The last Chapter of the history of reconstruction in South Carolina. Paper no. 6—Conclusion.
The Elberton riots.The next considerable riot has acquired historical importance, as it was the occasion employed by the Governor to frame an indictment against the people of the State. The parties concerned in putting it down were brought before the Chief-Justice of the United States to answer to a conspiracy to intimidate the black citizens of Aiken and Barnwell counties, and to prevent them from exercising the elective franchise. Several men of both parties were slain, but the death of a few men was a matter about which the courts need not be troubled, and no inquest was made into the cases of homicide; and in consequence of the rulings of the court, no opportunity was given to explain the causes and the history of this riot. The whole history displays the animus of the Governor, and the recklessness with which he seized upon a local disorder to have a large portion of the State brought under the dominion of the Federal soldiers. The following is the statement of several gentlemen of the highest position in that part of the country, men who knew the truthfulness of their report, and who were in no way implicated or suspected of any participation in the affair. Their report, under their signatures and their oaths, was submitted to the commissioners who sat in  Aiken to investigate the matter, aided by the Attorney-General and the District Attorney. The commissioners disregarded this paper, preferring to get at the truth from negroes, who were paid for their affidavits, which affidavits were prepared for the occasion, printed with blank spaces for the insertion of such matter as might be specially sworn to by the respective witnesses. On Friday, September 14th, two negroes entered the dwelling of Mr. Alonzo Harvey, a planter of Silverton, Aiken county. Mr. Harvey was absent; they attacked his wife and child with clubs, seriously injuring them. Mrs. Harvey, fortunately, got her husband's gun, which, although not loaded, frightened the negroes and drove them off. In a short time, about a dozen white men, hearing of the outrage, assembled in pursuit of the assassins, and caught a negro, Peter Williams by name, who, on being taken to Harvey's, was recognized by both Mrs. Harvey and her child, as one of the assassins. This negro, probably ill-guarded by the numerous body who had him in charge, contrived to get away, was shot and brought back wounded. On Saturday rumors were rife that the negroes were assembling in arms in the neighborhood of Rousis's bridges, to avenge the shooting of Williams. In the evening the whites also began to assemble. Information was received on Sunday that Fred. Pope, the leading negro in the assault on Mrs. Harvey, had sought protection with the armed negroes at Rousis's bridges. Angus P. Brewer, a special constable, armed with a warrant issued by Griffin, a colored trial justice and a Republican, with a posse of white men, proceeded to Rousis's bridges to arrest Pope. In a defile near these bridges this posse was, unexpectedly and without any challenge, fired upon by some negroes in ambush, and the fire was returned. Only a few shots were exchanged, and no damage done either side. The whites retired from the defile and sought to negotiate with their assailants. After a delay of more than two hours, caused by the reluctance of the negroes to respond to the advances of the other party, the blacks finally consented that if six unarmed whites, whom they named, would meet six negroes, also unarmed, they would abide by whatever decision the joint committee should agree upon. The whites assented and the committee met, the constable with his warrant being one of them. He exhibited his warrant and demanded the surrender of Pope, but on the assurance of the negroes that Pope was not at that time with them, it was mutually agreed that both parties should disperse and return quietly to their homes, both parties pledging themselves to this agreement. The whites dispersed, but  the blacks did not. In less than two hours afterwards they assailed two white men on the same spot. At the lower bridge over the same stream, they ambushed fourteen white men on their way home—about sixty shots were fired upon them—of whom five were wounded; the fire was returned and one negro was killed. The whites then dispersed. The negroes at eight o'clock that night waylaid John Williamson and Everett Stellangs. Williamson was killed. They then tore up the track of the Port Royal railway, wrecked a train, cut the telegraph wires and burnt the mill and gin house of Dr. Bailey. Of course the country was filled with rumors which were doubtless exaggerated. By ten o'clock on Monday morning about an hundred white men had assembled and proceeded to the point where the railroad had been broken. There they were fired upon by the negroes. The fire was returned—one negro was killed, the others ran away. The whites then moved towards Elberton. There the negroes had assembled in large numbers, armed, yelling, cursing and threatening the lives of the women and children. In front of Elberton is a deep swamp, which was occupied by the blacks, but they retired before the regular approach of the whites, with the loss of one of their number. The whites camped at Elberton. That night the negroes waylaid at Penn Branch a party of white men and wounded S. Dunbar and H. Killingworth, and killed Robert Williams. On Tuesday the whites proceeded to Rousis's bridges, the original scene of the troubles, where they met the Federal troops. The bridge had been torn up by the negroes, and they occupied the swamp. At the approach of the whites they fired and retired into the swamp. The whites then appealed to the troops to disperse the armed negroes, who had waylaid and killed men in the night, burnt property and threatened the lives of women and children. On the assurance that this would be done, they returned to their homes, leaving the settlement of the riot to the discretion of the Federal officers. Such is the plain unvarnished statement of facts given in the order in which they occurred, without effort to create an impression against either party. This statement does not tell how rapidly the negroes could assemble, how the whole county was like a movable camp; how, at the tap of a drum or the blowing of a horn, negroes