Pillow, Fort, Massacre at

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PILLOW, FORT, MASSACRE AT (12 April 1864). Fifteen hundred Confederate cavalry under Gen. Nathan B. Forrest approached Fort Pillow, Tenn., on the morning of 12 April 1864. Forrest warned the Union garrison of 557 men (295 white and 262 black) that unless they surrendered, he could "not be responsible for [their] fate." When the Union force refused, the Confederates attacked and drove the defenders out of the fort. Forrest took prisoner 168 white and 58 black troops. Surviving Union witnesses testified before federal authorities that on Forrest's orders, Confederates massacred several hundred prisoners. All 262 blacks garrisoned at the fort were slain, most after they had ceased to resist.


Cornish, Dudley Taylor. The Sable Arm: Black Troops in the Union Army, 1861–1865. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987.

MacAluso, Gregory J. The Fort Pillow Massacre. New York: Vantage Press, 1989.

John D.Milligan/a. r.

See alsoCivil War ; Military Service and Minorities: African Americans ; War, Laws of .