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part in the memorable escape from that place, by an excavated tunnel, in February, 1864.
During the remainder of 1863 and the following year Forrest was exceptionally active. He was acknowledged to be one of the most daring and skilful of the Confederate leaders and was given very much of a roving commission, his service being more in the nature of guerilla than regular warfare. In October, 1863, he made a bold raid into Tennessee, collected supplies, and was away again before his pursuers could overtake him. But his greatest and most successful raid was in the spring of 1864, when, at the head of about five thousand veteran horsemen, he swept up into west Tennessee and after a short rest at Jackson pushed on towards Kentucky.
Here he despatched Colonel Faulkner to capture Union City, a fortified railroad centre with a garrison of four hundred and fifty men. This was surrendered after a brief resistance. Hickman was occupied, and the daring raider rode north as far as the Ohio River, where an attack was made on the town of Paducah. The garrison here was about seven hundred strong, but it was aided by gunboats on the river, and though Forrest had three thousand men, they failed to take Fort Anderson, which the garrison had occupied. The approach of reinforcements caused him to decamp after having lost over three hundred men.
He was more successful in an attack on Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi above Memphis, his capture of which was followed by a massacre which has blackened his fame. The fort was garrisoned by about five hundred and fifty men, half of them colored troops, and was taken by storm after futile negotiations for a surrender. Forrest's men, many of whom had concealed themselves close up to the fort under cover of the flag of truce, sprang up and in a trice were over the parapets with a cry of “No quarter!”
The garrison threw down their arms and many of them attempted to escape, but a frightful massacre began, the defenceless fugitives being cut down mercilessly on all sides. The fact of many of them being negro soldiers was the incitement to this murderous onslaught, which, however, was not confined to the blacks, the slaughter being indiscriminate. Of those within the fort only one hundred were taken prisoners, the remainder being cut down until the fort ran red with blood.
This act of cruelty, which stands alone in the annals of the war, has covered the name of Nathan Forrest with a pall of infamy which was perhaps deserved, perhaps not. There is conflicting testimony as to how far he was personally responsible, how far it was the spontaneous act of his men, infuriated at being confronted by negro soldiers. However this be, it was a most unhappy occurrence, unmatched in America since the blood-thirsty acts of Santa Anna in Texas. It fitted best with the savage acts of earlier times, when the cold blooded slaughter of prisoners of war was a common occurrence.
General Sturgis, with a force of about twelve thousand men, was by this time on the march to intercept the daring raider, but failed to do so, Forrest easily evading him. Sturgis some weeks later marched into Mississippi with instructions to hunt up and beat the bold cavalry leader. The result was disastrous. Forrest awaited his pursuers in a strong position and defeated them so thoroughly that their wagon train was abandoned, and when Sturgis reached Memphis on
his retreat he had left behind him more than a fourth of his men and almost everything else.
This unlucky attempt was followed by another expedition, under General Smith, in July, which met and repulsed the Confederates. Smith advanced again in August and spent two weeks in his march into Mississippi, but was perplexed in finding only small bodies of cavalry to oppose him. What had become of Forrest and his men ?
He was soon to learn. At dawn on the 21st of August, Forrest dashed boldly into Memphis with three thousand men, the bulk of its defenders being then far down in Mississippi. He made directly for the Gayoso House, the head-quarters of Generals Hurlbut, Washburne, and Buckland, whom he hoped to capture. He failed to find them, but carried away several of their staff officers and about three hundred soldiers. He proposed also to open the prisons and release the Confederate captives, but the soldiers around Memphis were now rapidly gathering in arms and the shrewd leader felt it necessary to leave in haste, after having spent about an hour in the town. The exploit was a bold and brilliant one, of the type of the romantic deeds of the knights of old.
Forrest's final exploit was in September, 1864, in connection with Hood's march to cut Sherman's communications. He dashed, as so often before, into Tennessee, did damage wherever he could, captured a thousand prisoners, and made himself so troublesome generally that thousands of pursuers gathered on all sides around him, hoping to catch him in a net. But the wily raider saw his peril, and at once paroled his prisoners, destroyed five miles more of railroad, and rode away with little loss, leaving his pursuers to draw their net after the fish had foiled them again.
This was the last important exploit of this dashing cavalier of the South. He was made a lieutenantgeneral in February, 1865, and surrendered in May, at the end of the war. In his later life he engaged in business and for a time was president of the Selma and Memphis Railroad. He died October 29, 1877. Though one dark deed blackened his fame, the Civil War hardly produced his peer as a cavalry leader, and he and his daring troop of hard riders were of inestimable advantage to the Confederate forces in the Southwestern area of the war.
JOSEPH HOOKER, THE HERO OF THE
BATTLE ABOVE THE CLOUDS
A RETIRED army officer, running a plantation in California, Joseph Hooker lost no time when news of the oụtbreak of war reached him in hastening to Washington and offering his services to the Government. He met with a disappointment. General Scott gave him no hopes of a place. He already had more officers than he could use. Hooker turned away in disgust, but before leaving Washington he called on the President and told who he was and how his offer had been received. He was, he said, a brevet lieutenant-colonel and had served in the Mexican War, and went on to say that he had seen the battle of Bull Run, and that, without wishing to boast, he considered himself a better general than there was on that field.
There was something in his visitor's tone and manner that pleased Lincoln, who rose from his chair, slapped him in a friendly way on the shoulder, and said:
“ Colonel, not lieutenant-colonel, Hooker, I like you. Don't leave Washington; I have a regiment for you."
When it came it proved to be a brigade instead of a regiment, and instead of colonel, Hooker was made brigadier-general of volunteers, his commission being dated back to May 17. His troops were raw New Englanders whom he at once began to drill into shape.
Joseph Hooker was himself from New England, his place of birth being Old Hadley, Massachusetts,