The Taking of Fort Pillow.
The following, says the New York Journal of Commerce, is an extract from a private letter from a gentleman in Cincinnati to a friend in this city. It gives a rational and probably very correct account of the affair:
CINCINNATI, April 21, 1864.
The storming of Fort Pillow was a serious affair. I conversed with an intelligent Irishman who came up on the steamer that brought many of our wounded men to Cairo. He tells me that our officers placed their negro soldiers in front of the whites. They immediately ran away, and the whites surrendered as soon as the rebels entered the fort, calling on the negroes to do the same, but they do not understanding matters, and being afraid of falling into the hands of the rebels, ran away with their arms, and occasionally fired on the pursuers. But all who surrendered, whether white or black, were protected as soon as the melee of the assault was over. A few negro women and children were killed in the fort, and some of the negroes were pursued down to the edge of the river and killed, before the rebel officers could control their men. The demoralization of the whites and the terror of the black soldiers were excessive. The negroes did not know enough to give up, and their officers lost all control over them. The passions and rage of the rebels were ungovernable at meeting the negroes in arms.
After the surrender, the rebel officers, with a few exception, did what they could to control their men. It was worse than folly to attempt a defense with negro troops, unless there was a certainty of success. They could expect nothing if the defense failed, from the rebels who, entering the fort sword in hand, would probably refuse quarter, which I am informed the laws of war permit in case where a place is taken by assault.