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[180]

The Capture of Memphis by Gen. Nathan B. Forrest. From N. O., La., Picayune, December 15, 1901.

Captain Dinkins recalls a thrilling incident of the Civil War—The great Confederate Cavalry leader Outgeneraled an Army larger than his own.


A few days after the battle of Brice's Crossroads General Forrest addressed a communication to Major General Washburne at Memphis, in which he stated that it had been reported to him that the negro troops in Memphis took an oath on their knees in the presence of Major General Hurlbut and others to avenge Fort Pillow, and that they would show no quarter to the Confederates. He also advised that he had heard on indisputable authority that the troops under General Sturgis, on their march to Brice's Crossroads, publicly in many places, proclaimed that no quarter would be shown our men, and that when they moved into action, on June Io, their officers appealed to them ‘to remember Fort Pillow.’

Forrest also informed General Washburne that the federal prisoners in his possession voluntarily stated that they expected us to murder them; otherwise they would have surrendered in a body rather than take to the woods exhausted. The federal prisoners condemned their officers for telling them to expect no quarter.

Forrest further said that in all his operations since the campaign began he had conducted the war on civilized principles, and still desired to do so, but that it was due to his command that they should know the exact position they occupied, and the policy the federals intended to pursue, etc.

On June 10 General Washburne replied to the letter and stated: ‘I believe it is true that the colored troops did take such an oath, but were not influenced to do so by any white officer, but because of their own sense of what was due to themselves and their fellows, who had been mercilessly slaughtered. * * * The ’

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