Lauderdale County History
(Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887)

The eastern portion of Lauderdale is on the plateau of West Tennessee and the western in the Mississippi Bottoms. The highlands of the plateau run in a general northeast and southwest direction through the county, and are cut up by numerous streams, and in some parts are quite hilly. The surface of the bottoms is low and flat, and is of recent formation. Upward of 80,000 acres of land are embraced in the bottoms of the county, which, when entirely reclaimed from overflow, will furnish as rich agricultural land as can be found anywhere. The surface of the highlands is underlaid by bluff loam or loess.  On the steep slopes of the bluffs the gravel and sand of the orange sand formation crops out from under the loess.  Several beds of lignite are also met with. On Coal Creek are found outcroppings of coal of an inferior quality.

The soil of the bottoms is a dark, rich, alluvial loam, very productive, the depth being from then to twenty feet, while the soil of the uplands is of a mulatto color, with a clay foundation, and has an average depth of between nine and ten inches. The best corn, wheat, oats, tobacco and all the grasses and fruits grow well in the county, the cotton being of an excellent quality. Fine poplar, oak, hickory, maple, gum and chestnut timber grow in abundance in the forests.

The Mississippi River washes the entire western border of the county. Forked Deer River enters the county from Haywood at a point where the three counties of Lauderdale, Crockett and Dyer come together, and running first in a northwest direction, curves to the south and enters Obion County, and Hatchie River enters the county from Tipton,, and forms the southern boundary line. The creeks of the county are Cane, emptying into Hatchie River; Knob, emptying into the Mississippi; Cold Creek, emptying into the Mississippi; Mill and Tisdale emptying into Forked Deer; Lagoon, Williams and Fisher emptying into Hatchie, and Goodwin emptying into Cane Creek. Originally forked Deer River forked in the Seventh District, one fork emptying into the Mississippi above Island No. 26, the other emptying opposite Island No. 27. The earthquakes of 1811-12 are supposed to have changed the mouth of the river to its present location. By the same disturbances numerous small lakes were formed in the county by the earth sinking, the larger of which are Big Lake, Chism Lake and Sunk Lake, all in the Fifth District.

The channel of the Mississippi River is very changeable and treacherous, and at Plumb Point, in the county, the Mississippi River commission has for several years been at work improving the river. A force of between 400 and 500 laborers have been at work driving piles and weaving willow matrices on both sides of the river, confining the stream to a narrow channel in order to facilitate navigation. Work at present is suspended, but will be resumed in the spring, the necessary appropriation of money having been made by Congress.

In 1785 Henry Rutherford, accompanied by two chain-bearers, visited what is now Lauderdale County and located a number of large tracts of land for North Carolinians. Selecting a sycamore tree as a point from which to start his surveys, he cut on it his initials "H. R.," and called it Key Corner. In his report he describes this point as a "small sycamore standing on the south bank of Forked Deer River, at the first highland where a branch runs into said river." Key Corner is situated sixteen miles north from Ripley in the Eighth District, and retains the name given it by Rutherford.

After the treaty with the Chickasaw Indians, and the lands of West Tennessee had been opened for settlement, Henry Rutherford, his brother John, brother-in-law Oliver Crenshaw, George Davis and Willis Chambers, came to Lauderdale County from Middle Tennessee, making the trip in keel-boats, and arrived with their slaves and household goods at Key Corner September 1, 1819. Their families followed later in the fall. The Rutherfords and Crenshaw burned away the trees and cane, erected log cabins, and completed preparations for a permanent home, while Davis and Chambers settled only temporarily, and two years later moved to what afterward became Dyer County, and settled about four and one-half miles east of where the town of Dyersburg now stands. Benjamin Porter and family, natives of Virginia, moved from Middle Tennessee in the fall of the same year, coming by land, crossing the Tennessee River at Reynoldsburg, and reached Key Corner February 1, 1820. The following April Mr. Porter cleared a tract of land in the Key Corner neighborhood, one and a half miles west from the present village of Double Bridges, fifteen miles northeast from Ripley, and in this house, still standing, was born June 12, 1820, Benjamin Porter, Jr., the first white child born in Lauderdale County. Mr. Porter is still living at the old homestead.  Probably the next settlement in the county was made in the neighborhood of Fulton by Samuel Givens and others in 1825-26, and the next one in the Durhamville neighborhood in 1826-27, by the Durhams, Turners, Neiswongers, Rices, Chambers and Taylors, and at about the same time Robert C. Campbell settled near Ashport on the Mississippi; Jacob Boyler, settled near Ripley; John Flippin, eleven miles north of Ripley; Hugh Dunlap, near Double Bridges; James Sherman, on Hatchie River, and Stephen Blackwell, near Hurricane Hill.  Other early settlers were Joseph Wardlaw, Benjamin Jordan, James Blair, John Kenley, James Bethell, Patton Chambers, Samuel Strickland, James Saulsberry, L. H. Dunnaway, John and Zachariah Mitchell, John Flemming, James and John Russell, Leonard Dunnevant, Wm. Chambers, Zachariah Paine, John Brown, Beverly and Wm. Watson, Richard and Wm. Matthews, Samuel V. Gilliland, Wm. Braden, James Crook, Cary Alsobrook, Dickison Jennings, Jeremiah Cheek, Claibourn Ransville, James N. Buck, James P. and John N. Percell, Jordan C. Cowell, H. R. Chambers, Jesse Goodman, Jefferson Brown, John Byrn, Robert West, Joseph Taylor, John Rudder, W. H. Stone, Samuel C. Loveless, James Price, Claiborn Hutton, Thomas Fitzpatrick, R. Golden, J. P. Fuller, R. P. Reynolds, Wm. P. Gains, E. Stringer, Wm. McClelland and J. Robertson.  Among those who received grants for land in the county were the following, together with the number of acres each received: Henry Rutherford, 500 acres; Griffith L. Rutherford, 3,000; Adam Boyd, 1,000; J. M. Alexander, 675; Jacob Byler, 100; Thomas Bond, 144; Green Baker, 200; John w. Campbell, 1,428; Charles Black, 100; Robert Campbell, 449; Wm. Conner, 449; James W. Reynolds, 140; Christopher Watson, 100; Robert Maxwell, 100; Wm. Strain, 107; W. W. Lea, 200; Samuel Lancaster, 210; James A. Lackey, 101; J. C. McLemore, 1,316; Isaac Moore, 153; Drury Massie, 113, and John C. Nevils, 154.  The pioneers found the country entirely covered with high cane and thick timber, which were infested with all kinds of animals, and even at the present day the canebrakes and forests in the Mississippi Bottoms abound with wolves, wild-cats, deer, and other game, and an occasional panther and bear are killed.

The first mill was a tub water-mill, on Mill Creek, near Double Bridges, built in 1826, by Benj. Porter, and owned by Griffith L. Rutherford. Both wheat and corn were ground. The next mill was put up by Benj. Jordan on the creek by that name, eighteen miles northeast of Ripley, in 1828, and was similar to Rutherford's mill. The next was owned by Wm. Munn, and was built on Tidwell Creek, in 1831-31, and Robert Connor built the next one in 1835, on Currin Creek. Other similar early mills were those of J. L. Green, on Cane Creek; Joseph Wardlow, on Cole Creek; and George Chipman, on Cane Creek. The first steam-mill was built by Samuel Lusk, in 1840-41, and was located in the Sixth District, and the second one by A. G. Bragg, in 1851, at the mouth of Cole Creek, on the Mississippi River, near Fort Pillow. The first cotton-gin, horse-power, was erected in 1828 at Key Corner, by John Jordan and W. P. Chambers; the next in 1832-33, by Henry and James Crawford, near the above place, and the two next by Joseph Wardlaw and Thomas Durham, in 1833-34, in the Durhamville neighborhood. The mills and gins of any importance, all of which are steam power, are as follows: First District, B. S. Fisher's and D. M. R. Oldham's saw, grist and cotton-gins; Second District, J. C. Durham's saw mill, James Robertson's and Wm. Payne's saw-mills; J. T. Williams saw-mill, planing machine and gin, and Cobb Bros. saw-mill; A. Lea & Co.'s and W. S. Wright's gins; Fifth District, Green Curlin's gin and James Johnson's saw-mill and gin; Sixth District, Darnell & Son's and Morris Bros.' saw-mills; Seventh District, D. P. Shaffner's the Illinois Lumber Company's saw-mills; and Darnell & Son's saw and planing-mill; Eighth District, Pugh & Adams' saw, grist and planing mill, and B. G. Henning's saw and grist-mill and gin; Ninth District, O. J. Smith & Co.'s saw-mill and gin, and the St. Louis Lumber Company's saw-mill; Tenth district, Coleman & Barfield's grist-mill; Eleventh District, J. T. Williams' saw-mill, Williams & Stewart's saw-mill and gin, H. H. Lewis' saw and grist mill and gin, and Mrs. L. O. Jenkins' gin; Twelth District, Hill & Son's saw and grist-mill and gin, Baur Bros.', James M. Young's, Wesley Sawyer's and J. H. Farmer's saw mills.

The General Assembly passed an act, on November 24 1835, authorizing the erection of a new county between Hatchie and Forked Deer Rivers, and west of Haywood County, in West Tennessee, to be known as Lauderdale, in honor of Col. James Lauderdale, who fell at the battle of  New Orleans, and in May, 1836, the county was established, the territory being taken from the counties of Haywood, Tipton and Dyer.

The act provided for the appointment of Blackmore Coleman, David hay, Nicholas Perkins, Samuel Owen and Howell Taylor, all of Haywood, as commissioners to select a location for a county seat, which was to be named Ripley, in honor of Gen. Ripley, of the war of 1812, and designated the house of Samuel Lusk, who lived three miles north of the present county seat, as the place of holding the initial sessions of courts, from which place they were to adjourn to any other place deemed suitable and expedient, and the county court, upon its organization, was directed to appoint five commissioners to lay off the county seat into town lots, sell the same, and erect the necessary public buildings. John R. Howard, of Henry County, was selected to survey the boundary lines of the county.

Another act was passed by the General Assembly, in 1870, taking from Haywood county a tract containing about fifteen square miles, and adding the same to Lauderdale   and in 1878, by another act, Island No. 34, known as Miller's Island in the Mississippi, was added to the county. The boundary of the county is as follows: North, Forked Deer River; east, Haywood and Crockett Counties; south, Hatchie River; west, Mississippi River, and has an area of about 512 square miles.

Desiring to annex themselves to Dyer County, for convenience in reaching the county seat, the citizens of Lauderdale living in the extreme northern portion of the county, in what is known as the Mill Creek District, petitioned the Legislature, and secured the passage of an act to that effect, in 1877, the act providing the change did not reduce Lauderdale below its constitutional number of square miles. A survey of the county was made by order of the chancery court of Lauderdale, in which court a suit of injunction has been instituted, and the survey demonstrating to the court that the county would be reduced below 500 square miles, a decree of perpetual injunction was issued.

In June, 1836, the county court appointed Griffith Rutherford, Hiram Kellar, Henry Crawford, Robert Campbell and Rezin Byrn commissioners, to lay off the county seat, sell the town lots and erect a temporary court house and jail. The town was promptly laid off, and the lots sold at public sale in the following July.  The commissioners at once contracted for the erection of a log court house, the plans and specification of which called for a "building of good, hewed, yellow poplar logs, 22x26 feet in length, 17 feet high, with two doors and windows." The house was completed the following October and stood in the extreme northwest corner of the town, on the Ashport and Ripley road.  In 1844 a second court house was erected on the public square. It was of frame, one and a half stories high, and cost about $4,000.  This house stood until its destruction by fire in 1869, the fire being caused by a defective flue.  In 1870 the present brick court house was completed at a cost of about $20,000. The building is of brick, two-story, with three entrances. The first floor is divided into three halls, opening into which are six offices, while on the second floor is the court room. The building stands in the center of an extensive square or yard.

A log jail was also erected by the commissioners in 1837, which stood on the west side of Main Street, at its northern terminus. It served until its destruction by fire, in 1842. The following year, a one-story brick jail was erected, and in 1873 the present substantial brick jail was erected costing about $12,000.

The poor commissioners obtained a grant for 77 acres of land in the Sixth District, in 1847, and upon it erected a log asylum for the poor of the county. In 1849 the land was sold and 105 acres purchased in the Second District, and the asylum removed; and at present the asylum consists of several houses, and is situated on a tract of 100 acres, six and one-half miles west of Ripley, in the Eleventh District.

The Ashport Turnpike Company, of Lauderdale County, was incorporated by the General Assembly in 1835.  Wm. Armour, John W. Campbell, Wm. Connor, James Hubbard, Harrod J. Anderson, Ebenezer Young and Robert C. Campbell, were appointed commissioners to open books and receive subscriptions for stock. The capital stock was fixed at $20,000 in shares of $100 each, and upon half of that amount being subscribed, the company was authorized to begin work. Considerable work in the nature of causeways and levees was accomplished by the company, about $4,000 of State money and as much of the stockholders' being expended, when the organization and work was abandoned. The company was rechartered again in 1856, but not organized.

The only railroad which passes through the county, is the Chesapeake & Ohio, or Newport News & Mississippi Valley, which was completed in July, 1881. In 1870 the county voted $150,000 aid to this road, then only proposed. For payment of this sum, a tax of $1.25 on the $100 worth of property was assessed in 1874; in 1882, $1.25; in 1883, $1.25; in 1884, $1.50; in 1885, $1, and in 1886, 80 cents.

In 1873 the number of acres of land assessed for taxation in the county was 272,445, the value of which was $2,442,623, and the total valuation fo taxable property was $2,829,158; in 1885 the number of acres assessed was 262,400, walued at $1,406,464, and the total valuation of taxable property was $1,733,809.

In 1840 the population of the county was 3,435; in 1850, 5,160; in 1860, 7,559; in 1870, 10,835; in 1880, 14,918; and in 1886, 19,290. The voting population in 1871, was 2,587, and at the August election, 1886, it was 3,214, of which the Democratic party had a majority of 604.

In 1870 the cereal products of the county were wheat, 18,662 bushels; rye, 100 bushels; corn, 443,809 bushels; oats, 5,465 bushels; cotton, 6,337 bales.  In 1885 they were wheat, 24,953 bushels; rye, 55 bushels; corn, 580,797 bushels; oats, 17, 398 bushels; cotton, about 15,000 bales. In 1870, the livestock of the county was as follows: Horses and mules, 3,115 head; cattle, 3,404 head; sheep, 3,118 head; hogs, 22,086 head.  In 1885 the live stock amounted to 4,079 head of horses and mules; cattle, 12,324 head; sheep, 2,682 head, and hogs, 26,916 head.

County court.  Robert C. Campbell and Benj. F. Jordan, acting justices for Tipton County, met at the house of Samuel Lusk on the first Monday in May, 1836, and organized the county court of Lauderdale.  The following commissioned justices were present, and producing their commissions were administered the oath of office: Jeremiah Pinick, Milton G. Turner, John H. Maxwell, Able H. Pope, Wm. Strain, Elijah B. Foster, Henry Critchfield, Christopher G. Litsworth, Henry R. Crawford and Henry R. Chambers. The court was organized by the election of Robert Campbell as chairman. The county officers elected on the first Saturday of the preceeding March then came forward, were sworn into office, gave bond, and entered upon the discharge of their duties. The court then divided the county into eight districts, and appointed revenue commissioners for each. There are now thirteen districts, one of which, the thirteenth is an island in the Mississippi. The commissioners for the town of Ripley were then appointed and qualified, after which the court adjourned until the following June.

The June term of the court was held at Samuel Lusk's, and the July and September terms at the house of Col. Jacob Byler, who lived three miles northeast of Ripley, while the October term was held in the log court house at Ripley.

The following is a complete list of the county officers, with dates of service:

County clerks: Wm. Carrigan, May to June, 1836; Griffith L. Rutherford, 1836-40; Isaac M. Steel, 1840-44; L. M. Campbell, 1844-48; Isaac M. Steele, 1848-52; Jo. C. Marley, 1852-60; George Johnston, 1860-70; J. H. Wardlaw, 1870-78; H. T. Hanks, 1878-82; W. H. Jackson, 1882-86, and present incumbent.

Circuit Clerks: David Gilliland, 1836-44; Isaac M. Steele, 1844-48; Wm. C. Fain, 1848-60; J. N. Wardlaw, 1865-66; J. A. Wardlaw, 1866-67; J. N. Wardlaw, 1867-70; A. B. Hearring, 1870-78; B. C. Durham, 1878; and present incumbent.

Sheriffs: Guy Smith, 1836-38; John C. Barnes, 1838-40; Griffith L. Rutherford, 1840-46; Ivey Chandler, 1846-52; Wm. G. McClelland, 1852-56; Ivey Chandler, 1856-60; Ira G. Barfield, 1860-62; J. H. Wardlaw, 1865-70; C. C. Griggs, 1870-73, when he was removed from office, and was succeeded by S. D. Alsobook, the coroner. Mr. Alsobrook served about one month and was killed by a tramp while making an arrest, when the court appointed Fredrick Barfield, who filled out the unexpired term and was elected to the office in 1874, but died before his term expired, and W. J. Woodard was appointed to fill the vacancy and served until 1876.  T. D. Cobb, 1876-80; Andrew Crockett, 1880-86; W. R. Miller, present incumbent.

