Before I left the rebels, after I had concluded to leave them, I commenced getting up a plot to break the guards, and see if we could not redeem our name a little in that way, and get off. It was working finely, but I met the opposition of the officers, because it was the general opinion that if we were caught, one in every ten would be killed.
I abandoned that and escaped.
I travelled on foot twenty-five hours without stopping, through the brush, dodging the rebels and guerrillas.
I was then directed by a negro to a farm where there were no whites, and where, he said, I could get a horse.
When I got there I found I was so tired and sleepy that I dared not risk myself on a horse, and I secreted myself, and rested there until early the next morning; I got a little refreshment there, too. I then got an old horse, with no saddle, and rode into Fort Pillow
, just forty miles, in a little more than five hours. I reached there a little before noon, on the thirtieth of March.
The morning after I escaped from the rebels I wrote myself a parole, which screened me from a great many rebels whom I could not avoid.
I was chased by two guerrillas for some distance at this place, where I stopped over night and got a horse.
I knew two guerrillas had been chasing me over ten miles. I told the negroes, as I laid down, that if any strangers came on the place, or any one inquiring for Yankees, to tell them that one had been there and pressed a horse and gone on. They did so; and more than that, they told the guerrillas that I had been gone but a few minutes, and if they hurried they would catch me. They dashed on five miles further, and then gave up the chase and turned back.
That is the way I avoided them.
After I got to Fort Pillow
I got on a boat and went to Memphis
, reaching there before daybreak on the morning of the thirty-first of March, and waked General Hurlbut
up just about daybreak, and reported to him.
Question. Did you have much conversation with these rebels, or hear them express opinions of any kind, while you were with them?
Answer. I was talking almost continually with them.
Somehow or other I got a little noted in the command, and a great many came to me to discuss matters about the war. They seemed to be confident that they were all right, and would succeed.
I did not hear the command I was with say they intended to attack Fort Pillow
; but while I was on my way from there to Fort Pillow
, the report was current along the road that the rebels were going to attack it. But I reported to Major Booth
, when I got to Fort Pillow
, that I did not think there was any danger of an attack, because I thought I should have seen or heard something more to indicate it. I told him, however, that I thought it would be well to be on the lookout, though I did not think they would attack him. I heard the rebels say repeatedly that they intended to kill negro troops wherever they could find them; that they had heard that there were negro troops at Union City
, and that they had intended to kill them if they had found any there.
They also said they had understood there were negro troops at Paducah
and that they intended to kill them if they got them.
And they said that they did not consider officers who commanded negro troops to be any better than the negroes themselves.
Question. With whom did you have this conversation?
Answer. With officers.
I did not have any extensive conversation with any officer higher than captain.
I talked with three or four captains, and perhaps twice that number of lieutenants.
Question. Did you see Colonel Hawkins
, or have any conversation with him, after the surrender?
Answer. I did not. I felt so disgusted with him that I never spoke a word to him after the surrender.
Question. To what regiment do you belong?
Answer. I am a Captain in the Seventh Tennessee cavalry.
Question. Were you at Union City
when it was surrendered?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. What was our force there?
Answer. Something near five hundred, altogether.
There were some there that did not belong to our regiment.
Question. What was the force that attacked you?
Answer. From one thousand five hundred to one thousand eight hundred, as near as we could learn from the rebel officers while we were with them.
Question. What rebel officers were in command there?
Answer. The surrender was made to Colonel Duckworth
; but I am not certain whether it was Duckworth
who had the command.
Question. Will you state briefly the circumstances attending the attack and surrender of Union City
Answer. Our pickets were driven in about four o'clock in the morning.
We sent some men out to see what force it was. As soon as it was light enough to see, we found the rebels were all around our camp.
Skirmishing commenced all around.
Those of our men who were out, and could get in, came in; but some of the pickets did not get in at all. My company were almost all out on picket.
The enemy, mounted men, made a charge on our camp; they came up on all sides, but we drove them back.
They then dismounted and made three other charges, and we drove them back each time.
I did not see but one of our men killed; and I did not see any that were wounded at all. One of my sergeants was killed.
About nine o'clock, I should think, the enemy got behind logs and stumps, and all such places, and commenced sharp-shooting.
If a man raised his head up, there would be a shot