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Fort Pillow
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Cannons at Fort Pillow, 2006
[[image:Template:Location map Tennessee|235px|Fort Pillow State Park is located in Template:Location map Tennessee]]
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[[Image:Template:Location map Tennessee|7x7px|link=|alt=]]
Location: TN State Route 87, Lauderdale County, Tennessee
Nearest city: Osceola, Arkansas
Coordinates: 35°38′10″N 89°50′32″W / 35.63611°N 89.84222°W / 35.63611; -89.84222Coordinates: 35°38′10″N 89°50′32″W / 35.63611°N 89.84222°W / 35.63611; -89.84222
Built/Founded: 1861
Governing body: State of Tennessee
Added to NRHP: April 11, 1973[1]
Designated NHL: May 30, 1974[2]
NRHP Reference#: 73001806

Fort Pillow State Park is a state park in western Tennessee that preserves the American Civil War site of the Battle of Fort Pillow. The 1,642 acre (6.6 km²) Fort Pillow, located in Lauderdale County on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, is rich in both historic and archaeological significance.

Confederate fort 1861[]

In 1861, the Confederate States Army built extensive fortifications here and named the site for General Gideon J. Pillow of Maury County.

Union fort, and Battle of Fort Pillow[]

File:Battle of Fort Pillow.png

Engraving of Confederate troops massacring Black Union soldiers after the Battle of Fort Pillow.

Because of its strategic location, controlling traffic on the Mississippi River, the fort was attacked and captured by the Union Army, which controlled it during most of the war. An exception to this control occurred for less than one day immediately after the Battle of Fort Pillow in 1864.

June 4, 1862 – American Civil War: Confederate troops evacuate Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River, leaving the way clear for Union troops to take Memphis, Tennessee.

The Confederate victory at the Battle of Fort Pillow (April 1864) ended in the killing of 229 black and white Union soldiers out of 262 engaged in the battle. This slaughter by the Southern troops under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest has been labeled a massacre; historians still debate how much "slaughter" actually took place, and some believe the reports were exaggerated. While the Union casualty count for the battle does not indicate that the Confederate forces took many prisoners, Confederate records show about 200 prisoners were shipped south. In any case, "Remember Fort Pillow!" became a battle cry among Black soldiers for the remainder of the Civil War.

In 1866, the Union Army created a cemetery for both Confederate and Union soldiers south of the battle site. In 1867, they moved about 250 bodies of Confederate and Union soldiers from that cemetery to the Memphis National Cemetery.[3]

Historic site and museum[]

In 1973, the site was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[1][4] It was further declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.[2][5] Remains of the earthworks were well-preserved as of 2007.

The park has an Interpretive Center and Museum (open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily, except for certain holidays). Tours of the museum and restored fortifications are available upon request. The park also offers many recreational activities, including camping, picnicking and fishing.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Fort Pillow". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  3. Cimprich, John (2005). Fort Pillow, a Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press. p. 193. ISBN 0807131105. 
  4. National Register of Historic Places
  5. ____WEBSITE DOWN ADD LATER____ (__, 19__) (PDF). National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: __________. National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-22  and Accompanying __ photos, exterior and interior, from 19__PDF (819 KB)

External links[]

fr:Parc d'État de Fort Pillow