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The National tribune. (Washington, D.C.) 1877-1917, July 09, 1896, Image 1

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CULMINATION OF THE
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'JEHU VIGILANCE COMMITTEE BEGINS WORK
(GEN. SHERMAN ON THE SIDE OF LAW AND ORDER.
(corYniGirr.
TIRING THE
Summer of 1856, in
San Francisco, oc
curred one of those
unhappy events, too
common to new
countries, in which
I became involved
in spite of myself.
William ISTeely
Jolmson was Gov
ernor of California,
and resided at Sac
ramento Gty; Gen.
John E. Wool com
manded the Depart
ment of California,
Laving succeeded
Gen. Hitchcock,
and had Lis Head
quarters at Benicia;
and a jSIt. Tan Ness was Mayor of the
city. Politics had become a regular and
profitable business, and politicians were
more than susected of being corrupt.
It was reported and currently believed
that the Sheriff (Scannell) had been re
quired to pay the Democratic Central
Committee a hundred thousand dollars
for Lis nomination, which was equivalent
to an election, for an office of the nomi
nal salary of $12,000 a year for four
y.ears. In the election all sorts of dis
honesty were charged and believed, es
pecially of " ballot-box stuffing," and too
generally the better classes avoided the
elections and .dodged jury-duty, so that
the affairs of the City Government
necessarily passed into the hands of a
low set of professional politicians.
Among them was a man named James
Casey, who edited a small paper, the
printing office of which was in a room
on the third floor of our banking office.
I hardly knew him by sight, and rarely,
if ever, saw his paper; but one day Mr.
Sather, of the excellent banking firm of
Drexel, Sather & Church, came to me
and called my attention to an article in
Casey's paper so full of falsehoods and
malice that we construed it as an effort
to blackmail the banks generally. At
that time we -were all laboring to restore
confidence, which had been so radely
shaken by the panic, and I went up
stairs, found Casey, and pointed out to
him the objectionable nature of his
article, told him plainly that I could not
tolerate his attempt to print and circu
late slanders in our building, and, if he
repeated it, I "would cause him and his
press to be thrown out of the windows.
He took the hint and moved to more
friendly quarters. I mention this fact
to show my estimate of the man who
became a figure in the drama 1 am about
to describe. James King of Wra., as
before explained, was in 1853 a banker
on his own account, but some time in
1854 he had closed out his business,
and engaged with Adams & Co. as
cashier. When this firm failed he, in
common with all the employes, was
thrown out of employment, and had to
look around for something else. He
settled down to the publication of an
evening paper, called the Bulletin, and,
being a man of fine manners and ad
dress, he at once constituted himself the
champion of society against the public
and private characters whom he saw fit
to arraign.
MURDBll OF JAMES KING.
As might have been expected, this
soon brought him into the usual news
paper war with other editors, and es
pecially with Casey, and epithets a la
"Eatanswille" were soon bandying back
and forth between them. One evening
of May, 1850, King published in the
Bulletin copies of papers procured from
Kcw York to show that Casey had once
len sentenced to the State Penitentiary
at Sing Sing. Casey took mortal offense,
and called at the Bulletin office, on the
corner of Montgomery and Mei chant
streets, whore he found King, and vio
loirt words passed between them, re
suiting in Casey giving King notice
that he would shoot him on Eight.
King remained in his office till about 5
or 6 p. in., when he started toward his
home, on Stockton street, and, as lie
noared the corner of AVashiugton, Casey
approached him from the opposite di-
l'uWii-licd by purmteaicm of D. .Apjjloton & Co..
puufisliertj of the i'cieouwl Mcmoiia vf Gcu, W. T,
teiicrinuu.
SERIES.
RING'S RASCALITY.
rection, called to him, and began firing.
