Fort Pillow - After the battle

51stTNMike

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Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post Dixie. I was up at Fort Pillow last Summer in 98 degree weather tromping through the woods on the walking trails, guess I was just tired of sitting around the house. It's the closest large battle site to me except for Shiloh and I plan on getting up there more often. It's kind of hard to get the full scale of the place when you can only see the land battery on the bluff. The diorama at the center helps though. Great research you've got going on.
 

DixieRifles

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Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post Dixie. I was up at Fort Pillow last Summer in 98 degree weather tromping through the woods on the walking trails, guess I was just tired of sitting around the house. It's the closest large battle site to me except for Shiloh and I plan on getting up there more often. It's kind of hard to get the full scale of the place when you can only see the land battery on the bluff. The diorama at the center helps though. Great research you've got going on.

Thanks, Mike. I try to make my pilgrimage to Fort Pillow on the Anniversary weekend every year if I can. I'm trying to remember what day I went last year. I think it was Sunday. I believe it was last year that I asked permission to set up a table where I displayed my Rosters of Confederate Casualties and what few Union names that I had at that time. I may do that again this April.

The terrain is really rough around the Inner Fort. It is difficult to pick out the high points where the Confederate snipers could shoot into the Union works. And impossible to visualize that shot. Two or 3 years ago, I took my cousin hiking to the Inner Fort going up and down those hills. He had a knee replacement a few months later. I told him he was the latest casualty of Fort Pillow.

Drop me an IM when you plan to be out there. I'll be the guy in civilian attire but wearing a Yellow cavalry Kepi and carrying "River Run Red" tucked under my arms or in a mussette bag.

Steve
Collierville
 

trice

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I am reading the daily OR's related to Fort Pillow and I have question about the Command organization.

I'm up to April 8 where General Sherman begins to express doubts about the leadership of General Hurlbut. Sherman sends a message to General Grant and then there appears a message from General Halleck. Sherman reported to Grant. But How did General Halleck fit into the command of Grant-Sherman-Hurlbut??

Trivia: Sherman and Halleck were fast friends, with similar interests. During the Mexican War, they bunked together on a ship sailing around the Horn to California, discussing military theory and anything else that would pass the time long week after long week. Sherman and Grant both treated Halleck as a friendly mentor until after the war (when they began to discover the truth of some wartime incidents). At this point in the war, Halleck in Washington was functioning as a sort of rear-area chief-of-staff for Grant.

As a result, Sherman would communicate very fully and openly with his friend Halleck, and you can sometimes find those in the OR.

Tim
 

51stTNMike

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I was there the Saturday of the reenactment. We already had my wife's family picnic planned that weekend but I at least wanted to show my face. I was down by the visitor's center in the parking lot that afternoon and ate dinner at the tents up the hill from there.

You're not kidding about not being able to get a feel for everything. The first time I was there I started out from the VC and thought it would be just a little hike through the woods, NOT. I ended up driving around to the last pulloff before Cold Creek and walked in from there. Took the easy way and walked the gravel road around to the west entrance to the fort instead of taking the woods path. Looking down off that bluff to the chute, I'm assuming the water batteries would have been where the cabins are now?
 

DixieRifles

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Several people tell me that part of the bluff has dropped off--I guess reducing the size of the Inner Fort. And the River has cut away the hills on the north side and on the south side of the park. But now it has moved 1/2 mile away. So the water batteries had to be in that area but I would think it would be lower and closer to the river level.

I've never walked down to that area. I assumed that was private property. That paved road winds around and eventually goes out of the park. When I walked the trail with my cousin, we returned along that paved road and thumbed a ride. He was nice enough to drove us some 5 miles around and back into the entrance of the Park. When we got out of the truck(I was riding in the bed), it started raining. That was the year they cancelled it due to bad weather. Then on Sunday, the sun came out for about 3 hours. We had the park to ourselves, which my wife thinks is boring.

A few years earlier, I walked some of the marked foot trails along the south and around that lake. I followed ridges until I almost got lost in the woods.

