Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Civil War Battles of April 12

Battle of Fort Sumter
History records April 12, 1861 as the beginning of formal hostilities between the Confederate States of America and the United States with the shelling of Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The fort surrendered on April 14.
It was a bloodless battle. The only casualties were after the battle was over when the US commander, Maj. Robert Anderson, ordered a 100-gun salute to colors for the lowering of the Stars and Stripes. One of the guns exploded, killing one and injuring three.

Fort Pillow
Fort Pillow was a small entrenchment on the Mississippi River in Tennessee. Strategically valueless, it was however in the path of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest during his Spring, 1864 marauding through Kentucky and Tennessee. Gen. Forrest had some 3,000 cavalry; Fort Pillow was manned by less than 600 troops, half of these freed slaves in the 11th U.S. Colored Troops.

The final attack chased the Union troops from the entrenchment and down the bluffs to the Mississippi River. Forrest's men engaged in a turkey shoot, killing one-third of the white troops and two-thirds of the black troops. Described, rightly, at the time as a massacre as the shooting did not stop even after soldiers surrendered.

Forrest, of course, went on to found the Ku Klux Klan and become a modern hero to the Tea Party movement.

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