Chronological History of the American Civil War

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writes to General Robert E. Lee: “I move tomorrow on Fort Pillow with two brigades, the force at that point being 300 whites and 600 negroes.” At Prairie D'Ane, Arkansas, Major General Frederick Steele (U.S.) retreats back to Little Rock. The Union forces under Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, (U.S.) also retreat to Grand Ecore, Louisiana, effectively ending the Red River Campaign. Monday, April 11, 1864 : Union troops involved at Sabine Cross Roads and Pleasant Bank continue, with their withdrawal from the Red River region. A pro-Union state government was inaugurated in Little Rock, Arkansas by Dr. Isaac Murphy elected as governor. In Memphis, Confederate spy, Belle Edmondson has fears of being banished as she writes in her diary: “Helen, Father, the children and myself spent the day alone, the rest all in Memphis. Joanna came home, succeeded in getting Father’s permit for supplies, brought no late news. Miss Perdue & Noble banished, leave tomorrow. I expect, I will be next. I was so happy to hear Miss Em is expected today, my future plans depend upon her advice. Tate & Nannie staid in Memphis all night. Col. Overton came to see us today, just up from Dixie,-everybody hopeful and confident of a bright day soon. Mr. McMahon, 2d. Mo Cav came this eve.” Tuesday, April 12, 1864 : Overlooking the Mississippi River about forty river miles above Memphis, an attack by Confederate cavalry at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, became one of the most controversial incidents of the warfare. In the early morning, almost 1,500 Confederate troops converged on the fortress. Despite help from the gunboat U.S.S. New Era , the 557 Union defenders were quickly overcome. Confederate cavalry, commanded by Bedford Forrest, attacked the fort. Forrest was injured, when two horses were shot out from under him, but he remained to command throughout the assault. About 3:00 p.m., Forrest demands for a surrender from Major Lionel Booth (U.S.) not knowing Booth already had been killed in the action. Booth’s next in command, Major William F. Bradford (U.S.) sealed his own force’s fate by declaring, that he would never give up. He placed barrels of alcoholic beverages with dippers for the defenders to drink from, perhaps hoping to make his soldiers keep fighting. At 5:00 p.m. and out of patience, Forrest ordered the bugler to sound the “Charge!” It was what happened next that caused the controversy. Of the 557 defenders, 231 were killed and 100 wounded. A high percentage of the deaths, were African-American (U.S.) soldiers. In the post-war, the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, claimed by those who survived, that former slaves were specifically picked out by Forrest’s men after the fort had surrendered – a claim Forrest himself denied. Forrest claimed that the fort’s commander carried on fighting, even after it was obvious that the fort would fall. Yet, even by the standards of the American Civil War, casualties were high . The smear that his lopsided Fort Pillow victory was a premeditated “massacre” will remain with Forrest for the rest of his life. Even when Forrest is found innocent of these charges. Wednesday, April 13, 1864 : 200 men from the Col. Fielding Hurst’s 6th Tennessee (U.S.) is ordered to report to Brigadier General N. B. Buford (U.S.) with equipment, but no horses in Helena, Arkansas for temporary duty. At Nokesville, Virginia Confederate guerrillas get the worse of it in a small battle there. At Mink Springs, 6 miles from Cleveland, Tennessee a Rebel Cavalry surprise and capture the Union outpost on the Cleveland and Ducktown road. Thursday, April 14, 1864 : A little more fighting at Paducah, Kentucky, on the Ohio River, with some of Major General Forrest (CSA) men as this will conclude his latest expedition into West Tennessee and Kentucky that began March 16. Although widely expected to attack Memphis, Major General Forrest (CSA) withdraws from Tennessee and heads south into Mississippi. An expedition leaves from Camp Sanborn in the Colorado Territory to Beaver

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