Slaughter at Cainhoy, The Worst Racial Violence in the South Carolina Lowcountry During Reconstruction, Part Two, Conclusion

The wounded were lying in the chapel attached to the residence, and every one of them had not only been horribly mutilated, but they as well as the dead, had been robbed of their clothing. . . . The mattresses were literally soaked in blood.

Part Two, Conclusion, of
Slaughter at Cainhoy
The Worst Racial Violence in the South Carolina Lowcountry During Reconstruction
by Gene Kizer, Jr.
Brick Church, a/k/a White Church, near Cainhoy, SC, site of a bloody political ambush Mon., October 16, 1876.
Brick Church, a/k/a White Church, near Cainhoy, SC, site of a bloody political ambush Mon., October 16, 1876.

THE RECORD OF JOINT MEETINGS in the Charleston area had been good in spite of the Charleston riot of September 6th. There had been a joint meeting at Strawberry Ferry and successful joint meetings "on Johns Island, on Edisto Island and at other points." Nobody was suspecting trouble when a joint meeting was scheduled for "Brick Church, about three miles from Cainhoy, in the parish of St. Thomas and St. Dennis," to take place Monday, October 16, 1876.1

Democrats chartered the steamer Pocosin which left that morning with around 150 men on board including many black Democrats. At the last minute word was sent that Republican leader Bowen wanted to ride, and the steamer waited until he was aboard with 150 black Republicans including "McKinlay, Cyrus Gaillard and other prominent speakers."2

The day was beautiful and the trip very pleasant with Democrats "firing their pistols at such objects in the river as attracted their attention." Little did they know how valuable that ammunition would be a couple hours later. When they arrived, many Democrats were low or out of ammunition, not suspecting any trouble.

Republican Bowen knew their ammunition was low. He "started off in a buggy as soon as he could land, and must have reached the Brick Church half an hour or more before the arrival of the Democrats." Cainhoy villagers "provided wagons and other vehicles to convey" the Democrats to the church. They were very friendly and everybody was having a good time.3

A Mr. William Venning had also gone ahead and when he got there he found "a large body of negroes, well armed with muskets and rifles," and he heard them say that "they would not suffer Delany, a colored Democrat, to address the meeting." Mr. Venning also heard Bowen say to the blacks "hide your guns," which they did.4

The speakers platform was on a small hill. To the left of the platform "was an old brick building (an old kitchen), with only part of the walls standing." The church was 150 feet in front of the platform. There was a small building to the right of the church, used as a vestry.5

Bowen "called the meeting to order," the Eutaw band brought by the Democrats played a "lively air" and the speaking began. Democrat "W. St. Julien Jervey was the first speaker" followed by black Republican W. J. McKinlay "who seemed nervous and excited" and "began a very violent speech." The black Republicans, apparently thinking McKinlay was the black Democrat Delany, gave the signal and the massacre began.6

There were 40 to 50 black Republican muskets hidden in the chimney of the old building to the left of the speakers stand. The whites had found them but not said anything about them under instruction from George Rivers Walker who said:

I am sure that it was part of a plot to make the whites seize these arms as an excuse for bringing on a row; but at the time I advised that the guns be watched but not molested. Suddenly the whites by the old house saw emerging from pines and swamp at the back of the 'stand' detachments of negroes armed with muskets, which they pointed toward us. At the same moment a confusion was raised on account of the supposed Delany taking the stand, this commotion probably being the signal for the detachment to appear.7

The whites did not seize the guns until they saw the detachment of blacks with guns "at full cock." At that point, whites "made a rush for the chimney filled with guns, loaded, as I (George Rivers Walker) am told by all, with powder only." Venning and two others said the first shots were fired by the negroes advancing from the swamp. Walker said he "saw the negroes pouring volleys into these unarmed boys."8

The whites ran toward the vestry by the church sometimes returning fire from "small pocket pistols, but, of course, against volleys of buckshot, slugs and broken pieces of lead fired from muskets, the negroes retiring behind the pines, the pistols were useless." Walker said "I saw Abram Smith, a negro trial justice, on the stand firing at some boys and men who were running away and defenceless."9

The blacks went into the woods to reload which gave the whites a slight breather. Walker said that Bowen was at the vestry and asked for a white volunteer to go with  him to try and persuade the blacks to break off the attack. Walker immediately volunteered. Bowen told him to stop the Democrats from firing while they went, so Walker said "'Democrats, reserve your fire while I go with Mr. Bowen', and they strictly obeyed."10

Walker goes on to say that Bowen, at first, had some success stopping the attack even though he believed Bowen was responsible for setting it up in the first place. The effort was short lived because:

. . . suddenly Cyrus Gaillard, an incendiary negro, pushing Mr. Bowen and myself aside, called out to the negroes, "Mister Bowens, we can't listen to you now. Come on, boys; we've got 'em, now let's kill the sons of b______," and, rushing past us, he incited them to recommence; and I solemnly swear that they fired again on the whites without provocation, and without a shot being first fired by them.11

Walker found himself in trouble when he heard a black say "'Shoot that son of a b_____.'" He jumped behind a tree as the shot went off and ran "tree to tree for 200 yards back to the vestry" with  shots being fired at him constantly.

Whites tried to make a stand at the vestry but "the rain of shot was too hot to be met with half a dozen pistols at a two hundred yard range" so they retreated to Cainhoy.12 The boat took some of the wounded and "the boys and unarmed men" back to Charleston while 40 men stayed behind in Cainhoy to protect the women and children, many of whom apparently had to be rounded up. They spent a terrifying night "encamped around the residence" of the Rev. E. C. Logan:13

. . . When not on picket duty we were nursing the wounded, the night was very cold and the previous day being warm we were all without overcoats, and when morning and reinforcements came we thanked our God for protecting us from the 300 armed demons who we momentarily expected to attack us; . . .14

Another account said:

The wounded were lying in the chapel attached to the residence, and every one of them had not only been horribly mutilated, but they as well as the dead, had been robbed of their clothing. . . . The mattresses were literally soaked in blood.15

Another of the victims, a kindly old man in  his seventies named William E. Simmons, "an old, crippled and silver-haired white man"16 who had come out just to visit some friends and look at some property he had once owned got trapped in the vestry and was shot through the windows then:

. . . the devils must have dragged him out, chopped him with an axe, broke, by beating, almost all his bones, then shot him while lying on the ground with a musket, for we found below him on the sill to the vestry door and in the ground the holes made by the buckshot. As we picked him up the broken bones grated together, though he was at the time twelve hours dead.17

The only black Republican casualty was John Lachicotte, an old black man killed. No black Republicans had been wounded.18