King Lad on a sLort cloak, and in Lis
breast-pocket a small pistol, which he
did not use. One of Casey's shots struck
him high up in the breast, from which
he reeled, was cautrht bv some passing
friends and carried into the express office I
on the corner, where he mtc laid on the
couuter and a surgeon sent for. Case'
escaped up Washington street, went to
the City Hall, and delivered himself to
the Sheriff (Scannell), who conveyed
him to jail and locked him in a cell.
Meantime, the news spread like wildfire,
and all the city was in commotion, for
King was very popular. ISTisbet, who
boarded with us on Harrison street, had
been delayed at the bank later than
usual, so that he happened to be near at
the time, and, when he came out to
dinner, he brought me the news of this
affair, and said that there was every ap
pearance of a riot down town that night
This occurred toward the evening of
May 14, 185G.
mmwii uiplr IWf
Eakly Politicians.
It so happened that, on the urgent
solicitation of Van Winkle and of Gov.
Johnson, I had only a few days before
agreed to accept the commission of
Major-General of the Second Division of
Militia, embracing San Francisco. I
had received the commission, but had
not as yet formally accepted if, or even
put myself in communication with the
volunteer companies of the city. Of
these, at that moment of time, there was
a company of artillery with four guns,
commanded by Capt Johns, formerly of
the Army, and two or three uniformed
companies of infantry. After dinner I
went down-town to see what was going
on ; found that King had been removed
to a room in the Metropolitan Block ;
that his life was in great peril ; that
Casey was safe in jail, and the Sheriff
had called to his assistance a posse of the
city police, some citizens, and one of the
militia companies. Ihe people were
gathered in groups on the streets, and
the words
"vigilance committee"
were freely spoken, but I saw no signs
of immediate violence. The next morn
ing I again wc went to the jail, and
found all things quiet, but the militia
had withdrawn. I then went to the
City Hall, saw the Mayor, Van Kess,
and some of the city officials, agreed to
do what 1 could to maintain order with
such militia as were on hand, and then
formally accepted the commission and
took the oath. In 1851, when I was
not in California,
TJIEUIJ HAI BEEN A VIGILANCE COMMIT
TEE, and it was understood that its organiza
tion still existed. All the newspapers
took ground in favor of the Vigilance
Committee except the Herald (John
Nugent editor), and nearly all the best
people favored that means of redress. I
could see they were organizing, hiring
rendezvous, collecting arms, etc., without
concealment It was soon manifest that
the companies of volunteers would go
with the " committee' and that the pub
lic authorities could not rely on them for
aid or defense. Still, there were a good
many citizens who contended that, if the
civil authorities were properly sustained
by the people at large, they could and
would execute the law. But the papers
inflamed the public mind! and the cou-
"r raw for Win
troversyspread to the country. About
the third day afler the shooting
of King, Gov. Johnson telegraphed
me that he would be down in
the evening boat, and asked me to
meet him on arrival for consultation.
1 got C. K. Garrison to go with me, and
we met the Governor and his brother on
the wharf, and walked up to the Inter
national Hotel, on Jackson street above
Montgomery. We discussed the state of
affaire fully ; and Johnson, on learning
that his particular friend, William T.
Coleman, was the President of the Vigi
lance Committee, proposed to go and sec
him. En route we stopped at King's
room, ascertained that he was slowly
sinking, and could not live long ; and
then near midnight wo walked to the
Turnverein Hall, where the Committee
was known to be sitting in consultation.
This hall was on Bush street, at about
the intersection of Stockton. It was all
lighted up within, but the door was
locked.
The Governor knocked at the door,
and on inquiry from inside "Who's
there?" gave his name. After some
delay we were admitted into a sort of
vestibule, beyond which was a large
hall, and we could hear the suppressed
voices of a multitude. Wo were shown
into a barroom to the right, when the
Governor asked to see Coleman. The
man left us, went into the main hall,
and soon returned with Coleman, who
was pale and agitated. After shaking
hands all round, the Governor said :
" Coleman, what the devil is the mat
ter here?"
