previous next

Doc. 6. the riots in Connecticut.

New Haven Palladium account.

last Saturday evening, August 24, the telegraph brought word that the office of the Bridgeport Farmer had been “cleaned out” by a mob, that a “peace” flag had been taken down in Stepney, and that two or three men had been killed at New Fairfield. In consequence of these reports our reporter proceeded to Bridgeport on Sunday, to gain such facts as possible regarding the deplorable events. As nearly as he could learn, the following is a brief outline of the proceedings at Stepney and Bridgeport:

Notice had been given in Bridgeport that a “peace” flag was to be raised at Stepney, ten miles north of that place, on Saturday, afternoon, when a “peace meeting” would be addressed by Schnable of Pennsylvania, a well-known stump speaker in the last presidential campaign. E. B. Goodsell, ex-postmaster of Bridgeport, and G. W. Belden, lawyer, of New-town, were also advertised to speak. A large number of the citizens of Bridgeport, including many of the returned volunteers, decided to take part in the meeting, and for that purpose procured five or six large omnibuses, besides other vehicles, and proceeded to Stepney, where they found a pole with a large “white rag” floating at its top, and a platform for speaking. The crowd immediately surrounded the pole, and one of the volunteers climbed it to let loose the secession banner, that the Stars and Stripes might be run up instead. Our reporter was informed by several eye-witnesses that, as the Unionist went up the pole, one “General” Curtis levelled a cocked pistol at him, and another unknown person a gun. Both these men were knocked down and their weapons [4] taken from them. Quite a “scrimmage” followed, and seven or eight more pistols were taken from secessionists who drew them, but not a shot was fired on either side during the affray. The “peace” flag having been hauled down, the glorious old Stars and Stripes were run up amid loud cheering. Calls were then made for the speaker, but none appearing, P. T. Barnum, Esq., mounted the platform. Pistols were again drawn by the secessionists, and threats were made that if Mr. Barnum spoke he should be shot. He was immediately surrounded by a number of returned volunteers, who with revolvers in hand, promised death to any one who should fire at the platform. Mr. Barnum then called for the speakers advertised, promising them in the name of the Union men a fair hearing, provided they uttered nothing treasonable. They were not forthcoming; but, in answer to some remark of Mr. Barnum's, Schnable, who was standing unmolested in the crowd, cried out, “That's a lie,” when he was somewhat severely kicked, (so our informant stated,) and disappeared for the day.

A regular Union meeting was then organized, with Elias Howe, Jr., in the chair, and P. T. Barnum, Secretary. The following resolutions were adopted, the Star-Spangled banner was sung, and the meeting adjourned:


Whereas, We claim for ourselves, in common with our loyal fellow-citizens, to hold sacred not only the liberties of our country, but the peace of our glorious old Commonwealth of Connecticut;

Resolved, That as good citizens, and a law and order loving people, we deprecate and utterly condemn all those public exhibitions, falsely called peace meetings, but really intended as secession demonstrations, as insulting to the honor of our glorious flag, disgraceful to our country; and

Resolved, That we will discountenance all attempts of traitors, open or disguised, to repeat the said public demonstrations, and call upon all Union and liberty-loving men to place the ban of public scorn and reprobation upon all concerned therein.

Resolved, That in the present crisis of the country there are but two parties--Loyal men and Traitors--those who sustain the Union, the Constitution, and the National Government, and those who oppose, either in open rebellion the enforcement of the laws, or aid and assist the enemies of the country by sympathizing with secession, or through falsely called peace meetings.

Resolved, That, until this war is ended in the complete suppression of this wicked rebellion, we will stand by the old Stars and Stripes; and hereby pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to defend it to the last.

The return of the Bridgeport party was much like a triumphant procession of a somewhat disorderly character, the fallen secession banner trailing in the dust behind them, and their entry into the city being greeted with loud and continued cheering. [We learn of only two persons at all seriously hurt at Stepney; we were unable to obtain their names. Both were of the tory party, and both were carried from the ground by their friends. One was struck a very heavy blow upon the head with a club by a Union man whom he was pursuing, and who retreated backward some distance before he struck; the other attacked the rear wagon of the homeward procession, when he was kicked in the face by a man in the wagon, and when last seen was apparently insensible.]

