網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

purposes. Within the fort tents had been erected with board floors for the use of the colored troops. At sunrise the Union pickets were driven in, and from that time until two or three o'clock in the afternoon the rebels vainly endeavored to dislodge the garrison, who made a gallant defence, in which they were aided by the gunboat New Era, which, from her position in the river, shelled the enemy vigorously.

The rebels, having thus far failed in their attack, now resorted to their customary flags of truce. The first flag of truce conveyed a demand from Forrest for the unconditional surrender of the fort. To this Major Bradford replied, asking to be allowed one hour with his officers and the officers of the gunboat. In a short time the second flag of truce appeared, with a communication from Forrest that he would allow Major Bradford twenty minutes in which to move his troops out of the fort, and if it was not done in that time an assault would be ordered. To this Major Bradford replied that he would not surrender. During the time occupied by the communication between the fort and the attacking party, and while the flag of truce was flying, the rebels, with a bad faith characteristic of their conduct on several previous occasions during the same campaign, gradually crept up to a position from which they could overwhelm the garrison by a sudden assault. Captain Marshall, of the gunboat, saw them advancing into the ravine above the fort, and could easily have checked their progress, but refrained from firing, from a desire not to afford an excuse for subsequent atrocities, should the fort be captured by the enemy. What followed is best told in the report of the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, two of the members of which visited Fort Pillow and took testimony regarding the circumstances of its capture. Their account is as follows:

"Immediately after the second flag of truce retired, the rebels mado a rush from. the positions they had so treacherously gained, and obtained possession of the fort, raising the cry of No quarter.' But little opportunity was allowed for resistance. Our troops, black and white, threw down their arms and sought to escape by running down the steep bluff near the fort, and secreting themselves behind trees and logs in the bushes and under the brush; some even jumping into the river, leaving only their heads above the water as they crouched down under the bank. Then followed a scene of cruelty and murder without parallel in civilized warfare, which needed but the tomahawk and scalping-knife to exceed the worst atrocities ever committed by savages. The rebels commenced an indiscriminate slaughter, sparing neither age nor sex, white nor black, soldier nor civilian. The officers and men seemed to vie with each other in the devilish work. Men, women, and their children, wherever found, were deliberately shot down, beaten, and hacked with sabres. Some of the children, not more than ten years old, were forced to stand up and face their murderers while being shot. The sick and wounded were butchered without mercy, the rebels even entering the hospital buildings and dragging them out to be shot, or killing them as they lay there unable to offer the least resistance. All over the hillside the work of murder was going on. Numbers of our men were collected together in lines or groups and deliberately shot. Some were shot while in the river, while others on the bank were shot and their bodies kicked into the water; many of them still living, but unable to make exertions to save themselves from drowning. Some of the rebels stood upon the top of the hill or a short distance from its side and called ont to our soldiers to come up to them, and as they approached, shot them down in cold blood, and if their guns or pistols missed fire, forcing them to stand there until they were again prepared to tire.

"All around were heard the cries of No quarterl' •No quarter!" "Kill the damned niggers!' 'Shoot them down ! All who asked for mercy were answered by the most cruel taunts and sneers. Some were spared for a time, only to be murdered under circumstances of greater cruelty. No cruelty which the most fiendish maliguity could devise was omitted by these murderers. One white soldier, who was wounded in the leg so as to be unable to walk, was made to stand up while his tormentors shot him. Others, who were wounded and unable to stand up, were held up and again shot. One negro, who had been ordered by a rebel officer to hold his horse, was killed by him when he remonstrated. Another, a mere child, whom an officer had taken up behind him on his horse, was seen by Chalmers, who at once ordered him to put him down and shoot him, which was done. The huts and tents in which many of the wounded had sought shelter were set on fire, both that night and the next morning, while the wounded were still in them, those only escaping who were able to get themselves out, or who could prevail on others less injured to help them out, and even some of these thus seeking to escape the flames were met by these ruffians and beastly shot down, or had their brains beaten out. One man was deliberately fastened down to the floor of a tent, face upward, by means of nails driven through his clothing and into the boards under hiin, so that he could not possibly escape, and then the tent was set on fire. Another was nailed to the side of a building outside of the fort, and then the building was set on tire and burned. The charred remains of five or six bodies were afterwards found, all but one so much disfigured and consumed by the flames that they could not be identified, and the identification of that one is not absolutely certain, although there can hardly be a doubt it was the body of Lieutenant Albertson, quartermaster of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, and a native of Tennessee. Several wit. nesses who saw the remains, and who were personally acquainted with him while living here, testified that it is their firm belief that it was his body that was thus treated.

