Saltville Massacre Oct. 1864

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#81
I have no doubt that such things can happen under battle conditions. I probably am not the most widely read person here but I am fairly well read and have never heard of this before. My quick check of my search engine could find no mention of it. I'd like more evidence before i'll toss this into the category of fact.
Are you questioning a fight took place at Saltville or are you questioning a massacre took place there???
 

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prroh

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#82
Are you questioning a fight took place at Saltville or are you questioning a massacre took place there???

Believe he is questing the Fort Gregg comment. I have been to Fort Gregg three times with Ed Bearss and once with an NPS ranger. All emphasized the fierce fight that basically saved the ANV but neither mentioned the supposed massacre. Chris Calkins , an expert on the fight also doesn't mention it.
 
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#83
Here is Ft Gregg...an English observer was there it seems...no miss deeds recorded only a 300 Spartan type stand recorded...

At 1:00 p.m., 13 Union regiments attacked Fort Gregg in five waves. Harris' Brigade, "men who had previously been rallied and employed in counterattacks that had delayed the enemy's advance were put into Fort Gregg and were told to hold it to the last extremity. They made a Homeric defense using their few field guns as long as they could." Captain A. K. Jones of the 16th Miss later recalled, "Before the last assault was made, the battle flags of the enemy made almost a solid line of bunting around the fort. The noise outside was fearful, frightful and indescribable, the curses and groaning of frenzied men could be heard over and above the din of our musketry. Savage men, ravenous beasts!" Private Frank Foote of the 48th Miss recalled, "Each defender had two or more rifles at hand and while the rear rank loaded them, the front rank handled them with most deadly execution." After the two artillery pieces in Fort Gregg were disabled, the gunners used matches to light the fuses of the remaining shells and rolled them over the parapet. Union General Foster recalled, "The fighting on both sides at this point was the most desperate I ever witnessed, being a hand-to-hand struggle for twenty-five minutes after my troops had reached the parapet." The four artillery pieces in Fort Whitworth provided supporting fire to the defenders in Fort Gregg until these guns were ordered withdrawn despite General Harris' bitter protest. As additional Union forces began to advanced on Fort Whitworth, "Gen. Harris mounted the parapet and waved the flag [of the 48th Mississippi] over our heads, and shouted 'Give 'em hell, boys.'" General Lee ordered Fort Whitworth abandoned as undefensible following the fall of Fort Gregg, and General Harris and his men hastily retreated under considerable fire. However, this was not until after 3:00 p.m., which gave General Lee his two hours. The Union forces had 714 casualties during the attack while the Confederates had 57 killed, 129 wounded, and 30 prisoners, "who were worn and grimy but unhurt." The 19th Miss loss 47 killed, wounded, and missing out of 150. According to Francis Lawley, an English observer, "In those nine memorable April days there was no episode more glorious to the Confederate arms than the heroic self-immolation of the Mississippians in Fort Gregg to gain time for their comrades."
 

prroh

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#84
Are you questioning a fight took place at Saltville or are you questioning a massacre took place there???

Dan wrote one of his excellent multi-posts histories of the fighting in and around Saltville. He is well aware what happened.
 
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#85
Pat
Indeed I was questioning the comment on Fort Gregg. I find it very questionable and wonder why anyone would throw that out based on a single line entry on a obscure website. I'd like to see some hard evidence.
Dan
 
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#86
Further checking about the site does show that the info was incorrect.The info I now have leads to me to think the author was trying to make the stand look more desperate than it was,another Alamo type reference the author stuck into it. You are right and I should have checked this one out further before using it as an example. I stuck it in as every other hit on the search engine I used was on Fort Pillow and Saltville. I intended to give diversity to the discussion and made the mistake of not confirming the story via the sources listed on the site's bibliography before posting.
I have beaten my self with a wet noodle for this and will improve in the future.
 

prroh

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#87
Further checking about the site does show that the info was incorrect.The info I now have leads to me to think the author was trying to make the stand look more desperate than it was,another Alamo type reference the author stuck into it. You are right and I should have checked this one out further before using it as an example. I stuck it in as every other hit on the search engine I used was on Fort Pillow and Saltville. I intended to give diversity to the discussion and made the mistake of not confirming the story via the sources listed on the site's bibliography before posting.
I have beaten my self with a wet noodle for this and will improve in the future.
Was it the preferred wide lasagna noodle or the thin, somewhat ineffective, linguine noodle?

Thanx for the retraction but no harm done.
 
