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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.

1876SC-State-Columbia_Address_Senate-Documents (5).pdf

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Current Saved Transcription [history]

492

SOUTH CAROLINA IN 1876—HAMBURGH MASSACRE.

armed white men began to arrive in squads of ten or fifteen, up to about half past five o'clock, when the number of armed white men in the town amounted to two or three hundred; the last arrival up to that time being of Col. A. P. Butler, at the head of fifty or seventy-five men.

Immediately after Gen. M. C. Butler's arrival in the town he sent for the attorney who had been engaged to represent the militia officers on the Thursday preceding. And interview was held, the result of which was, that the attorney was charged with a request from General Butler to General Rivers and the officers of the militia company to confer with General Butler. The attorney left on that mission, and, before reaching the officers, he met a gentleman who apprised him of the fact that he had been requested by the officers of the company to see General Butler and ascertain what he desired. It was agreed between these two that the former should acquaint General Rivers with the facts, and remain at his (Rivers's) residence until the latter should return from his interview with General Butler. This was done; before the latter returned, the officers of the company had met at General Rivers's house, and when the answer from General Butler came it was agreed, upon a free conference held between General Rivers, the attorney, the officers, and some of their friends who were present, that it was expedient and best to accede to General Butler's request and hold an interview with him. To this proposition two of the officers expected, stating, again and again, that they were afraid to do so, because they believed it to be a plot to effect their assassination. A message was, however, send to General Butler, to ascertain if he would meet them without the presence of his armed force. To this he assented, but, before arrangements could be made to bring about the interview, a message came from him (Butler) that the hour fixed for the trial had arrived, and that he was at court, and requested the presence of the trial-justice, (Rivers.) Rivers proceeded to his office alone, and found General Butler there waiting for him. Rivers was about to proceed with the case, when Butler asked for further time, which was granted. He went off, but never returned to the court. Butler went from Rivers's office to the council chamber, followed by a crowd of armed men, whose numbers increased as he went along. He sent a committee to wait on the officers, requesting them to come to the council chamber and see him. The officers again declined to go, assigning the same reason as they had done before, that they were not safe in their persons as long as General Butler was surrounded by his armed band. Another committee passed between General Butler and his officers, who announced o the officers General Butler's ultimatum, that the officers should apologize for what took place on the 4th of July, and surrender their arms to him, (General Butler.) Upon this the officers asked General Rivers, who was not only the trial-justice before whom their case was pending, but who was the major-general commanding the division of the militia to which they belonged, if he (Rivers) demanded the arms of them; to which Rivers replied that he did not. Thereupon the officers declared their unwillingness to surrender their arms to General Butler because they were responsible, and he (Butler) had no legal right to demand or receive them if surrendered. Subsequently a citizen, anxious to prevent what he feared would be a collision, called on General Butler and asked him what he purposed doing. His reply was that he intended to have the arms in a half hour or lay the damned town in ashes. Another interview was held, at which General Butler again repeated his ultimatum, upon being asked whether, if his terms were complied with, he would guarantee pro-

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