Coleman said, "Governor, it is time
this shooting on our streets should stop."
The Governor replied, "I agree with
you perfectly, and have come down from
Sacramento to assist."
Coleman rejoined that "the people
were tired of it, and had no faith in the
officers of the law."
A general conversation then followed,
in which it was admitted that King
would die, and that Casey must be exe
cuted ; but the manner of execution was
the thing to be settled, Coleman contend
ing that the people would do it without
trusting the courts or the Sheriff. It so
happened that at that time Judge Sor-
ton was on the bench of the court hav
ing jurisdiction, and he was universally
recognized as an able and upright man,
whom no one could or did mistrust ; and
it also happened that a grand jury was
then in session. Johnson argued that
the time had passed in California for
mobs and vigilance committees, and
paid if Coleman and associates would
use their influence to support the
law, he (the Governor) would under
take that, as soon as King died,
the grand jury should indict, that
Judge Norton would try the murderer,
and the whole proceeding should be as
peedy as decency would allow. Then
Coleman said " the people had no confi
dence in Scannell, the Sheriff," who was,
he said, in collusion with the rowdy ele
ment of San Erancisco. Johnson then
ofiered to be personally responsible that
1 Casey should be safely guarded, and
should be forthcoming for trial and exe
cution at the proper time. I remember
very well Johnson's assertion that he
had no right to make these stipulations,
and maybe no power to fulfill them ;
but he did it to save the city and State
lrom
THE niSGUACE OKA MOIJ.
Coleman disclaimed that the vigilance
organization was a "mob," admitted
that the proposition of the Governor was
fair, and all he or any one should ask ;
and added, if we would wait awhile, he
would submit it to the Council, and
bring back an answer.
We wailed nearly an hour, and
could hear the hum of voices in the
hall, but no words, when Coleman
came back, accompanied by a committee,
of which I think the two brothers Ar
rington, Thomas Smiley, the auctioneer ;
Seymour, Truett and others were mem
bers. The whole conversation was gone
over again, and the Governor's propo
sition was positively agreed to, with this
further condition, that the Vigilance
Committee should send into the jail a
small force of their own men to make
certain that Casey should not be carried
off or allowed to escape.
The Governor, his brother "William,
Garrison and I then went up to the jail,
where we found the Sheriff and hisposse-.
comilulus of police and citizens. These
were styled
THE " LAW-AND-ORDKR TARTY,"
and cuinc of them took offense that the
tvha to twno tfwtoittfc, nnfl fov life uittotv nnfl ovpTinnjJ
WASHINGTON, D. 0., THURSDAY, JULY 9, 1896.
Governor should have held communica
tion with the " damned rebels," and
several of them left the jail ; but the
Sheriff seemed to agree with the Gov
ernor that what he had done was fight
and best, and while we were there some
eight or JO armed men arrived from the
Vigilance Committee, and were received
by the Sheriff (Scannell) as a part of
his regular posse.
C. K. Garrison, Fiftii Mayor of San
Francisco.
The Governor then, near daylight,
went to his hotel, and I to my house for
a short sleep. Next day I was at the
bank, as usual, when about noon the
Governor called, and asked me to walk
with him down-street. He said he had
just received a message from the Vigil
ance Committee to the effect that they
were not bound by Coleman's promise
not to do anything till the regular trial
by jury should be had, etc. He was
with reason furious, and asked me to go
with him to Truett's store, over which
the Executive Committee was Eaid to be
in session. We were admitted to a front
room up-stairs, and heard voices in the
back room. Th, Governor inquired for
Coleman, but he was not forthcoming.
Another of the committee, Seymour,
met us, denied in tolb the promise of the
night before, and the Governor openly
accused him of treachery and falsehood.
The quarrel became public, and tjie
newspapers took it up, both parties turn
ing on the Governor ; one, the Vigilantes,
denying the promise made by Coleman,
their President; and the other, the Jaw-and-Order
party, refusing any further
assistance, became Johnson had stooped
to make terms j.vith rebels. At all
events, he was p jei'K3y,""und liad'to le
matters drift to a conclusion.
