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Their fire against the New Era caused the sailors to button up their gun ports and hold their fire. 731-738-5581, 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM Museum (7 days a week) My loss was about twenty killed. Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi River 40 mi (64 km) north of Memphis, was built by Confederate Brigadier General Gideon Johnson Pillow in early 1862 and was used by both sides during the war. Gen. Robert V. Richardson and Colonel Robert M. McCulloch) and General Abe Buford (brigades of Cols. Confederate apologists debate the fatality numbers. The Union garrison, commanded by Major Lionel F. Booth, was manned by approximately 550 soldiers; almost half were African-American troops. Lieutenant Daniel Van Horn of the 6th U.S. Early during the war, the Confederacy saw the necessity for defending against a Union invasion of the south by way of the Mississippi River. There is also some Mississippi River riverfront habitat present. The fort turned out to be a great slaughter pen. This is the statement of the rebel General Chalmers himself to our informant.[32]. A bit of Civil War history in a beautiful setting. (press release)", "The Lynching Massacre of Black and White Soldiers at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, April 12, 1864", Castel, Albert. By 11:00, the Confederates had captured two rows of barracks about 150 yd (140 m) from the southern end of the fort. Similar accounts were reported in both Southern and Northern newspapers at the time.[30]. Booth had been ordered to move his regiment from Memphis to Fort Pillow on March 28 to augment the cavalry, who had occupied the fort several weeks earlier. Wildlife to Watch: Area is an excellent location to observe a wide variety of forest birds in summer such as Prothonotary Warbler, Mississippi Kite, Acadian Flycatcher, Wood Thrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Northern Parulas. [18] Their claim is consistent with the discovery of numerous Union rifles on the bluffs near the river. "The Fort Pillow Massacre: A Fresh Examination of the Evidence", Cimprich, John, and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., eds. All of this proceeded flawlessly and with very little firing, except from the sharpshooters and around the flanks. General Ulysses S. Grant quoted Forrest's dispatch in his Personal Memoirs and commented: "Subsequently, Forrest made a report in which he left out the part which shocks humanity to read. Their objectives were to capture Union prisoners and supplies and to demolish posts and fortifications from Paducah, Kentucky, south to Memphis. The museum is open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Find a campsite for your next adventure. Only 58 (around 20%) black soldiers were marched away as prisoners, whereas 168 (about 60%) of the white soldiers were taken prisoner. Availability of inventory for online booking may be lower than normal as the park pursues social distancing. Donate today to preserve Civil War battlefields and the nation’s history for generations to come. As the signage at the Fort Pillow site makes little reference to the black soldiers killed, a wreath-laying ceremony, with color guard and 21-gun salute, was held on April 12, 2017 at the Cemetery to commemorate them. Click the link below to see a list of available maps for this park. [citation needed], On April 17, 1864, in the aftermath of Fort Pillow, General Grant ordered General Benjamin F. Butler, who was negotiating prisoner exchanges with the Confederacy, to demand that black soldiers be treated identically to whites in the exchange and treatment of prisoners. Fort Pillow State Historic Park is best known for its rich history, preserved breastworks and reconstructed fort. Jordan, John L. "Was There a Massacre at Ft. Fort Pillow was one of several fortifications constructed on the river as a part of a river defense system. Turn right onto Highway 207 and follow it to the park. The first of the two significant engagements in the expedition was the Battle of Paducah on March 25, where Forrest's men did considerable damage to the town and its military supplies. [21]:47–50 In their report, from which the previous quotes were taken, they concluded that the Confederates shot most of the garrison after it had surrendered. Memphis, Tennessee | This museum features five galleries dedicated to the significant role of the Mississippi River in the Civil War. It is located on the western edge of Tennessee (about 40 miles north of Memphis). The black soldiers belonged to the 6th U.S. Regiment Colored Heavy Artillery and a section of the 2nd Colored Light Artillery (previously known as the Memphis Battery Light Artillery (African Descent)), under the overall command of Major Lionel F. Booth, who had been in the fort for only two weeks. Certain parks or areas of parks may close if they reach capacity. The Confederate gunboats were victorious, but the Union gunboats were soon able to proceed down river and attack Memphis a month later. Forrest then ordered his bugler to sound the charge. The Union Navy did launch an invasion on the river. Rifle and artillery fire continued until 3:30, when Forrest sent a note demanding surrender: "The conduct of the officers and men garrisoning Fort Pillow has been such as to entitle them to being treated as prisoners of war. The site is rich in history for those interested in American history. There is a 12 minute video on the 1864 Battle shown by request as well as tours of the museum and restored fortifications. There is hiking to be done and civil war artifacts to see here. It became a state park in 1971. He directed that a failure to do so would "be regarded as a refusal on their part to agree to the further exchange of prisoners, and [would] be so treated by us."[42]. They exaggerate. Many African-American soldiers were killed in what modern historians describe as a "massacre" or "atrocity". It became a state park in 1971. 