would instantly be under arms—arms which had been given by Governor Scott to his favorite militia; it does not tell how terror prevailed over the whole country; how old men, women and children were sent to certain places where they might be protected from the threatened  violence of a body of negroes who acknowledged no law, and who undertook to avenge the shooting of one of their color, whose crime was something very near to assassination. Let it be always borne in mind that, right or wrong, the impression was as deeply seated as it was universal, that nothing was so eagerly desired by the Republican party as a tale of outrage and violence towards negroes, and that nothing was so studiously avoided as any act which could give a foundation for such tales. We shall see further on that a high official signalized his devotion to his party by the facility with which he tortured this riot into a seething mass of Democratic wrong, outrages and folly. When the unprovoked assault was made on the defenceless Mrs. Hardy and her son, the action of her neighbors in searching for the miscreants was but a spontaneous movement of self-defence. After one of them was captured and identified, his captors were so far from doing him violence, that he actually made his escape; and if he was shot as he ran away, there was nothing in that act which could be tortured into violence to effect a political end. The ostensible object of the gathering of the negroes was to avenge this shooting, and every act which they performed was not only unlawful, but aggressive. If they were out in arms to commit violence, it was the simplest act of self-preservation in the whites to take up arms to resist them. They might have made havoc among the negroes; they refrained from every act of violence, except when absolutely necessary, and at last gladly hailed the presence of the Federal troops, who appeared on the fifth day, and left the settlement of the disturbance to them. This spirit of forbearance characterized every step of the whites throughout this terrible summer. It permitted the negro to derange the whole labor system of the rice fields; it stayed the arm of the whites when a mob of negroes held the city of Charleston, and had shed the blood of one of her citizens. It was no less strong during the Elberton riots; it was peaceful to the end, and it ultimately triumphed. I do not know whether the Governor on this occasion resorted to his usual remedy of sending a trusty and confidential agent to inquire, pacify and report. The troops of the United States were there. The sheriff played into the hands of the Radicals by the following dispatch to the Governor, September 19:
I have just returned from the reported riot—have seen or heard of no fighting. I saw no colored men under arms, nor did I hear of any. None could be found up to late last night. The whites were all under  arms, and reinforcements arriving. I was powerless to disband them. The country is excited. (Signed)
Jordan, S. A. C.
This dispatch was calculated to produce the impression that the assembling of armed whites was causeless, as no negroes under arms were either seen or heard of. When this dispatch was made public, a reply to it was made by those gentleman who had accompanied the sheriff, one of whom was his nephew. These gentlemen charge that the sheriff's report is false, or at least unfair, and of a partisan character: 1. It is not true that he had returned from the scene of the riot, for he had not gone within seven miles of it. 2. It is not true that he was powerless to disband the white troops, for he had made no attempt to do so. 3. He saw no armed negroes, because he did not go where they were to be found. And 4. It was not true that he heard of no negroes under arms, because those who were with him heard of them, and he must have heard the same riots. Whether true or false, the sheriff's dispatch proved a condition of affairs about Aiken so alarming as to demand the attention of the Governor. How did he show his sense of responsibility? He went on a journey to the North. Judge Mackey happened to see him on the car, and urged him to remain at home. The Governor, he said, ought to make personal efforts to save the lives of the people over whom he presided. The Governor's engagements in Massachusetts were of more importance than the peace of South Carolina. When the United States troops appeared at Rousis's bridge, assumed the conduct of affairs, and the whites had dispersed and returned to their homes, there was an end to the riot of Elberton. Several lives had been lost, which ought to have been inquired into. But the lives of the citizens were a matter of little importance to the Governor, and he left the State, taking with him the AttorneyGen-eral. But Elberton promised to yield a rich harvest of crimes, dear to the hearts of the government. It was converted into a manufactory of Democratic intimidation of negro voters. Mr. Corbin, the District Attorney, visited Aiken early in October, in order to put this manufactory in operation. In reality he had no official relation to Chamberlain, but, embarked as they both were in the sacred cause of Radicalism, he generously lent his aid to the Governor, and made his report to him. One would naturally expect, from a law officer of such standing, a report on which facts would be carefully  and accurately detailed. On reading it we shall find that Corbin does not come up to the character of a witness, it is a mere matter of hearsay information and belief. He begins by saying, that he had spent three days in Aiken, where he took affidavits of a considerable number of persons from different parts of the county, but he does not mention the names of any of these parties. He asserts (what no one denied) that Rifle clubs exist throughout the county, armed with the best and most approved weapons. These clubs, he says, have created, and still create a reign of terror. Colored men, through fear of them, were living out of doors, away from their homes at night. Many of them were killed by these clubs, and others were taken out of their beds and whipped; and many colored men had told him that their only security from death or whipping, was to pledge themselves to vote the Democratic ticket. He continues—From the best information I could get while in Aiken, the number of men killed by the clubs in three weeks