took position in line of battle off to the right of the fort as you faced the town; and at one time, while their troops were taking position between the town and the fort during a flag of truce, they had women placed in front of their lines.
Question. While they were making the movement?
Answer. Yes, sir. The rebel General Thompson
with his forces took position on the right of the fort between the hospital and the fort while the flag of truce was at the fort.
The fact of the rebel movements was reported to Colonel Hicks
, and he requested of the flag of truce that they should be stopped, as they had violated their word, it being distinctly understood that there should be no movements during that time, and the officer sent an orderly to stop it, but it was not done; the troops continued to move.
After they had placed their troops in position the flag of truce left the fort.
As the flag of truce passed from the fort down through the town, the rebel troops escorting the flag shot down in the streets some citizens and some men straggling from the hospital.
A charge was then immediately made on the Fort
, at which time the rebel General Thompson
The rebels also, while the flag of truce was at the fort, pillaged the town, and robbed citizens on the streets who were on their way down to the river for the purpose of going across.
They pillaged the town right in view of our gunboats; and as soon as the flag of truce left the fort our gunboats opened upon the rebels, and drove them out of that part of the town.
The morning after I arrived there, when the rebel forces advanced on the fort, they sent in a flag of truce asking for an exchange of prisoners, which was refused.
It was a written communication from General Forrest
, asking, if his request was granted, that Colonel Hicks
, with one or two staff-officers, would meet him at a point designated, when they would agree between themselves upon the exchange.
replied that he had no authority to exchange prisoners; otherwise he would be happy to do so. When this written reply was handed to the rebel officer in charge of the flag of truce, he asked three or four questions for the purpose of gaining time.
and I both noticed this, and sent him off as soon as possible.
While this flag of truce was at the fort the rebels were taking position.
They afterward fell back into the timber.
The main body of the rebels, Forrest
with them, retreated on the Mayfield
road, while about three hundred of his men remained in the town making movements and feints on the fort, to prevent our sending out and ascertaining his movements.
, by that time, had found out that we had been reenforced with troops, and that more boats were arriving; also, that the navy had reenforced us with two or three more gunboats.
In the afternoon, about five o'clock, by Colonel Hicks
's consent and direction, I sent word to the gunboats to move up opposite the town, and shell it at the head of Jersey street, our troops having seen squads of rebels in that part of the city.
This the gunboats did. After that the town was quiet, the rebels who had remained there having been driven out by the shells.
Question. Do you know what was our loss and the loss of the enemy there?
Answer. Our loss altogether was fourteen killed--of which eleven were negroes — and forty-six wounded; I do not know how many of them were negroes.
The rebels lost about three hundred killed, and from one thousand to one thousand two hundred wounded. That is what the citizens reported Forrest
said, and we believed it to be correct from the number of graves we found, and from other circumstances.
seized the Mayfield and Paducah
train and carried all his wounded off to Mayfield
, except a few who lay near the fort.
Our black troops were very much exposed.
The fort was in bad condition, and the negro troops, with the heavy artillery, were compelled to stand up on the platforms to man the guns, their only protection there being a little bank or ridge of earth about knee-high.
Our loss in killed resulted from this exposure.
The rebel troops got up on the tops of houses, and also in the hospital, and fired down into the fort upon our gunners.
But the troops fought bravely, without flinching; as soon as a man fell at the guns, one of his comrades would drag him out of the way and take his place.
The black troops, having muskets as well as serving the artillery, would load and fire their muskets while the artillery was being fired.
The white troops were better covered and had more protection; but they fought as well as any men could be expected to fight.
Question. Will you state to us what you know about the operations of the rebels against Columbus
Answer. The first news we received of any operations against Columbus
was about twelve o'clock in the day — I do not remember the exact day, but it was just before the attack on Fort Pillow
I received a written communication by despatch-boat from Colonel Lawrence
, commanding the post at Columbus
, stating that he had received a communication from General Buford
demanding an unconditional surrender of the forces under his command, with all government property, with the assurance that the white troops would be treated as prisoners of war, while the black troops, I think, would either be returned to their masters, or made such disposition of as the rebels should see fit. To this Colonel Lawrence
replied that he had been placed there by his Government to defend the place and the Government
property and stores there, and that he should obey the orders of his superiors; surrender, therefore, was out of the question.
The rebel General then offered to give Colonel Lawrence
half an hour to remove the women and children out of the town.
replied that he should immediately notify the women and children to leave on a boat; that