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54th OVI

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  1. Interesting and don't forget controversial. 54th OVI
  2. Ron, My group is planning a visit to Pittsburg Landing next March where our focus will be Davis Bridge, what's left of Iuka and Day 2. Happy Easter everyone! 54th OVI
  3. A recent tour of Shiloh with Superintendent Harrell left me wanting info on a few things. What references would our estemmed members recommend re: the following: McArthur 9th Illinois Infantry Randall Gibson's Brigade/13th LA Infantry Also which is the best book covering Shiloh's Second day. Respectfully, Mike Peters
  4. Perry, Recently toured Shiloh with Woody Harrell and Paul Holloway. Great time! Saw places few get to see. Finally got over to Fallen Timbers. Also visited Parker"s Cross Roads. And my opinionm on NBF hasn't wavered. It's now stronger. Will give Forrest props for Brice's Cross Roads and maybe for actions at Chickamauga. OK. I'll keep my mouth shut. I hope everyone is well. Respectfully, Mike
  5. I'm planning to go to Chickamauga in early March. I'm told that if the government shuts down that you won't be able to even walk in the park. There will be lawmen there to enforce such. Traffic will continue on the roads but they want no one on NPS property. 54th OVI
  6. Ron, I hope you are well. What is the source for the Grant quote? 54th OVI
  7. Gregg, I beg your pardon but in the case of the American Civil War, history was not written by the victors. Lost Cause is not the product of a Northern pen but of the VA Historical Society, written by men such as Dabney Maury, Jubal Early, etc. These were Confederate soldiers. According to their doctrine: Confederate generals such as Lee & Stonewall (and Forrest) represented the virtues of Southern nobility, as opposed to most Northern generals, who were characterized as possessing low moral standards, and who subjected the Southern civilian population to such indignities as Sherman's March to the Sea and Phil Sheridan's burning of the Shenandoah Valley in the 1864 Valley Campaign. Losses on the battlefield were inevitable due to Northern superiority in resources and manpower. Losses were also the result of betrayal and incompetence on the part of certain subordinates of General Lee, such as General Longstreet (The Lost Cause focused mainly on Lee and the Eastern Theater of operations.) Defense of states' rights, rather than preservation of chattel slavery, was the primary cause that led eleven Southern states to secede from the Union, thus precipitating the war. Secession was a justifiable constitutional response to Northern cultural and economic aggressions against the Southern way of life. Slavery was a benign institution, and the slaves were loyal and faithful to their benevolent masters. And, from what I've read, and I could be wrong, but, according to Rommell's son, Dad never did visit the States. But please point me toward an account, written by a TN family or anyone else, which disputes the words of Rommell's son. I would also like to have some sort of proof that Forrest's tactics are taight at West Point. And if so which particular tactic/tactics? Just looking for documentation. I believe the key word in your previous post is "hero." Have a great New Year! 54th OVI
  8. Gregg, Good to meet you. It's never been about love or hate or North vs. South. It's about a doctrine, a propoganda that has been preached for near almost 150 years -- the Lost Cause. And it's not about what another General did, be it Sherman across GA & the Carolinas or Sheridan in the Valley. But this is one of the Lost Cause tenets: "Confederate generals such as Lee, Stonewall (and Forrest) represented the virtues of Southern nobility, as opposed to most Northern generals, who were characterized as possessing low moral standards, and who subjected the Southern civilian population to such indignities." Just because another did it or did something worse is not a defense in any court. And to compare Sherman's March to the Sea with Ft. Pillow well, with all due respect, you need to read a little deeper. As you read back through some 15 pages of postings, I have always given NBF his dues and tried to be respectful to both the subject and other posters. And I believe civility was reciprocated. From the beginning I have stated that Forrest was somewhat overrated and that he was not cavalry. He was mounted infantry. Just because you ride a horse don't make you cavalry. I still believe that. Nathan Bedford Forrest was, as Charles Royster said, a "minor player in some major battles and a major player in some minor battles." As I have said in the past, he wasn't the big Alpha dog going in for the kill. He was a terrier nipping at heels and nothing more. He was brilliant at Brice's Cross Roads & Parker's Cross Roads but got his backside kicked at Selma. He was innovative but his tactics are not taught at West Point and Rommell did not come to the States to study such tactics. Rommell's son stated such. He was a great leader of men yet a terrible subordinate. He was a good businessman, a fierce motivator and one helluva fighter. But he was also a slave trader, a member of the KKK and involved, to what degree we don't exactly know, in the Ft. Pillow massacre. Take off the rose-colored spectacles, step back and study Forrest. But look at the warts as well as the beauty marks. Happy New Year! 54th OVI
  9. I will stop the bombardment. I rest my case without benefit of a verdict. I just wanted to show that there were more than just 1 of Forrest's boys who saw things differently. I think Wisconsin Jim's got the right idea. Happy New Year to everyone! 54th OVI