Steve
 

DixieRifles

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Okay, here are the Statistics based upon my review of the Service Records and what info that was found in Reference books. I tried to be conservative and only count soldiers who were identified as a KIA or a WIA or whatever. Sometimes I relied on reference books. Many of the Service Records had a Final Statement that would say "Supposed Killed". Sometimes, a later document would correct that by saying he return to his unit. Many of those listed as Killed in Action had a Supposed Killed in their files or a KIA.
The 105 Survivors from the MIA/KIA List had some entry stating they were in a hospital or discharged or survived Andersonville or even died days or weeks later. But they survived the immediate battle. I identified 253 Union soldiers who were taken Prisoner, which I count as Survivors. This list does not include any Civilians even if they were CAC's----Civilian Armed Combatants.

Total Union Strength . . . . . . . . 583
Prisoners . . . . . . . . . . 253 . . . . . 43%
Paroled . . . 28
Escaped . . . 10
Total released Prisoners . . . 38

Of the Total Prisoners:
__ Died at Andersonville . . . 97
__ Died - other Prisons . . . 7
__ Total Deaths (documented) . . . 104 . . . 41% of PWs

MIA / KIA . . . . . . 330 . . . 57%
__ MIA - "Supposed Killed" . . . . 111
__ KIA - . . . . . . . . . 44
__ Total documented MIAs & KIAs . . 155 . . . 47% of MIA/KIAs

Survived battle . . . . . . . 105 . . . . . . . 32% of MIA/KIAs
Of the surviving MIAs:
+ Hospital at Mound City . . . . . . 51
+ Returned to Unit . . . . . . 48

Total Survivors from both Groups . . . . . . 358 . . . 61%
(253 + 105)


My webpage has been recently updated. However, some changes were made while calculating these Stats and those changes have NOT been uploaded, yet.

Steve
 

Nathanb1

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Dixie Rifles from Post #77:

And for someone who lives near Memphis, I realized there was one name that was a surprise. I read his name in the Congressional Investigation Report and in "River Run Red"(pages 159, 231, 242, 282) but it took awhile before it popped out at me. One civilian who worked in the town was Elvis Bevel from Arkansas. When the battle started, Elvis went to the protection of the fort but he didn't take up a weapon. He was told to go down the bluff and get on the gunboat with the women. I have searched Census records for him and so far I have not found this name anywhere.
Elvis has left the Fort.

Now I'm curious.
 

ole

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I'm still trying to figure out these numbers, Dave. Guess I'm dense and don't want to go off without understanding what you've given us to think about.

But I see "MIA/KIA at 57 percent."

Heavy losses usually ran about 20 percent killed, wounded and missing. The 57 percent indicates that something abnormal happened there.

Yes, there are horrendous numbers scattered about, and we know why. But Ft. Pillow doesn't fit into those situations.

But the numbers do show that there was some extraordinary killing going on.

Ain't gonna call it a massacre, but it does lend some credible suspicion.
 

DixieRifles

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No luck on Elvis. I had someone search Genealogy sites and the Census. Still looking for him.

But I see "MIA/KIA at 57 percent."
Heavy losses usually ran about 20 percent killed, wounded and missing. The 57 percent indicates that something abnormal happened there.

Ole - I was counting on you checking my Stats. I may not be present the numbers just right. As they say, you can make statistics say anything.

Let me explain. The total number of reported MIA/KIA's is 330 or 57%. That would be a high loss if all of those were actually MIA/KIA. But this number represents the totals from the early reports. My research could only confirm 47% of them were documented as that. There were 32% who were documented to have survived in some way. That leaves another 21% that I have not confirmed. I didn't assume they were all lost. There is no records. Maybe the names are not real; a duplicate or an error in someones records or account.
This points out the error between the reported MIA count and the final accounting after the smoke has cleared and the men make it back to their unit. This occurred after every battle. For Fort Pillow, I'm sure many were scattered for miles. Probably many of the ex-slaves had to go "underground" to keep from being captured.

The main point is that of the 583 defenders, at least 61% survived the battle. This number could be lowered to account for some of the Wounded who were taken to Mound City Hospital but really never had a chance to survive. I thought I had found one who died before reaching Mound City but I found other records. There is one more who didn't survive the trip and a few who were shot repeatedly and had no chance.

I found good evidence that some soldiers were brutally shot and beaten and this most likely happened the fort was taken. I do not argue that or try to cover it up. But, I can say that all the black soldiers were NOT executed.

