April 22, 1864
Went on the 20th to fathers & found my neice Miss Jones there on her way to our house. She came home with me in the afternoon and was much amused when we reached the Flume and were forced to adopt the, to her, novel mode of locomotion in a Canoe! Stirring news from the West. Forrest has “attacked Fort Pillow on the 12th with part of Bell’s & McCulloch’s Brigades under Gen Chalmers. After a short fight we drove the enemy, 700 strong, into the fort under cover of their Gunboats & demanded a surrender which was denied by Maj L W Booth Comdg U S Forces. I stormed the Fort & after a contest of thirty minutes, captured the entire garrison killing five hudnred & taking one hundred horses & a large amount of qr master’s stores. The officers in the Fort were all killed, including Maj Booth. I sustained a loss of twenty killed & sixty wounded. Among the latter is the gallant Lieut Col Wm M Reid whilst leading the 5th Miss. Over one hundred citizens who had fled to the Fort from conscription ran into the river & were drowned. The Confederate Flag now floats over the Fort.” signed A. B Forest Maj Gen.
The Northern papers confirm the above in every particular & add that soon after the attack Forest sent in a Flag of Truce, demanding a surrender which was refused & the fighting was resumed. Soon after a second flag came in which was also refused, when the rebels came in swarms compelling a surrender. “… The incarnate fiends commenced an indiscriminate butchery of whites & blacks… The coloured soldiers becoming demoralized rushed to the rear, their white officers having thrown down their arms, both whites & blacks were then bayonetted, shot, or sabred. Out of a garrison of six hundred, two hundred alone were left.” Very likely it is all true & I hope it is. If they will steal our slaves & lead them on to murder & rapine, they must take the consequences!
We have Northern news of the immediate attack of Fort Halleck at Columbus Kentucky upon the capture of Fort Pillow — as yet we hear nothing of it, tho a Yankee steamer reports the U S Flag as “down” when it passed. We have again possession of Paducah & had summoned the Fort there to surrender. Fighting was going on on the 15th. This is Yankee news. The victory at Cane Creek near Shreveport is admitted by the enemy who say the expedition will have to be abandoned & that the Teche country & La Fourche will again fall into quiet possession of the rebels. As yet we have no particulars of the battle. We have captured one of Banks’ Courier from whose dispatches we learn that the Red River had suddenly fallen & that forty transports & gunboats were caught above the Rapids & that they could not get out until the river rises. Ere that I hope Gen Smith or Dick Taylor will have paid their respects to them. The advance on Suffolk seems to be a feint only, as all the troops have fallen back & from present indications intend an advance by the Peninsula. Burnside the Christian’s movements are still veiled in mystery. Grant is reported as falling back to Centreville, but the Northern press maintains an ominous silence as to his motions. The Gold market is furious in the North. On the 14th it rose to 189 but subsequently fell to 174. Sterling Exchange 205. They say, “Where are we to look for releif? Congress might help us, but Congress seems to be past all hope. We look then to Gen Grant & his gallant armies for a rescue. With his successes we shall have better times, but should the Washington Directory or the accidents of War entangle him so as to bring on him misfortune instead of success, why then we may look for the Deluge”!
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html