Fort Pillow

From Academic Kids

Fort Pillow is a fort in Henning, Tennessee on the Mississippi River that was used by both sides in the American Civil War. It was built by General Gideon Johnson Pillow in early 1862.

Confederate troops evacuated Fort Pillow on June 4, 1862, in order not to be cut off from the rest of the Confederate Army.

The Battle of Fort Pillow

On April 12, 1864, men under the command of General Nathan Forrest, the first leader of the Ku Klux Klan, recaptured Fort Pillow. The battle's details remain disputed and controversial to this day. What is known is that Forrest's men stormed the lightly guarded fort, inflicting heavy casualties on its defenders who quickly fell into disarray as the Union command - already short by several officers - collapsed. Conflicting reports of what happened next are the source of controversy The fort was occupied by 262 African American and 295 white soldiers. Union sources claimed that despite the fact that these men surrendered, Bedford's men massacred the Union soldiers in cold blood, burning and burying some alive. President Abraham Lincoln condemned the incident. Confederates and Forrest denied this claim.

In the aftermath of this incident, Lincoln demanded that Confederates treat captured black Union soldiers as Prisoners of War. This demand was refused, and as a result, the exchanges of prisoners that had gone on during the war was ended.

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