Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners, Congressional Report 1864
Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners, Congressional Report 1864
Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners, Congressional Report 1864
Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners, Congressional Report 1864
Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners, Congressional Report 1864
Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners, Congressional Report 1864
Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners, Congressional Report 1864

Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners, Congressional Report 1864

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Fort Pillow Massacre & Returned Prisoners: 38th Congress, 1st Session, House of Representatives, Report No. 65 & 67. [Washington, DC]: [House of Representatives], 1864. First Edition. [9534]

Blindstamped cloth faded to brown, 9 x 6 inches, pencil signatures on end papers, small dig in the cloth on the bottom board, 112 & 34 pp., 8 wood engravings on four leaves. Tight with scattered foxing. Fair. Hardcover.

"Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of American in Congress assembled, That the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the war be, and they are hereby, instructed to inquire into the truth of the rumored slaughter of the Union troops, after their surrender, at the recent attack of the rebel forces upon Fort Pillow, Tennessee, as, also, whether Fort Pillow could have been sufficiently re-enforced or evacuated, and if so, why it was not done; and that they report the facts to Congress as soon as possible."

So begins the investigation into the massacre of nearly 300 Union troops, most of them colored, by Confederate soldiers under the command of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. Led by Sen. Benjamin F. Wade and Rep. Daniel W. Gooch, Radical Republicans both, the report includes eye-witness testimony, and was produced to incite the public into calling for tougher wartime policies against the South. It charges the Confederates of using women and children as shields for their sharpshooters, of murdering Union troops that had surrendered, of burning prisoners in their tents, and other atrocities.

The second report on Returning Prisoners "proves, beyond all manner of doubt, a determination on the part of the rebel authorities, deliberately and persistently practiced for a long time past, to subject those of our soldiers who have been so unfortunate as to fall in their hands to a system of treatment which has resulted in reducing many of those who have survived and been permitted to return to us to a condition, both physically and mentally, which no language we can use can adequately describe." Includes the questioning of survivors, and eight woodcuts of emaciated prisoners.

"Despite the initial arguments of the Confederates - and the continued insistence of Forrest's apologists - proclaiming that no massacre had occurred, evidence to the contrary is simply too overwhelming. While not as overblown as the arguments put forward by Wade and Gooch, the interpretations of the vast majority of modern historians convincingly show that a massacre took place. Twice as many Union soldiers were killed during the battle than were wounded - an inverse ratio for Civil War battles. Moreover,  only 20 percent of the Black soldiers present were taken prisoner, while roughly 60 percent of the white troops present were captured." - Britannica online.