12.04.

1864: Massacre of Black People in the American Civil War

1864: Massacre of Black People in the American Civil War
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / Confederates massacre Union soldiers after they surrender at Fort Pillow (1864)

Story Highlights

  • This event, by any modern standards, would be considered a war crime. Southern General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who commanded the Confederate troops, is usually considered to have been responsible for the massacre. It is interesting that after the war he also became the first leader of the infamous Ku Klux Klan, with the title of Grand Wizard.

On this day the Confederate Army committed terrible massacre against a defeated northern unit composed largely of black soldiers. 

In fact, despite the fact that the Union troops surrendered by throwing down their weapons, the Southerners massacred them by shooting and bayoneting them.

This incident occured near Fort Pillow in Tennessee and would be considered a war crime by any modern standards.

14 Southerners were killed in the battle, while between 277 and 297 Northerners, mostly blacks, were massacred.

Southern General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who commanded the Confederate troops, is usually considered to have been responsible for the crime.

It is interesting that, after the war, he also became the first leader of the infamous Ku Klux Klan, with the title of Grand Wizard. Just to mention, the name Ku Klux Klan comes from the Greek word “kyklos”(circle) and roughly means “Circle of Brothers”.

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