In April 1864, the Union garrison at Fort Pillow was comprised of almost six hundred troops, about half of them black. The Confederacy,
incensed by what it saw as a crime against nature, sent its fiercest
cavalry commander, Nathan Bedford Forrest, to attack the fort with about
1,500 men. The Confederates overran the fort and drove the Federals
into a deadly crossfire. Only sixty-two of the US colored troops
survived the fight unwounded. Many accused the Confederates of
massacring the black troops after the fort fell and fighting should have
ceased. The “Fort Pillow Massacre” became a Union rallying cry and
cemented resolve to see the war through to its conclusion.
Turtledove has written a dramatic recreation of an astounding battle,
telling a bloody story of courage and hope, freedom and hatred. With
brilliant characterization of all the main figures, this is a novel that
reminds us that Fort Pillow was more than a battle—it was a clash of
ideas between men fighting to define what being an American ought to
mean. Download and start listening now!