  10. Your Honor, If I may, the ORs also contains the testimony of 2 other Southern troopers, not yet heard from: [align=center]Report of Lieuts. Francis A. Smith and William Cleary, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, of the capture of Fort Pillow. MARCH 16-APRIL 14, 1864.--Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee and Kentucky. O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXII/1 [s# 57][/align] [align=right]CAIRO, ILL., April 18, 1864.[/align] [align=left]General M. BRAYMAN. [/align] GENERAL: We have the honor of reporting to you, as the only survivors of the commissioned officers of the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, that on the morning of the 12th day of the present month, at about the hour of daylight, the rebels, numbering from 5,000 to 7,000, attacked our garrison at Fort Pillow, Tenn., numbering as it did only about 500 effective men. They at first sent in a flag of truce demanding a surrender, which Major Booth, then commanding the post (Major Booth of the Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery, colored), refused. Shortly after this Major Booth was shot through the heart and fell dead. Maj. William F. Bradford, then commanding the Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, assumed command of the fort, and under his orders a continual fire was kept up until about I p.m., when our cannon and the rifles of the sharpshooters were mowing the rebels down in such numbers that they could not make an advance. The rebels then hoisted a second flag of truce and sent it in, demanding an unconditional surrender. They also threatened that if the place was not surrendered no quarter would be shown. Major Bradford refused to accept any such terms; would not surrender, and sent back word that if such were their intentions they could try it on. While this flag of truce was being sent in the rebel officers formed their forces in whatever advantageous positions they were able to select. They then formed a hollow square around our garrison, placed their sharpshooters within our deserted barracks, and directed a galling fire upon our men. They also had one brigade in the trenches just outside the fort, which had been cut by our men only a few days before, and which provided them with as good protection as that held by the garrison in the fort. Their demand of the flag of truce having been refused, the order was given by General Forrest in person to charge upon the works and show no quarter. Half an hour after the issuance of this order a scene of terror and massacre ensued. The rebels came pouring in solid masses right over the breast-works. Their numbers were perfectly overwhelming. The moment they reached the top of the walls and commenced firing as they descended, the colored troops were panic-stricken, threw down their arms, and ran down the bluff, pursued sharply, begging for life, but, escape was impossible. The Confederates had apprehended such a result, and had placed a regiment of cavalry where it could cut off all effective retreat. This cavalry regiment employed themselves in shooting down the negro troops as fast as they made their appearance. The whites, as soon as they perceived they were also to be butchered inside the fort, also ran down. They had previously thrown down their arms and submitted. In many instances the men begged for life at the hands of the enemy, even on their knees. They were only made to stand upon their feet, and then summarily shot down. Capt. Theodore F. Bradford, of Company A, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was signal officer for the gun-boat, and was seen by General Forrest with the signal flags. The general in person ordered Captain Bradford to be shot. He was instantly riddled with bullets, nearly a full regiment having fired their pieces upon him. Lieutenant Wilson, of Company A, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was killed after he had surrendered, he having been previously wounded. Lieut. J. C. Ackerstrom, Company E, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, and acting regimental quartermaster, was severely wounded after he had surrendered, and then nailed to the side of the house and the house set on fire, burning him to death. Lieut. Cord Revelle, Company E, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, was shot and killed after surrender. Maj. William F. Bradford, commanding our forces, was fired upon after he had surrendered the garrison. The rebels told him he could not surrender. He ran into the river and swam out some 50 yards, they all the time firing at him but failing to hit him. He was hailed by an officer and told to return to the shore. He did so, but as he neared the shore the riflemen discharged their pieces at him again. Again they missed. He ran up the hill-side among the enemy with a white handkerchief in his hand in token of his surrender, but still they continued to fire upon him. There were several Confederate officers standing near at the time. None of them would order the firing to cease, but when they found they could not hit him they allowed him to give himself up as a prisoner and paroled him to the limits of the camp. They now claim that he violated his parole the same night and escaped. We have heard from prisoners who got away from the rebels that they took Major Bradford out in the Hatchie Bottom and there dispatched him. We feel confident that the story is true. We saw several negroes burning up in their quarters on Wednesday morning. We also saw the rebels come back that morning and shoot at the wounded. We also saw them at a distance running about, hunting up wounded, that they might shoot them. There were some whites also burning. The rebels also went to the negro hospital, where about 30 sick were kept, and butchered them with their sabers, hacking their heads open in many instances, and then set fire to the buildings. They killed every negro soldier Wednesday morning upon whom they came. Those who were able they made stand up to be shot. In one case a white soldier was found wounded. He had been lying upon the ground nearly twenty-four hours, without food or drink. He asked a rebel soldier to give him something to drink. The latter turned about upon his heel and fired three deliberate shots at him, saying, "Take that, you negro equality." The poor fellow is alive yet, and in the hospital. He can tell the tale for himself. They ran a great many