"These deeds of murder and cruelty closed when night came on, only to be renewed the next morning, when the demons carefully sought among the dead lying about in all directions for any other wounded yet alive, and those they found were deliberately shot. Scores of the dead and wounded were found there the day of the massacre by the men from some of our gunboats, who were permitted to go on shore and collect the wounded and bury the dead. The rebels themselves had made a pretence of burying a great number of their victims, but they had merely thrown them, without the least regard to care or decency, into the trenches and ditches about the fort, or the little hollows and ravines on the hillside, covering them but partially with earth. Portions of heads and faces, hands and feet were found protruding through the earth in every direction, and even when your committee visited the spot, two weeks afterwards, although par. ties of men had been sent on there from time to time to bury the bodies unburied and rebury the others, and were even then engaged in the same work, we found the eridences of this murder and cruelty still most painfully apparent

“We saw bodies still unburied at some distance from the fort, of some sick men who had been met fleeing from the hospital, and beaten down and brutally murdered, and their bodies left where they had fallen. We could see the faces and hands and feet of men, white and black, protruding out of the ground, whose graves had not been reached by those engaged in reinterring the victims of the massacre, and although a great deal of rain had fallen within the preceding two weeks, the ground, more especially on the side and at the foot of the bluff, where the most of the murders had been committed, was still discolored by the blood of our brave but unfortunate men; and the logs and trees showed but too plainly the evidences of the atrocities perpetrated there.

“Many other instances of equally atrocious cruelty might be enumerated. But your committee feel compelled to refrain from giving here more of the heart-sickening details, and refer to the statements contained in the voluminous testimony herewith submitted. Those statements were obtained by them from eye-witnesses and sufferers. Many of them, as they were examined by your committee, were lying upon beds of pain and suffering, some so feeble that their lips could with difficulty frame the words by which they endeavored to convey some idea of the cruelties which had been inflicted on them and which they had seen inflicted on others.

"In reference to the fate of Major Bradford, who was in command of the fort when it was captured, and who had up to that time received no injury, there seems to be no doubt. The general understanding everywhere seemed to be that lie had been brutally murdered the day after he was taken prisoner.

“How many of our troops thus fell victims to the malignity and barbarity of Forrest

and his followers cannot be definitely ascertained. Two officers belonging to the gar. rison were absent at the time of the capture and massacre of the remaining officers; but two are known to be living, and they are wounded and now in the hospital at Mound City. One of them, Captain Porter, may even now be dead, as the surgeons, when your committee were there, expressed no hope of his recovery. Or the men, from three hundred to four hundred are known to have been killed at Fort Pillow, of whom at least three hundred were murdered in cold blood after the fort was in possession of the rebels and our men had thrown down their arms and ceased to offer resistance. Of the surviving, except the wounded in the hospital at Mound City, and the few who succeeded in making their escape unhurt, nothing definite is known, and it is to be feared that many have been murdered after being taken away from the fort. When your committee arrived at Memphis, Tennessee, they found and examined a man, Mr. McLagan, who had been conscripted by some of Forrest's forces, but who, with other conscripts, had succeeded in making his escape. He testifies that while two companies of rebel troops, with Major Bradford and many other prisoners, were on their march from Brownsville to Jackson, Tennessee, Major Bradford was taken by five rebels, one an officer, led about fifty yards from the line of march, and deliberately murdered in view of all those assembled. He fell instantly killed by three musket-balls, even while asking that his life might be spared, as he had fought them manfully and was deserving of a better fate. The motive for the murder of Major Bradford seems to have been the simple fact that, although a native of the South, he remained loyal to his Government."

The rebels admitted the wholesale slaughter at Fort Pillow, and, if ashamed to justify it, at least excuse the occurrence by quoting historical instances where garrisons have been put to the sword; forgetting that such massacres have been committed, among civilized nations at least, only where the besiegers have suffered heavy losses during a long and trying investment, and are in consequence incited to an extraordinary degree of exasperation against the garrison. No such circumstances attended the present case. Fortunately for the reputation of the country and of American civilization, no similar massacre is to be recorded in the subsequent history of the war.

CHAPTER LIX.

Co-operative Movement on Atlanta.—Size and Organization of the Union and Rebel

Armies.--Commencement of the Campaign by Sherman.-Evacuation of Dalton by Johnston.—Battle of Resaca and Retreat of the Rebels.—Operations at Dallas and Kenesaw.-Rebels Flanked and driven across the Chattahoochie.

In the middle of March, 1864, Grant, then recently appointed lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief, turned over to Sherman the command of the Military Division of the Mississippi, comprising the Departments of the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Ohio. The latter general was succeeded by General McPherson in the command of the Department of the Tennessee. The grand concerted plan of the spring campaign was then matured, the part assigned to Sherman being to push the enemy steadily back upon Atlanta, and if possible sever his communications between the Atlantic and Gulf States, while all the available strength in the East was to be brought to bear against the main rebel army in Virginia, under Lee. All other movements of the Union forces were to be held subsidiary to these. Sherman at once bent every energy to the perfecting and enlargement of the communications between Nashville and Chattanooga, his primary and secondary bases, and to the accumulation in the latter place of such an amount of subsistence and military stores as would render him independent of Nashville, should the railroad connections between the two points be temporarily severed by rebel raiding forces. By the end of April this work was successfully accomplished, and the great Army of the West was prepared to move from Chattanooga at the precise hour, if necessary, that the Army of the Potomac should cross the Rapidan on its march towards Richmond. On April 27th, Grant notified Sherman to be ready to move about May 5th.

