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[181] Bishop McGill for permission to take up arms in defense of the South. This permission was denied by the bishop, who enjoined Father O'Keefe under his sacerdotal vows not to bear arms, but stipulated that if Norfolk was attacked he could exercise the natural right of self-defense in defending his home city.

Thereupon Father O'Keefe went to Richmond and offered to lead a night attack with 500 picked men on the Federal camp at Point Lookout, below Norfolk. President Davis consented, but stipulated that a Confederate colonel must accompany the expedition. The officer arrived in Norfolk, but became intoxicated, and when he became sober again heavy reinforcements had arrived at the camp, and, much to Father O'Keefe's disappointment, the expedition had to be abandoned.

Father O'Keefe urged President Davis to set the slaves free and to allow them to take up arms in defense of the South. The latter is said to have declared, after the war, that if Father O'Keefe's advice had been heeded the result of the conflict would have been different.


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