Sources for Fort Pillow
Judy and Bob Huddleston
10643 Sperry Street
Northglenn, CO 80234-3612
huddlAnd yes, there was a massacre of the surrendering troops at Fort Pillow and the �massacre� was not an invention of Yankee propaganda. Forrest was responsible, both as the commanding officer and because the blood-lust that got out of control was an expression of his own personality. �[It] was brutal slaughter beyond what should have occurred. People died who were attempting to surrender to surrender and should have been spared. � Although he lost control over the fighting at Fort Pillow, the Confederate cavalry commander clearly did not disapprove of the results.� (Wills, p. 196)
There are three well written and, more importantly, well-researched accounts of the massacre at Fort Pillow: the oldest was Albert Casteel�s first published work, �The Fort Pillow Massacre: A Fresh Examination of the Evidence,� _Civil War History_ March 1958. The second is an article by John Cimprich and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr published also in _Civil War History_ (December 1982). The third is _An Unerring Fire: The Massacre at Fort Pillow_ by Richard Fuchs (Stackpole, $22.95) (See the review at http://www.civilwarnews.com/reviews/bookreviews.cfm?ID=341 ). To quote the reviewer, �this tragic episode could have easily been avoided, but that racial hatred prevailed and that the demons that drove Nathan Bedford Forrest all his life were unleashed in a climactic feeding frenzy hitherto not seen on an American battlefield.�
Separately I am posting several of the letters which John Cimprich and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr reprinted in their article. The essence of their arguments is that the historian should be cautious about anything written after the allegations of massacre began, but that we can learn a lot by seeing what participants wrote before those charges were made.