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Download An Unerring Fire: The Massacre at Fort Pillow ePub

by Richard L. Fuchs

Download An Unerring Fire: The Massacre at Fort Pillow ePub
  • ISBN 083863561X
  • ISBN13 978-0838635612
  • Language English
  • Author Richard L. Fuchs
  • Publisher Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Pr (October 1, 1994)
  • Pages 190
  • Formats lrf mbr doc mobi
  • Category History
  • Subcategory Americas
  • Size ePub 1200 kb
  • Size Fb2 1802 kb
  • Rating: 4.5
  • Votes: 592

On 12 April 1864 a Confederate cavalry force, led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest, assaulted and captured an incompetently defended Union fortification in western Tennessee, near Memphis. The unusual number of predominantly African-American troops who were killed during the subsequent rout led the Northern public to charge that a racist massacre had occurred. Although Lincoln's cabinet decided against systematic reprisals, outraged Federal soldiers took vengeance during several small engagements, foraging expeditions, and anti-guerrilla campaigns. For its part, the Confederacy defended the killings as the result of circumstances ("stubborn resistance") or military necessity, the product of an "unavoidable heat of battle" or "drunken" Blacks who forced the victorious troops to defend themselves. Blacks under arms were not recognized by the Confederacy as soldiers - they were simply runaways, not enemy combatants. As a former slave trader, General Forrest claimed he would never deliberately have destroyed valuable recaptured property.

The Massacre at Fort Pillow.

The Massacre at Fort Pillow. The killings at Fort Pillow cannot be compared to the spontaneous reactions of a jealous lover, road rage, or an out-of-control family dispute. While many southerners harbored a festering hatred for a perceived inferior race and a paranoiac fear of slaves under arms, the killing at Fort Pillow was not an unforeseen event that merely happened. The massacre was intended and anticipated by the attacking command should their men breach the fort’s defenses and gain the opportunity.

What really happened at Fort Pillow on April 12, 1864? . Fuchs lives in New City, New York, with his wife Fredda. They celebrate the publication of An Unerring Fire with daughter Samantha and her husband, Jeffrey, and two sons, Mitchell and Jason.

What really happened at Fort Pillow on April 12, 1864? The Union called it a massacre. The Confederacy called it necessity. TheTennessee spring came early that year.

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An Unerring Fire book. The Fort Pillow massacre, in which a Confederate cavalry force assaulted. In An Unerring Fire, author Ri The Fort Pillow massacre, in which a Confederate cavalry force assaulted and captured an inadequately defended Union fortification in western Tennessee, is one of the most controversial episodes of the Civil War. The cavalry, led by Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, was accused of massacring the defeated troops, most of whom were African-American.

Richard Fuchs is the first modern author of a book-length examination of the battle of Fort Pillow

Richard Fuchs is the first modern author of a book-length examination of the battle of Fort Pillow. Fuchs seeks to understand the event as a product of the social milieu and individual personality of General Forrest. The Devil," as Sherman called Forrest, singled out Fort Pillow to dispel the notion of Blacks as soldiers and to avenge recent Tennessee Loyalist maraudings.

Historian Richard Fuchs, the author of An Unerring Fire, concludes, "The .

Historian Richard Fuchs, the author of An Unerring Fire, concludes, "The affair at Fort Pillow was simply an orgy of death, a mass lynching to satisfy the basest of conduct-intentional murder-for the vilest of reasons-racism and personal enmity .

The Fort Pillow Massacre refers to the slaughter of African-American troops in service to the United States by Confederate soldiers following the Battle of Fort . Fuchs, Richard L. An Unerring Fire: The Massacre at Fort Pillow. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002.

The Fort Pillow Massacre refers to the slaughter of African-American troops in service to the United States by Confederate soldiers following the Battle of Fort Pillow, Tennessee in 1864. The Civil War atrocity was rooted in Southern anger at the Union's use of black troops; the Confederate Congress subsequently decided to treat captured African-American soldiers as rebelling slaves rather than as prisoners of war. As a result, Confederate forces at Fort Pillow deemed their black prisoners as unworthy of honorable treatment and murdered them.

Book Overview In 'An Unerring Fire', author Richard Fuchs examines the event as a product of the social milieu and the individual.

The Fort Pillow massacre, in which a Confederate cavalry force assaulted and captured an inadequately defended Union fortification in western Tennessee, is one of the most controversial episodes of the Civil War.

The unusual number of predominantly African-American troops who were killed during the subsequent rout led the Northern public to charge that a racist massacre had occurred. Books related to An Unerring Fire. The Civil War: A Narrative.

Talk about An Unerring Fire: The Massacre at Fort Pillow


რฉςh
I found this useful for its description of the battle itself and the printing of both sides' policies on retaliation.Otherwise, read River Run Red for a more balanced viewpoint.I work in a museum in Union City Tennessee,and found the tale of the embarrassing Federal surrender to a wagon axle and tree trunk enlightening.
Fog
Fuchs levels two charges in this concise book about the action at Fort Pillow on April 12 1864.