Link to page of Union Casualties: http://www.custermen.com/DixieBoys/FtPillowUSA.htm

Steve
 

jr baker

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I never heard where the confederate was buried at but I have been told that there is a old cemetery on one of the trail I think it is the chickasaw bluff trail
 

bama46

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No luck on Elvis. I had someone search Genealogy sites and the Census. Still looking for him.



Ole - I was counting on you checking my Stats. I may not be present the numbers just right. As they say, you can make statistics say anything.

Let me explain. The total number of reported MIA/KIA's is 330 or 57%. That would be a high loss if all of those were actually MIA/KIA. But this number represents the totals from the early reports. My research could only confirm 47% of them were documented as that. There were 32% who were documented to have survived in some way. That leaves another 21% that I have not confirmed. I didn't assume they were all lost. There is no records. Maybe the names are not real; a duplicate or an error in someones records or account.
This points out the error between the reported MIA count and the final accounting after the smoke has cleared and the men make it back to their unit. This occurred after every battle. For Fort Pillow, I'm sure many were scattered for miles. Probably many of the ex-slaves had to go "underground" to keep from being captured.

The main point is that of the 583 defenders, at least 61% survived the battle. This number could be lowered to account for some of the Wounded who were taken to Mound City Hospital but really never had a chance to survive. I thought I had found one who died before reaching Mound City but I found other records. There is one more who didn't survive the trip and a few who were shot repeatedly and had no chance.

I found good evidence that some soldiers were brutally shot and beaten and this most likely happened the fort was taken. I do not argue that or try to cover it up. But, I can say that all the black soldiers were NOT executed.

Link to page of Union Casualties: http://www.custermen.com/DixieBoys/FtPillowUSA.htm

Steve

It has always been my understanding that casulty rates are determined by WIA;KIA;MIA ON THE DAY OF THE BATTLE ONLY. Those that succomb to the their woulds later are not reclassified. My understanding is that this was true then and is still true today.

Is mu understanding correct?
 

Nathanb1

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It has always been my understanding that casulty rates are determined by WIA;KIA;MIA ON THE DAY OF THE BATTLE ONLY. Those that succomb to the their woulds later are not reclassified. My understanding is that this was true then and is still true today.

Is mu understanding correct?

This is, to me, where the understanding of Ft. Pillow takes a sharp right turn. Because so many didn't survive the day for very different reasons and because the accusation was that all the wounded pretty much were assumed to be killed in the massacre, I believe (tell me if I'm wrong) Steve is attempting--for the first time--to differentiate. In other words, from regular casualties to casualties of the massacre. Somebody let me know if I'm totally misunderstanding.
 

unionblue

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DixieRifles,

I wish to state for the thread and the record that I appreciate your efforts in presenting this material. As far as I can tell you have been objective, methodical and extremely cautious when researching the data presented here.

It is a worthwhile topic being presented in an excellent manner and I must say that I look forward to everyone of your posts on the topic.

Thank you very much for your hard work.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 

DixieRifles

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Thanks, unionblue. Just trying to understand history.

bama46-- Correct. And Nathanb1 explained it right. I was just making it clear how I define and categorize the names.

Another Statistic that I didn't highlight was the casualty rate for the black versus the white units. When I started compiling my list, I was indicating which soldiers were Black. Then I realized that was probably not necessary, as the 6 US Colored Heavy Artillery and the 2 US Light Artillery were probably all black. I also ran into a problem in that some were listed as mixed race. So, I ignored the race and made the assumption. If I found someone whose race was different, such as the case with 1-Sgt Henry Weaver who appears to be white, then I would indicate his race.

I just made a quick head count of the soldiers in the Black units who survived. This is rough numbers.

Number of Survivors of Black Units
. . . . PW's . . . 63
. . . . MIA's . . . 65 . . . . .out of a total of 242
Total Survivors from Black Units = 128 out of 307 Blacks.

Represents a Casualty rate of 58% for the black units. ( I switched; this is casualties not survivors)

Compare this to Comprich's book "Fort Pillow, A Civil War Massacre and Public Memory"

Survivors
. . . Captured . . 56
. . . WIA . . . 30
. . . Escaped . . 26
Total . . . 112

My MIA List combines his WIA and Escaped. I've seen a couple of places where it is stated 56 Black soldiers were taken prisoner.

I just wish I could see Comprich's roster of names or the notes from Andrew Ward. I considered googling Andrew Ward's phone number and giving him a call. I think he is up in the Seattle area.

Steve
 
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