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Southern Historical Society Papers.

signal for everybody within range of the fort to commence firing. We raised a yell and made a dash in order to get under the walls of the fort before their artillery could open upon us, but in this we were unsuccessful. The heavy guns joined in the awful din, and the air seemed literally filled with missles.

The Virginians, Georgians and South Carolinians commenced firing from the flanks at the fort and at the enemy's main line, as did our artillery, and the enemy's infantry and artillery from all sides opened upon us.

On we went, as it seemed to us, literally "into the mouth of hell." When we got to the walls of the fort we dropped down on the ground to get the men in order and let them get their breath. While waiting we could hear the Yankee officers in the fort trying to encourage their men, telling them, among other things, to "remember Fort Pillow." (In that fort Forrest's men had found negroes and whites together, and history tells what they did for them).


Then commenced a novel method of fighting. There were quite a number of abandoned muskets with bayonets on them lying on the ground around the fort. Our men began pitching them over the embankment, bayonet 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 some of the Yankees were undoubtedly so killed.

In almost less time than I can tell it we were in condition to go in. Col. H. H. King ordered the men near him to put their hats on their bayonets and quickly raise them above the fort, 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 grapple continued until most of the Yankees found in there were killed. This slaughter would not have been so great had not