was certainly thirteen, and probably thirty. The civil arm is powerless to prevent these atrocities. The sheriff dare not, for fear of his life, arrest any of them. He did not go within seven miles of the eight hundred men assembled at Rousis's bridge, commanded by A. P. Butler, and marching upon a crowd of negroes, whom they had surrounded, and intended, as some allege, to kill. It is the Governor's duty to put down this state of things. Now, it is disgraceful to a civilized State, that reports, so basely framed, should be made the basis of a call on the United States for military assistance. It was more than a fortnight since the county was quiet before Corbin made his appearance on the scene. Time had been allowed witnesses to frame a consistent tale of horrors. Corbin never left Aiken but was able to get affidavits from a considerable number of citizens from different parts of the county. It is certain, therefore, that his visit was expected and that proper witnesses went to Aiken to meet him with their tales of outrage; and in this part of the report he betrays the true end of his visit, viz: to get up a story of intimidation of free voters. The report of the number of persons killed is perfectly disgraceful if we consider it as coming from an official; from the best information he could get, certainly thirteen and probably thirty men had been killed in three weeks, and the civil arm was powerless to prevent these atrocities. This is fearfully true, but it was the blacks, not the clubs, that had successfully set the civil arm at defiance. That two or three black men had been killed during the riots is true, but as they were aggressors  no notice was taken of it; but if thirteen men had been killed, as Corbin described, could any one doubt but that their names would have been heralded all over the country as the victims of Democratic ferocity. The very fact that none such were so heralded is conclusive proof that there were no such victims, and no one knew that better than Corbin himself. Lastly, he says, that white men, eight hundred in number, had surrounded a crowd of negroes, and, as some allege, intended to kill them. What is the meaning of this hesitating phrase, as some allege? Did any one doubt that such was their intention? that it was even their duty for the preservation of their own safety and that of their families? Could Corbin blame them for it? It was the timely appearance of the troops which prevented a fearful slaughter—none of the men in that body would have minced the matter as Corbin did. Even Corbin knew that his report was of no use but to make an electioneering squib, and furnish Chamberlain with a pretext, which he could not otherwise get, for an appeal to the President. Before we dismiss the subject of the Elberton riots, I must remark on the tone of the report of Captain Lloyd, who relieved Colonel Butler at Rousis's bridge, It contains nothing but what is, perhaps, strictly true, but the report is that of a man who considered the whites the aggressors. He says, and his report is endorsed favorably by Captain Mills and General Ruger, that the timely arrival of his troops doubtless prevented a great massacre of the negroes. This is very true, but the tone was calculated to confirm the partisan report of Corbin, and the frantic screams of Chamberlain. Even Captain Lloyd declares, that when relieved by them, the whites quietly went to their homes.
Colonel Haskell, the Governor and the judges.After the formal nomination of Chamberlain by the Republican convention, Colonel Haskell, the chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee, wrote to Chamberlain to propose that he and Governor Hampton should jointly canvass the State and present to the people their respective claims, thus insuring a full and fair discussion and a fair and intelligent vote. He further took occasion to notice the abuse which the Democratic party had received on the part of Chamberlain's supporters, which he assumes to believe that Chamberlain knew to be false, and he says: ‘Your appearance before the Democrats in the State will be a pleasing refutation of the slanderous  charges published against our party in newspapers claiming to be your organs, and also in Northern papers backed by the name of Senator Patterson and others of your political friends. These charges should be either contradicted by your denial of them, or you should go in person to ascertain their truth. You are Governor as well as candidate; as the latter you may not be bound to correct charges which you know to be false, but as Governor you are bound by your pledges and your honor to prevent your followers using the sanction of your official silence, to sustain charges against your opponents, when they allege the overthrow of the peace and dignity of the State which you are sworn to defend. You are bound either to contradict the assertion that the law is overthrown and terrorism prevails, or to suppress this lawlessness.’ He then makes an offer of the whites to assist the Governor in restoring order. ‘It is our right to be called upon to aid you before you appeal to the United States Government. Our services are at your disposal, and whatsoever is our duty we are ready to do.’ This letter gave Chamberlain an opportunity to write an answer, which was extensively circulated at the North in the interest of Hayes. This letter is very long. He not only does not contradict, but he reiterates all the slanders which an infuriate party had uttered against the whites. He begins with acknowledging the courtesy of Colonel Haskell's invitation, which he accepts (but did not keep his promise.) He denounces the conduct of the Democrats at joint meetings. Those at which he had been present at Edgefield and elsewhere had been attended by Democrats who had perpetrated every sort of insult short of physical violence. (He forgot that he had himself set the example four years before.) He denounced the Rifle clubs as a basis of political organization, as illegal associations. These clubs were guilty of actual violence; at Harrisburg they had wantonly butchered unresisting prisoners. The Republicans, he admitted, were responsible for the Charleston riot, but he is proud to add that it was suppressed by Republican authority. (The Governor knew that the riot suppressed itself, and that Republican authority did nothing to