Report of Lieut. Col. Thomas H. Harris, Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, of the garrison at Fort Pillow, etc.
MARCH 16-APRIL 14, 1864.--Forrest's Expedition into West Tennessee and Kentucky.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXII/1 [S# 57]
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Memphis, Tenn., April 26, 1864.
SIR: I wish to state that one section of Company D, Second U. S. Light Artillery (colored), 1 commissioned officer and 40 men, were sent to Fort Pillow about February 15, as part of the garrison.
The garrison at Fort Pillow, by last reports received, consisted of the First Battalion, Sixth U.S. Heavy Artillery (colored), 8 commissioned officers and 213 enlisted men; one section Company D, Second U.S. Light Artillery (colored). I commissioned officer and 40 men; First Battalion, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, Maj. W. F. Bradford, 10 commissioned officers and 285 enlisted men. Total white troops, 295; total colored troops, 262; grand total, 557. Six field pieces--two 6-pounders, two 12-pounder howitzers, and two 10-pounder Parrotts.
T. H. HARRIS,
Lieutenant-Colonel and Assistant Adjutant-General.
[Inclosure No. 1.)
HEADQUARTERS SIXTEENTH ARMY CORPS.
Memphis, Tenn., March 28, 1864.
Maj. L. F. BOOTH,
Comdg. First Battalion, First Alabama Siege Artillery :
SIR: You will proceed with your own battalion to Fort Pillow and establish your force in garrison of the works there. As you will be, if I am correct in my memory, the senior officer at that post, you will take command, conferring, however, freely and fully with Major Bradford, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, whom you will find a good officer, though not of much experience.
There are two points of land fortified at Fort Pillow, one of which only is now held by our troops. You will occupy both, either with your own troops alone or holding one with yours and giving the other in charge to Major Bradford. The positions are commanding, and can be held by a small force against almost any odds.
I shall send you at this time two 12-pounder howitzers, as I hope it will not be necessary to mount heavy guns. You will, however, immediately examine the ground and the works, and if, in your opinion, 20-pounder Parrotts can be advantageously used, I will order them to you. My own opinion is that there is not range enough. Major Bradford is well acquainted with the country, and should keep scouts well out, and forward all information received direct to me.
I think Forrest's check at Paducah will not dispose him to try the river again, but that he will fall back to Jackson and thence cross the Tennessee; as soon as this is ascertained I shall withdraw your garrison. Nevertheless, act promptly in putting the works into perfect order and the post into its strongest defense. Allow as little intercourse as possible with the country, and cause all supplies which go out to be examined with great strictness. No man whose loyalty is questionable should be allowed to come in or go out while the enemy is in West Tennessee.
Your obedient servant,
S. A. HURLBUT,
[Inclosure No. 2.]
HEADQUARTERS FORT PILLOW,
Fort Pillow, Tenn., April 3, 1864.
Major-General HURLBUT: GENERAL:
Everything seems to be very quiet within a radius of from 30 to 40 miles around, and I do not think any apprehensions need be felt or fears entertained in reference to this place being attacked or even threatened. I think it perfectly safe.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant.
L. F. BOOTH,
Major Sixth U. S. Heavy Artillery (colored), Comdg. Fort.
[Inclosure No. 3.]
W. R. McLagan, a citizen of the United States, being first duly sworn, states upon oath that for the last two years he has been trading between Saint Louis. Mo.. and Covington, Tenn.; that at the time of the attack upon Fort Pillow, April 12, 1864, he was at Covington, Tenn., and was taken by General Forrest as a conscript on the 13th of April, with about 30 other citizens; that on the evening of the 12th of April Major Bradford, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry, U.S. forces, arrived at Covington under guard as a prisoner of war, and was reported as such to Colonel Duckworth, commanding Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, Confederate forces; that on the 13th of April Major Bradford and the conscripts, including the affiant, were placed in charge of two companies of the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, Captains Russell and Lawler commanding. They were taken to Brownsville, Tenn., and started from there to Jackson, Tenn.
When they had proceeded about 5 miles from Brownsville a halt was made, and Major Bradford was taken about 50 yards from the command by a guard of 5 Confederate soldiers in charge of a lieutenant, and was there deliberately shot, 3 of the Confederate soldiers discharging their fire-arms, all of which took effect, killing him instantly. This was on the 14th day of April, 1864, near dusk; that the body of Major Bradford was left unburied in the woods about 50 yards from the road.
The affiant, with the other conscripts, was taken on to Jackson, and on the 22d day of April the affiant and 25 others of the conscripts made their escape from the Confederate forces at Jackson. On the way back he saw the body of Major Bradford lying in the same place where he was shot. This was on Saturday night, the 23d of April. Major Bradford, before he was shot, fell on his knees and said that he had fought them manfully, and wished to be treated as a prisoner of war.
W. R. McLAGAN.
HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF WEST TENNESSEE,
Memphis, Tenn., April 25, 1864.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this day.
T. H. HARRIS,
Lieut. Col. and Asst. Adjt. Gen., Sixteenth Army Corps.
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