At the end of 1863, Confederate cavalry leader Nathan Bedford Forrest began operations in west Tennessee with a small unit, but he managed to recruit several thousand volunteers, including a number of veteran soldiers, and he whipped them into shape so they were combat ready before their first confrontation. Upon hearing of Forrest’s growing aptitude for adaptive warfare, General Sherman wrote to Union commander in chief Henry Halleck that men like Forrest were "men that must all be killed or employed by us before we can hope for peace. They have no property or future, and therefore cannot be influenced by anything except personal considerations". Sherman repeatedly ordered his Memphis commanders to catch "that devil Forrest", essentially putting a bounty on his head.
As far as skirmishes go, Fort Pillow was a completely unremarkable fight. Before attacking, Forrest demanded the unconditional surrender of the Union garrison, a normal custom of his, and he warned the Union commanding officer that he would not be responsible for his soldiers' actions if the warning went unheeded. What made Fort Pillow markedly different was that a sizable amount of the Union garrison defending the Fort was comprised of black soldiers, which particularly enraged Confederate soldiers whenever they encountered those they viewed as former slaves in the field.
It is still unclear exactly how the fighting unfolded, but what is clear is that an unusually high percentage of Union soldiers were killed, and the Confederates were accused of massacring black soldiers after they had surrendered. Primary sources tell conflicting accounts of what happened at Battle of Fort Pillow, leaving scholars to piece together the battle and determine whether Confederate soldiers purposely shot Union soldiers after they had surrendered. The Fort Pillow Massacre: The History and Legacy of the Civil War's Most Notorious Battle chronicles the history of the Civil War's most infamous massacre.
This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?
Someone with a short attention span
Would you ever listen to anything by Charles River Editors again?
How could the performance have been better?
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
The story was very powerful it was just far to short
Any additional comments?
This is not a Talking book but a talking pamphlet. There has been no new major work undertaken into any aspect of the Fort Pillow massacre. What we were given was a lightening tour and that was very disappointing
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