Mr. Thomas Whitaker, mentioned earlier, who had been shot in the stomach at close range with buckshot then hacked so that big slices of flesh were missing from his body, dictated these last words to his mother. They were written as he was dying next to Rev. E. C. Logan "at whose residence the unfortunate man breathed his last:"

My Dear Mother -- I am very seriously wounded. They took off my shoes and cursed me for a d____d Democrat, saying that I came here to raise a row. I told them I did no such thing; that I only came here to hear the speaking. I send you my love. I wish I could come to see you, and I will do so if I am ever able. I am trying to put my trust in the Lord, and I hope to be forgiven my sins and meet you in heaven. Thomas Whitaker.19

Sworn statements began appearing in the newspaper two days after the massacre such as the following:

State of South Carolina,

Charleston County,

Personally appeared J. C. Boyce, who being first duly sworn, testified as follows: I saw the first shot fired at the Brick Church, St. Thomas and St. Dennis, on the 16th of October, 1876. I am positive it was fired by the negroes. No gun was seized by the Butler Guards until the negroes with cocked muskets were advancing on the whites.

Sworn to before me this 16th day of October, 1876. George Rivers Walker, Notary Public.

Mr. William S. Venning, Jr. testified under oath in a sworn statement that he had arrived before the Democrats. Here is part of his testimony:

. . . Bowen had arrived in advance of them (the Democrats). The negroes had almost all arrived, and were mostly armed with muskets. I heard the negroes say: If Delany speaks we'll have a row and take him down. C. C. Bowen said distinctly in my hearing: "Conceal your muskets." They (the negroes) at once did so until the row began, when they jerked them out and began firing on the whites, who were mostly unarmed, and those who were armed only with pocket pistols. I saw the row begin. The negroes suddenly ran for their arms and began charging the whites with muskets at full cock before a shot was fired. And I solemnly state that it is my firm belief that they fired first. I was in a position to see the contrary had it occurred, and I am sure the negroes fired first; but even were I wrong, no white man fired until the negroes were advancing on them with muskets presented as aforesaid. W. S. Venning. Sworn to before me this 16th day of October, A.D. 1876. George Rivers Walker, Notary Public.20

A man named James Jeffords, Cainhoy resident, told a News and Courier reporter that "as far back as ten days ago a negro named George Brady told him that he did not want to see any of his (Mr. Jefford's) family hurt, and that there would be trouble when this meeting (Cainhoy) took place." Mr. Jeffords came to Charleston and tried to "see some of the Democratic executive committee but failed to find them."21

There were several slightly different accounts of the way it started. A Mr. C. C. Leslie, in his statement, said "several women (Republican) who had been guarding the guns in a house near by rushed towards the house and the Republicans gave a yell and rushed for the guns also." This set off "a general stampede" and "the negroes rushed in every direction, picked up guns from the bushes, and began a sharp musketry fire upon the Democrats."22

Black Democrat J. R. Jenkins, whose life had been saved by white Democrats when Jenkins was turned over to federal troops during the King Street riot five weeks earlier, testified that he "heard a colored man cry, 'look out! look out!' and rush forward and fire a pistol into the air."

He says "upon this signal the Republicans rushed for the kitchen nearby and for the swamp, and in a few moments they returned with guns in their hands and the firing began. Jenkins said "before the firing commenced Bowen went around among the negroes whispering," and "that he had been with the negroes nearly an hour before the Democrats came up."23

It was also reported by several witnesses that during the fight, Bowen disappeared among the blacks who were firing from the swamp.

In the final count, five whites had been murdered and mutilated, and 15 to 50 wounded, many seriously. Among the wounded were three black Democrats. Only one black Republican was killed and none were wounded.24 The boy who had his right eye torn out, Walter Graddick, "recovered but was maimed for life."25

None of the offenders, even the well-known Cyrus Gaillard, were ever brought to justice because it would have been Bowen's responsibility to do so.

Bowen told Republican Governor Chamberlain that the whites had started the fight by shooting the old black Republican, Lachicotte. That was refuted in several sworn statements of witnesses who maintained Lachicotte was not shot until the fighting had been going on a while and he was shot in retaliation for him shooting a Democrat.

To sum things up, Bowen rode on the Pocosin with the Democrats and observed them wasting most of their ammunition amusing themselves. Upon arriving at Cainhoy, Bowen went straight to Brick Church and was seen among the blacks who had muskets, whispering to them and telling them to hide their muskets.

Guns that had been hidden by black Republicans in the kitchen to the left of the speakers platform were discovered by white Democrats but the whites suspected it was a trick so nothing had been done about them until whites spotted a "militia like" group of blacks moving out of the swamp behind the speakers platform with muskets cocked.

At that point the whites rushed to get those guns but they were apparently a trick all along. They were loaded with powder but no projectile, so it was as if they were loaded with blanks. Several people reported later that the guns had been loaded with powder only so were worthless in a fight.

It is likely, based on sworn testimony, that the blacks moving out of the swamp with muskets had done so on a signal, which was supposed to be the black Democrat Delany speaking.

However, black Republican McKinley was mistaken for Delany and things started as McKinley began speaking.

At the same time, one account has black women running out of the kitchen and shouting that the whites have found the guns and that starting it.

Another account has a brown-skinned Republican firing a shot in the air and that starting it.

No matter what, it seems certain that Delany was the signal for the black women to run out of the kitchen, or for the brown-skinned Republican to fire a shot to alert the black militia to come out of the swamp and start the attack.

In responding to Bowen's statement that the whites killing Lachicotte started everything, a Dr. Thomas S. Grimke, in a sworn statement on the 19th of October, 1876, said that:

. . . Lachicotte "was not killed until long after the attack began, I should say ten minutes at least, though in order to be strictly certain and exact I will and do assert that heavy firing had been going on for some time before he fell."26

Neither the King Street Riot of September 6, 1876, the Cainhoy Massacre five weeks later or federal troops pouring into South Carolina during the presidential campaign could deter white and black Democrats from electing former Confederate General Wade Hampton their governor.

The News and Courier, which was SO much more honest and honorable than its descendant, today's woke race-obsessed Post and Courier, editorialized the day after Cainhoy that "The Democrats know that they can carry the colored people with them, if they get a chance to talk to them; . . ."27

The News and Courier was right. Not only did the Democrats "carry the colored people with them" in 1876, Democratic policies put in place by Gov. Hampton persuaded large numbers of blacks to vote Democratic two years later.

Reconstruction in South Carolina ended when federal troops were removed in April 1877.28 It is too bad that the damage caused by almost a decade of Republican violence, race hatred and corruption by carpetbaggers and scalawags in South Carolina and across the South, caused a backlash against blacks within a decade that lasted until the 1960s.