109 of the graves have been identified. Some areas contain trees of major age and size. Many turtle species may be seen as well, including snapping, painted, and mud turtles. Tennessee State Parks are open for day-use visitors and overnight guests. [29] The Union flag was still flying over the fort, which indicated that the force had not formally surrendered. [39], Confederate casualties were comparatively low (14 killed and 86 wounded), and Union casualties were high. [21]:44, A 2002 study by Albert Castel concluded that Forrest's troops had killed a large number of the garrison "after they had either ceased resisting or were incapable of resistance". The battle ended with a massacre of African-American Union troops and their white officers attempting to surrender, by soldiers under the command of Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Tours of the museum and restored fortifications are available upon request. [40] Confederate anger at the thought of black men fighting them and their initial reluctance to surrender (many of the black troops believed they would be killed if they surrendered in Union uniform) resulted in a tragedy. It is located on the western edge of Tennessee (about 40 miles north of Memphis). All rights reserved. Interpretive sites are part of the park. Bailey, Ronald H., and the Editors of Time-Life Books. A Confederate wrote in a letter home that "Forrest ordered them [negroes] shot down like dogs, and the carnage continued. Because its gun ports remained sealed, the gunboat did not fire a single shot. Edited by Dan E. Pomeroy. Eva, Tennessee | This State Park was named for Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the intrepid Confederate cavalry leader who on November 4, 1864, attacked and destroyed the Federal supply and munitions depot at Johnsonville at the mouth of Trace Creek. Bradford. Show your pride in battlefield preservation by shopping in our store. On June 4, 1862, Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow, enabling Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee. A Union gunboat, the USS New Era, commanded by Captain James Marshall, was also available for the defense.[7]. The 1,642 acre (6.6 km²) Fort Pillow, located in Lauderdale County on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, is rich in both historic and archaeological significance. [57], James Lockett compared the Confederacy's policy toward colored Union troops—"no quarter"—with the lynching and other violence against blacks subsequent to the war. – Joint Resolution on the Subject of Retaliation", "Fort Pillow, a Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory (review of the book of this title by John Cimprich)", "Abraham Lincoln to Cabinet, Tuesday, May 03, 1864 (Fort Pillow massacre)", "Salmon P. Chase to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, May 06, 1864 (Opinion on Fort Pillow massacre)", "Edwin M. Stanton to Abraham Lincoln, Thursday May 05, 1864 (Opinion on Fort Pillow massacre)", "Edward Bates to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, May 4, 1864 (Opinion on Fort Pillow massacre)", "John P. Usher to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, May 6, 1864 (Opinion on Fort Pillow massacre)", "Montgomery Blair to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, May 06, 1864 (Opinion on Fort Pillow massacre)", "William H. Seward to Abraham Lincoln, Wednesday, May 4, 1864 (Opinion on Fort Pillow)", "Abraham Lincoln to William H. Seward, Tuesday, May 03, 1864 (Fort Pillow massacre)", "List of National Historic Landmarks by State", "Fort Pillow Massacre of 1864: We Will Never Forget! 109 of the graves have been identified. I finally made the time to visit Fort Pillow, and I do have some thoughts about this park from an historical prospective. Few casualties resulted, but with the increasing danger of being cut-off from the main army, the Confederate Army evacuated Fort Pillow in June 1862. Only fishing boats and canoes are allowed. In 1861, the Confederate army built extensive fortifications and named the site for General Gideon Johnson Pillow of Maury County. [citation needed], Although Confederate sources say that Forrest's forces kept firing in self-defense,[17] some historians and official Union reports emphasize that a deliberate massacre took place. Fort Pillow State Park is scenically located in Lauderdale County on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Due to a mix-up in the Union records. [55], Fort Pillow, preserved as the Fort Pillow State Historic Park, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. During the spring and early summer of 1862, the Union Navy bombarded Fort Pillow from its mortar boats. The park also offers many recreational activities, including camping, picnicking and fishing. On July 30, 1863, before the massacre, President Abraham Lincoln wrote his Order of Retaliation: It is therefore ordered that for every soldier of the United States killed in violation of the laws of war, a rebel soldier shall be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or sold into slavery[,] a rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor on the public works, and continued at such labor until the other shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of war. [49][50] Secretary of the Interior John P. Usher wrote that it was "inexpedient to take any extreme action" and wanted the officers of Forrest's command to be held responsible. The poor deluded negros would run up to our men fall on their knees and with uplifted hands scream for mercy but they were ordered to their feet and then shot down. The fort was built on Chickasaw Bluff No. The Union already had established a policy to discourage killing and enslaving prisoners of war. The Confederate States Army defeated the Union troops at the Battle of Fort Pillow (April 1864), resulting in the massacre of 229 of the 262 black Union soldiers engaged in the battle. State park and historic battlefield in Tennessee, United States, John Cimprich and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr., "Fort Pillow Revisited", 1982, in, Cimprich and Mainfort (1982), "Fort Pillow Revisited", p. 219, Cimprich and Mainfort (1982), "Fort Pillow Revisited", pp. One App, countless adventures! Union forces used the "Fort Pillow massacre" as a rallying cry in the following months. He stated that all the women, children, and sick soldiers were removed to an island before the battle started. The Majority of our funds go directly to Preservation and Education. On March 16, 1864, Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest launched a month-long cavalry raid with 7,000 troopers into West Tennessee and Kentucky. He wrote on April 4, "There is a Federal force of 500 or 600 at Fort Pillow, which I shall attend to in a day or two, as they have horses and supplies which we need.

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