Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/380

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374 Southern Historical Society Papers.

[From the Richmond Dispatch, March 17, 1891.]


An Account of Their Difficulty in the Confederate Senate.

To the Editor of the Dispatch :

In the Dispatch of Sunday, March I5th, there is a clipping from the Atlanta Constitution, giving- an account of " a stormy scene which occurred in the Confederate States Senate between Ben. Hill and William L. Yancey," and the writer says "so far as Iknow neither one ever saw in print any reference to the episode which Came so- near ending in the immediate death of Yancey." Now, I have in a scrap-book a clipping from the Columbia (Tenn.) Herald, date not given, but which was published about 1874 or l8 7 6 , which says:

" Among the many events of personal interest that occurred in the South during the late war but few are of more dramatic char- acter or aroused a deeper interest among our people than the unfor- tunate personal difficulty which took place in the Confederate States Senate at Richmond, during its secret session, between Mr. William L. Yancey, of Alabama, and Mr. Ben. H. Hill, of Georgia. Several different and conflicting versions of this affair have been given through the southern press, but none has yet been published that accords with a statement we recently derived from a gentleman who was at the time a senator, and an eye-witness to all that happened on the occasion.


" The difficulty had its origin in the heated political contests so common in this country prior to the breaking out of the war. It was when Yancey, with his dazzling eloquence, was ' firing the Southern heart ' that a barbecue, attended by thousands, was given in one of the Southern counties of Georgia. It was here that Hill and Yancey met the one the bold and eloquent defender of the Union, and the other the boasted champion of secession and during the debate which ensued words were uttered that caused an estrange- ment that was never afterward reconciled.

" The two men met again in the Confederate Senate, both doubt- less smarting under the recollection of past contests and entertaining no kindly feelings for each other. It was when the cause of the South was drooping and every patriot heart was heavy with despon-