The Bloody Shirt: Terror After Appomattox
From 1866 to 1876, more than three thousand free African Americans and their white allies were killed in cold blood by terrorist organizations in the South.
Over the years this fact would not only be forgotten, but a series of exculpatory myths would arise to cover the tracks of this orchestrated campaign of atrocity and violence. Little memory would persist of the simple truth: that a well-organized and directed terrorist movement, led by ex-Confederates who refused to accept the verdict of Appomattox and the enfranchisement of the freedmen, succeeded in overthrowing the freely elected representative governments of every Southern state.
Stephen Budiansky brings to life this largely forgotten but epochal chapter of American history through the intertwining lives of five courageous men who tried to stop the violence and keep the dream of freedom and liberty alive. They include James Longstreet, the ablest general of the Confederate army, who would be vilified and ostracized for insisting that the South must accept the terms of the victor and the enfranchisement of black men; Lewis Merrill of the 7th Cavalry, who fought the Klan in South Carolina; and Prince Rivers, who escaped from slavery, fought for the Union, became a state representative and magistrate, and died performing the same menial labor he had as a slave. Using letters and diaries left by these men as well as startlingly hateful diatribes published in Southern newspapers after the war, Budiansky proves beyond a doubt that terrorism is hardly new to America.
The first battle we are in.” For the sergeant’s part, he would be content if Ames were put in the state’s prison or promoted to brigadier general—anything to get him off his back. They didn’t shoot him their first battle. At Fredericksburg, Ames coolly led his men right through a withering Confederate cannonade, and they followed, with a discipline they didn’t know they had. Their tall, thin colonel was the only regiment commander in the brigade who had stepped to the front of his men when.
American flag passed by, the crowds of colored spectators lining the streets broke into cheers of wild enthusiasm, waving hats and handkerchiefs. Carriages bearing the Union generals in command of the occupation troops had to be halted frequently to receive the applause of the spectators. Behind the soldiers came a company of schoolboys bearing a banner with the legend WE KNOW NO MASTERS BUT OURSELVES. Then a “car of Liberty,” drawn by black horses, strewn with banners and streamers, on which.
A desire to relieve his late confederates-in-arms from the “unnatural condition” they had been placed in by the progress of revolutionary forces beyond their control. He would not presume to meddle with politics were it a time of “ease and comfort.” But “these are unusual times, and call for practical advice.” It was a simple matter, he went on. In the current state of disorder one side or the other must make concessions. “The war was made upon Republican issues, and it seems to me fair and just.
Retreated all the way back to Jackson Square. It was all over in less than fifteen minutes. Thirty-one men lay dead on the streets and close to a hundred were wounded. Most of the dead were White Leaguers, most of the wounded Metropolitans. Longstreet, hit by a spent bullet and slightly injured, galloped his horse back to Jackson Square and took personal command of the artillery he had left there covering the approaches to the State House. “General” Ogden had his horse shot out from under him on.
Companies (including my own) who were present and participated in the capture were those of Capts. Pleasant and Lord, who have received merited eulogies from press and public. Feeling assured, Mr. Editor, as an old fellow-soldier, you will award to the brave boys of Capt. Glynn’s company their just measure of praise, I remain, very truly yours, W. T. VAUDRY Capt. Com’g Co. A, C.C.W.L. (C.C.W.L. stood for “Crescent City White League.”) Longstreet took to bed with a severe illness, and.