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    Third Cavalry, United States Colored Troops: Fort Pillow Autograph Document Signed Detailing the "Wooster Incident" involving the hanging of a Southern sympathizer for saying the massacre of the Colored garrison was justified and drawing a knife on a Colored trooper from the Third Cavalry. One page (two sheets conjoined), 8" x 24" overall, April 24, 1864, Hanies [Haines] Bluffs, Mississippi. The document is an account of the actions of the officers of the Third Cavalry, United States Colored Troops on the 24th of April when they, in the absence of the commanding colonel, held a summery trial and hanged a civilian B. W. Wooster. Signed by the regimental adjutant, Frank Lovejoy, the document contains the names of twenty-eight officers who took responsibility for the trial and ultimate execution.

    Wooster, a civilian, told Major J. B. Cook that "...General [Nathan Bedford] Forrest was perfectly justified..." in massacring the Colored garrison upon his capture of Fort Pillow. He also said that the Confederates, "were right" in killing of men belonging to the 3rd Regiment of Cavalry (USCT) at Roaches Plantation, Mississippi in March of 1864. Wooster was arrested when he drew a knife on a Colored sentry and threatened to "cut his throat". When Colonel E. D. Osband was at Brigade Headquarters, the officers met and convicted Wooster, sentencing him to death by hanging. The officers then carried out the sentence, all before the colonel's return.

    The Third Cavalry, United States Colored Troops was organized from 1st Mississippi Cavalry (African Descent) on March 11, 1864. Their first action was at Roach's Plantation, Mississippi on March 30 where they suffered their first casualties. Twelve days later, at Fort Pillow in Tennessee, Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest's command overran the predominately Colored Union garrison, where survivors were executed amid shouts of "no quarter". Known as the Fort Pillow Massacre, the incident has been called "one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history." A fine document worthy of further research.


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    June, 2009
    25th Thursday
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