Question. Do you know what was the character and military experience of Major Bradford? Answer. To the best of my knowledge and belief, Major Bradford had no military experience. I had known him for about a year. He never claimed to have had any military experience. Question. What was the character of Major Booth as a military man? Answer. It was good. He was originally Sergeant-Major of the First Missouri light artillery, and was an officer of experience and tried courage, and of irreproachable character. Question. Do you know whether or not any information was received here that Fort Pillow was threatened before it was actually attacked? Answer. I know that Major Booth assured General Hurlbut that he stood in no danger, and begged him not to feel any apprehension. General Hurlbut, I believe, answered that report by sending Major Booth two additional guns, with a fresh supply of ammunition. Question. How long have you been here in this department? Answer. Since the first of August, 1862. Question. Have you, during that time, been familiar with the condition of the garrison at Fort Pillow? Answer. I have been familiar with it since the first of May, 1863. Question. Has the garrison been entirely withdrawn from Fort Pillow at any time since then? Answer. Yes, sir. Question. Why? Answer. In order to send troops for the Meridian expedition into Mississippi, under General Sherman. Question. For how long a period was Fort Pillow without a garrison? Answer. Fort Pillow was evacuated about the twenty-fifth of January, 1864, and remained unoccupied for a short time afterward. Question. Why was a garrison again placed there? Answer. Major Bradford was with his command at and near Columbus and Paducah, Kentucky, in the early part of this year. Finding recruiting very difficult there, he applied for permission to proceed to Fort Pillow and establish his headquarters there, as he believed that he could easily fill his regiment at that point. Question. It was then occupied rather as a recruiting station than for any other purpose at that time? Answer. Yes, sir. Question. Do you know whether it has been considered a military necessity to keep a garrison at Fort Pillow since the gunboats have been in the river? Answer. It is one of the most important points on the whole river. It commands a very long stretch of the river, and a single well-manned field-piece there would stop navigation entirely. Question. When the garrison was removed from Fort Pillow, was it in pursuance of any order from either General Grant or General Sherman? Answer. I cannot answer that definitely without looking at the records.
Papers forwarded by Lieutenant-Colonel Harris to Washington.
headquarters Sixteenth army corps, Memphis, Tennessee, April 26, 1864.I wish to state that one section of company D, Second United States light artillery, colored, (one commissioned officer and forty men,) were sent to Fort Pillow about February fifteenth, as part of the garrison. The garrison of Fort Pillow, by last reports received, consisted of the First battalion Sixth United States heavy artillery, colored, eight commissioned officers and two hundred and thirteen enlisted men; one section company D, Second United States light artillery, colored, one commissioned officer and forty men; First battalion Thirteenth Tennessee cavalry, Major H. F. Bradford, ten commissioned officers and two hundred and eighty-five enlisted men.
|Total white troops,||295|
|Total colored troops,||262|
T. H. Harris, Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
headquarters Sixteenth army corps, Memphis, Tennessee, March 28, 1864.Sir: You will proceed with your own battalion to Fort Pillow, and establish your force in garrison of the works there. As you will be, if I am correct in my memory, the senior officer at that post, you will take command, conferring, however, freely and fully with Major Bradford, Thirteenth Tennessee cavalry, whom you will find a good officer, though not of much experience. There are two points of land fortified at Fort Pillow, one of which only is now held by our troops. You will occupy both, either with your own troops alone, or holding one with yours, and giving the other in charge to Major Bradford. The positions are commanding, and can be held by a small force against almost any odds. I shall send you at this time two twelve-pound howitzers, as I hope it will not be necessary to mount heavy guns. You will, however, immediately examine the ground and the works, and if, in your opinion, twenty-pound Parrotts can be advantageously used, I will order them to you. My own opinion is, that there is not range enough. Major Bradford is well acquainted with the country, and should keep scouts well out and forward; all information received direct to me. I think Forrest's check at Paducah will not dispose him to try the river again, but that he will fall back to Jackson, and thence across the Tennessee; as soon as this is ascertained I shall withdraw your garrison. Nevertheless, act promptly in putting the works into perfect order, and the post in its strongest