April 8, 1864

Gen. Sheridan

General Sheridan, the newly appointed chief of cavalry at the Army of the Potomac, is, as his name indicates, of Irish descent. He is a middle aged man, below the medium height, of compact and wiry build, florid complexion, and reddish hair and whiskers. With a full share of brains, a quick piercing eye, full of dash, cool as he is brave, and withal a good horseman, he is the beau ideal of a cavalry officer....

We are confident that Gen. Sheridan will win new laurels as chief of cavalry of the Army of the Potomac; and that Gen. Grant has done well in placing him in that responsible position.

April 15, 1864

Our telegraphic dispatches of to-day are most exciting and important. The rebels under Forrest, taking advantage of the exposed condition of Fort Pillow, assaulted it, and overpowering its small garrison, effected its capture. Then "ensued [says the dispatch] a scene which baffles all description. Up to that time comparatively few of our men were killed, but insatiate as fiends, and bloodthirsty as devils, the incarnate Confederates commenced an indiscriminate butchery of whites and blacks, including those of both colors who were previously wounded."

This is horrible, but their conduct during their former attack upon Paducah leads us to fear that it is not greatly exaggerated, especially in view of the corroborating statement that only two hundred out of six hundred survived the fight and surrender....

Note: The Battle of Fort Pillow, also known as the Fort Pillow Massacre, was fought on April 12, 1864, at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River in Henning, TN. The battle ended with a massacre of federal troops, some while attempting to surrender, by soldiers under the command of Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

April 21, 1864

We were shown this morning a private letter from Lieutenant Geo. W. Richardson, of General Ransom's staff, dated headquarters detachment Army Corps, April 9, Pleasant Hill, 35 miles from Natchitoches, La., from which we extract as follows:

Our corps was badly defeated yesterday. Gen Ransom was shot through the left leg; will have to suffer amputation....We have been outgeneraled again. A mass of rebels 12,000 or 15,000 strong pounced upon us by droves.

I am well, and in spirits. Tell Jimmy Dewey's folks he is with me and well.

While I write the enemy are close on us, not four miles off, and the rattle of musketry is distinctly heard. We are on a retreat.

Note: The Battle of Pleasant Hill was fought on April 9, 1864, during the Red River Campaign near Pleasant Hill, LA., between Union forces led by Maj. General Nathanial P. Banks and Confederate forces led by Maj. General Richard Taylor. Officially, the battle was a Union victory - as the Confederates were successfully driven from the field. However, because Banks and his army retreated so soon afterwards, many argue over who had really won.

April 27, 1864

It is estimated that our loss in the Red River Battles will amount to 5,000 men, viz: 700 killed, 2,300 wounded, and 2,000 prisoners. Besides the casualties, the army lost twenty pieces of artillery and from 300 to 500 baggage wagons and their contents. The rebels loss is fully equal to ours, but in prisoners only 600 men, and three or four pieces of artillery.



Research conducted by the Jefferson County Civil War Round Table