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Scripto | Transcribe Page
An Address to the people of the United States, adopted at a conference of colored citizens, held at Columbia, S.C. July 20 and 21st, 1876.
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SOUTH CAROLINA IN 1876—HAMBURGH MASSACRE.
That afterward P. R. Rivers was promoted to the rank of brigade commander, and more recently to the rank of major general of division; that soon thereafter a new regiment was formed, and was numbered and designated as the Eighteenth Regiment of the National Guard; and that John Williams was commissioned as colonel and assigned to the command of the same; and that the company at Hamburgh was about the same time detached from the Ninth and attached to the Eighteenth Regiment, and was lettered anti designated as Company A.
That some time prior to the transfer of the Hamburgh Company from the Ninth to the Eighteenth Regiment, its ranks, from various causes, became depleted, and the company ceased to be active in its drills and musters, although it was still borne upon the roster of the adjutant general's department as a part of the former regiment, and never, for a single moment, ceased to be regarded as a portion of National Guard of the State.
That during this time the arms and equipments of said company were collected and stored away under the charge of P. H.. Rivers, the then brigade commander, resident at Hamburgh. Soon after the assignment of John Williams to the command of the Eighteenth Reiziment and the attachment of the company thereto, General Rivers transferred the said arms to Col. John Williams, who is, by the rules and regulations, as well as the acts of the general assembly providing for the organization and government of the militia of the State, responsible and accountable for all the ordnance and ordnance stores of his regiment, he being required to receipt to the adjutant general for the same, and to make reports touching their condition, &c., from time to time.
That recently the members of the company whose names remained on the company roll met together and reorganized, elected Doc Adams captain, Lewis Cartledge as first lieutenant, and A. T. Attaway as second lieutenant, and recruited its ranks to the requisite number of men, as required by the rules and regulations.
That thereupon their commanding officer, John Williams, reissued to said company its arms and equipments.
That the said company ia not only a part of the legally constituted militia of the State, but is an incorporated body, having been duly chartered by an act of the general assembly approved March 12, 1872.
The above statement of the history of the militia company at Hamburgh, from the time of its first organization down to the date of the riot and massacre, is a truthful exhibit, based upon official and other data, and we assert most positively that its correctness cannot be successfully challenged.
It has been stated by some of those connected with the rioters that one of the causes which led to the demand for the surrender of the arms of the company, and the enforcement of such demand by the bombardment of their drill room, was the alleged declaration of P. R. Rivers "that the company did not receive their arms and equipments from him, and that they were unlawfully in possession of them."
So much of this declaration attributed to General Rivers as refers to the company's "unlawful" possession" of the arms, has been most positively denied by him in a sworn statement.
Even waiving the sworn and positive denial of General Rivers, still, by a careful perusal of the above statement, it will be seen that while it is true that the company, as constituted by the date of the riot and massacre, did not receive their arms and equipments from P. R. Rivers, it is equally true that they were legally in possession of said arms, and that it was neither the duty nor the right of P. R. Rivers to have
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