Report of Lieut. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, C. S. Army,
commanding Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, of the capture of 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]

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT ALA., MISS., AND EAST LA.,
Meridian, Miss., May 27, 1864.

General S. COOPER,
Adjt. and Insp. Gen., C. S. Army, Richmond, Va.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to forward herewith, by Col. T. W. White, Ninth Mississippi Regiment, 1 flag captured from the enemy at Union City, Tenn., and 4 garrison flags and 8 guidons captured at Fort Pillow, Tenn., all by Maj. Gen. N. B. Forrest's cavalry command in April last.
        It would be superfluous for me here to advert to the skill and gallantry displayed by Maj. Gen. N. B. Forrest and the officers and men under his command in the engagements above referred to, in which such a handsome addition has been made to the trophies we have wrested from the enemy. Few cavalry raids have been productive of such brilliant results to our arms or of such disastrous discomfiture to the enemy as that which has rendered famous the expedition whence General Forrest's command has just returned. I will direct that Union City and Fort Pillow be inscribed on the colors of those organizations which distinguished themselves in these engagements.

I am, general, yours, respectfully,
S. D. LEE,
Major-General, Commanding Department.

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HDQRS. DEPARTMENT ALA., MISS., AND EAST LA.,
Meridian, Miss., June 30, 1864.

General S. COOPER,
Adjt. and Insp. Gen., Richmond, Va.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit copies of correspondence between General Washburn, U. S. Army, General Forrest, and myself, which I consider very important and should be laid before the Department. It will be my endeavor to avoid, as far as is consistent with my idea of the dignity of my position, resorting to such an extremity as the black flag, and the onus shall be with the Federal commander. I would like that the onus be put where it properly belongs--before the public--should the extremity arise. The correspondence is not complete yet, and the Department will be informed of the result at the earliest practicable moment.            

I am, general, yours, respectfully,
S. D. LEE,
Lieutenant-General.

 

[First indorsement.]

JULY 28, 1864.

        Respectfully submitted for the information of the President, who will probably be interested to see the grounds taken by our officers concerning the affair at Fort Pillow and the treatment of negro troops. The implied admissions of the Federal generals are infamous, and are properly exposed, especially in General Forrest's second letter, which, though neither elegant nor strictly grammatical, is better, being very much to the point and in the true spirit. The correspondence on the part of our officers meets my approval, and, I trust, with yours.

J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary.

[Second indorsement.]

JULY 30, 1864.

Returned to the Secretary of War.

        The tone of the correspondence on the part of our officers is approved. Much misrepresentation of events connected with the capture of Fort Pillow has been thrown upon the world in the form of a report of a select committee of the two houses of the United States Congress. It is due to our Government that the truth should be sent out to correct the false impression extensively created. It might be well to have at least a part of these communications published, but they are susceptible of many useful additions to the testimony they contain. You will observe frequent and obvious errors, probably due to the copyists; the sense, however, is perceptible.

JEFF'N DAVIS.

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