previous next


Answer. Our small force retired within the fort; the rebels took possession of the town, and from adjacent buildings their sharp-shooter's fired upon us. It was necessary to dislodge them. The gunboats Peosta, Captain Smith, and Paw-Paw, Captain O'Neal, and the Fort drove them out, necessarily destroying property. Most of the inhabitants being still rebel sympathizers, there was less than the usual regret in performing the duty.

Question. What became of the enemy after the repulse?

Answer. They went south, and on the twenty-sixth I was notified by Colonel Hicks and by Colonel Lawrence that they were approaching Columbus.

Question. What was done?

Answer. I went to Columbus again, with such men as could be withdrawn from Cairo, and awaited an attack, but none was made. We were too strong, of which rebels in our midst had probably advised them.

Question. Do you permit rebels to remain with your lines?

Answer. Of course; after they have taken the oath.

Question. What is done in case they violate, by acting as spies, for instance?

Answer. I don't like to acknowledge that we swear them over again, but that is about what it amounts to.

Question. What became of your garrison at Hickman?

Answer. It was but fourteen miles from Union City; too weak for defence, and unimportant. Having no reinforcements to spare, X brought away the garrison.

Question. Was Union City important as a military post?

Answer. I think not, except to keep the peace and drive out guerrillas. The railroad was operated to that point at the expense of the Government, being used in carrying out supplies, which went mostly into disloyal hands, or were seized by Forrest. The road from Paducah to Mayfield was used by its owners. Enormous quantities of supplies needed by the rebel army were carried to Mayfield and other convenient points, and passed into the hands of the rebel army. I found this abuse so flagrant and dangerous that I made a stringent order stopping all trade. I furnish a copy herewith, making it part of my answer, (Exhibit A.)

Question. What, in your opinion, is the effect of free trade in Western Kentucky and Tennessee?

Answer. Pernicious beyond measure; corrupting those in the public service, and furnishing needed supplies to enemies. I am in possession of intercepted correspondence, showing that while the trader who has taken the oath and does business at Paducah gets permits to send out supplies, several wagons at a time, his partner is receiving them within the rebel lines under permits issued by Forrest. A public officer is now under arrest and held for trial for covering up smuggling of contraband goods under permits, and sharing the profits. Pretended loyal men and open enemies thus combined, and the rebel army gets the benefit. We are supplying our enemies with the means of resistance.

Question. Could not the rebels have been sooner driven out of your neighborhood?

Answer. They could by withdrawing men from duties which are presumed to be of greater importance. That point was settled by my superior officers. Forrest's force was near Mayfield, about equidistant from Paducah, Cairo, and Columbus, only a few hours from either. He was at the centre, I going round the edge of a circle. I could only watch the coming blow and help each weak point in turn. One evening, for instance, I sent four hundred men to Columbus, expecting trouble there, and the next morning had them at Paducah, seventy-five miles distant,

Question. Had you instructions as to the presence of that force so near you?

Answer. Not specific. General Sherman, on the twenty-third of March, telegraphed that he was willing that Forrest should remain in that neighborhood if the people did not manifest friendship, and on April thirteenth he expressed a desire that Forrest should prolong his visit until certain measures could be accomplished. I think General Sherman did not purpose to withdraw a heavy force to pursue Forrest, having better use for them elsewhere, and feeling that we had force enough to hold the important points on the river. It may be that the strength of the enemy and the scattered condition of our small detachments was not fully understood. We ran too great a risk at Paducah. Nothing but great gallantry and fortitude saved it from the fate of Fort Pillow.

Question. What information had you of the attack of Fort Pillow?

Answer. Fort Pillow is one hundred and seventy miles below here, not in my district, but Memphis. On April thirteenth, at six P. M., I telegraphed General Sherman as follows:

The surrender of Columbus was demanded and refused at six this morning. Women and children brought away. Heavy artillery firing this afternoon. I have sent reenforcements. Paducah also threatened. No danger of either, but I think that Fort Pillow, in the Memphis district, is taken. General Shepley passed yesterday and saw the flag go down, and thinks it a surrender. I have enough troops now from below, and will go down, if necessary, to that point. Captain Pennock will send gunboats. If lost, it will be retaken immediately.

I was informed, in reply, that Fort Pillow had no guns or garrison; had been evacuated; that General Hurlbut had force for its defence, etc. I understand that Fort Pillow had been evacuated and reoccupied, General Sherman not being aware of it. On the fourteenth he again instructed me as follows:

What news from Columbus? Don't send men from Paris to Fort Pillow. Let General

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
April 13th (2)
March 23rd (1)
14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: