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[329]

As Dr. David Minton Wright, of the city of Norfolk, was walking up Main street on the afternoon of July the 11th, 1862; just as he reached a point opposite the store of Foster & Moore, now occupied by S. Frank & Son, No. 156, he met a column of negro troops, commanded by a white lieutenant by the name of Sanborn. As they completely filled the sidewalk, everybody, old and young, little and big, ladies and gentlemen, were compelled to yield to their arrogant usurpation, and surrender, for the first time in the history of Norfolk, to a military satrap and his sable soldiers, an avenue, which had always been assigned to civil pedestrians.

‘The poor Doctor, in the excitement of the moment as it passed him for the first time, exclaimed, “How dastardly!” and, the officer hearing the remark, turned upon him with his drawn sword. At this critical moment, a friend thrust a pistol in his hand.’1

The Doctor, holding the pistol behind him, warned Sanborn to ‘stand off.’ Disregarding the warning, Sanborn continued to advance, when Dr. Wright fired the shot, taking effect in Sanborn's left hand. The latter still advancing and ‘persisting (as Dr. Wright stated) in having a gentleman arrested by his negro troops,’ he fired again, the ball taking effect in a vital part. They then clinched, Sanborn struggling to get possession of the pistol, which Dr. Wright retained, ‘and, had it pointed at his breast, could have killed him instantly, but did not fire again, though negro bayonets were within four feet of his breast.’ So soon as they ceased to struggle, Lieutenant Sanborn, weak and faint, ‘went into the store of Foster & Moore and immediately expired.’ The Provost guard then arrested and conducted ‘Dr. Wright before Major Bovey, who committed him to jail to await trial.’

The above succinct account of this tragical affair, which has been derived from a close analysis of the testimony given by the leading witnesses, harmonizes with the account of Dr. Wright himself, and, I believe, constitutes the only rational and reliable portraiture of the whole transaction which has ever been given to the public. Who was Dr. Wright?

1 The account of Dr. Anderson is here slightly amended, upon the authority of Dr. Edward Warren-Bey, (‘A Doctor's Experiences in Three Continents,’ page 192) and of members of Dr. Wright's family. Dr. Wright had never carried firearms, insisting that no one should go prepared to take the life of another.

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David Minton Wright (9)
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