suppress it.) The cause of the Elberton riot was not well known, but it had been proved that colored men had been killed, not while resisting the process of law, not while engaged in acts of violence, but they were shot down in the fields, in the roads, in their cabins, wheresoever they might be found. He had learned that forty or fifty had thus been killed, and had reason to believe that the killing was not yet over. All the violence in the State is due to Democratic  agencies, and he, therefore, declines to call on the Democrats to suppress disturbances of which they were the authors. It would be like setting wolves to guard the sheep. Neither can he call on the negroes, for that would bring on a conflict. In such an emergency, he says, ‘my only reliance must be on United States troops. I shall do my duty, and the President will do his, and the world will see whether the principles of a free ballot can be trampled under foot by any combination or party of men in the State.’ With this distinct notice of an appeal for military force, which it must be remembered must come from the Legislature, unless the Governor solemnly declares the country to be in such a disturbed state that the Legislature cannot assemble, Colonel Haskell, in order to confront him on that ground, promptly appealed to every circuit judge in the State to make a report of the condition of their several circuits. Each judge promptly replied that there was no disturbance of the ordinary peace, and that the mandates of the courts were readily obeyed and executed. Judge Wiggins, in whose circuit were the counties of Aiken and Barnwell, replied that writs of arrest were resisted in his circuit, but when pressed for an explanation, reluctantly admitted that such resistance proceeded from negroes who had been engaged in the Combahee and Elberton riots. Almost simultaneously with the publication of his letter to Colonel Haskell, the Governor issued his proclamation declaring that Aiken and Barnwell are so disturbed by riotous and seditious brawlers that he is compelled to call out the military force of the State to enforce the execution of the laws. He denounces the Rifle clubs throughout the State as an illegal and dangerous body of men, and orders them to disarm themselves and to disband. Three days are allowed the seditious disturbers of the peace to disperse, and the same time allowed the Rifle clubs to break up their organization. He further addressed a public letter to the people of the United States, and repeats the assertion that the arm of the law is powerless in South Carolina, and asserts that to his personal knowledge about a hundred negroes had been slain in the late disturbances. (The number of the slain had doubled since his letter to Colonel Haskell.)
Arrests. The man on horseback.Meanwhile two men were sent by Chamberlain to Aiken to prepare for these arrests of Democrats, both black and white, which were to strike terror into their hearts, and bind the State helpless to  the chariot-wheels of the Republican party. These men (one was the Commissioner Canton) were secretly engaged in the back room of ten Radical lawyers, taking the affidavits of Radical negroes and party hacks. The whites discovered, by chance, what they were at, and Mr. Hammond, with about twenty other gentlemen of known respectability, went with an affidavit, the substance of which has been already given, forming, as it does, the history of the Elberton riot. This paper was civilly received, but, as it was not of a nature to further the end the commissioners had in view, was laid aside. About the same time, as if to show how completely the Governor had entered into the conspiracy against the whites, the Governor removed from office the trial justice, Griffin, the negro Radical magistrate, in resisting whose warrants of arrest the riots had begun. On the 12th October the commissioner was ready for work, and the arrests began. He was informed that if he would publish the names of those who were to be arrested the parties would save the marshal the trouble, and surrender themselves. But the commissioner preferred to make a mystery of his iniquitous proceeding, and the marshal, or his deputy, assisted by United States soldiers, went out daily to arrest white, and occasionally black Democrats. The warrants charged upon the prisoners a conspiracy to intimidate some citizens of African descent, and the murder of others. Each of the warrants was supported by an elaborate printed affidavit, made by some negro, and attested by his mark. The marshal is said to have paid one dollar for each of these affidavits. Frequently there were indications on the part of the government of a desire to provoke hostilities. On the 19th a large body of Democrats, both white and black, went to Aiken to meet Governor Hampton, and do honor to him. The principal officer of this meeting was A. P. Butler, one of the most beloved and respected men of that county. As soon as the meeting was over, the United States Marshal, with his posse of Federal soldiers, stepped up and arrested Mr. Butler and eleven others on the old charge. It was doubtless expected that this open insult would have been resented and resisted. But their design was frustrated. These gentlemen quietly submitted to the arrest, and calmly awaited their release on bail. On the 16th, Chamberlain's formal demand on the President for aid to suppress insurrection in South Carolina reached Washington. The President was at the time absent from the capitol on a pleasure excursion, and the heartrending appeal for aid was not considered  by the Cabinet of sufficient importance to disturb or interrupt the recreations of their august chief. The delay was not very long. The President returned on the 17th, and before night a proclamation was issued commanding all Rifle clubs to disperse, disband and disarm, and ordering all the disposable force of the army to be sent to General Ruger to be employed in maintaining peace in South Carolina. In making his demand on the President for aid, he must have declared that it was impossible on account of the disturbed state of the country for the Legislature to meet. If he did not make such a declaration, Grant could not have complied with his request; if he did make it, then every man, woman and child in South Carolina, and Chamberlain knew, as well as anybody else, that this