364 Southern Historical Society Papers.
Pillow." (In that fort Forrest's men had found whites and negroes together. History tells what they did for them. ) Then commenced a novel method of fighting. There was quite a number of aban- doned muskets, with bayonets on them, lying on the ground around the fort. Our men began pitching them over the embankment, bayonets foremost, trying to harpoon the men inside, and both sides threw over cannon balls and fragments of shells and earth, which by the impact of the explosion had been pressed as hard as brick. Everybody seemed to be shooting at the fort, and doubtless many were killed by their friends. I know that some of the Yankees were so killed.
In almost less time than I can tell it we were in condition to go in. Colonel J. H. King ordered the men near him to put their hats on their bayonets and quickly raise them above the fore, which was done, and, as he anticipated, they were riddled with bullets. Then he ordered us over the embankment, and over we went, and were soon engaged in a hand-to-hand struggle of life and death. The enemy shrank back, and the death battle continued until most of the Yankees found in there were killed. This slaughter would not have been so great had not our men found negro soldiers in the fort with the whites. This was the first time we had met negro troops, and the men were enraged at them for being there and at the whites for having them there.
The explosion had divided the pit into two compartments. As soon as we had possession of the larger one, the Yankees in the smaller one cried out that they would surrender. We told them to come over the embankment. Two of them started over with their guns in their hands, and were shot and fell back. We heard those remaining, cry: "They are showing us no quarter; let us sell our our lives as dearly as possible." We then told them to come over without their guns, which they did, and all the remainder, about thirty in number, surrendered and were ordered to the rear. In their confusion and eagerness to get beyond that point, they went across the open field, along the same route over which we had charged them. Their cavalry seeing them going to the rear, as we told, under the flag of truce, thought that it was our men repulsed and retreating, and they at once opened fire upon them, killing and wounding a number of their own men. One poor fellow had his arm shot off just as he started to the rear, and returning, said: "I could bear it better if my own men had not done it."