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[80]

We had proceeded but a little way before we discovered a flag of truce at the Fort, as it was reported to me; I did not see it myself, but it undoubtedly was there. We passed on a short distance further, and then noticed that our flag at the Fort was down; we had seen it flying as we passed the Fort. I went to the stern of our boat, and with a glass looked carefully at the Fort. After a time I discovered that the gunboat had steamed up a little ways, as I supposed for the purpose of firing upon the right flank of the rebels. We could see a line of fire or smoke in the woods, which we supposed to be from the musketry of the rebels. We then saw a flag raised up on a pole at the Fort, I should think ten or twelve feet high. I supposed that our flag had been shot away, and they were raising it again. The guns from the Fort at that time were pretty heavy, while the fire of the enemy appeared to be from musketry. I have no doubt now that that was the rebel flag that was raised after the Fort was taken.

We proceeded on up to Columbus. Before we arrived there we noticed that there was heavy firing there. On our arrival there we saw a great many troops, and they remarked from the shore that there was hot work there. General Shepley told me to accompany him, and went up to Colonel Lawrence's headquarters, but was told he was at the front. General Shepley ordered two horses to be prepared for us to go to the front, to see Colonel Lawrence. Just as the horses were ready, and we were about starting, Colonel Lawrence came over and rode down to his headquarters. He told us that it was all right; that there had been some skirmishing; that Buford had come there and demanded a surrender of the Fort, but he had refused to surrender. General Shepley told him that he had portions of two batteries on hand, and asked him if he wanted them; told him how they came there, and that they were ordered to Cairo as a portion of the Seventeenth corps. Colonel Lawrence said that he had taken four hundred troops from the Luther M. Kennett, and, I think, one battery. The Luther M. Kennett had just preceded us as we passed by Fort Pillow. Colonel Lawrence said that he did not need the batteries of General Shepley. General Shepley inquired particularly about the condition of affairs, and told Colonel Lawrence what had occurred at Fort Pillow. After ascertaining that there was nothing to be done by us down there we proceeded to Cairo. On our arrival there General Shepley called upon General Brayman and told him the substance of what occurred; the condition of things as we left, the flag coming down, and the fear that the Fort had surrendered. We did not know then that the Fort had surrendered, though we know now it had.

The caissons and artillery had been hoisted on our boat by means of what they call a derrick, I think, and were piled up, closely packed all round. It would, therefore, have been impossible for us to have removed those cannon for several hours. It took us several hours to land them at Cairo; and it would have been an utter impossibility for us to have taken those cannon up to Fort Pillow, as we had no infantry to cover our landing; and half a dozen sharp-shooters could have undoubtedly captured our boat had we attempted it.

Question. If I understand you, General Shepley had no opportunity to relieve Fort Pillow any way?

Answer. He went on board the boat a mere passenger, with no arms. We did not know any troops were coming on board. Those two portions of batteries, with their guns, were ordered to report at Cairo. The gunboat was lying right by the side of us, and its fire was of no account and, of course, ours would not have been.

By Mr. Gooch:

Question. Would it have been possible for you to have used your batteries from the boat with any effect upon the rebels?

Answer. No, sir; it would have been an utter impossibility to have done so. If we had gone in and stopped five minutes there, the rebels could have captured us without the least trouble in the world. The question may be asked why we offered assistance at Columbus and not at Fort Pillow. The fort at Columbus is clear in back from the river, and there were infantry troops there to protect our landing. But Colonel Lawrence said he did not expect the fight to occur for some time, even if there was any fight at all, which he did not expect.

Question. At Columbus you could have landed your batteries under the protection of your forces there?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. And you could not have done that at Fort Pillow?

Answer. No, sir; for at Fort Pillow we should have been right under the Fort, and could have been easily reached. This was all stated to General Brayman, and I was quite surprised when I heard of the testimony in regard to the matter.


Doc. 2.-the returned prisoners. In the Senate of the United States.

May 9, 1864.

Mr. Wade submitted the following report. The Joint Committee on the conduct and expenditures of the war submitted the following report, with the accompanying testimony.

On the fourth instant your Committee received a communication of that date from the Secretary of War, inclosing the report of Colonel Hoffman, Commissary General of prisoners, dated May third, calling the attention of the Committee to the condition of returned Union prisoners, with the request that the Committee would immediately proceed to Annapolis and examine with their own eyes the condition of those who have been returned from rebel captivity. The Committee resolved that they would comply


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