THE LYNCHING IJEGUN. "
King died about Friday, May 20,
and the funerai was appointed for the
next Sunday. Early on that day the
Governor sent ior me at my house. I
found him on the roof of the Inter
national, from which we. looked down
on the whole city, and more especially
the face of Telegraph Hill, which was
already covered with a crowd of people,
while others were- moving toward the
jail on Broadway. Parties of armed
men, in good order, were marching by
platoons in the same direction, and
formed in line along Broadway, facing
the jail door. Soon a small party wa3
seen to advance to this door and knock;
a parley ensued, the doors were opened,
and Casey was led out. In a few
minutes another prisoner was brought
out, who proved to be Cora, a man who
had once been tried for killing Richard
son, the United States Marshal, when
the jury disagreed, and he was awaiting
a new trial. These prisoners were
placed in carriages, and escorted by the
armed force down to the rooms of the
Vigilance Committee, through the prin
cipal streets of the city. The day was
exceedingly beautiful, And the whole
proceeding was orderly in the extreme.
I was under the impression that Casey
and Cora were hanged that same Sun
day, but was probably in error ; but in
a very few days they were hanged by
the neck dead suspended from beams
projecting from the windows of the com-
Hanging of Casey and Cora
mittee's rooms, without other trial than
could be given in secret, and by night.
We all thought the matter had ended
there," and accordingly the Governor
returned to Sacramento in disgust, and
I went about nri' business. But it soon
became manifestth"at the Vigilance Com
mittcejiad no intention io surrender the
power "thus usurped. They took a build
ing on Clay street, near Front, fortified
it, employed guardsjmd armed sentinels,
sat in midnight conned, issued writs of
arrest and banishment, and utterly ig-
1 mm
f
nored all authority but their own. A
good many men were banished and
forced to leave the country, but they
were of that class we could well spare.
Yankee Sullivan, a prisoner in their
custody, committed suicide, and a feel
ing of general insecurity pervaded the
city. Business was deranged ; and the
Bulletin, then under control of lom
King, a brother of James, poured out
its abuse on some of our best men, as
well as the worst. Gov. Johnson, being
again appealed to, concluded
TO GO TO WORK REGULARLY,
and telegraphed me about the 1st of
June to meet him at Gen. Wool's Head
quarters at Benicia that night. I went
up, and wo met at the hotel where Gen.
Wool was boarding. Johnson had with
him his Secretary of State. We dis-.
cussed the state of the country generally,
and I had agreed that if Wool would
give us arms and ammunition out of the
United States Arsenal at Benicia, and
if Commodore Farragut, of the Navy,
commanding the Navy-yard on Mare
Island, would give us a ship, I would
call out volunteers, and when a suffi
cient number had responded I would
have the arms come down from Benicia
in the ship, arm my men, take possession
of a 32-pound-gun battery at the Marine
Hospital on Rincon Point, thence com
mand a dispersion of the unlawfully
armed force of the Vigilance Com
mittee, and arrest some of the leaders.
We played cards that night, carrying
on a conversation, in which Wool insisted
on a proclamation commandiug the Vigi
lance Committee to disperse, etc., and he
told us how he had on some occasion, as
far back as 1814, suppressed a mutiny
on the northern frontier. I did not un
derstand him to make any distinct
promise of assistance that night, but he
invited us to accompany him on an in
spection of the Arsenal the next day,
which we did. On handling some rifled
muskets in the Arsenal storehouse he
asked me how they would answer our pur
pose. I said they were the very things,
and that we did not want cartridge-boxes
or belts, but that I would have the car
tridges carried in the breeches-pockets,
and the caps in ve3t-pockets. I knew that
there were stored in that arsenal 4,000
muskets, for I recognized the boxes which
we had carried out in the Lexington
around Cape Horn in 1846. Afterward
we all met at the quarters of Capt. D.
