It is accordingly recommended that all duly authorized Judges, Sheriffs, Commissions, Justices of the Peace, and other officers who may be in those counties, immediately proceed to enter upon and perform the duties of their respective offices, according to the laws of the State in force at the beginning of the war as far as it may be found practicable.

Whenever vacancies in country offices exist, it is enjoined upon the loyal people of the neighborhood to hold regular elections and select officers competent to reorganize the civic courts and uphold the authority of the laws.

Commanding officers of all military districts and posts are directed to protect the civil authorities far as may be consistent with the interests of the service, and to cooperate with them in restoring order.

At the breaking out of the rebellion against the National Government, the people of Northern Alabama and Georgia, and Western North Carolina overpowered by the Tide of secession were among the fast to desert the cause of the Union; and the Commanding General of the Department, confidently hopes that they will be among the first to return to their allegiance, and assist in the restoration of peace with enforcement of the law. By command of Major-General Thomas.

New York Times, April 17, 1865

            13, Eliza Fain Learns of Lee's Surrender. An Extract from the Diary of Eliza Rhea Anderson Fain

….We finished [washing] about 3 o'clock. After getting through I came to the house and found Lucy…with a Chattanooga paper containing the account of Gen. Lee's surrender with his army. It may be true but I do not believe and even were I to believe this it does not for one moment shake my confidence in my God as to the position which the South shall occupy amongst the nations of earth when this struggle shall cease….

Fain Diary.


[1] Myra Adelaide Inman, "The Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman of Cleveland, Tennessee, During the War Between the States. 1859-1865." 1940. Typescript, 317 pp. Copies in Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSL&A) and Knox County Public Library.[Hereinafter: Diary of Myra Adelaide Inman.][transcript of unknown origin; see W. Calvin Dickinson and Eloise R. Hitchcock, A Bibliography of Tennessee History, 1973-1996, (Knoxville: Unviversity of Tennessee, 1999).

[2] The Nashville Patriot is not extant.

[3] As cited in:

[4] As cited in:

[5] Meaning "gladly," or "willingly." Rare and archaic

[6] This event is also widely known also as the "Fort Pillow Massacre." It is listed as "Massacre, Fort Pillow," in Dyer's Battle Index for Tennessee. Many ardent devotees of Nathan Bedford Forrest disavow the assertion that there was a massacre at all, claiming instead that either Forrest was not there at the time, and so did not order such a bloodbath, or that if there was such an incident it was because otherwise disciplined soldiers became irrational after the fight due to presence of Negro soldiers and so vented their frustrations on the Federal soldiers that surrendered.

Major-General Forrest's reports regarding the fight at Fort Pillow indicate a massacre occurred, although he never used the word.

[7] As cited in: James B. Jones, Jr., Every Day In Tennessee History, (Winston Salem: John F. Blair, 1996), p. 75. It may be that this Rebel cavalryman was exaGALEGROUP - TSLA 19TH CN  erating to impress his sisters, but when taken in conjunction with the preponderance of evidence collected by Federal investigators it tends to strongly and independently verify the reality that a massacre did take place at Fort Pillow. "Remember Fort Pillow" would become a Republican Party slogan to rally the Negro vote during reconstruction in Tennessee.

[8] Surgeon Caldwell was obviously mistaken. It was April 12.

[9] Thus, according to Caldwell's figures, 79 % of the Federal forces (or about 8 out of every 10 men) were killed. This figure tends to corroborate the notion that a massacre did take place, regardless of whether or not Forrest actually ordered it.

[10] Apparently Caldwell meant it took three days to gather the bodies and bury them in a mass grave.

[11] There is little information about the "town" of Fort Pillow. It was most likely a temporary community of sutlers, refugees and camp followers composed of frame structures. It was very likely not a town in any usual sense of the word.

[12] Not identified.

[13] John Cimprich and Robert C. Mainfort, "Dr. Fitch's Report on the Fort Pillow Massacre," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Vol. XLIV No. 1 (Spring, 1985), pp. 27-39.

[14] See also: Report No. 65, House of Representatives, Thirty-eighth Congress, first session; and reports of Capt. Alexander M. Pennock, U. S. Navy, in Annual Report of the Secretary of the Navy, December 5, 1864.

[15] Their are a total of thirteen reports relating directly to the Fort Pillow massacre, found in the OR, Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. I, pp. 502-623.

[16] The identity of Bryan McAllister has not been established, but from his reference to "Broadway" he was from New York City and may have been a newspaper correspondent.

[17] Thus, by his own admission, Forrest either could not, would not or was not in control of his men.

[18] "It is right to learn even from an enemy."

[19] Not referenced in Dyers' Battle Index for Tennessee or in the OR.


James B. Jones, Jr.

Public Historian

Tennessee Historical Commission

2941 Lebanon Road

Nashville, TN  37214

(615)-770-1090 ext. 123456

(615)-532-1549  FAX


No comments: