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[440]

Chariton, Iowa, May 13, 1879.
General Chalmers, M. C. from Mississippi:
Sir — I have seen at different times and in various papers the charge made against you that you murdered a babe and had been engaged also in murdering several whites and negroes at Fort Pillow, on the 12th of April, 1864.

I have no especial acquaintance with you; have only seen you twice in my life — once on the 12th and again on the 13th of April, 1864, but I desire to give you my recollection of that battle.

I was acting surgeon of the post at the time — the only surgeon there. I first saw you on the 12th, on the bluffs above, where the greatest number was killed — the greatest slaughter having occurred under the bluffs next to the river. I was under the bluffs most of the time. The greater portion of the officers that commanded the two negro regiments were killed in the fort before there was a charge made. They were picked off by sharpshooters — there being several points much higher than the miserable earthworks, from which it was quite easy for sharpshooters to pick out almost any man they wished. Booth, his Adjutant, and several other officers were killed early in the afternoon. I had my field hospital under the bluffs next to the river.

When Forrest's forces charged into the miserable fort, the two negro regiments and the men of the Thirteenth Tennessee cavalry came down under the bluff where I was, followed by quite a number of the soldiers of Forrest's command. I did not see but few officers among Forrest's soldiers under the bluffs — none above the ranks of lieutenant and captain. I was taken up the bluffs by a lieutenant of Mississippi Rebel cavalry, and when I arrived on the bluff within the fort, there were but a few Rebel soldiers there. Forrest was up there, sighting a piece of artillery on the little gunboat up the river. I saw him sight it several times and fire on the gunboat, after which I passed outside the earthworks. I do not think Forrest knew what was going on under the bluffs. After I had passed out of the earthworks, I met a few ambulances, with their drunken, cowardly crew, who were about to take off my boots, when you came riding near by. Seeing you had on the evidences of being a General, I called to you. You rode up to me and asked me what was wanted. I asked you if you would allow those fellows to strip a prisoner of his boots. You cursed them, and put a guard over me, giving orders to the guard to shoot down the first one that molested me.

I again saw you on the 13th; rode part of the way from the camp to the river and went aboard Platte Valley steamboat with you, and saw you several times on the boat. I had the wounded taken on board the boat. I do not believe that there was a babe there for any one to kill, as early in the morning all of the women and all of the non-combatants were ordered on to some barges, and were towed up the river to an island. by a gunboat before anyone was hurt. I fail to see how you could have gotten on that island


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