Pt. Jones of the Army, and I saw the Sec
retary of State, D. F. Douglass, esq.,
walk ouc with Gen. Wool n earnest con
versation, and this Secretary of State after
ward asserted that Wool there and then
promised us the arms rind ammunition,
provided the Governor would make his
proclamation for the committee to dis
perse, and that I should afterward call
out the militia, etc. On the way back
to the hotel at Benicia, Gen. Wool,
Capt. Callendar, of the Arsenal, and I
were walking side by side, and I was
telling him (Gen. Wool) that I would
also need some ammunition for the 32
pound guns then in position at Rincon
Point, when Wool turned to Callendar
and inquired, "Did I not .order those
guns to be brought away? " Callendar
said : " 1'es, General. I made a requi
sition on the Quartermaster for trans
portation, but his schooner has been so
busy that the guns are Etill there."
Then said Wool : " Let them remain ;
we may have use for them.' I there
from inferred, of course, that it was all
agreed to so far as he was concerned.
Soon after we had reached the hotel
we ordered a buggy, and Gov. Johnson
and I drove to Vallejo, six miles, crossed
over to Marc Island, and walked up to
the Commandant's house, where
WE FOUND COMMODORE FARRAGUT
and his family. Wc stated our business
fairly, but the Commodore answered
very frankly that he had no authority,
without orders from his Department, to
take any part in civil broils; he doubted
the wisdom of the attempt ; said he had
no ship available except the John
Adams, Capt. Boutwell, and that she
by the Vigila e Committer.
needed repairs. But he assented at last
to the proposition to let the sloop John
Adams drop down abreast of the city,
after certain repairs, to lie off there for
moral effect, which afterward actually
occurred.
To be continued.
Cnnipuigning in Canuda.
In Canada no campaign buttons, ribbons,
or badges can be worn between nomination
and polling day. The carrying of flags as a
party badge is also forbidden. The penalty
is a fine of $100, or three months in prison,
or both
yi fjttg0
;o r
is
VOL.
IHAVIE GALLANT
MNTH CORPS DID.
Experiences from Knoxville to Spolt
sylvania. A SMOKER'S MISHAP.
Pell-Mell Dash of a Battery to
the Rescue.
IK GRAKD COMBAT.
On the "Way to Washington and
Long-needed Rest.
BY C. T. JEFFERS, SEROKANT, 27TR MICH.
FOIIT LEAVENWORTH, KAX.
(Continued from last wette)
T DARK THE
firing had ceased by
mutual consent, ex
cept an occasional
shot. We had an
Irishman in our
company, a great
smoker. His pipe
was in his mouth
nearly all the time,
and he could not
sleep without it. He
Hfi amount of smoke
that afternoon.
There was too much
excitement. After the firing had ceased,
and it became dark, the desire was too
strong to resist, but while lighting his
pipe the glimmer of his match caught
the eye of a rebel sharpshooter, and the
crack of a rifle, followed by a yell from
our smoker, startled us all.
An investigation revealed the fact
that the reb's bullet had knocked Pat's
sM
Thk Surgeons "Worked like Beavers.
pipe from his mouth and carried a
couple of fingers with it. This disabled
him for the time, and he was sent to the
rear. I saw him after the war, and,
speaking of the incident, he said :
" It was a lucky smoke for me, for L
got out of the thing entireh'."
About midnight we were relieved
from the line and moved back to the re
serve, where we stacked arms and lay
down. In the morning we were
HOUSED UP
early. We barricaded our position
with logs and brush, expecting an at
tack from the enemy at this point. But
as none came, the men began to make
preparations for something to eat, and a
detail was sent with canteens for water.
Lieut. Plummer, of our regiment (27th
Mich.), a warm friend of mine, was
killed at this time while reconnoitering
between the lines for some of hi3 miss
ing men. It was almost certain death
to make the attempt, but the Lieuten
ant thought some of his men were lying
down there wounded, and nothing but
positive ordere would keep him back.
