day before, and returned to Fort Pillow
the morning after the fight.
I came up on gunboat Number Twenty-eight.
The rebels were at Fulton
, about two miles and a half below Fort Pillow
We fired at them, and the rebels at Fort Pillow
heard it, and thought we were bringing up reenforcements, and then they set the town on fire.
Question. When did you get up there?
Answer. Early in the morning, or little after daylight.
Question. When did you land at Fort Pillow
Answer. We got there about eight o'clock in the morning, and shelled there an hour or so. The rebels were occupying the Fort
in large numbers.
By and by the rebels came down with a flag of truce, and I went on shore to see what was wanting.
One of the officers of the Sixth United States heavy artillery said he did not like to go on shore for fear the rebels would kill him. I went on shore with one of the naval officers and saw General Forrest
's Adjutant General
, Major Anderson
He said if we would recognize the parole of Forrest
we might take our wounded on the gunboat; and that was agreed upon.
I rode all around the battle-ground, and saw some of our dead half-buried, and I saw five negroes burning.
I asked Colonel Chalmers
, the General
's brother, if that was the way he allowed his men to do. He concluded that he could not control his men very well, and thought it was justifiable in regard to negroes; that they did not recognize negroes as soldiers, and he could not control his men. I did not see any white men burning there; if there were any, I did not recognize them as such.
Their faces were burned, and some of them were sticking out of the tents and houses with their clothes partly burned.
The negroes were lying upon the boards and straw in the tents which had been set on fire.
It seemed to me as if the fire could not have been set more than half an hour before.
Their flesh was frying off them, and their clothes were burning.
Question. How many did you see in that condition?
Answer. I saw five.
Question. Did they burn the hospital?
Answer. I saw the hospital burning, but I do not know whether they moved the sick out or not before they burned it. I understood the rebels went in where there were some twenty or thirty negroes sick, and hacked them over their heads with sabres and shot them.
The negroes had been moved from the heights up on the hill into two large tents by us; but I do not think our men had been moved up there.
I went through the hospital-tents up there the morning before I started down to Memphis
, and saw them full of colored troops.
told me that he had his hospital-flag on every bush around the bottom of the hill.
At the commencement of the fight the Major
had told him to take his instruments and his medicines down under the bluff and stick up flags there, and have the wounded taken down to him. But the Doctor
said they did not notice his flags at all; that some of his patients were wounded there.
He was wounded himself and taken prisoner and paroled.
Question. Did you see them shoot any colored men that morning?
Answer. I saw them shoot one man just before we landed with a flag of truce.
An escort of about twenty men rode up to a livery-stable and set it on fire.
The gunboat fired at them but did not hit them, and they got on their horses and rode off at a trot.
There were some paths down the hill, and a man came along down one of them; I saw them halt; the foremost one, an officer I think, pulled out a revolver and shot very deliberately at this man, and then they galloped off in quick time.
He did not kill the man, however, for I saw him walking along afterward.
I do not know whether the man was white
Question. Did you hear any thing of their nailing men to a building and then burning it?
Answer. Yes, sir; I heard of it. And I heard a lady say that a man was nailed to a building that was burned.
She said she was well acquainted with Lieutenant Akerstrom
before the fight took place.
Some one asked why he was not buried.
Some of the rebels said he was a damned conscript that had run away from Forrest
But I never heard Lieutenant Akerstrom
say any such thing.
Question. Who was that lady?
Answer. Mrs. Ruffin
, the wife of Thomas Ruffin
Question. Where is she now?
Answer. I think she is at Cairo
now. Her husband did not get wounded, but he was sick.
I heard an ensign on gunboat Twenty-eight invite General Chalmers
and some of his aids-de-camp to come on board the gunboat, and I saw Major Anderson
and several other confederate officers on the Platte Valley
drinking at the bar, and I saw a couple of army officers drinking there with them, and there might have been some naval officers with them too, but I am not certain of that.
The clerk of the Platte Valley
, General Forrest
, Major Anderson
, and an ensign of gunboat Twenty-eight, took the names of the paroles.
I did not take the names myself, because I was busily engaged going over the battle-field to find out if any of our men were left alive.
I heard a great many rebel soldiers say they did not intend to recognize those black devils as soldiers.
They said this to me as I was speaking about the slaughter there.
They also expressed the opinion that if we had not been fighting with black troops they would not have hurt us at all; but they did not intend to give any quarter to negroes.
Dr. Stewart Gordon, sworn and examined: by the Chairman:
Question. What is your position?
Answer. Acting Assistant Surgeon
, United States army.
Question. Where are you now stationed?