As a soldier in the 7th US Colored Heavy Artillery, Allen James Walker was stationed at Corinth, Mississippi and Ft. Pickering, here in Memphis.
Allen James Walker was born a slave near Germantown in 1845. During the Civil War, Walker was one of the thousands of local slaves who escaped from their bondage. Walker joined the Union Army, which raised 51 black companies from Shelby and Fayette County alone.
As a soldier in the 7th US Colored Heavy Artillery, Walker was stationed at Corinth, Mississippi and Ft. Pickering, here in Memphis, but was ultimately sent to Ft. Pillow, overlooking the Mississippi and Hatchie Rivers.
In a controversial battle on April 12, 1864, the fort was brutally assaulted by Rebel forces under Memphian, Nathan Bedford Forest. Walker, one of the few Union survivors, was captured and forced to work for a Rebel corporal.
In early 1865, Walker was taken to Texas and was made to put in a crop for his captor, who conveniently neglected to tell him when the war ended. Fortunately, Walker escaped again and eventually found his way back home, traveling from Columbus, Texas to Galveston, to New York, to Baltimore, to Cairo, Illinois and finally to Memphis, in a circuitous path of over 3000 miles! Walker is one of the featured personalities in the museum’s African-American Trail.
To learn more about our region's history, visit the Pink Palace Family of Museums.