He was a splendid soldier. Isaw him
successfully defend himself against three
rebel cavalrymen. It was during the
retreat upon Knoxville the year before.
He had been cut off from the skirmish
line by a charge of the enemy's cavalry,
and was attacked by three of them; two
of them he unhorsed with his bayonet
and the third received the contents of
his musket, which fortunately was loaded.
HIS LOSS WAS SEVERE
to the regiment, and it took strict orders
to keep Jiia company from rushing out
after his body. Another added to the
great list of unknowns.
The men who had been sent after
water returned with a good supply, and
I being very thirsty seized a canteen and
nearly emptied it down my throat. My
stomach being empty, not having eaten
anything to speak of for 48 houre, I was
thrown into cramps, and wa u .. to
the field hospital. I do not think I
ever suffered so in my life as I did for
Uie next two. hours; however, medicine
XV - NO. 39-WHOLE 2TO. 778.
from the Surgeon soon brought relief,
but left me very weak.
The next morning all was bustle aboufc
the hospital when I awoke. Upon in
quiring I found the hospital was to be
moved and the sick and wounded aban
doned to the enemy. Medical officers
were detailed to remain with them, with,
all necessary supplies. I saw those who
were to be felt hastily write a few words
to their friends, and giving these mes
sages, together with their valuables, to
those who were going, bidding good-byr
with Libby Prison staring them in tho
face. But duty to the sick and wound
ed demanded the sacrifice, and these
-brave men submitted without a mur
mur. I followed the hospital train, and
soon found my regiment. This move
ment on the part of the hospital was
caused by the army moving to the left,
which wa3 the beginning of Grant's
FAMOUS "FLANK MOVEMENTS,"
for which the campaign was noted.
I again took my place, May 10, with
my company, and the enemy was en
countered at the JNye Eiver; and after
some severe fighting we advanced across
and occupied a strong position on a hill,
and upon a large plantation. Thi3 wo
immediately proceeded to put in the best
state of defense with the material at
hand. We were regaled with some
cheering news of the success of Gen.
Butler near Petersburg.
At 4 o'clock p. m. we moved toward
Spottsylvania Courthouse, where the en
emy wa3 intrenched. They immediate
ly opened fire from field guns. Our
skirmishers were far out, struggling
through a lot of slashed timber. The
enemy got the range, and dropped his
missiles into our ranks, killing and dis
abling quite a number. Suddenly a
single gun and limber, with six horses,
dashed out from our lines on a road to
our right that ran parallel with the di
rection we were going, and upon higher
ground than we were. Our direction
was south, and the sun just going down;
the piece of artillery, between the sun
j-jft
and ourselves, presented a picture 1
shall never forget. The drivers' arm3
rising and falling as they lashed the
horses, the cannoneers clinging to the
limber-chests, with the whole enveloped
in a cloud of dust, was dramatic iri the
extreme.
"Where can they be going?" waa
asked. The men looked on with aston
ishment. Away out beyond the skirmish-line
they went before a halt wag
Our Skirmishers "Were Fab Out.
made. Then, as quick as thought, tha
gun was unlimbered ; a few shots, and
the enemy's guns were silent. Eeport
had it that they had been dismounted
by the fire of our gun, whose gunner
was the best shot in the army. The
LINE STRUGGLED THROUGH
the slashed timber until sundown, when
-we got the command : " Halt ! lie down."
And we obeyed. I draped my knap
sack over my headfor a slight protec
tion. It seemed but a few momenta
before the command "attention" was
heard, and to my surprise it was daylight
and morning. We immediately moved
by the right flank, over to the west,
across the road before mentioned, down
a hill into a piece of timber with plenty
of underbrush, through which ran a
small stream.
At once the regiment commenced to
intrench itself. There being plenty of ma

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