The Fort Pillow Massacre (1864)

George Washington Williams

in A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–1865

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823233854
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240807 | DOI:

Series: The North's Civil War (FUP)

The Fort Pillow Massacre (1864)

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Fort Pillow was in Tennessee, about forty miles from Memphis. The garrison consisted of 295 men of the Thirteenth Tennessee Union Cavalry, under the command of Major W. F. Bradford, and 262 men of the Sixth United States Heavy Artillery (Negroes), making 557 men in total, all under the command of Major L. F. Booth, of the Artillery. The slave system made the entire South brutal, and many soldiers of the Confederate army were exceedingly cruel to prisoners. There were two classes of troop in the Union army against whom the rebels manifested at all times the most bitter feeling: Union white Southerners and ex-slaves. The rebels despised the latter for fighting against their old masters and for their freedom; they hated the former on account of their loyal sentiments and association with Negroes in arms. One of the most cruel exhibitions of Confederate malice was the massacre of the garrison of Fort Pillow after it had surrendered. The massacre occurred in April 1864, led by Major-general N. B. Forrest.

Keywords: Fort Pillow; Tennessee; W. F. Bradford; L. F. Booth; massacre; Confederate army; Union army; Negroes; N. B. Forrest

Chapter.  6316 words. 

Subjects: Military History

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