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[58] 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 ’


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