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#88
No problem.
It is quite nice of you to make a retraction once you realized that the information may not be as valid as you at first thought. There should be more of that on these forums.
Dan
 

Nathanb1

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#89
Further checking about the site does show that the info was incorrect.The info I now have leads to me to think the author was trying to make the stand look more desperate than it was,another Alamo type reference the author stuck into it. You are right and I should have checked this one out further before using it as an example. I stuck it in as every other hit on the search engine I used was on Fort Pillow and Saltville. I intended to give diversity to the discussion and made the mistake of not confirming the story via the sources listed on the site's bibliography before posting.
I have beaten my self with a wet noodle for this and will improve in the future.
I hope that noodle was better than the one I ate at the "fake" Italian restaurant last night :smile: Hey, it happens...the important thing is that you caught it. Good for you!
 

larry_cockerham

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#90
No problem.
It is quite nice of you to make a retraction once you realized that the information may not be as valid as you at first thought. There should be more of that on these forums.

Dan
When one develops historic skills such as mine, it becomes part of life.
 
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#92
Further checking about the site does show that the info was incorrect.The info I now have leads to me to think the author was trying to make the stand look more desperate than it was,another Alamo type reference the author stuck into it. You are right and I should have checked this one out further before using it as an example. I stuck it in as every other hit on the search engine I used was on Fort Pillow and Saltville. I intended to give diversity to the discussion and made the mistake of not confirming the story via the sources listed on the site's bibliography before posting.
I have beaten my self with a wet noodle for this and will improve in the future.
Contrary to what 1SGDan has written there is confirmation of the shooting and/or killing of surrendered Confederates at Ft. Gregg by Capt. A.K. Jones ofCompanies G and K Consolidated, 12th Mississippi. The following is excerpted from an 1878 article in the Southern Historical Society papers which details the 12th and 16th Mississippi role in the defense of Fort Gregg. The extent to which the atrocities occurred beyond those companies to the rest of the garrison is not stated and therefore not known:

http://www.beyondthecrater.com/sieg...hs-papers-volume-08-defence-of-battery-gregg/
A. K. Jones,​
Captain Commanding Twelfth Mississippi regiment at Fort Gregg.
To General N. H. Harris, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

"I find that on the 1st day of April, 1865, my company, “G and K” consolidated, including Lieut. Glasscock and myself, was thirty-five strong. When we left camp at Bermuda Hundreds at 3 A. M., April 2d, I left seven men of my company on picket; three others were lost by straggling, leaving twenty-five men of my company who were present and participated in the defence of Fort Gregg; that about 9 o’clock A. M. the bombardment of the fort began, lasting perhaps an hour, a section of the Washington Artillery of two guns replying until both were disabled and several gunners killed. When the artillery fire ceased the infantry hastily approached for the assault. The fort was carried about 1 o’clock P. M. We had ample time and opportunity to see the result of our defence, for when the guns in Fort Whitworth were opened on Gregg, after its capture, the prisoners were marched to that side of the fort, and afterwards taken to the front of the fort to be counted off and made ready for the march to the rear. The slaughter was appalling. I saw the field at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and 12th of May, 1864, at Spotsylvania Court-house, and at neither place were the dead half so thickly strewn as at Gregg. The dead were lying two hundred and three hundred yards in front of the fort, and increased in numbers as the fort was neared, until immediately at the fort it was simply fearful. Men shot off the parapet fell back into the ditch, were pitched out behind, and actually lay in heaps.

On comparing notes that night (2d of April) at Warren Station, U. S. M. R. R., we estimated that we had lost about thirty men in our two regiments (12th and 16th Miss.) killed, and that the enemy had suffered not less than one thousand killed. In my company I had one killed and four wounded; one of the wounded has never been heard of since. Only one man was wounded during the fight, the other three were wounded and one killed after the fort was carried and we had thrown down our arms. There were no bayonets used at Fort Gregg. Small arms were in the greatest abundance—averaging at least two for each man who assisted in the defence. The parapet was eight or ten feet broad, and as no dead men remained on it, none, in consequence, were bayoneted. The fact is, that when an assaulting column reached the fort and made an effort or two to scale the parapet they kept pretty quiet until a new force reached them, and during this seeming lull it gave us ample time to reload all the extra guns."
 
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#95
I see my link above already in the thread earlier. I did not see this one, however: http://www.oak.edu/~oakedu/assets/ck/files/JLAS_FA09_4a.pdf
This is absolutely fascinating, and I love how much detail they give in how each historian examined various records. I had thought from what I'd read previously that the Confederates had actually begun an investigation/trial that was broken off when the war ended, but if I'm reading this accurately, orders were given for it to begin, but it never actually did. Is that accurate?
 

KLSDAD

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#97
Tacking onto an old thread (that I haven't read :O o: ) ..........

I was in Saltville a couple of days ago.....very cool little place. It's amazing to imagine what was there at one time. I had an older B&G magazine as a guide. William Marvel did the writing and there was a sidebar in which he analysed info on the massacre and concluded that there were something like 6-12 killings.

Wikipedia has the following.....

Estimates of the dead vary with the most detailed analysis of the National Archives records by Byrce Suderow, Phyllis Brown, and David Brown concluding that 45-50 members of the black regiment were murdered by Confederates.

There is a reference to their analysis that I haven't looked into yet.... just thought I'd throw it out there to see what our gang has to say.

