The Fort Pillow Massacre

Fort Pillow Massacre, Kurz and Allison, Chicago, 1885
1885 Illustration of the Fort Pillow Massacre of Union Troops and African American Civilians

Over 300 African American Union Soldiers were massacred after they surrendered to troops of Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forest on April 12, 1864.  Although there were some white troops killed, the majority of the white troops were taken as prisoners of war (while the overwhelming majority of African American Troops were shot dead after they surrendered).  Some of Forrest’s men disagreed with these accounts, stating that while the Union Troops were retreating (they continued to use their weapons) forcing the troops to fire at them.  There is no disputing that although the Union Troops were about 50 percent white and 50 percent African American, the majority of those killed were African American.  General Forest later served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.