38th Congress, 1st Session.
Report No. 65.

Alfred Coleman, (colored,) sworn and examined.
By Mr. Gooch:

Question. To what company and regiment do you belong?
Answer. Company B, 6th United States heavy artillery.
Question. Were you at Fort Pillow at the time of the fight?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Were you captured here?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. About what time?
Answer. About six o'clock, I should think.
Question. Where did they take you to?
Answer. Out towards Brownsville, between twelve and eighteen miles.
Question. What did you do after you were captured?
Answer. I helped to bury some of the dead; then I came to the commissary store, and helped to carry out some forage.
Question. Did you hear the rebels say anything about a fight?
Answer. Nothing more than it was the hardest fight they had been in, with the force we had here. I was then with the 2d Missouri cavalry.
Question. What did they say about giving quarter?
Answer. They said they would show no quarter to colored troops, nor to any of the officers with them, but would kill them all.
Question. Who said that?
Answer. One of the captains of the 2d Missouri. He shot six himself, but, towards evening General Forrest issued an order not to kill any more negroes, because they wanted them to help to haul the artillery out.
Question. How do you know that?
Answer. This captain said so.
Question. Were colored men used for that purpose?
Answer. Yes, sir. I saw them pulling the artillery, and I saw the secesh whip them as they were going out, just like they were horses.
Question. How many men did you see that way?
Answer. There were some ten or twelve men hold of a piece that I saw coming out. The secesh said they had been talking about fighting under the black flag, but that they had come as nigh fulfilling that here as if they had a black flag.
Question. How long did you stay with them?
Answer. I was taken on the Tuesday evening after the fight, and remained with them until about an hour before day of Thursday morning. I then took a sack of corn to feed the horses, and got the horses between me and them, and, as it was dark and drizzling rain, I left them and escaped.
Question. Did you see any of the shooting going on?
Answer. Yes, sir. I was lying right under the side of the hill where the most of the men were killed. I saw them take one of the Tennesse cavalry, who was wounded in one leg, so that he could not stand on it. Two men took him, and made him stand up on one leg, and then shot him down. That was about four o'clock in the afternoon.
Question. How many do you think you saw them shoot?
Answer. The captain that carried me off shot six colored men himself, with a revolver. I saw him shoot them. I cannot state about the rest.
Question. Did you see more than one white man shot?
Answer. No, sir. The others that were killed were a little nearer the water than I was. I was lying down under a white-oak log near the fort, and could not see a great way.
Question. Do you know how many of their men were lost?
Answer. I heard some of them say, when they went out towards Brownsville, that they had lost about 300 killed, wounded and missing.
Question. How many of our men were killed before the fort was taken?
Answer. I do not think there were more than ten or fifteen men killed before the fort was taken.


Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War be, and they are hereby, instructed to inquire into the truth of the rumored slaughter of the Union troops, after their surrender, at the recent attack of the rebel forces upon Fort Pillow, Tennessee; as, also, whether Fort Pillow could have been sufficiently re-enforced or evacuated, and if so, why it was not done; and that they report the facts to Congress as soon as possible. Approved April 21, 1864. Pages 95-96