Registers: Thomas D. Fisher, 1836-38; James Price, 1838-45; James A. Lackey, 1845-57; John Sutherland, 1857-58; Benjamin F. Lackey, 1858-62; Daniel McLeod, 1862-65; J. D. Baxter, 1865-86, and present incumbent.

Trustees: Wm. T. Moorehead, 1836-39; John H. Maxwell, 1839-40; J. M. C. Robertson, 1840-42; Gilford Jones, 1842-46; A. Phillips, 1846-52; Wm. Lunsford, 1852-54; J. N. Wardlaw, 1854-60; D. P. Steele, 1860-62; John E. Gray, 1862-66; James A. Lackey, 1866-70; Frederick Barfield, 1870-72; A. H. Young, 1872-74; Wm. Boydsdon, 1874-78; J. M. Jenkins, 1878-86; Andrew Crockett, present incumbent.

Chairmen and Judges of County Court. -- Chairmen: R. C. Campbell, 1836-37; Able H. Pope, 1837-38; Samuel V. Gilliland, 1838-39; Stith Richardson, 1839-40; J. H. Maxwell, 1840-41; J. L. Green, 1841-42; J. H. Maxwell, 1842-43; J. L. Green, 1843-45; I. M. Steele, 1845; John J. Nelson, 1845-51; James A. Lackey, 1851-54; P. T. Glass, 1854-56; Robert H. Oldham, 1856.  The office was changed to that of county judge in 1856, and in July of that year, James L. Green was elected as such, and served until 1858; Frederick Barfield, 1858-60; W. A. Partee, 1860-61, S. A. Thompson, 1861-68.  In 1868 the office was changed back to that of chairman, and Thompson was elected and served until 1874; I. S. Kellar, 1874-75; J. L. Hearring, 1875-76; P. T. Glass, 1876-77; T. Bun Carson, 1877-82; Blair Pierson, 1882-86, and present incumbent.

Circuit court. The first session of the Lauderdale Circuit Court convened at the house of Jacob Byler, three miles northeast from Ripley, on the third Monday in June, 1836, Judge Austin Miller, of Hardeman County, presiding in interchange with John Read, the regular judge. The second, or October term, was held in the new log court house, at Ripley.

Below is given a list of the officers of the court from 1836 to 1886:

Judges: John Read, 1836-58; Samuel Williams, 1858-61; Isaac Sampson, 1865-67; Wm. P. Bond, 1867-70; Thomas J. Flippin, 1870-86, and present incumbent.

Attorney-generals: Alexander Bradford, 1836-38; Wm. B. Miller, 1838-40; Joseph H. Talbott, 1840-46; T. P. Scurlock, 1846-58; Robt. P. Caldwell, 1858-61; Hardin J. Turner, 1865-67, W. T. Talley, 1867-70; John J. Dupuy, 1870-86; S. L. Cockroft, present incumbent.

Chancery court.  On January 8, 1856, the first session of the Lauderdale Chancery Court convened at the court house in Ripley. The officers of this court have been as follows:  Chancellors: Issac D. Williams, 1856-59; John Somers, 1859-60; Wm. M. Smith, 1860-61; J. W. Harris, 1865-70; James Fentriss, 1870-72; Henry J. Livingston, 1872-86; John Somers, present.

Clerk and masters: Henry H. Richardson, 1856-59; Stephen H. Steele, 1859-65; T. B. Carson, 1865-70; J. N. Wardlaw, 1870-86 and present.

Bar: The local bar of Lauderdale includes the names of Lysander Campbell, the first practicing attorney; Joseph Perkins, the second; Isaac M. Steele, the first attorney licensed by the court; H. H. Richardson, John Sutherland, Jo. C. Marley, Wm. Wilkerson, F. M. Wilkinson, John F. Pierson, Joseph S. Williams, P. N. Connor, C. H. Connor, T. B. Carson and Wm. D. Steele. The present bar is as follows: Isaac M. Steele, Jo. C. Marley, Thomas Steele, W. E. Lynn, James Oldham, G. C. Porter and R. W. Haywood.