The total force under General Sherman's command, for offensive purposes, was as follows:

ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND, MAJOR-GENERAL THOMAS COMMANDING.

Infantry......

.........
Artillery.....
Cavalry.............................................

54.568
2.377
3,823

Total....
Guns....

60,773

130

ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE, MAJOR-GENERAL M'PHERSON COMMANDING.

Infantry.....
Artillery.......
Cavalry..

"error....... 22,137 ................. 1,404

624

Total................
Guns.........

''ne.......... 24,465

............ 96

ARJY OF THE OHIO, MAJOR-GENERAL SCHOFIELD COMMANDING.

Infantry.........
Artillery.......
Cavalry.......

.................. 11,183
'" ......... 679

......... 1,679

13541

Total............ ..............................
Guns..........................................

28

Making a grand aggregate of eighty-eight thousand one hundred and eighty-eight infantry, four thousand four hundred and sixty artillery, and six thousand one hundred and forty-nine cavalry, or pinety-eight thousand seven hundred and ninety-seven men, and two hundred and fifty-four guns. The Army of the Cumberland comprised the Fourth Corps, General Howard, the Fourteenth Corps, General Palmer, and the Twentieth Corps, General Hooker; the Army of the Tennessee, the Fifteenth Corps, General Logan, the Sixteenth Corps, General Dodge, and, later in the campaign, the Seventeenth Corps, General Blair; and the Army of the Ohio, the Twenty-third Corps, General Schofield. These several armies in the beginning of May lay a few miles south of Chattanooga, in supporting distance of each other.

The rebel army, comprising the corps of Hardee, Polk, and Hood, and the cavalry division of Wheeler, was under the command of

Lieutenant-General J. E. Johnston, whose reputation as a commander in the Confederacy was second only to that of Lee. It numbered about fifty thousand infantry and artillery, and ten thousand cavalry, of whom much the greater part were veteran troops, and lay in and about Dalton, on the railroad connecting Chattanooga with Atlanta, the advance being at Tunnel Hill, a station thirty miles south of Chattanooga. Directly south of Tunnel Hill is a level valley, three miles in length and about three-quarters of a mile wide, bounded at its southern extremity by a rugged mountain range, known as Rocky Faced Ridge, which dominates the valley, and is succeeded by a narrow defile called Buzzard's Roost, still farther to the south, through which passes the railroad. Immediately south of Buzzard's Roost is Dalton. This defile had been rendered nearly impregnable to an army advancing directly upon Dalton from the north, and the mountains so enveloped the latter place that to attack an enemy posted there in any other direction than from the front, a wide detour was necessary. A brief reconnoissance satisfied Sherman that Johnston could only be dislodged by a flanking movement to the right. Thomas was therefore directed to amuse the enemy in front of Buzzard's Roost, while McPherson, with the Army of the Tennessee, moved rapidly south through Snake Creek Gap and seized Resaca, a station on the railroad, eighteen miles below Dalton. Should this manæuvre be successfully executed, the rebel army would be attacked in flank and rear, and its retreat upon its base, Atlanta, effectually cut off. The superior strength of Sherman gave him opportunities for movements of this nature, of which we shall see that he frequently availed himself.

On the 7th of May, Thomas occupied Tunnel Hill with little resistance, pushing the enemy's cavalry well into the defile below, and on the succeeding day, demonstrated with great activity against Johnston's position, while McPherson, on the 8th, surprised the enemy at Snake Creek Gap. On the 9th, Thomas renewed his demonstration on Buztard's Roost, and a portion of the Fourth Corps, Howard's, carried Rocky Faced Ridge. These movements, though unavailable to force the strong position of the enemy, occupied him in front and enabled McPherson to march within a mile of Resaca, which he found too strong to be carried by assault. Accordingly he fell back upon Snake Creek Gap to await the arrival of the main army. On the 10th, Thomas was ordered to send Hooker's Corps to Snake Creek Gap in support of McPherson, and to follow with another corps, the Fourteenth, Palmer's, leaving Howard with the Fourth Corps to continue to threaten Dalton in front, while the rest of the army moved rapidly through Snake Creek Gap. On the same day, Schotield was ordered to follow by the same route, and on the 11th the whole army, excepting Howard's Corps, and some cavalry left to watch Dalton, was in motion on the west side of Rocky Faced Ridge for Snake Creek Gap and Resaca. The next day the army moved against Resaca, McPherson on the direct road, preceded by Kilpatrick's Cavalry; Thomas to come up on his left, and Schofield on his. Kilpatrick, while moving in the advance, was disabled by a wound received in a cavalry skir

« 上一頁繼續 »