(BTW...above is a cut/paste and I already fixed the typo at Wikipedia)
 
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#98
From my piece Lead, Salt and the fight for southwest Virginia

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/lead-salt-and-the-fight-for-southwest-virginia.16310/


Killing of prisoners and wounded.

There can be no doubt that 5th and 6th USCC troops and some whites that had been taken prisoner or left on the field wounded were murdered by avenging Confederate soldiers and possibly some civilians. This fact is firmly established by the reports of eye witnesses from both sides. While the veracity of some of the statements made in memoirs, diaries and official reports can be challenged taken as a whole the body of evidence is conclusive. Prisoners and wounded were murdered on the field and in the hospitals established after the battle. The only real issue is trying to establish the actual number of men murdered in this fashion. Historians have conducted a number of studies to establish an accurate accounting of those killed. The results of these studies set the death toll at a range from 5 to over a hundred. The most recent research determined that historian Thomas Mays came closest to the actual number when he wrote that at least 46 men were murdered.


By piecing together the eyewitness accounts the chain of events looks like this. When the Union forces retreated from the field they left their wounded behind. Enraged “Tennesseans” from Robertson’s and Dibrell’s brigades combed the field shooting those left behind on Chestnut Ridge. Breckinridge is reported by one eyewitness as arriving on the scene and angrily ordering the killing stopped but this had no effect. As the frenzy took hold the killers moved back and began murdering prisoners and wounded that had been removed from the field. Many of the remaining wounded were consolidated on the campus of Emory and Henry College but even this did not secure their safety. Surgeon William Gardner, left behind to tend to the wounded, wrote in his official report on the matter that on October 3rd “soldiers in the Confederate service” came to the hospital “and took 5 men, privates, wounded (negr0es), and shot them.” On October 7th “several armed men” forced their way into the hospital and “shot 2 of them (negr0es) dead”.


He also wrote that on the 8th “several armed men” powered their way past the guard and went to the area of the hospital designated for Federal prisoners. It was here that Captain Champ Ferguson sought out Lieutenant Elza Smith and shot him while he lay helpless in his bed as well as another man after asking him where he wanted the death shot. Ferguson was dissuaded from further killings by the Confederate surgeon Murfree and attendant Acres. The murder of Smith was apparently in revenge for an incident at Ferguson’s home during the guerrilla war in Kentucky. Smith had led a Unionist patrol to Ferguson’s house and committed acts that Ferguson vowed to avenge. According to local lore Mrs. Ferguson and her daughter were forced to cook dinner for the patrol after being stripped of their clothing.


While Ferguson was certainly not the only murderer involved in these incidents he has become the focal point of discussion when the Saltville Massacre is discussed. Ferguson’s name was attached to several other incidents, including the murder of missing 12th Ohio trooper John Pence. After returning to Kentucky Burbridge sent a flag of truce to General Basil Duke asking that Ferguson be arrested for “one of the most diabolical acts of the war.” The request was forwarded to Breckinridge, who had Ferguson arrested in Wytheville in February, 1865. As the war was approaching the end he was paroled and sought refuge in his native Kentucky. Believing that he would be given a pardon like the rest of the guerilla bands in the area Ferguson gave himself up to Federal authorities in May, 1865. Instead he was the only man ever brought to trial for the murders at Saltville. Found guilty of being a “border rebel guerilla, robber, and murderer” he was hanged on October 20th, 1865. Only two Confederate men were executed for war crimes committed during the Civil War, Ferguson and the Commandant of Andersonville prison, Henry Wirz.
 
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#99
Bumping this thread because of the discussion on another thread of Confederate policy and massacres of surrendered black soldiers. In the case of Saltville, when Robert E. Lee heard what had taken place, he asked Breckinridge to see General Robertson brought to trial. This never happened; although Champ Ferguson would be hanged after the war for his part in the massacre, Robertson escaped prosecution both during and after the war.

I'm interested in other instances of murders of surrendered black troops - Fort Pillow obviously. There were over 100 blacks murdered following the Battle of Marks' Mills but from what I'm reading they seem to have been civilians. Can anyone add to the list?
 
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ErnieMac

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Battle of the Crater.
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/the-battle-of-the-crater/?_r=0

"Confederate officers eventually stopped the killing, but many black prisoners were murdered as they passed, under guard, through the Confederate reserves. Pvt. Dorsey Binyon of the 48th Georgia regretted that “some few negroes went to the rear as we could not kill them as fast as they past us.” Capt. William Pegram of Virginia took satisfaction in the belief that fewer than half of the blacks who surrendered on the field “ever reached the rear … You could see them lying dead all along the route.” He thought it “perfectly” proper that all captured blacks be killed “as a matter of policy,” because it clarified the racial basis of the Southern struggle for independence.
..........
Thus it seems likely that more than 200 blacks were killed after they had ceased fighting."
 

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