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Lauderdale County, Tennessee

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Lauderdale County, Tennessee

Lauderdale County was created in 1835 and was named for Lieutenant Colonel James Lauderdale, who was killed at the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. Planters developed large cotton plantations along the waterways, and used slaves in gangs to work and process this commodity crop. After the American Civil War, many freedmen initially stayed in the area, working the land as sharecroppers or tenant farmers. In the period after Reconstruction and into the early 20th century, whites in Lauderdale County committed eight lynchings of blacks.

In 1861, the Confederate States Army built extensive defensive fortifications in Lauderdale County along the Mississippi River and named the site for General Gideon J. Pillow. Because of its strategic location, the fort was taken over by the Union Army in 1864, which had occupied the state since 1862.

In 1864, Confederates attacked and overran the fort's Union defenders, who were about evenly split between white and black soldiers. They were reported to have refused to surrender, but historians have disputed this account. The Confederates gave the soldiers no quarter, and killed black soldiers in twice the proportion of white ones. After the Union Army established the United States Colored Troops (USCT), made up of numerous recruits who were escaped slaves, Southern military officials vowed to kill them rather than take them prisoner. People in the North considered this event to be a massacre, and blacks in the Union Army used the cry, "Remember Fort Pillow!" to rally during the remainder of the war.

Fort Pillow State Park has a museum to interpret the battle and also has reconstructed fortifications on the original site of the fort.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Towns & Communities

  • Arp
  • Cherry
  • Durhamville
  • Fulton
  • Gates
  • Glimp
  • Golddust
  • Halls
  • Henning
  • Orysa
  • Ripley (County Seat)

Links

Wikipedia

Genealogy Trails

TN GenWeb

Chickasaw Nat'l Wildlife Refuge

Lower Hatchie Nat'l Wildlife Refuge (part)

Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Places