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Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
 

U.S. Colored Troops and the Battle of Fort Pillow / Remember Fort Pillow

 
 
U.S. Colored Troops and the Battle of Fort Pillow Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler
1. U.S. Colored Troops and the Battle of Fort Pillow Marker
Inscription.
U.S. Colored Troops and the Battle of Fort Pillow

Buried in Memphis National Cemetery are the remains of 248 mostly unknown Union officers and soldiers — including 109 graves representing the U.S. Colored Troops — who fell at nearby Fort Pillow. In the spring of 1864, the Union outpost, located on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, included some 600 soldiers and an unknown number of civilians. The garrison was composed of the 2nd U.S. Colored Light Artillery (35 men),the 6th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery (269 men), and the 13th Tennessee Cavalry (approx. 295 men). Early on April 12, 1,800 troops commanded by General Nathan B. Forrest attacked the fort. Though outnumbered three-to-one, the Federals defied Forrest's demand for surrender. Soon thereafter, the Confederates stormed the breastworks and took the fort.

(Continued on other side)

Reverse
Remember Fort Pillow
(Continued from other side)

In most Civil War battles, the number of wounded exceeded the number of dead. But at Fort Pillow these numbers were reversed. By the morning of April 13, nearly half of all Union officers and soldiers had been killed or mortally wounded. U.S. Colored Troops sustained the greatest number of casualties, losing two-thirds
U.S. Colored Troops and the Battle of Fort Pillow Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler
2. U.S. Colored Troops and the Battle of Fort Pillow Marker
of their number. Eyewitnesses reported that black soldiers were killed despite putting down their weapons and surrendering in what the North deemed a massacre. Additionally, wounded men were burned alive in hospital tents and buildings. The departing Confederates enslaved their black prisoners and transported their white captives to prison camps. Few men escaped to rejoin their regiments. For the remainder of the war, "Remember Fort Pillow” became the rallying cry of the nearly 179,000 African-American soldiers who fought to free the country from the scourge of slavery.
 
Erected 2018 by W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Group Inc., USCT, Memphis ASLH, Joe Williams,Descendants and other African Americans.
 
Location. 35° 10.426′ N, 89° 56.448′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker is at the intersection of Townes Avenue and Jackson Avenue (U.S. 14), on the left when traveling south on Townes Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3568 Townes Avenue, Memphis TN 38122, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Memphis National Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Rose Garden (within shouting distance of this marker); Illinois Monument
The Unveiling of the Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler, June 19, 2018
3. The Unveiling of the Marker
(about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Eastland Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Memphis 13 / Springdale Elementary School (approx. 2.2 miles away); Raleigh Cemetery (approx. 2.4 miles away); Rock of Ages Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (approx. 2 miles away); Overton Park (approx. 3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .  Fort Pillow Massacre Marker (WATN-TV CH-24 Memphis, 6/19/18, 2 min.- YouTube video). (Submitted on June 20, 2018.)
 
Categories. African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesPatriots & PatriotismWar, US Civil
 
Descendant of Fort Pillow Massacre Survivor image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler, June 19, 2018
4. Descendant of Fort Pillow Massacre Survivor
Dr. Bobby Lovett Remarks at Unveiling image. Click for full size.
By Steve Masler, June 19, 2018
5. Dr. Bobby Lovett Remarks at Unveiling
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 21, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 19, 2018, by Steve Masler of Memphis, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 87 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 19, 2018, by Steve Masler of Memphis, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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