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[730] by informing you that most of them have returned to their respective commands, their search for their late “masters” having proved bootless; and I think I do not exaggerate in assuring you that there is not a colored soldier here who does not prefer the fate of his comrades at Fort Pillow to being returned to his “master.”

I remain, General,

Yours, very respectfully,

C. C. Washburn, Major-General.

Captain J. T. Young to General Washburn.

Memphis, Tennessee, September 13th, 1864.
Major General C. C. Washburn, commanding District West Tennessee:
General: I have the honor to address you in regard to certain papers forwarded you by Major-General Forrest, of the so-called Confederate army, signed by me under protest, whilst a prisoner of war at Cahaba, Alabama. I would first call your attention to the manner by which these papers were procured. About twenty-seventh April last, all Federal prisoners (except colored soldiers) were sent to Andersonville and Macon, Georgia, myself among the number. About ten days after my arrival at Macon prison, a Confederate Captain, with two men as guard, came to that prison with an order for me to return to Cahaba. I appealed to the officer in command to know why I was taken from the other officers, but received no explanation. Many of my friends among the Federal officers who had been prisoners longer than myself felt uneasy at the proceedings, and advised me to make my escape going back, as it was likely a subject of retaliation. Consequently I felt considerable uneasiness of mind. On returning to Cahaba, being quite unwell, I was placed in hospital, under guard, with still no explanation from the military authorities. On the day following, I was informed by a sick Federal officer, also in hospital, that he had learned that I had been recognized by some Confederate as a deserter from the Confederate army, and that I was to be court-martialed and shot. The colored waiters about the hospital told me the same thing, and although I knew that the muster-rolls of my country would show that I had been in the volunteer service since first May, 1861, I still felt uneasy, having fresh in my mind Fort Pillow, and the summary manner the Confederate officers have of disposing of men on some occasions. With the above impressions on my mind, about three days after my return to Cahaba I was sent for by the Provost Marshal, and certain papers handed me, made out by General Forrest for my signature. Looking over the papers, I found that signing them would be an endorsement of General Forrest's official report of the Fort Pillow affair. I of course returned the papers, positively refusing to have anything to do with them. I was sent for again the same day, with request to sign other papers of the same tendency, but modified. I again refused to sign the papers, but sent General Forrest a statement, that although I considered some of the versions of the Fort Pillow affair, which I had read in their own papers, said to be copied from Federal papers, exaggerated, I also thought that his own official report was equally so in some particulars.

Here the matter rested about one week, when I was sent for by Colonel H. C. Davis, commander of post at Cahaba, who informed me that General Forrest had sent P. T. Scroggs to see me, and have a talk with me about the Fort Pillow fight. I found the Judge very affable and rather disposed to flatter me; he said that General Forrest thought that I was a gentleman and a soldier, and that the General had sent him (the Judge) down to see me and talk to me about the Fort Pillow fight; he then went on to tell over a great many things that were testified to before the Military Commission, which I was perfectly ignorant of, never having seen the testimony. He then produced papers which General Forrest wished me to sign. Upon examination, I found them about the same as those previously shown me, and refused again to sign them, but the Judge was very importunate, and finally prevailed on me to sign the papers you have in your possession, pledging himself that if I wished it they should only be seen by General Forrest himself, that they were not intended to be used by him as testimony, but merely for his own satisfaction.

I hope, General, that these papers signed by me, or rather extorted from me while under duress, will not be used by my government to my disparagement, for my only wish is now, after three years service and over, to recruit my health, which has suffered badly by imprisonment, and go in for the war.

I have the honor to be, General,

Your obedient servant,

John T. Young, Captain Company A, Twenty-fourth Missouri, Infantry.

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