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[725] disposal any facts desired, when applied for in a manner becoming an officer holding your rank and position, for it is certainly desirable to every one occupying a public position to be placed right before the world, and there has been no time, since the capture of Fort Pillow, that I would not have furnished all the facts connected with its capture, had they been applied for properly, but now the matter rests with the two governments. I have, however, for your information, enclosed you copies of the official correspondence between the commanding officers at Fort Pillow and myself; also copies of a statement of Captain Young, the senior officer of that garrison, together with (sufficient) extracts from a report of the affair by my A. D. C., Captain Chas. W. Anderson, which I approve and endorse as correct.

As to the death of Major Bradford, I knew nothing of it until eight or ten days after it is said to have occurred.

On the thirteenth (the day after the capture of Fort Pillow) I went to Jackson, and the report I had of the affair was this: Major Bradford was, with other officers, sent to the headquarters of Colonel McCulloch, and all the prisoners were in charge of one of McCulloch's regiments. Bradford requested the privilege of attending the burial of his brother, which was granted, he giving his parole of honor to return. Instead of returning, he changed his clothing and started for Memphis. Some of my men were hunting deserters and came on Bradford just as he had landed on the south bank of the Hatchie, and arrested him. When arrested, he claimed to be a Confederate soldier belonging to Bragg's army, that he had been on furlough, and was then on his way to join his command.

As he could show no papers he was believed to be a deserter, and was taken to Covington, and not until he was recognized and spoken to by citizens did the guards know that he was Bradford.

He was sent by Colonel Duckworth, or taken by him to Brownsville.

All of Chalmers' command went from Brownsville via La Grange, and as all the other prisoners had been gone some time, and there was no chance for them to catch up and place Bradford with them, he was ordered by Colonel Duckworth or General Chalmers to be sent south to me at Jackson.

I knew nothing of the matter until eight or ten days afterwards I heard that his body was found near Brownsville. I understand that he attempted to escape and was shot. If he was improperly killed, nothing would afford me more pleasure than to punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law, and to show you how I regard such transactions.

I can refer you to my demand upon Major-General Hurlbut (no doubt upon file in your office) for the delivery to Confederate authorities of one Colonel Fielding Hurst and others of his regiment, who deliberately took out and killed seven Confederate soldiers, one of whom they left to die after cutting off his tongue, punching out his eyes, splitting his mouth on each side to his ears, and cutting off his privates. I have mentioned and given you these facts in order that you may have no further excuse or apology for referring to these matters in connection with myself, and to evince to you my determination to do all in my power to avoid the responsibility of causing the adoption of the policy which you have determined to press. In your letter you acknowledge the fact that the negro troops did take an oath on bended knees to show no quarters to my men, and you say further “you have no doubt they went to the battle-field expecting to be slaughtered,” and admit, also, the probability of their having proclaimed on their march that no quarters would be shown us. Such being the case, why do you ask for the disavowal on the part of the commanding General of this department or the government, in regard to the loss of life at Tishemingo Creek? That your troops expected to be slaughtered, appears to me, after the oath they took, to be a very reasonable and natural expectation. Yet you who sent them out, knowing and now admitting that they had sworn to such a policy, are complaining of atrocities, and demanding acknowledments and disavowals on the part of the very men you sent forth sworn to slay whenever in your power.

I will, in all candor and truth, say to you that I had only heard these things, but did not believe them; indeed, did not attach to them the importance they deserved, nor did I know of the threatened vengeance as proclaimed along the line of march until the contest was over. Had I and my men known it, as you admit it, the battle of Tishemingo Creek would have been noted as the bloodiest battle of the war. That you sanctioned this policy is plain, for you say now “that if the negro is treated as a prisoner of war, you will receive with pleasure the announcement, and will explain the facts to your colored troops, and desire (not order) that they recall the oath; but if they are to be either slaughtered or returned to slavery, let the oath stand.” Your rank forbids a doubt as to the fact that you and every officer and man of your department is identified with the policy and responsible for it, and I shall not permit you, notwithstanding by your studied language in both your communications you seek to limit the operations of your unholy scheme, and visit its terrible consequences alone upon that ignorant, deluded, but unfortunate people, the negroes, whose destruction you are planning in order to accomplish ours. The negroes have our sympathy, and so far as consistent with safety will spare them at the expense of those who are alone responsible for the inauguration of a worse than savage warfare. Now, in conclusion, I demand a plain, unqualified answer to two questions, and then I have done with further correspondence with you on this subject This matter must be settled. In battle and on

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J. D. Bradford (6)
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