Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 12.djvu/566

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

offered their services to the chief of plice to assist in quelling the riot. The reply was that the rioters had dispersed. The officer in command of the volunteer battalion sent out scouts to examine and report upon the condition of things. The report was that no bodies of negroes were to be found; that parties were occasionally seen here and there who manifested no friendly spirit; but that, in fact, there was no riot anywhere. The officer in command, considering that the force actually present was small, thought it best to do nothing which might provoke a renewal of the disturbance, and, after waiting a while for further developments, marched his troops to their quarters and dismissed them. It was a wise, a prudent, and a humane act, but it was very unacceptable to the young men in his command, who panted for an opportunity of teaching the insolent negroes a lesson in good breeding. The moderation and prudence of the leader of the corps was admirable, and in after times men learned to admire it; but it was hard, very hard, to submit to it.

The negroes seemed to have been organized for riot. Quick as lightning the report of the disturbance would fly through the streets, and instantly every negro would come out of his lair, and the air would be filled with their imprecations. The women breathed curses against the whites, and gloated in imagination over the vengeance which they would exercise. "Kill them all, was the general cry! "The town is ours!" "Sweep them off from every part of it!" This, and such language we had to hear with patience for upwards of sixty days. And it was all the harder to bear because we knew that these were not spontaneous utterings, but were put into their mouths by the sickly and unprincipled adventurers who lived upon the white men and made use of the negroes to aid in robbing them.

Several persons were wounded and otherwise injured in this riot. Mr. Milton Buckner died the next day of his wound. Whether any negroes died is unknown. One black policeman was dangerously wounded, but recovered. It was afterwards said, but I know not if truthfully, that the negroes would carry off their wounded and keep it a secret. No arrests were made but of unresisting whites, against whom no charges were ever made; and no inquiry was made by the authorities as to the cause or the history of this riot, but it was so palpably a Radical riot, that it was not considered safe to enquire into it. Not long afterwards, when there was a color of showing that the whites had begun another riot, coroners' inquests were held and all the ingenuity of the Solicitor of the county taxed to prove that the whites were the aggressors. The Governor issued one of his splen-