That is the real legacy of Reconstruction.


1 "Bloody Work at Cainhoy," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 17, 1876.

2 "The Crime at Cainhoy," News and Courier, Wednesday, October 18, 1876.

3 "Bloody Work at Cainhoy," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 17, 1876.

4 "The Cainhoy Slaughter," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 24, 1876.

5 "Bloody Work at Cainhoy," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 17, 1876.

6 Ibid.

7 "The Cainhoy Slaughter," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 24, 1876.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 Ibid.

13 "The Crime at Cainhoy," News and Courier, Wednesday, October 18, 1876.

14 "The Cainhoy Slaughter," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 24, 1876.

15 "The Crime at Cainhoy," News and Courier, Wednesday, October 18, 1876.

16 Ibid.

17 "The Cainhoy Slaughter," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 24, 1876.

18 Melinda Meek Hennessey, "Racial Violence During Reconstruction: The 1876 Riots in Charleston and Cainhoy," South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 86, No. 2, (April, 1985), 108-109.

19 "The Crime at Cainhoy," News and Courier, Wednesday, October 18, 1876.

20 Ibid.

21 Ibid.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Hennessey, "Racial Violence During Reconstruction," 108-109.

25 Alfred B. Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, South Carolina's Deliverance in 1876 (Charleston, S.C.: Walker, Evans & Cogswell Company, Publishers, 1935), 272.

26 News and Courier, Friday, October 20, 1876, editorial page.

27 News and Courier, Tuesday, October 17, 1876.

28 Louis B. Wright, South Carolina, A Bicentennial History (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. and Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1976), 15.

Slaughter at Cainhoy, The Worst Racial Violence in the South Carolina Lowcountry During Reconstruction, Part One

Old Mr. Simmons, a decrepit man of seventy, took refuge inside the vestry, but the devils must have dragged him out, chopped him with an axe, broke, by beating, almost all his bones, and then shot him while lying on the ground. . . .

Part One of
Slaughter at Cainhoy
The Worst Racial Violence in the South Carolina Lowcountry During Reconstruction
by Gene Kizer, Jr.

During the presidential campaign of 1876, a political meeting took place at beautiful Brick Church near Cainhoy, South Carolina, Monday, October 16, 1876. It ended shortly after it started when Republican blacks savagely attacked the mostly white Democrats and shot, beat, hacked, mutilated and robbed them, killing five white men out of the group and severely wounding several others. An eyewitness, confirming the brutality of the attack, stated:

. . . Mr. Whitaker met with a worse fate, for he was brought in alive, suffering fearfully from buckshot through his stomach, and huge hacks of flesh taken out of him by an axe or hatchet. . . .

Daly (18 years old) was also left on the ground when wounded. His head was hacked in five places when found.

Poor Walter Gradick, a mere boy, had his eye gouged out, and was cruelly beaten and wounded. . . .1

All the victims had been stripped of their clothing and robbed.

The Brick Church, a/k/a White Church, north of Cainhoy in Berkeley County, S.C.
The Brick Church, a/k/a White Church, north of Cainhoy in Berkeley County, S.C.

This happened during the eighth year of Congressional Reconstruction in South Carolina, which began in 1868. Only three of the original eleven Confederate states were still occupied: South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. In the other eight, white Democrats, often with black support, had regained control of their governments.2

There was despair and hopelessness among Southern whites during much of Reconstruction, especially in South Carolina. Of 60,000 Confederate soldiers supplied by South Carolina to Southern armies in the war, 20,000 had been killed and another 20,000 maimed. The war in its totality had claimed 750,000 dead and over a million maimed. It is hard to fathom the grief and heartbreak from all that though Basil Gildersleeve, a Confederate soldier from Charleston who today is still considered the greatest American classical scholar of all time, tried in his book, The Creed of the Old South, published 27 years after the war:

A friend of mine, describing the crowd that besieged the Gare de Lyon in Paris, when the circle of fire was drawing round the city, and foreigners were hastening to escape, told me that the press was so great that he could touch in every direction those who had been crushed to death as they stood, and had not had room to fall. Not wholly unlike this was the pressure brought to bear on the Confederacy. It was only necessary to put out your hand and you touched a corpse; and that not an alien corpse, but the corpse of a brother or a friend.3

Reconstruction had begun this way for most white Southerners:

For some time now a straggling procession of emaciated, crippled men in ragged gray had been sadly making their way through the wreckage to homes that in too many instances were found to be but piles of ashes. These men had fought to exhaustion. For weeks they would be found passing wearily over the country roads and into the towns, on foot and on horseback. It was observed that 'they are so worn out that they fall down on the sidewalks and sleep.' The countryside through which  they passed presented the appearance of an utter waste, the fences gone, the fields neglected, the animals and herds driven away, and only lone chimneys marking spots where once had stood merry homes. A proud patrician lady riding between Chester and Camden in South Carolina scarcely saw a living thing, and 'nothing but tall blackened chimneys to show that any man had ever trod this road before'; and she was moved to tears at the funereal aspect of the gardens where roses were already hiding the ruins. The long thin line of gray-garbed men, staggering from weakness into towns, found them often gutted with the flames of incendiaries or soldiers. Penniless, sick at heart and in body, and humiliated by defeat, they found their families in poverty and despair.4

Blacks and whites could have adjusted to their new relationship after the war but the most unscrupulous people in all of American history, carpetbaggers and scalawags out for plunder and political advantage, did not want peace. They could not make money and hold power with peace, so they created racial hatred and division using violence and lies for their political advantage, not unlike the Marxists in America today with their "systemic racism" invention, and racial hate like Critical Race Theory, and fraud like the 1619 Project.

If it is true that history repeats itself, then the methods of control during Reconstruction and the methods of control of American Marxists today match perfectly. Of course, it's not exactly true that history repeats itself. It's the manifestations of human nature that repeat themselves over and over throughout time because human nature does not change.

So, South Carolina endured the lawlessness and corruption of an entrenched Republican Party loaded with carpetbaggers and scalawags for over eight long years. White frustration was epitomized by lawyer George Rivers Walker, son of the British consul in Charleston, who was at Cainhoy. Walker identifies a black Republican named Cyrus Gaillard as the one who kept the massacre going by telling other blacks to keep shooting the whites.5 Walker laments that taking legal action against Gaillard would be a waste of time because:

. . . first, the Republican trial justices will throw all obstacles in my way; when I say Republican I mean by it always Carolina Republican, for you know my Northern education prevents my holding any prejudices against bona fide Republicans of the North - then Bowen has complete control of the sessions, and the prosecuting officer, Buttz, is too well known for you to doubt the futility of my effort. . . .6

Walker is referring to the Republican sheriff of Charleston County, Christopher Columbus Bowen, and his protege, Solicitor C. W. Buttz.