declaration was a lie. I have no words to soften the expression. It was a barefaced and a base lie, and Chamberlain knew that it was so Thus the man on horseback, so confidently promised by the disreputable Patterson, had come at the call of Chamberlain. He came not to protect life and preserve peace, but to awe the whites, and destroy every vestige of Republican government in South Carolina. We shall soon see what was his method of restoring peace to the distracted country. The arrests of Democratic citizens, both black and white, continued up to the time of the election. How many were arrested in Aiken, Barnwell and Edgefield I do not know; there must have been over two hundred. Excitement thickens as we approach the time of the elections. The negroes regarded the troops as sent, not so much to protect them as to intimidate the whites. Every means that could be devised was tried to intimidate colored Democrats, but as this was on the right side, the commissioners took no notice of them. Their object was to keep the polls free for Radical voters. If Democrats were hindered or impeded in the exercise of the franchise it was not worth their notice. St. Thomas' parish, near the village of Cainhoy, in which eight men were murdered, their bodies being shockingly mutilated. On the 16th October a steamboat left Charleston for Cainhoy, with about sixty Democrats, nearly all white, and about as many Radical negroes, with Bowen, the sheriff of Charleston, at their head. By agreement the meeting at Cainhoy was to be a joint meeting to be  addressed alternately by members of both parties. The men from Charleston carried no arms. It had become a universal practice to carry pistols, which, of course, was done on this occasion. When the boat reached Cainhoy, Bowen went on ahead of the rest to organize the meeting, for the mass consisted of his adherents; the rest followed leisurely. After the meeting was organized, the speaking began with Mr. W. S. Leroy, who was followed by a colored Radical. Some young men, not curious about the business of the meeting, strolled about, and entered a building which had once been used as a kitchen. In the chimney of this building they saw several muskets piled, and took them out. Instantly a cry was raised, they are going to kill you, and a large body of negroes ran to a thicket which covered a small stream, took thence rifles which had been concealed there, and began a fierce fusillade upon the whites. These had no weapons but their pistols, and many were entirely unarmed. To make an aggressive demonstration under the circumstances would have been more than useless, and all that the most prudent could do was to make their retreat as safe as possible. Several men were wounded, and when the party reached Cainhoy, it was found that seven or eight had been left behind, of whose fate nothing was known. The boat returned to Charleston and a detachment of the Rifle clubs instantly sent back to Cainhoy to protect the village from a probable attack by the enraged negroes, and to bring back those who had been missing. No attack was made on the village, but at the scene of the meeting were found the bodies of some gentlemen shockingly mutilated. These were sent on to Charleston, and it is significant of the state of feeling among the negroes of Charleston who crowded the wharf to await the return of the boat, that they greeted the biers on which were the bodies of the murdered men with hisses. It was afterwards ascertained that when Bowen went ahead and found, on reaching the place of meeting, that a large number of men were armed with rifles, he directed them to be concealed, as the whites who were expected did not have arms and expected to find them also unarmed. The rifles were accordingly put out of sight so that they might be recovered at a moment's notice. The fact that some young men on finding the muskets, which had been concealed in the chimney, had handled them, and this gives a pretext for the outbreak, gave the Radicals a color to represent this as an assault of Democrats on the meeting. Bowen accordingly telegraphed to the Governor as follows: ‘A fight, during a joint discussion  at Cainhoy, was originated by a portion of the Democrats from the city attacking the meeting and killing an old colored man. This was the first shot, afterwards a general row ensued.’ This is an extraordinary dispatch, and a little examination must convince any one that it does not tell the truth. That a few young men, unarmed, straying from their friends, like themselves unarmed, should wantonly fire upon a meeting consisting largely of their friends, that they should begin the mad attack by killing an old negro man, is a supposition so monstrous as to require positive proof. Had they wished to kill any one there was much higher game within their reach. The story is contradicted by every witness who was examined at the inquest. The old negro was the only negro who suffered, and he was killed in the melee probably by his own friends. Indeed, it is likely that these muskets, old and nearly useless, were purposely placed where they were found, in the hope that they would be found. The weapons which had been concealed, and which were so readily brought out, were effective rifles. The coroner's jury sat to investigate this Democratic riot. The solicitor of the county, Butts, made himself very busy at the inquest, installed himself as chief examiner, dictated what answers should be recorded, browbeat the members of the inquest, who would from time to time put questions, and as far as he possibly could dictated the answers. His arts were of no avail; he could extort nothing from his witnesses to bring in a verdict against the Democrats; and where a witness bore hardly upon the Radicals, he would stop him by declaring that the inquest had had enough of such stuff, and did not want any more of it. The coroner s inquest could bring no charge against the white people, and thus put the seal of condemnation upon Bowen's partisan dispatch. Meanwhile the village of Cainhoy was guarded by the detachments from the rifle clubs, until the arrival of a portion of the United States troops. They were accompanied by Wallace, the marshal, who took care to suggest to the officers in command that the armed men who joyfully went there and who were congratulating themselves on being thus relieved, were members of the dreadful Rifle clubs which the President had ordered to be disbanded, and that, perhaps, it would be right to proceed against them for disobedience to the proclamation. But the commander had good sense as well as good feeling, recognized the supremacy of the great law of selfpreserva-tion, and exchanged military as well as civil courtesies, with the gentlemen whom he had gone to relieve.  