April 2014: The Voices of the Civil War is a five-year film series dedicated to celebrating and commemorating the Civil War over the course of the sesquicentennial. Each month, new episodes cover pertinent topics that follow the monthly events and issues as they unfolded for African Americans during the Civil War. Within these episodes there are various primary sources – letters and diaries, newspaper reports, and more - to recount various experiences of blacks during this period. We encourage your feedback and commentary through our Voices of the Civil War web blog.

Click here to visit the Voices of the Civil War blog to see previous episodes.

On April 12, 1864, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest invaded the Union garrison at Fort Pillow, Tennessee with 1500 Confederate soldiers. Union Major Lionel F. Booth commanded the garrison with an estimated 600 troops. The Battle of Fort Pillow is often referred to as the Fort Pillow Massacre due to the overwhelming Union casualties, and as the Confederate army specifically targeted African American soldiers.


1, 18 Collection of Julia J. Norrell

2, 3, 5, 9 Library of Congress

4, 7, 11, 15, 16 General Research & Reference Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

6, 10, 12, 14, 17 Public Domain

8, 13 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History