The Battle At Fort Pillow Essay

The Battle At Fort Pillow Essay

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The battle at Fort Pillow, changed the perspectives of many on the relationship between black and whites, specifically the abolition of slavery, during the Civil War. Grotius R. Giddings, writing to his father Joshua R. Giddings, a former congressman, stated, “that the [engagement] was a horrible massacre … at Fort Pillow. It shows a barbarity that I had not dreamed they had” (Tap 66), when the knowledge of the massacre spread from the south to the north. Fort Pillow, “a small fort on the banks of the Mississippi river, north of the city of Memphis” (Tap 1), occurred on April 12, 1864, involving “1500 Confederate soldiers” (Tap 1) and a minimum of 600 Union soldiers, half white and the other half being black. Bruce Tap in his book, The Fort Pillow Massacre: North, South, and the Status of Africa-Americans in the Civil War Era, discusses not only the battle but President Lincoln to end the war which resulted in a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, directed to rebellious states, and thus consequently on January 1, 1863 an Emancipation Proclamation was issued.
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in the third year of the civil war, stating that any individuals that were deemed as slaves in the rebellious states, were now considered free by the government. This proclamation served as an aid to the Union since their enlistment percentages were lowering and the prospect of having African-Americans filling needed gaps at a desperate time were appealing. However this raised questions according to Tap: “How would black soldiers be received by the public? How well would African-Americans fight? How would the Confederacy respond to a full-scale effort to organize former slaves? And, perhaps more fundamentally, ...


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...at occurred at Fort Pillow on April 12, 1864. After the Emancipation Proclamation produced on January 1, 1863, African-Americans, freed slaves, signed up to fight for “the Yankees, [donning] the blue Union uniform, and become active participants in not only restoring the Union but liberating themselves and potentially altering the social order” (Tap 122). Only to meet their faith after surrendering, becoming prisoners to the Confederated to be tortured and killed. Though this was not the only battle that resulted in African-Americans, freed slaves, being killed in cold blood, this was one of the first and major battles. A battle that should have been small and easy for the Confederates to apprehend with the numbers of troops they had, under Major General N. Bedford Forrest, turned into a blood bath of not only whites but one of the first waves of freed slave troops.

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