On April 12, 1864, on the Tennessee banks of the Mississippi River, a force of more than 3,000 Confederate cavalrymen under General Nathan Bedford Forrest stormed Fort Pillow, overwhelming a garrison of some 350 Southern white Unionists and over 300 former slaves turned artillerymen. By the next day, hundreds of Federals were dead, over 60 black soldiers had been captured and re-enslaved, and over 100 white soldiers had been marched off to their doom at Andersonville. Confederates called this bloody battle and its aftermath a hard-won victory. Northerners deemed it premeditated slaughter. To this day, Fort Pillow remains one of the most controversial battles in American history.
River Run Red vividly depicts the incompetence and corruption of Union occupation in Tennessee, the horrors of guerrilla warfare, the legacy of slavery, and the pent-up bigotry and rage that found its release at Fort Pillow. Andrew Ward brings to life the garrison’s black soldiers and their ambivalent white comrades, and the former slave trader Nathan Bedford Forrest and his ferocious cavalry, in a fast-paced narrative that hurtles toward that fateful April day and beyond.
Destined to become as controversial as the battle itself, River Run Red establishes Fort Pillow’s true significance in the annals of American history.
About Andrew Ward
Andrew Ward is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Dark Midnight When I Rise. He is a commentator for National Public Radio and columnist for theWashington Post.
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Published by Penguin Books Oct 31, 2006| 560 Pages| ISBN 9781440649295