Fort Pillow

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Fort Pillow (1862-1864) A Confederate U.S. Civil War fort designed by Brigadier General Gideon Johnson Pillow in early 1862 and captured by Union forces in June 1862. Recaptured by Confederates in April 1864 with great losses among the Union defenders. The engagement became known as the Fort Pillow "Massacre". Abandoned in 1864.

Fort Pillow Interior

History of Fort Pillow

Union forces captured Fort Pillow on 4 Jun 1862. The fort was recaptured by Confederate forces under Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest on 12 Apr 1864 with great loss of life for the Union defenders. Of the 551 union defenders, 221 were killed and many wounded. An investigating committee after the war determined that atrocities had been committed by the Confederates and the action became known as the Fort Pillow "Massacre". The confederates maintained the the losses were sustain because the Union troops refused to surrender.

The fort was abandoned in 1864.

Current Status

Fort Pillow State Historic Park.

USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 1318086

Location: Fort Pillow State Historic Park, Lauderdale County, Tennessee.

Maps & Images

Lat: 035.6324 Long: -089.8487


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  • Bailey, Ronald H., and the Editors of Time-Life Books, Battles for Atlanta: Sherman Moves East, Time-Life Books, 1985, ISBN 0-8094-4773-8.
  • Castel, Albert, "The Fort Pillow Massacre: A Fresh Examination of the Evidence," Civil War History 4 (March 1958).
  • Cimprich, John, and Mainfort, Robert C., Jr., eds. "Fort Pillow Revisited: New Evidence About An Old Controversy", Civil War History 4 (Winter, 1982).
  • Clark, Achilles V., "A Letter of Account", ed. by Dan E. Pomeroy, Civil War Times Illustrated, 24(4): 24-25, June 1985.
  • Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, Simon & Schuster, 2001, ISBN 0-684-84944-5.
  • Foote, Shelby, The Civil War, A Narrative: Red River to Appomattox, Random House, 1974, ISBN 0-394-74913-8.
  • Jordan, John L. "Was There a Massacre at Ft. Pillow?", Tennessee History Quarterly VI (June 1947), pp 99–133
  • Loewen, James, Lies My Teacher Told Me, Touchstone, 1995, pp. 191.
  • U.S. Congress Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, "Fort Pillow Massacre", House Report No. 65, 38th Congress, 1st Session.
  • Ward, Andrew, River Run Red: The Fort Pillow Massacre in the American Civil War, Viking Adult, 2005, ISBN 0-670-03440-1.
  • Grant, Ulysses S., Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant' ', p 391, ISBN 978-0-14-043701-0.


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