Doc. 86. Confederate cruelty.
Report of Lieutenant Fitch.
Nashville, Tennessee, January 3, 1865.Major: The following report of my capture and subsequent attempted murder is respectfully submitted for your information: I was captured on the twentieth December, fourteen miles in a south-eastern direction from Murfreesboroa, in company with two other officers, Lieutenant D. G. Cooke, Seventeenth United States colored infantry, and Captain C. G. Penfield, Forty-fourth United States colored infantry, by a company of scouts belonging to Forrest's command, numbering thirty-six men, commanded by Captain Harvey. As soon as captured we were robbed of everything of any value, even to clothing. We were kept under guard for three days with some other prisoners (private soldiers of General Steadman's division, who were captured near Murfreesboroa), until we reached a small town called Lewisburg, some eighteen miles south of Duck river. There the officers were sent under a guard of four men to report, as I supposed, to General Forrest's headquarters. The guards told us that was their destination. They took us along the pike road leading from Lewisburg to Masesville about four miles, and then left the road and turned to the right, for the purpose, as they said, of stopping at a neighboring house for the night. After leaving the road about half a mile, as we were walking along through a wooded ravine the man in advance of us halted, partially turned his horse, and, as I came up, drew his revolver and fired on me without a word. The ball entered my right ear just above the centre, passed through and lodged in the bone back of the ear; it knocked me senseless for a few moments. I soon recovered, however, but lay perfectly quiet, knowing that my only hope lay in leading them to believe that they had killed me. Presently I heard two carbine shots, and then all was still. After about fifteen minutes I staggered to my feet and attempted to get away, but found I could not walk. About that time a colored boy came along and helped me to a house near-by. He told me that the other two officers were dead, having been shot through the head. That evening their bodies were brought to the house where I lay. Next morning they were decently buried on the premises of Colonel John C. Hill, near-by. The shooting occurred on the twenty-second, and on the twenty-third, about mid-day, one of Forrest's men came to the house where I was lying, and inquired for me; said that he had come to kill me. The man of the house said it was entirely unnecessary, as I was so severely wounded that I would die any way, and he expected I would not live over an hour. He then went away, saying that if I was not dead by morning that I would be killed. After he left I was moved by the neighbors to another house, and was moved nearly every night from one house to another, until the twenty seventh, when I was relieved by a party of troops sent from Columbus, and brought within the Federal lines. The privates were sent off on a road leading to the right of the one we took, about in the direction of Columbia, I should judge. I cannot but think they were killed, as about that time our forces occupied Columbia, the rebel army having retreated. There were twelve privates, belonging, I think to Craft's brigade. Very respectfully your obedient servant.