#1 - The attacking Confederate forces, after breaching the fort's defenses, indiscriminately slaughtered Union soldiers (both black and white), many of whom had tried to surrender.

#2 - The author holds Nathan Bedford Forrest personally responsible for instigating this indiscriminate slaughter while knowing full well what the result was going to be.

There may not be a more controversial incident in the Civil War, or one that's so thoroughly perceived based on whether you're a sympathizer with the North or South. That much is clear in some of these reviews, one of which calls this book "Yankee propaganda" and another that calls the Civil War the "War of Northern Aggression." Obviously these are examples of the pots meeting the kettles.

As for the charges themselves, the author uses dozens of eyewitness accounts to verify that there was indeed killing of soldiers that had already surrendered. Accounts on both sides of the war corroborate that much. When considering the Confederacy's official stance on black soldiers taken prisoner, and the fact that Bedford Forrest's terms of surrender stated that he could not be held responsible for what happened to the Union garrison if they refused surrender (which they did), it's a reach to try to claim that there was no massacre or slaughter of Union troops.

#2 - The author holds Nathan Bedford Forrest responsible, using Forrest's childhood and personality as part of the indictment. The author himself realizes that there is no concrete evidence that would convict Forrest of this charge.

I think holding Bedford Forrest personally responsible for what happened is a reach. Confederate officials all the way up to Jefferson Davis made it official policy to not recognize black soldiers as soldiers or prisoners of war. In addition, outside of his terms of surrender, Forrest was injured during the short battle and did not personally give orders once the defenses were breached.

What happened at Fort Pillow once the garrison fell is probably more a study of mob mentality than history. I won't pretend to be an expert when it comes to mob mentality, but I don't think a single individual can be held personally responsible if his troops get out of control in the heat of battle.
Gozragore
I found the scholarship in this study of the Battle of Fort Pillow largely unconvincing.
Fuchs sets out to discuss several questions: first, was there a massacre, and second, was the massacre pre-planned and Forrest's own intention. He is on fairly safe ground with the first question. I believe that most reputable scholars now agree that a massacre did indeed occur. And he's not necessarily wrong about the second point, either. However, his stated intent to judge events by modern standards trips him up, his psychoanalysis of Forrest is tendentious, and his failure to discuss the massacre in either a contemporary or a military context robs the book of value.
Fuchs characterizes Forrest as nearly demonic--psychotic, if not downright evil. Largely absent from this section is an understanding of the culture from which Forrest came. Nor does it seem morally meaningful, if one wishes to discuss the battle in these terms, to demonize the perpetrators; to do so actually minimizes the event. Forrest was certainly violent, but Fuchs' apparent thesis that he was emotionally disturbed does not convince. "The call to arms was an opportunity to fight the demon within himself." (sic.) How can Fuchs know this? Forrest's biographer Hurst makes no such claim--and most of Fuchs' sources are secondary, not primary documents.
The description of actual battlefield events is less speculative and works better. A preponderance of accounts do suggest that a massacre -- i.e. a killing of wounded and surrendering men -- did occur, though the circumstances were certainly confused and motivations mixed. Fuchs' description of subsequent retaliation by USCT, abetted by their officers, at battles such as Jenkins' Ferry, offers information I'd never seen before and adds a depressing note. However, I would look at other sources before taking anything from this author for granted.
Lacking here is any real discussion of the fact that Forrest customarily threatened to take no prisoners in the case of a fort not surrendering; though it's mentioned, it's not analyzed. More importantly, in a work of this kind, I would want to see a larger analysis of massacres. Under what circumstances do they happen? In what other conflicts do we see similar events? What incites soldiers to such acts? The events at Fort Pillow would be far more informative if seen in context, not only of similar incidents during the Civil War (which Fuchs does discuss briefly), but of massacres in other wars, and especially of the mental processes involved.
Adding to my distrust of Fuchs is the huge number of misspellings and misused words ("postured" for "postulated", "jester" for "gesture"[!]) in the text. This may, of course, be a production issue.
Objectivity concerning ugly events is hard to muster, but my view is that historians should try. Fuchs does not. He opines, "History, however, does not judge or choose sides" -- immediately after characterizing Southern society as having inherent evil (sic.). The Fort Pillow Massacre needs to be studied, but I found this work to be a less than convincing contribution.
luisRED
The author has his facts and the story he tells is probably the closest to actually what happened at Fort Pillow. However, there is way too much repetition in the book and the reader gets the feeling that the author had a dictionary in front of him searching for words to put on the pages to impress. A good read should not have the reader constantly looking up the meanings of words. This reviewer is well-read and well-educated but there were words in this book never seen before---or probably again. As far as Nathan Bedford Forrest being responsible for the actions of his men---he should have been the one held accountable whether he personally directed the killings of those seeking surrender or his men acted irresponsibly on their own (which is doubtful). His actions during the truce were at the least unethical. The reader can get all the information required from this book in the first 50 pages and use the dictionary a few times.