Under the militia laws Lauderdale maintained a regiment of militia belonging to the brigade, composed of the militia of the counties of Haywood, Lauderdale and Tipton, of which Wm. H. Lobing, of Haywood, and Wm. Connor and L. M. Campbell, of Lauderdale, succeeded each other as brigadier-generals. The Lauderdale regiment was divided into battalions, and two musters were held annually at the muster ground near Ripley, the regimental muster occurring in the fall, and the battalion in the spring. Upon the second call for volunteers to serve in the war of the United States with Mexico, a company was organized jointly by the counties of Lauderdale and Tipton, each furnishing about thirty-five men. They were mustered into service as Company G, at Memphis, in July, 1847, and placed in the Fourth Regiment of Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Col. Waterhouse, of Middle Tennessee. The officers of Company G were Henry Travis, of Tipton, Captain; Hugh Read, of Lauderdale, first lieutenant; Thomas Epperson of Tipton, second lieutenant; James Lake, of Lauderdale, third Lieutenant.   At the close of the year for which they volunteered, the survivors, about half the original number, returned to Memphis and were mustered out.  Among the member of the Lauderdale half of the company were J. O. Weathers, James and George Lake, John Bragg, Matthew Porter, James Buchanan, Bolan Fields, Wm. Hinson, Needham Barfield, Robert Woods, David Friend, Rice Kenley, Marion Walker, A. H. Dunnevant, John Conner, Jacob Byler, A. W. Thompson, John Whitson and J. H. Wardlaw; the last six are still living.  Three companies, two of foot and one of mounted infantry, were organized in Lauderdale County during the civil war. Company G, of the Fourth Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, was organized at Ripley April 15, 1861, of which John Southerland was elected captain; H. C. Pillow, first lieutenant; W. W. Wheeler, second lieutenant, and M. L. Hearn, third lieutenant. The company went into drill camp at Germantown, Tenn., where they were mustered into service and joined the regiment.  After the battle of Shiloh the company was reorganized, W. W. Wheeler being elected captain; John Richardson, first lieutenant; A. J. Meadows, second lieutenant, and Charles McCormick, third lieutenant. The company participated in all the campaigns in which the regiment was engaged, and after the final surrender, in 1865, the survivors, between fifteen and twenty in number, returned home. Company K, Ninth Regiment of Tennessee Infantry, was organized at Ripley June 5, 1861, by the election of Jo. C. Marley as captain; H. H. Richardson, first lieutenant; Peter Fitzpatrick, second lieutenant, and went into drill camp at the Jackson fair grounds, where they were mustered into service.  The regiment was joined at Union City.  At Corinth the company was reorganized, when P. J. Fitzpatrick was elected captain; J. B. Carson, first lieutenant; Frank Dunham, second lieutenant, and P. N. Connor, third lieutenant. Out of the original 120 men, only two -- Arch Young and J. D. Jordan -- were at the final surrender at Greensboro, N.C., April 26, 1865.  At about the time of the organization of Company K, a portion of a company of mounted infantry was organized at Ripley, by the election of C. H. Connor as captain; Wm. Boydstun, first lieutenant; James Young, second lieutenant, and T. B. Carson, third lieutenant. Going into camp at Camp Beauregard, in Graves County, KY, the company was mustered into service, and joined Maj. Henry C. King's battalion of mounted infantry, of which Dr. B. F. Lackey, of Ripley, was appointed surgeon.  In March, 1862, Maj. King was superseded in command of the battalion by Col. Thomas Claibourn. The battalion at that time numbered eleven companies, and was given the name of the First Confederate Regiment of Tennessee Mounted Infantry.

The celebrated Confederate Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi River, is in Lauderdale County.  Fort Pillow was built in 1861 by the State of Tennessee, and so fortified that Federal gunboats were unable to pass it. The fort was abandoned the last of May, 1862, and was soon afterward occupied by the Federals.  The line of works, as constructed by the Confederates, was on an extensive scale. The parapets of the inner works were about eight feet high, with a ditch six feet deep and twelve feet wide. When occupied by the Federals the armament consisted of two ten-inch rifled Parrott guns, two twelve-pound howitzers, and two six-pound rifled field pieces, and the garrison of 295 white and 262 colored troops, under command of Maj. Booth.  Before dawn, on April 12, 1864, Gen. Forrest, with about 3,500 men, assaulted the fort and captured it during the day. Maj. Booth was killed, seven officers and 219 men were captured, thirty-four white and twenty-seven colored Federals were received at the hospitals at Mound City, and the balance of the 557 soldiers, with the exception of the few who escaped, were killed in the battle, smothered in the mud of Cole Creek, or drowned in the back water.

During the occupancy of Fort Pillow by the Federals, Lauderdale County was overrun by raiding parties, and, occasionally, during the war, bodies of Confederates would visit the county.

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