The Cainhoy massacre, though humiliating, furnished another proof of the self-control exercised by the whites. It was an unprovoked, a brutal and an outrageous assault. It would have justified, as it deserved, the most signal retribution. The Rifle clubs which proceeded that same evening to the scene, had it in their power to strike a blow which would have been remembered for years, and the moral sense of no people in christendom would have condemned them had they done so. But they did not; they went with words of peace; they gave their protection to the village which lay exposed to the insults and assaults of the savage mob, and they quietly and gladly gave way to the troops who came on the same mission. This moderation was not understood by the negroes. They supposed it was the result of fear, and the glorious day of Cainhoy and the defeat of the whites was celebrated by them in songs and dances. Day by day their tone became more aggressive, day by day the imbecility of Chamberlain's government, and the partisan tyranny of Grant's, more offensive. The papers teemed with sickening reports of insults, of outrages, of the work of the torch. But enough of these disgusting details.
Election riots.On the 7th November the election was held. In Charleston, long before six o'clock, a mob, accompanied by the beat of a drum, gave tumultuous notice of the election, and by six o'clock the polls were thronged. All day there was the most intense excitement. Every poll was attended by brutal looking negroes, who, decorated with ribands, proclaimed themselves the special deputies of the sheriffs, armed with clubs, and ostensibly keepers of the peace. Scarcely less repulsive in appearance were the deputies of the United States marshal, who, as at this election Federal officers were to be elected, were directed by the Attorney-General to watch the polls and preserve the purity of the election. At every poll were the gentlemen of the precinct, who, without distinction of age, profession, or condition, went there to assist by their moral influence to preserve the peace. General Hunt was in town with his troops to quell any disturbance that might arise. About the polls, too, were numbers of negro women decorated with Chamberlain badges, giving encouragement to their darkey brethren and ready to join in and add to the horrors of a riot. The day passed off quietly in the city, but it was evident from the very large number of votes polled that hundreds of illegal votes had  been cast; large numbers of negro Democrats had been intimidated and declined to vote. At the county polls the negroes went armed. As the votes were counted in the night immediately after closing the polls, the telegraph was all the next day reporting the state of the polls, and we were soon persuaded that Hampton was elected Governor and Tilden President. Of course the exultation of the whites was great, and the disappointment of the blacks commensurate with the hopes which they had entertained. Disorder was common in the streets all day, but in the afternoon it culminated in a fearful riot. How it arose no one could explain, but it seems to have been occasioned by the discharge (perhaps accidental) of a pistol near the east end of Broad street. The crowd was dense and several shots were fired with no damage. But the excitement spread, and the crowd at the courthouse recklessly fired upon passengers in the street who were quietly going to their places of business. In this way Mr. E. Walter was killed and his father wounded. The mob assailed every white man who passed there; made furious demands at the station house for arms, and failing to obtain them tore up trees, palings, fences, to furnish themselves with the means of destruction. The police was turned out to quell the riot, but failed to do anything but to arrest whites who were in the streets. True to the character of the negro riots, it was everywhere at once. It began on Broad street, but there was a riot at every corner, and every white man was in danger of insult if not of violence. Notwithstanding the president's proclamation, the members of the Rifle clubs went to the station house with their weapons to offer to assist in restoring peace. By that time General Hunt had arrived there with a small body of soldiers and instantly accepted their services. Marshal Wallace officiously reminded him that these were the offensive and seditious Rifle clubs against whom both the President and the Governor had fulminated their proclamations. ‘I don't know what they are,’ said the general; ‘I know they are gentlemen whom I can trust, and I am very glad to have them,’ and they assisted in securing the town and kept it quiet that night. Several persons were injured in this riot, but Walter was the only one killed. Whether any negroes were killed was never known. It was said that they always carried off their wounded and dead, and were profoundly silent about it. It was said afterwards that about ten had been killed, but no coroner's jury sat on any colored victim of the riot. The next day there was a feverish uneasiness all over town. The telegraph was incessantly reporting news of the election, and the  bulletin boards of the newspapers were crowded with anxious men. A body of men assembled at the Mayor's office to take counsel about the best means of keeping the city quiet. General Hunt was there, so was the Collector of the Port, Worthington, a boon companion of Patterson; he was the man who had bribed the Legislature for Patterson, and was believed to have incited most of the disturbances which had disgraced the town. It was said to be his special duty in Charleston to act the spy upon the officers stationed there, and report to Washington the names of those officers who seemed to cultivate social relations with the Democrats. General Hunt told the Mayor that the negroes who were thronging the streets should be sent to their homes, for, that in the restless disposition which they manifested, an outbreak might at any moment be expected. The Mayor replied that the negroes had as good right to be on the streets as the whites, and he did not see why the same rule should not be applied to both parties. General Hunt replied: ‘My object, Mr. Mayor, is not to discuss principles and rights, but to provide for the peace of the city. I know that the whites will not provoke a disturbance. But your party has been industriously teaching the blacks all the summer that if Hampton is elected they will be remanded to slavery, and every telegram that comes makes it more certain he is elected. You who have done the mischief can alone undo it, and your advice to go home will be better than my order to that effect.’ He soon afterwards left the room, and Worthington promised that in a few hours General Hunt would be removed from the city. In less than three days Worthington's prediction was verified. General Hunt was removed.
