But Colonel Hicks
, as before, positively refused to comply with the demand.
Firing then ceased until daylight the next morning.
During this cessation of firing I succeeded in getting into the fort with reenforcements and a small supply of ammunition from the gun boats.
The supply of ammunition from Cairo
did not arrive until the evening.
As it was impossible to get any despatches through from Colonel Hicks
, the line being cut, we knew nothing when I left Cairo
of his being short of ammunition.
The unstanding we had with Colonel Hicks
, before any attack was made, was that we had a large supply of ammunition on hand; that there were about thirty-three thousand cartridges, calibre 58, on hand — that being the calibre used by the troops there — and a large supply of artillery ammunition in the fort.
The next morning, about six o'clock, the enemy again advanced in line of battle toward the fort.
There was some firing on both sides, but it did not amount to much.
Some of the rebel troops, while their main body was firing at the fort, were engaged in pillaging the town, stealing property from private citizens, horses, and Government stores, burning houses, and committing all sorts of depredations.
While the flag of truce was at the fort the first, second, and third times, the rebel troops were taking new positions in line of battle, although they had made a distinct agreement and understanding with Colonel Hicks
that while the flag of truce was in there should be no movements of troops on either side; that every thing should remain as it was.
While the fight was going on, women, children, and other non-combatants came running down to the river toward the gunboats.
The officers in the fort and on the gunboats called to them to run down to the river-bank to the left of our fort.
They did so, and under cover of the gunboats they got on a wharf-boat or a little ferryboat, and were ferried across the river as fast as possible.
While they were doing this the rebel sharp-shooters got in among them, so that we could not fire upon them without killing the women and children, and fired on our troops in the Fort
and on the gunboats, wounding one officer on a gunboat and two men. They also made women stand up in front of their sharp-shooters, where it was impossible for us to return the fire without killing the women.
They also fired into houses where there were women, and where there were none of our soldiers.
They also went into a hospital, took the surgeon of the hospital prisoner, and took a lady that was there and carried her off and took her clothing from her, leaving her nothing but an old dress to cover herself with.
This woman, as well as Dr. Hart
, the surgeon of the hospital, were taken away by them as prisoners.
All the prisoners taken there by Forrest
, with the exception of three or four men, were sick men from the hospital, unable to move or walk from the hospital to the fort without injury to their health.
All the men who were able to walk were brought from the hospital to the fort.
They took the rest of the men from the hospital, and under the third flag of truce offered to exchange them.
This Colonel Hicks
and myself refused, because we thought it treachery on their part.
We also refused for the reason that we did not think they had a right to take as prisoners of war men in the hospital who were unable to walk without danger to their lives.
Yet the rebels took those men and marched them ten miles, and then camped them down in a swampy piece of ground at night, with their clothes nearly all taken from them.
Some of them were left bareheaded and barefooted, with nothing on but their pants and shirts, compelled to stay in that swampy ravine all night long, with nothing to eat, and not permitted to have fires.
The next morning they were marched off again.
I have certain knowledge that for two days and one night those sick men were compelled to march with the rebel troops without any thing to eat, with hardly any clothing, and a number of them without any boots or shoes.
Question. Do you know that the rebels placed women and other non-combatants in front of their lines as they advanced toward the fort?
Answer. They had women and children between us and their lines, and they stood behind them, the women and children forming a sort of breastwork for the rebels, as we were unable to return their fire for fear of killing the women and children.
reported to me that they took several women and compelled them to stand in front of their lines during the fight; that there were women and children between our fire and theirs; that as the women moved the rebels moved along with them, keeping behind them.
Question. Have you any idea of the number of women and children they had thus placed in front of them?
Answer. It varied at different times.
informed me that at one time the rebels held six women in front of them, refused to let them escape, but compelled them to stand there under the hottest of the fire.
Question. Were those women so placed that we could not fire upon the enemy with advantage without endangering the lives of the women?
Answer. We could not fire upon them at that particular point without endangering the lives of the women and children.
Question. Do you know whether the flag of truce was violated by the rebels at any time?
Answer. Yes, sir, it was. While the flag of truce was in, they moved their troops into new positions; they marched their troops around to the back of the fort, and brought them up through the timber, dashed up toward the fort at full speed, then turned off toward the right of the fort, taking up their position between the fort and the town.
During the first flag of truce they marched the majority of their forces, if not the whole of them, down into an open common between the fort, the river, and the town, along the river-bank, then obliqued off to the left, and