Walter Goodman was a captain in the Confederate States Army. In 1864, he was part of the staff of James Chalmers, and was present at the Battle of Fort Pillow. After preparing a surrender demand for the fort's garrison, General Nathan Bedford Forrest ordered Goodman to deliver it under a flag of truce. Goodman confirmed with Forrest that the offer to treat the entire garrison as prisoners of war extended to the Negro troops. Goodman reminded Forrest that not all of his men would like this, but did carry the demand to the fort, accompanied by Captain Thomas Henderson and Lt. Frank Rogers.
Under a flag of truce, Goodman met with Lt. Mack Leaming, Captain John Young and Lt. Daniel van Horn and conveyed Forrest's demand. When the garrison asked for an hour, Forrest told Goodman to refuse and grant twenty minutes. Goodman returned to meet with the Union troops, who then demanded to know if Forrest was in fact present. (On one prior occasion, a Union garrison had surrendered to Colonel William Duckworth, believing his false claims that Forrest was on his way.) Goodman accompanied Forrest back to the fort, where Forrest spoke with Captain Young, who confirmed his identity. Forrest also demanded that the fort state whether or not it would surrender from Leaming.
After Leaming had gone, Goodman suggested Forrest return to the Confederate lines. After considering the suggestion, Forrest agreed and departed. He was not there when Leaming returned with the garrison's refusal to surrender. Goodman was disappointed by the garrison's decision, promising that the Confederates would take the fort, and that the consequences for its defenders would be terrible. Leaming affirmed that the fort would not surrender. Goodman, Henderson and Rogers returned to Forrest with the news.
Goodman does not appear in the narrative again after these scenes.
- Fort Pillow, pgs. 94-95.
- Ibid., pgs. 97-105
- Ibid., pg. 118-120