The Board of Canvassers.The excitement, caused by the election and the subsequent riots, died off, and for a short time we rejoiced in the contemplation of the great victory, and complacently awaited the reestablishment of civil government. But an ominous note from Columbia came to disturb our minds and qualify our hopes. The Democrats believed that Hampton was elected by a majority of about twelve hundred votes; that a majority of the House of Representatives had been elected, and that on a joint ballot of the two Houses they would have a majority of one vote. It was now asserted that Chamberlain had received a majority of two or three thousand votes, and so large a number of representatives as to give the Radicals a majority on joint  ballot of about twenty votes. On what was this expectation grounded? In all the Southern States in which the negroes had a majority, an expedient was devised for perpetuating this power, which made all elections a mockery and a nullity. In this State it was a Board of Canvassers, consisting of the principal officers of the State, to whom the returns of the elections were made, who canvassed the returns and determined the result. They were authorized to throw out votes which they deemed illegal or improper; in fine, to do anything to keep the power in their own hands. No man could be sure of his election, even though he had received a unanimous vote; for this omnipotent board, for reasons satisfactory to themselves, might decide that the whole election was irregular and consequently void. A board of such enormous power, composed of men of principles, more than doubtful, required watching, and General Conner, and other eminent lawyers, went to Columbia to watch their proceedings and take care of the interests of the Democrats. The first point made was, that as a majority of this Board, the treasurer, the secretary of State, and another, were candidates for election, they could not sit in judgment on their own cases, and consequently the board was incompetent to act. It must be remembered that by law every ballot contained on a single piece of paper the names of all, the persons balloted for, so that it was impossible to canvass any one name on the paper without canvassing all. To this reasonable objection the facile Stone, Attorney-General, admitted that the objection was well taken, and that each member of the board, who was a candidate, must retire when his name was under discussion. This was an expedient that, under the circumstances, could proceed only from a knave or a fool. The next point was, that as the Constitution makes each House the sole judge of the validity of the election of its members, the board has no right to do more than count the votes and certify them to the Secretary of State, leaving to each House the subsequent duty of determining the validity of the elections. As the Board did not concur in this view, General Conner applied to the Supreme Court for an injunction against further proceedings by the Board until the matter could be examined by the court. (I fear, lest if I attempt to follow the details of this case, I should fall into technical errors. I shall therefore, briefly as possible, tell what did happen.) The court ordered the Board to examine the election returns and  return them to the court. The report on this order showed that sixty-four Democrats and sixty Radicals had been elected to the House of Representatives. The court then issued a mandamus directing the report to be certified and sent to the Secretary of State. This mandamus never reached the board. After making their last return they went into secret session, decided that the elections in Edgefield and Laurens were void in consequence of the intimidation of voters in those counties. Certificates of election were withheld from those who had been elected in those counties, and thus securing to the Radicals a majority in the House of Representatives, they adjourned forever. Great and just was the indignation of the court when this sharp practice was reported. The whole board was declared in contempt, a fine of one thousand five hundred dollars imposed on each of them, and they were committed to jail during the pleasure of the court. Fortunately they had made a return of the election to the court, and the clerk was directed to give certificates under the seal of the court to the members elected for Edgefield and Laurens. But the Radical party have always found in the judiciary of the United States a judge who will be a convenient instrument in the game of rascality, and one was already in Columbia ready and willing to serve them. The session of the Circuit Court was at hand, and Judge Bond had reached Columbia fully a week before the time. His presence boded no good, and it was not long before the worst fears of the people were realized. A motion for the release of the imprisoned canvassers was brought before him and he granted it. On what ground he undertook to interfere with the Supreme Court I know not. He gave no reasons at the time, but promised to give them subsequently. If he ever did, the interest in the matter had died away and nobody cared to know how he could justify this unwarrantable blow at the independence of the State court. The judge had a duty to discharge to the party which had put him in power and he paid the debt. He would have had a more fragrant reputation had he been less true to the behests of his party.