Christopher Columbus Bowen, corrupt Republican sheriff of Charleston County during much of Reconstruction.
Christopher Columbus Bowen, corrupt Republican sheriff of Charleston County during much of Reconstruction.

Both Bowen and Buttz owed their positions solely to Republican political corruption, and Bowen maintained vice-grip control over black voters in Charleston County.

Early in the War Between the States, Bowen, a Georgia native, was in Jacksonville, Florida looting as the Confederate army pulled out.7

Later, Bowen was in the Confederate cavalry under Col. William Parker White. Bowen was court-martialed by White for forging a pass which extended a leave and enabled him to draw his pay.8 As a result, Bowen plotted to murder White. The plot was discovered and Bowen put in jail.

He was still in jail in Charleston at the end of the war but was released by federal troops entering Charleston when "former Confederate officials changed places with robbers, thieves, murderers and drunks."9

Bowen was typical of the men that raped and plundered the South during Reconstruction. In 1866, the Freedman's Bureau brought charges against Bowen for selling cotton "belonging to a freedman and instead of giving the money to the farmer, had kept it himself." He ended up in jail in Castle Pinckney for that but was eventually released.10

Bowen was charged with bigamy "twice during 1871."11 He got off the first time but was convicted the second time and went to jail. His wife pleaded with President Grant and got him a "good Republican pardon" so by July of 1871, he was again free.12

In 1872, Bowen was elected sheriff of Charleston County. Expenses had been "$20,000 a year to run the sheriff's office" in 1868. After 1872, when Bowen took over, "expenses doubled to $40,000 a year."13 Voting irregularities were also frequent with Bowen.

A respected Northern journalist was shocked by Bowen and Buttz and wrote to the News and Courier which published his statements October 15, 1874:

This candid and impartial observer tells the American people that the notorious C. C. Bowen . . . and his ally and protege C. W. Buttz, the prosecuting attorney of the country, are already at work to control the ballot boxes. . . . Never in my life as a stranger to all this sort of legal horror have I ever felt a sense of terrorization like the present.14

Bowen and Buttz were rotten to the core which is why white South Carolinians, along with thousands of blacks, had had enough of Reconstruction by 1876. Walker, who was almost murdered at Cainhoy, summed up the situation for all South Carolinians:

And now that these demons (Republicans) are rendering it unsafe for a man to go armed even through the country, Chamberlain (Republican governor) orders the whites to disarm, and calls for the United States troops to enforce his order, and at the same time arms the negro militia to murder us. My wife and all the ladies are in the greatest excitement. The negroes in our parish are most threatening, and while they outnumber us twenty to one, we are ordered to disband our organizations for defence and to disarm.15

The Mississippi Plan Adopted

Desperate South Carolina Democrats adopted a strategy that had worked in Mississippi the previous year and had as its main component the direct confrontation of corrupt Republicans at their own meetings. Gen. S. W. Ferguson of Mississippi, who had been born in South Carolina, explained to a group of Democrats at a big rally in Charleston August 25, 1876, that in Mississippi, they went to Republican meetings and when the Republicans lied, Democrats, face to face, "clinched them then and there" and "denounced the corrupt leaders" saying they were "liars and thieves."16

White Democrats were trying to discredit Republicans who were telling poor blacks that if whites get back in power, they will reestablish slavery and other such lies.

Racist Republicans also used violence and whippings on any black who did not vote Republican and on many blacks simply for being friendly to whites.

There were other methods of ostracism within the black community too, and all this added up to Republican intimidation to keep blacks voting Republican so carpetbaggers and scalawags could continue at the public trough.17 All of this is exactly like the Marxist left's "Cancel Culture" today.

Democrat whites at Republican meetings were to be courteous to blacks but not deceive or flatter or make promises, just plain talk, man to man, which they reasoned would cause blacks to respect them.

Democrats were also to form black Democrat clubs and to protect black Democrats. They were to be ready for violence but under no circumstances initiate it which would bring the Northern press down on them.18

Other parts of the Mississippi Plan included boycotts of Republican businesses and pressure on black employees of Democrats to vote Democratic, the same kind of pressure Republicans had been using for eight years.

However, at no time did Democrats threaten to whip blacks who didn't vote Democrat nor did they encourage black women to reject black men for being Democrats, nor did they ever tell blacks that Republicans would eventually turn on them and sell them back into slavery.

The Mississippi Plan was immediately put into effect. Republican meetings that Democrats attended became known as "joint meetings" with "division of time." Throughout the campaign, Democrats, black and white, went to Republican meetings and had their say.

Republicans were always invited to Democrat meetings but few came because of the difficulty of defending the party's record of corruption and public theft. Joint meetings with division of speaking time were agreed to in Charleston County by Republican leader Bowen, and his Democrat counterpart, Charles H. Simonton, Chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee.19

A successful joint meeting took place at Strawberry Ferry on Thursday, August 31, 1876.20 There were approximately 300 whites in attendance and a similar number of blacks, though black voters in this area numbered over 600, to 25 whites. This was a stronghold of Bowen's. Everybody had had a good time, the discussions were lively, but things had gone well.21

This was not a good sign for Bowen and the Republicans as they "noted with growing dismay and fury the slow but steady additions to the number of negroes enrolling in Democratic clubs, for one reason of another."22 As thousands of blacks began supporting Democrats during the campaign of 1876 and even riding as red shirts, violence against them by Republican blacks increased dramatically.

This black Republican violence against black Democrats was demonstrated in a bloody riot in Charleston on Wednesday, September 6, 1876, some five weeks before Cainhoy.

That night, the Democratic Hampton and Tilden Colored Club of Ward 4 met in Archer's Hall (corner of King and George Streets). Outside, scores of armed and angry black Republicans had gathered and were threatening the black Democrats.

When the meeting was over, the black Democrats were put in the middle of the 45 or so whites, to protect them from the black Republicans, and they marched quietly up King Street toward Marion Square, called Citadel Green back then, with Republican blacks on both sides of King Street cursing and jeering at them the whole way. Journalist Alfred B. Williams writes:

The Hunkidories and Live Oaks, negro Radical Republican secret organizations, had gathered their forces and were massed, waiting, in King Street, armed with pistols, clubs and sling shots, the last made with a pound of lead attached to a twelve inch leather strap and providing a deadly weapon at close range.23

As the white and black Democrats got to St. Matthews Church "a mob of 150 negroes, armed with staves, clubs and pistols, came yelling after them, hurrahing for Hayes and Wheeler."24

The whites stopped, a black rioter ran up and "knocked the first white man he met in the head with a 'slung shot,' and the crowd immediately behind him fired a pistol into the crowd of whites, shouting that they would have the colored Democrats out even if they had to kill every man in the crowd to do it."

Whites shot over their heads to cover other whites who rushed the black Democrats to safety with the federal troops at the Citadel.25

The Citadel in 1865 on Citadel Green, today's Marion Square. It's now an Embassy Suites.
The Citadel in 1865 on Citadel Green, today's Marion Square. It's now an Embassy Suites.

With the black Democrats safe, the 45 or so whites then "retreated backwards up King Street, facing the negroes and keeping them off as well they could by returning the fire from the pistols of the mob." Suddenly, as the whites got to John Street, "the negro mob was reinforced by another multitude of blacks who swept out of John street and cut off the retreat of the whites." This mob was yelling "blood!"26

It became a hand to hand fight. Some policemen arrived but were "powerless to restrain the infuriated mob."

After 25 or so of the whites were beaten senseless, it looked like it might stop then it started back. Pistols "were going off every moment, and amid the firing Policeman Green fell shot through the abdomen, and Mr. J. M. Buckner, white, was shot through the abdomen."27

Finally, police reinforcements arrived and separated whites and blacks but when a detail left with the wounded "the fighting immediately began again." Soon blacks had complete control of King Street and the riot lasted until midnight. It had raged a mile along King Street from Cannon Street to Wentworth28 and the whole time whites had had to "stay in their homes with shivering and terror stricken families because any white man venturing on the street alone invited death uselessly."29

A reporter had observed "a mob of negroes chasing a white man, who had hardly a vestige of clothing upon his person, and covered with blood from a dozen wounds." He "was knocked down several times with brickbats or clubs, and several pistol shots were fired at him." He was rescued by a policeman and taken home "in an almost lifeless condition."30

Final casualties total one white man dead, over 50 beaten severely. No black Republicans had been killed and only a handful had been injured.31 The white man who died, Buckner, had been part of the escort protecting the black Democrats. He had a wife and child at home.

Whoever planned the ambush had their timing thrown off when the whites stopped to face the first mob. If the whites had gone just a block further up King Street, or their formation had fallen apart, or they had broken and run, there was no way they would have been able to get the black Democrats to safety at the Citadel. Since the black Democrats were the object of the mob, they certainly would have been murdered along with several whites who were determined to protect them.

There were no more night riots in downtown Charleston during Reconstruction because whites perfected their communications network and could put hundreds of armed men in the saddle quickly. The day after the riot a thousand white members of the Butler Guards and Charleston Light Dragoons patrolled the streets from sun down to sun up for the next three months, in force, and there was no more trouble at night.32

Charleston Light Dragoon, 1888 sketch by Edward Laight Wells.
Charleston Light Dragoon, 1888 sketch by Edward Laight Wells.
Charleston Light Dragoons, 1895 picture.

Five weeks later, with the election fast approaching, Democrats got careless and walked into another ambush, this time at Cainhoy, 12 miles up the Wando River from Charleston.

Next week, September 30, 2021, Part Two, Conclusion, of Slaughter at Cainhoy, The Worst Racial Violence in the South Carolina Lowcountry During Reconstruction.


1 "The Cainhoy Slaughter," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 24, 1876, front page.

2 Kenneth M. Stampp, The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877 (New York: Vintage Books, 1965), 186.

3 Basil L. Gildersleeve, The Creed of the Old South, 1865-1915 (Bibliolife Network; reprint, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1915), 26-27.

4 Claude G. Bowers, The Tragic Era, The Revolution after Lincoln (Cambridge, MA: The Riverside Press, 1929), 45.

5 "The Cainhoy Slaughter," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 24, 1876, front page.

6 Ibid.

7 Robert Douglas Mellard, Christopher Columbus Bowen: A Scalawag Discovers Opportunity in the New World of Reconstruction Politics, Master Thesis, University of Charleston and The Citadel, 1994, 15.

8 Ibid, 6.

9 Ibid, 16.

10 Ibid, 22.

11 Ibid, 67.

12 Ibid, 70.

13 Ibid, 88-91.

14 The News and Courier, October 15, 1874, as cited in Robert Douglas Mellard, Christopher Columbus Bowen: A Scalawag Discovers Opportunity in the New World of Reconstruction Politics, Master thesis, University of Charleston and The Citadel, 1994, 97.

15 "The Cainhoy Slaughter," News and Courier, Tuesday, October 24, 1876.

16 "To Live and Die in Dixie," News and Courier, August 26, 1876, front page.

17 David Duncan Wallace, South Carolina, A Short History, 1520-1948 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1951), 572.

18 Bowers, The Tragic Era, 513-14; "To Live and Die in Dixie," News and Courier, August 26, 1876.

19 Melinda Meek Hennessey, "Racial Violence During Reconstruction: The 1876 Riots in Charleston and Cainhoy," South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 86, No. 2 (April, 1985), 107.

20 "'No Intimidation'," News and Courier, September 1, 1876.

21 Ibid.

22 Alfred B. Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, South Carolina's Deliverance in 1876 (Charleston, S.C.: Walker, Evans & Cogswell Company, Publishers, 1935), 37-41.

23 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 121.

24 "A Bloody Outbreak," News and Courier, Thursday, September 7, 1876.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid.

28 "A Night of Excitement," News and Courier, Friday, September 8, 1876.

29 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 122.

30 "A Bloody Outbreak," News and Courier, Thursday, September 7, 1876.

31 Hennessey, "Racial Violence During Reconstruction," 106.

32 Williams, Hampton and His Red Shirts, 126-27.

Our Confederate Ancestors: A Year with Forrest, by Rev. W. H. Whitsitt, Part Two, Conclusion

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

About eleven o'clock they laid the first ambuscade, but Forrest contrived to discover it in advance and, instead of walking into it, caused us to dismount and get into line and crawl up close to the enemy's position.

It would have made too much noise to have brought up a piece of artillery by horse power so soldiers were harnessed to it and dragged it to a point within two hundred yards of the enemy's line.

When the proper moment arrived, he ordered the cannon to open and the cavalry likewise so that we surprised the enemy instead of them surprising us. I walked along the line where they had been formed and found it littered from end to end with small bits of paper. It looked as if every man in their column must have employed the leisure afforded by that stop to tear up all the private letters found upon his person. It was clear that their alarm had become serious and would help us much if we could keep it up.

Part Two, Conclusion, of
A Year with Forrest

Address by Rev. W. H. Whitsitt, D.D., before R. E. Lee Camp, Confederate Veterans, of Richmond, Va., in Confederate Veteran magazine, Vol. XXV, No. 8, August, 1917.


[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : This article, Part Two of Rev. Whitsitt's "A Year with Forrest," is one of the most exciting and inspiring I have ever read. It shows clearly what a genius Forrest was. Forrest's men were motivated by the fearlessness of their leader and became fearless themselves.

For example, Forrest, with only 475 Confederates, chased a Yankee unit made up of over 1,500 well armed men, across Tennessee and forced (tricked might be a better word) them to surrender as detailed in this article.

Forrest was relentless, on top of his enemy the whole way, anticipating their moves, designing traps, waging a psychological war to keep them scared and running.

Southerners needed brilliant leaders because they faced such overwhelming odds. They were outnumbered four to one and outgunned a hundred to one. The Yankee army was always well fed, well clothed and armed with advanced weaponry.

Southerners were usually hungry, ragged and always had inferior weapons.

The North had a huge pipeline to the wretched refuse of the world which is why 25% of the Union army was not born in America. Tens of thousands of foreigners poured continually into the North with only the shirts on their backs to find the Union Army recruiter waiting on the docks with fat enlistment bonuses.

The South had to build their country from scratch but the North started with a powerful army, navy, merchant marine, a functioning government, a stable financial system and most of the nation's manufacturing. Their horses to carry their cannons and cavalry were always well fed, healthy and replaced immediately when they were killed.

There were 19 marine engine factories in the North. Zero, in the South.

Gen. Grant did not mind losing men. He could easily replace them. Southerners could not.

Yet Southerners killed in battle roughly the same number of Yankees as they killed of us, and Southern ingenuity and valor such as displayed by Nathan Bedford Forrest, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and so many others, are second to none among all nations and all time.

Lincoln knew if he allowed such people as native Southerners with their talent and spirit to form their own country on his Southern border with 100% control of King Cotton, they would soon eclipse the Yankee empire as the greatest, most powerful nation in history.

That's why Lincoln started his war as fast as he could. He had to keep other nations from supporting the South like the French had done for the Colonists in the Revolution.

Lincoln had to cut off the South from the rest of the world quickly so he sent his invasion fleets with hundreds of troops and armaments to Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens to get the war started, then he announced his naval blockade before the smoke had cleared from the bombardment of Fort Sumter.

Despite the outcome, the intelligence, resourcefulness and valor of Southerners is there for all to read and understand. Their true federal republic based on powerful sovereign states is exactly what the Founding Fathers wanted for America.

Can you imagine Forrest, Lee or Jackson giving billions of dollars of sophisticated weaponry, Blackhawks, night-vision goggles, etc. to murderers like the Taliban?

The Taliban are Biden and Blinken's new buddies while Biden and Blinken work against former American military personnel and others who are struggling to get our citizens and friends out of Afghanistan.

We are being led by traitors and the most incompetent fools in American history.

"President" Joe Biden has disgraced and dishonored our country and our military in the eyes of the world so that even European parliaments have passed resolutions in disgust.

Biden has armed Taliban terrorists with our own weapons and the Taliban is now bringing in Al-Quida, ISIS and all the others.

Just like Obama gave ISIS their caliphate, which was destroyed in a few months by President Trump, Biden has gone further, and Americans will die. Because of Biden and Blinken, we no longer own the night.

What is it with Democrats and their love of terrorists and people who hate America?

It is as if the Democrat Party hates white Americans so bad they would arm terrorists because they are non-whites, rather than protect majority-white America.

Why couldn't Biden have sent drones to destroy the night-vision goggles and Blackhawks?

I'll tell you why.

Because Biden, Blinken and company are such idiots they removed the military first and put us at the mercy of the Taliban.

They then were afraid if they destroyed those weapons with drones, there would be a bloodbath even worse than currently taking place, and the photo-ops would be bad for Democrats.

So, they gave billions of dollars of highly sophisticated weaponry to our worst enemies knowing our media, which are the most corrupt propagandists in the history of the printed word, would cover for them.

What utter incompetence and treason.

This Federal Government that the "Federals" in the War Between the States forced on our nation is corrupt almost beyond repair, and the national Republican Party is feckless and cowardly. Without a strong leader like Trump, Republicans will never hold these traitors accountable.

Our founding documents are clear that the PEOPLE are the Sovereign in our country. Not Big Tech with its censorship, or the racist, Marxist Communist Democrat Party with its Critical Race Theory they are forcing on everybody.

Wake up America. We are still the greatest nation in history despite this internal onslaught by our America-hating enemies on the left.

It's time they experience that Righteous Might of the American people that FDR spoke about on December 8, 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese and we entered World War II.

The things we face today are worse than that day of Infamy because there are traitors in our country at the highest levels, and they intend to make us a totalitarian tyranny with them in charge.

I can't imagine a more horrible fate for our children and grandchildren. All one has to do is go to any violent, drug infested Democrat big city to witness a crumbling civilization. People defecate in the street, laws decriminalize theft which makes thievery so rampant no business can survive. Bail laws put criminals back on the street before the ink is dry on their arrest warrants so they can prey again on innocent citizens.

The Southern border is wide open and every single month hundreds of thousands of unknown people, drug dealers, terrorists, thousands with third world diseases who are also COVID positive with new strains of the plague flow into our country but that doesn't matter because they are all future Democrat voters.

As others have observed, we are witnessing a Marxist Communist takeover of the United States of America in real time and it is being orchestrated by the Democrat Party. This is undoubtedly a foreign invasion enabled by Democrat traitors and there is nothing we can do about it at the moment.

The Democrat Party is at war with our country as we know it so they can enrich themselves and rule forever.

The American Sovereign, the People, better wake the hell up and fast because time is running out.]

Part Two, Conclusion, of
A Year with Forrest
by Rev. W. H. Whitsitt

ON THE 23d of April, 1863, we were ordered from Columbia to Courtland, Ala., and at Town Creek, not far away, we found our old adversary, Gen. G. M. Dodge, again with a large force of infantry and cavalry.

Their purpose was to afford a proper send-off to the expedition of Col. A. D. Streight, who had a commission to visit Bragg's rear and do all the damage he might find possible in Georgia and elsewhere.

General Dodge pressed us sorely all day of the 27th and also the 28th, but at midnight of the 28th a messenger appeared in our camp near Courtland to announce that a body of about twenty-five cavalry had passed through Mount Hope at dusk and had taken the road to Moulton.

It was then "Boots and saddles!" and at 1 a.m. of the 29th, the same hour at which Streight quitted Moulton, Forrest set out to pursue him.

The troops of Colonel Streight were brave and formidable. They were select and seasoned infantry from Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, who had been mounted on mules especially for this expedition. In action they always dismounted just as we did, and they were practiced and patient fighters.