The destruction of the “Farmer” office.

Upon the arrival home of the Bridgeport party, with the white flag as a trophy, an excited concourse of people surrounded them in front of the Sterling House, on Main street, rending the air with shouts, and apparently ready for any desperate enterprise. Directly in front of the hotel, Wall street runs to Water street, and at the corner of Water and Wall streets stands the four-story brick building owned by Mrs. Ferris Hurd, and occupied (above the lower story) by Pomeroy & Morse, proprietors of the Advertiser and Farmer newspaper, and of quite an extensive job printing establishment. It was but a few steps, therefore, that the mob were obliged to take when voices in the crowd shouted “To the Farmer office.”

A body of four or five hundred persons, followed by thousands of spectators, immediately moved down the street. The affair was, apparently, a deliberate one, there being little of the hurry that would be ordinarily manifested on such an occasion. It was known that the office had been guarded for several nights and days, and, as it was supposed that armed men were at the time within the building, a vigorous resistance was anticipated. It was even believed that preparations had been made some time before for throwing a flood of hot water from the boiler, situated in the second story, upon any body of men who might assail the building, but no one was found within to resist the rioters after they had forced the doors.

Once within the walls, a scene of destruction occurred that almost passes description. The invaders, maddened by the obstinately and unnaturally disloyal and traitorous course of the doomed sheet, left nothing whole that could be disposed of. Type, job presses, ink, paper, books, all the paraphernalia of a printing establishment were thrown into the street, and two presses, too large to get through the windows, were broken in pieces by aid of a large and heavy lever. The crowd even ascended to the roof, and tore off such of the signs as they could reach. The only arms found in the building were a loaded rifle and some two hundred and fifty heavy clubs, turned from shovel handles and fitted with a cord to go about the wrist. A room was found containing a number of “bunks” arranged like berths, one above the [5] other, which contained bedding, and had evidently been recently used. The appearance of the building on Sunday morning, windowless and rifled, was dreary in the extreme.

The active riot ended on Saturday night, but the streets were thronged on Sunday by excited group's of men, and Nathan F. Morse, the junior partner in the concern, was vigorously groanedZZZ when he appeared on the street.

Fight at New-Fairfield.

On Saturday afternoon, an even more fearful riot than those at Stepney and Bridgeport was under way. It seems that a number of tories at New-Fairfield had a white flag up, which certain Union men in Danbury determined to take down. Some thirty or forty of them, therefore, repaired to the location of the obnoxious rag, taking an American flag with them to put in its place. They surrounded the pole for this purpose, when they were attacked by a party of tories, some two hundred strong, and a general fight ensued, the weapons being spades, axes, and clubs. Being soon overpowered, though not till after a hard fight, the Union men fled, carrying away with them Andrew Knox, John Allen, and Thomas Kinney, of their party, all very badly cut about the head with spades. The first blow struck was by a “peace” man, who inflicted a fearful blow upon one of the above. Of the tories two were probably fatally wounded, (one report, and apparently authenticated, states that the first one named is dead, and the other beyond recovery,) named Abraham Wildman and----Gorham. The Union men of course returned home to Danbury, and the “peace” flag still waves.

It may be mentioned as of interest, in connection with the trouble in Fairfield County, that a “peace” flag was taken down in Easton on Thursday of last week, and brought into Bridgeport; and that preparations were making in Bridgeport on Sunday, to proceed to Hatterstown (in Monroe) to-day, (Monday,) to take down another.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
P. T. Barnum (5)
Schnable (2)
Nathan F. Morse (2)
Abraham Wildman (1)
Pomeroy (1)
Andrew Knox (1)
Thomas Kinney (1)
Ferris Hurd (1)
Elias Howe (1)
Gorham (1)
E. B. Goodsell (1)
Doc (1)
Samuel R. Curtis (1)
G. W. Belden (1)
John Allen (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
August 24th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: