Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Jackie Martin. The article, one which includes no obvious visible reference to the Siege of Petersburg, was included on this site because it refers to Confederates being murdered in cold blood with the cry “Remember Fort Pillow!”. Articles such as this one would have been widely read by soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia in the last four weeks prior to the Battle of the Crater on July 30, 1864. It isn’t a stretch to suggest articles of this type may have played a role in the massacre of African-American soldiers in the Crater by Confederates counterattacking the Union toehold in their entrenchments.
SOUTHSIDE, June 18, 1864.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE EXAMINER:
Below you will find an extract clipped from the Washington REPUBLICAN of June 4th. Though it should be taken with the usual allowance for Yankee stories about routs, &c., yet the fact of the cold-blooded murder of our men is doubtless true, and at least shows the spirit with which the Northern press hark on their soldiers in deeds of fiendish outrages.
I trust this will enable our men to see the spirit in which the negro troops execute their vengeance (as they call it) upon unarmed citizens and disarmed soldiers; and I hope they may act according when these black, cowardly fiends present themselves before Southern steel B.
“REMEMBER FORT PILLOW”—RETALIATION—
Two weeks since, opposite Natchez, Mississippi, a force of Union black troops was sent out to disperse a similar force of rebels. The latter were badly whipped and routed. The blacks went into battle with the rallying cry of ‘Remember Fort Pillow.” Eleven men were captured, but were immediately put to the sword on the spot where they surrendered. One rebel dropped upon his knees before a black soldier and begged for his life. The soldier turned to his captain and said, “Captain, what shall I do with this man?” “Do with him as he would do with you if he was in your place and you in his,” was the quick reply—Swift as thought a loyal bullet was sent from a Colt revolver through the rebel’s head, and he fell dead before the black avenger. This may be considered severe by some, but to all such we say, “Remember Fort Pillow.”1
- No title. Richmond Examiner. June 25, 1864, p. 3 col. 6 ↩
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