During the forenoon of the 20th, we reached Moulton and followed the enemy to Day's Gap, a distance of seventeen miles, where we found him in camp a little after midnight. It was suspected that with all his excellencies as a commander Colonel Streight was too slow of motion for the business he had in hand.

He had been three and a half days on the march when we struck him and had traversed a distance of only sixty-five miles. What was the use of mounting his command if they were to be marched at the rate of infantry? If he had moved forty miles a day during these three days and kept up that pace, he could have reached Rome and Atlanta in spite of the world, the flesh, and the devil. He must have considered that he was on a May-day frolic; he seemed to be trying to coddle the negroes. After we had come up with him he moved at the rate of fifty miles a day and threw in some fighting besides.

At nine o'clock on the mornig of the 30th of April, Forrest prepared to engage Streight in this camp upon Sand Mountain. Our regiment, which for this expedition was commanded by Captain McLemore, was sent with Biffle's 9th Tennessee to climb the mountain by another gap and gain the enemy's rear. Forrest hoped to hold him with a portion of Roddy's Brigade until we might catch him in that trap. But the engagement at Day's Gap was too brief for our purpose. Streight evidently apprehended the nature of our game and slipped out of the trap.

When Forrest found us in the road on Sand Mountain, he sent General Roddy and his brigade back to the Tennessee River to observe the movements of General Dodge, and, with the two Tennessee regiments mentioned and his escort and a section of Ferrell's Battery, he closely followed the enemy, although our number was less than half of theirs.

They had whipped Roddy in the initial encounter on the morning of the 29th and captured two of the guns of Morton who commanded after the death of Freeman. But we forced Colonel Streight to deliver battle again about sunset and when it was concluded the two pieces were left spiked on the field.

This was the first night battle I had witnessed. The pine trees were very tall, the darkness of their shade was intense, the mountain where the enemy was posted was steep, and as we charged again and again under Forrest's own lead it was a grand spectacle.

It seemed that the fires which blazed from their muskets were almost long enough to reach our faces. There was one advantage in being below them: they often fired above our heads in the darkness.

This battle closed about 9 p.m., and shortly afterwards the moon rose in great splendor. It seemed to have been sent for our special behoof.

I have said there is no reason to suppose that the old man had read Caesar's commentaries either in English or in Latin, but he followed the tactics of Caesar as if by instinct. His military lore in this emergency was expressed in the following command: "Shoot at everything blue and keep up the scare."

To execute this order he compelled us to hang upon the very heels of the enemy all the way. There was constant peril of ambuscade, but we waited for the moon to rise before pressing close upon the enemy after nightfall. By daylight we generally kept in sight and were able to see them and almost always to open the fighting when they attempted to surprise us.

About eleven o'clock they laid the first ambuscade, but Forrest contrived to discover it in advance and, instead of walking into it, caused us to dismount and get into line and crawl up close to the enemy's position.

It would have made too much noise to have brought up a piece of artillery by horse power so soldiers were harnessed to it and dragged it to a point within two hundred yards of the enemy's line.

When the proper moment arrived, he ordered the cannon to open and the cavalry likewise so that we surprised the enemy instead of them surprising us. I walked along the line where they had been formed and found it littered from end to end with small bits of paper. It looked as if every man in their column must have employed the leisure afforded by that stop to tear up all the private letters found upon his person. It was clear that their alarm had become serious and would help us much if we could keep it up.

At two o'clock the next morning, when most of our command had fallen asleep on horseback, we were ambuscaded at the ford of a difficult mountain stream and caused some losses, especially among the animals. We in our turn were thrown into a degree of confusion here, but they were too much frightened to press their advantage.

Indeed, most of those who fired upon us were drawn up on the other side of the stream. A small detachment lay in the undergrowth at the foot of a steep causeway upon which we were marching down to the river, but they ran away as soon as they had discharged their pieces. Wyeth declares that this ambuscade at two o'clock on the morning of May 1 was "practically a repetition" of the one attempted at eleven o'clock. It was a more serious affair; and after crossing the river, a branch of the Black Warrior, the General permitted us to get down and sleep from 3 to 5 a.m.

Colonel Streight seemed to have no proper ideas of what a cavalry soldier can endure. Possibly his men, having been only recently promoted to saddle, were galled and wearied by the novelty of the exercise. He was taking his ease as if no enemy were near when we found him at Blountsville next morning, May 2.

We immediately put his column in motion and kept it on the run to the Black Warrior, where he was compelled to fight us to obtain a crossing.

Here we were allowed a rest from 6 p.m. until the moon arose about eleven while two companies of Biffle's 9th Tennessee were detailed to hang upon the enemy's rear throughout the night.

We were summoned at the appointed moment and moved forward to find Colonel Streight next morning at Wilber's Creek, where Biffle's detail was relieved and Forrest again took the chase in hand.

About 11 a.m. of May 3 we came in sight of Black Creek Bridge and perceived that it was on fire, which indicated that the enemy were all on the other side.

They marched away after a brief season, assured of a respite of half a day before we should be able to cross the creek and catch up with them again; but Miss Emma Sanson piloted the General to a ford, and we were soon across the deep and swollen stream.

It was about four o'clock in the afternoon when we struck Colonel Streight in Gadsden, four miles away on the banks of the Coosa River. Why should he be sauntering at Gadsden during those precious hours?

It seemed as if he had made up his mind to fail. He ought not to have failed. He recruited his horses almost every mile. It was a common thing to find standing in the highways the wagons and carriages of citizens from which he had removed the horses, leaving his exhausted mules in the place of them. Our horses were falling out constantly and we had no means whatever of renewing the supply.

At Gadsden, Forrest took a picked company of about two hundred of his best mounted troopers and followed the retreating enemy, fighting him every step of the way to Turkey Town, where, after nightfall, Streight planned an ambuscade; but, as usual, Forrest saw his game and got the best of it.

In the encounter that was occasioned by the Confederate flank movement the Federal Colonel Hathaway, with many others, was killed, and immediately all the hopes of Streight seemed to be crushed.

When we caught up with Forrest about nine o'clock, I learned that Hartwell Hunt, one of my dearest friends, had been killed in the skirmish, and the rest of the night was filled with grief.

During the half hour he remained in Gadsden, Forrest had procured a courier to go on horseback by a route on the opposite side of the Coosa River and advise the city of Rome of its peril. Col. John H. Wisdom was the man who rendered that service, but he was not a member of our command.

At Turkey Town Streight also dispatched a force of two hundred picked men to go forward and capture the city, which was about sixty miles distant; but Colonel Wisdom outrode them and saved the day.

