Thursday, September 8, 2005
Cooler Side of the Fort Pillow
Readers looking for a book-length, scholarly (and hopefully coolly objective) study surrounding Nathan Bedford Forrest's April 12, 1864 assault and capture of Fort Pillow and its aftermath will have two to chose from very soon. Andrew Ward's River Run Red: The Fort Pillow Massacre in the Civil War has a late September release while Professor John Cimprich's Fort Pillow, A Civil War Massacre and Public Memory will be available a week later from LSU Press. Undoubtedly, both are at least a little chagrined to have to go up against each other right off the bat!
From their book descriptions, both works appear to attack the subject from multiple angles, expanding their coverage beyond the central theme of racism to include other crucial issues not fully developed in other studies of Fort Pillow. Discussion of the Union administration of occupied West Tennessee and the internecine conflicts between local Unionists and Confederates will undoubtedly help to provide readers with a more complete picture of the complex motivations behind the hatred and desire for vengeance that was directed against Fort Pillow's multiracial garrison.