The man on horseback.The President having failed to intimidate the people of South Carolina from expressing their opinions at the polls, resolved now to try to effect by violence the seating in the Governor's chair the charlatan whom the people had rejected. On the 26th November, the  following order was sent by Cameron, the Secretary of War to General Ruger:
D. H. Chamberlain is now Governor of South Carolina beyond controversy, and remains so until a new Governor shall be legally inaugurated. Under the Constitution the Government has been called, to aid with the military forces of the United States, to maintain a Republican government in the State against resistance too formidable to be overcome by the State authorities. You are directed, therefore, to sustain Governor Chamberlain in his authority against domestic violence until otherwise directed.
And in forwarding this order General Ruger is directed, in obeying these instructions to advise with Governor Chamberlain and dispose his troops in such manner as may be deemed best to carry out the spirit of the President's order. It is now sufficient to read this order to see the whole tissue of fraud and of partisan spirit which breathes in every line. But an order from the President deserves at least the respect of an examination. Let us briefly do so. In the first place, why the gratuitous assertion that Chamberlain was, at that time, the actual Governor of South Carolina? It was neither doubted nor denied. It was only himself who seemed by his imbecility and his utter dependence upon Federal troops to doubt it. His enemies had elected the man of their choice, and were content to wait patiently for the time when he would lawfully assume his position. In the second place, Chamberlain had ten months before called in the aid of the Federal troops and these troops were still there in pursuance of the call. Whence, then, this new order? In the third place, though not expressed in the order, it was really given in view of the approaching session of the Legislature. If Grant was really desirous of doing his duty under the Constitution, he would have let things remain in status quo, until the Legislature, which was about to meet, should advise him what he ought to do, but this would not have suited the views of the party. He speaks of the duty of the Government to aid in maintaining a Republican Government in the State. Could the President have meant that inasmuch as one party called itself Republican and the other Democratic, his duty called him to aid the former to the exclusion of the latter? This supposition is an insult to his understanding, but even so, more favorable to his character than the gross tyranny of the order by which he  proposed to destroy all republican government. Chamberlain is made the supreme judge of what is meant by a Republican Government, and all the available forces of the United States are put at his disposal to wield the destinies of a State which loathed, abhorred and had rejected him. The President was guilty of a high crime against representative government. A legislature had been elected which put the Democrats in power. Four men of more than questionable character, three of whom were candidates for election, had undertaken to say that the election in two counties was void. They thus changed the balance of power by usurping a function which the Constitution gives exclusively to the several branches of the Legislature, and the dictum of these few men was to overrule the voice of the State; and this was the Republican Government which the President ordered his soldiers to defend. The troops were ordered to protect Chamberlain against Democratic violence. No one knew better than Chamberlain himself that the only party that contemplated violence was his own party. They had put the Democrats to a very severe test, and found them true to the programme which had in the beginning been mapped out for them by their great leader. They bore with patience the outrages and injuries which had been put upon them. Arrest after arrest of some of their best citizens had been made for causes which the Government knew to be frivolous, which had no end in view but to intimidate, possibly to excite to madness. The party of violence was the Radical party. All this violence, all this intimidation was for the purpose of keeping in office a man who knew that he was utterly repudiated by the people, and could not sustain himself one hour without the aid of Federal bayonets; and this was what President Grant called sustaining Republican government in South Carolina. The next scene in the drama shows his method of sustaining it.