into the river, and shot them or drowned them there. They immediately killed all the officers who were over the negro troops, excepting one, who has since died from his wounds. They took out from Fort Pillow about one hundred and some odd prisoners (white) and 40 negroes. They hung and shot the negroes as they passed along toward Brownsville until they were rid of them all. (Out of the 600 troops, convalescents included, which were at the fort, they have only about 100 prisoners, all whites, and we have about 50 wounded, who are paroled. Major Anderson, Forrest's assistant adjutant-general, stated that they did not consider colored men as soldiers, but as property, and as such, being used by our people, they had destroyed them. This was concurred in by Forrest, Chalmers, and McCulloch, and other officers. We respectfully refer you to the accompanying affidavit of Hardy N. Revelle, lettered A, and those of Mrs. Rufins, lettered B, and Mrs. Williams, lettered C. [align=right]Respectfully submitted. F. A. SMITH, First Lieutenant Company D, 13th Tennessee Cavalry.[/align] [align=right]WILLIAM CLEARY, Second Lieut. Company B, 13th Tennessee Vol. Cavalry.[/align] [align=right] [/align] [align=right] [/align] [align=right] [/align]
  11. Judge, From the Official Records: [align=right]CAIRO, ILL., April 15, 1864.[/align] Brigadier-General BRAYMAN, Commanding U. S. Forces, Cairo, Ill. GENERAL: In compliance with your request last evening, I make the following report concerning the capture of Fort Pillow: Arrived in sight of Fort Pillow on Wednesday, the 13th, about 9 a.m., at which time the gun-boat No. 28, which escorted us up, opened fire on the fort. After firing about 10 shots a flag of truce appeared at the fort, when she ran in and signaled for the Platte Valley (our boat) to turn back, which we did (we having run by the fort without molestation). I went on shore, and while our men were engaged carrying the wounded on board the boat I with other officers, on invitation from General Chalmers, visited the fort. We saw the dead bodies of 15 negroes, most of them having been shot through the head. Some of them were burned as if by powder around the holes in their heads, which led me to conclude that they were shot at very close range. One of the gun-boat officers who accompanied us asked General Chalmers if the most of the negroes were not killed after they (the enemy) had taken possession, Chalmers replied that he thought they had been, and that the men of General Forrest's command had such a hatred toward the armed negro that they could not be restrained from killing the negroes after they had captured them. He said they were not killed by General Forrest's or his orders, but that both Forrest and he stopped the massacre as soon as they were able to do so. He said it was nothing better than we could expect so long as we persisted in arming the negro. Chalmers said that all of his forces would be out of the place by 3 o'clock of that day, and that the main body was already moving. He also said to the officers, myself included, that Forrest's command would never fire on transport steamers. Chalmers told me they took about 25 negroes as prisoners. We saw two bodies of negroes burning. The above is all I know of the affair which is of importance. [align=right]I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant, JOHN G. WOODRUFF, Captain Company G, 113th Illinois Infantry.[/align] [align=right] [/align] [align=right] [/align]
  12. Judge, In his memoirs Grant wrote the following re: Ft. Pillow: "Forrest, however, fell back rapidly, and attacked the troops at Fort Pillow, a station for the protection of the navigation of the Mississippi River. The garrison consisted of a regiment of colored troops, infantry, and a detachment of Tennessee cavalry. These troops fought bravely, but were overpowered. I will leave Forrest in his dispatches to tell what he did with them. "The river was dyed," he [Forrest] says, "with the blood of the slaughtered for two hundred yards. The approximate loss was upward of five hundred killed, but few of the officers escaping. My loss was about twenty killed. It is hoped that these facts will demonstrate to the Northern people that negro soldiers cannot cope with Southerners." Subsequently, Forrest made a report in which he left out the part which shocks humanity to read." Grant based the above on 2 reports/letters, from NBF to Leonidas Polk. The first was written 15 April 1864, 3 days after Ft. Pillow, and describes the "success of Forrest's recent operations in West Tennessee." The second, penned 26 April 1864, is "a well-defined, detailed, and comprehensive report of the action at Fort Pillow." Please pay particular attention to Forrest who wrote, "It is hoped that these facts will demonstrate to the Northern people that negro soldiers cannot cope with Southerners." Interesting way to spin it ... Respectfully, 54th OVI
  13. Perry, Maybe the other Rebels didn't care what happened to the USCT soldiers. Maybe the others feared repricusions if they spilled the beans. Maybe the right soldiers weren't asked. While what you say is true, it's not much in the way of evidence. However, we do have the testimony of Achilles Clark, 20th Tennessee Cavalry: "The slaughter was awful. Words cannot describe the scene. The poor, deluded, negroes would run up to our men, fall upon their knees, and with uplifted hands scream for mercy but they were ordered to their feet and then shot down. I, with several others, tried to stop the butchery, and at one time had partially succeeded, but General Forrest ordered them shot down like dogs and the carnage continued. Finally our men became sick of blood and the firing ceased." Respectfully, 54th OVI
  14. Perry, If there was no massacre, as you say, then how do you explain the comment made by Achilles Clark, a soldier with the 20th Tennessee cavalry, and posted here by Jim? 54th OVI
  15. Jim, And this from one of Forrest's own men. Damning testimony to say the least. Respectfully, 54th OVI
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