The bottom was carefully removed from the bridge that led across the river, the State militia was under arms, and Rome was rescued from peril. When Streight's advance guard arrived, they were beaten off with small exertion and the doom of his expedition was sealed.

We rested at Turkey Town until the moon had risen, receiving strict orders to be mounted and on the road at midnight.

There was a disturbance when the General rode up and found us in line at the edge of the road; but our colonel settled it by claiming a difference of two minutes in watches, during which time we wheeled into column on the road and resumed the march.

Pursuing the enemy with renewed vigor, we found that he had burned the bridge by which he had only recently crossed Chattanooga River. Though the stream was swollen, we were ordered to plunge in, and we got across by swimming a few yards in the middle of it.

There was a deal of trouble about the cannon, but they were finally pulled across, while the ammunition was transferred by means of canoes that the citizens provided.

Before ten o'clock in the morning we bore down upon the enemy's camp, and, finding him unprepared for battle, General Forrest sent Captain Pointer with a flag of truce to demand his surrender. Colonel Streight replied that he would be glad to meet General Forrest and discuss the question  with him.

When the message was delivered, Forrest remarked: "If he ever talks to me, then I've got him." The old man had large experience and skill in such emergencies, and before noon the surrender had been accomplished.

The place was crowded with undergrowth and Streight proposed to march down the road until they should find an open field suitable for the business of laying down his arms.

Forrest gave assent, and in a few minutes we were in the road, which shortly became a lane with immense fields of growing cotton on each side. That was the longest lane I ever traveled. It may have been a mile, but it seemed ten miles in length.

Streight had about fourteen hundred and fifty men, and we had about four hundred and seventy-five in line. We were drawn up on both sides of them, and every man of them carried a loaded rifle and some likewise loaded pistols. If they had concluded to renew the struggle, it is difficult to understand how any of us could have escaped alive.

Forrest galloped up and down the column and busily gave orders to the courier to ride to the road and order imaginary regiments and imaginary batteries to stop and feed their animals and men.

But the regiments of Starnes and Biffle and Ferrell's Battery, which had been depleted to skeleton proportions, were the only available troops within a hundred miles.

Finally the lane came to an end and there was a field of broom sedge on the right-hand side. Colonel Streight led the way and his troops were shortly formed in line. Then at the word of command they dismounted, stacked arms, remounted, and rode away.

There was an inexpressible sense of relief when they had parted company with their arms and ammunition; but we did not venture to suggest the fewness of our numbers until we had delivered them safely to the keeping of the guards whom the government had dispatched to Rome to receive them.

Our victory was embittered by a message that Stonewall Jackson had been wounded in a battle in Virginia, which was announced shortly after we reached Rome. I can never forget the sorrow and foreboding it produced.

On the way back to Columbia, Tenn., a messenger arrived bringing tiding of the death of Gen. Earl Van Dorn, and Forrest was ordered shortly afterwards to take his place in command of the cavalry on the left wing of Bragg's army.

The retreat of Bragg from Shelbyville began late in June, 1863, and the duty of covering his rear was assigned to Wheeler and Forrest.

At Tullahoma on the last day of the month, the advance of Rosecran's army began to press against our brigade now commanded by Col. J. W. Starnes of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry, and in the encounter, this great soldier was fatally wounded by a sharpshooter. His loss was deeply deplored, and his name is revered by all who appreciate courage and capacity.

The alleged inefficiency of the general in command had become more glaringly apparent during the retreat from Shelbyville and especially in the maneuvers that preceded the struggle at Chickamauga.

Forrest, who enjoyed opportunities to observe every failure at close range, was fully convinced that the situation could not be improved as long as Bragg should be retained.

The fighting at Chickamauga was more trying than the average. We always dismounted and acted as infantry, but here we were in the same line with our veteran Confederate infantry regiments.

We held a portion of the front line all the morning of the 19th of September and found the enemy duly stubborn. Wyeth affirms that it was 1:30 p.m. when Cheatham's Division relieved us and pressed on toward Chattanooga. I always supposed it was 4 p.m. when Cheatham appeared. At any rate, the day was very long indeed.

When Cheatham took our place and went in, I must concede that the music became more lively than any we had made. We immediately got on our horses to take position of his flank and keep it from being turned. There was a short pause as the column was going into line, and half a dozen of us, standing with our horses' heads together, were listening to the tremendous din, when a grapeshot that had passed almost a mile of undergrowth struck Coleman, of Company F, in the stomach. He fell from his horse and was dead in three minutes.

Severe as the battle of the 19th had been, that of the 20th was still more trying.

We were in line with the troops of Gen. John C. Breckinridge on the right wing, and I have a distinct recollection of the appearance of that officer as he rode along just behind our column shorty after daylight.

The action did not begin till 9:30 a.m., but we had been ready since 6:30. When it finally opened, we played the part of infantry again and kept up with the advance of Breckinridge, but that was not very great.

We were face to face with General Thomas, a foeman worthy of our steel, who contested every inch of the ground. My impression is that this was the loudest noise and the longest day of my life, and the night which followed it was also memorable for its discomforts.

On Monday morning, September 21, Forrest pursued the enemy almost into Chattanooga and found him apparently engaged in evacuating the town. If General Bragg had pressed forward before noon of that day, there might have been a great victory.

Forrest claimed that when he went in person to inform General Bragg of the importance of immediate action he caught him asleep and that after he got him awake Bragg objected that his army had no supplies.

When Forrest suggest that there were abundant supplies in Chattanooga, no reply was made, and he turned from the commanding general in unconcealed disgust.

The friction had become so decided that it was now impossible for the two officers to  cooperate harmoniously and on the 28th of September, Bragg issued an order for him to turn over his command to General Wheeler.

He obeyed without delay. There was no sign of discontent or mutiny.

No farewells were spoken to his companions in arms. He passed our camp at the head of his escort as if employed on customary occasions. We were not informed of the action that had been taken until he was on his way to West Tennessee to found his fortunes anew and rise to the dignity of lieutenant general of the Confederate States army.

So long as we followed Forrest we enjoyed the respect of the army.

If we passed a regiment of infantry, they would heap the customary contempt upon us; but when it was suggest that we belonged to Forrest's people, they changed tune, and they fraternized with us as real soldiers, worthy companions in arms. They inquired about our battles and our leader and wondered at his genius and success. We were heroes even to the infantry.

But when Wheeler took command of us, all of that was changed.

The infantry could not be appeased, and it was vain to reply. General Wheeler was a brave and honorable man, but nobody ever accused him of genius.

Forrest was an extraordinary genius. He developed a new use for cavalry; and that was his specific contribution to the art of war.

All the other maxims of the great masters came to him by nature. He was equally at home in infantry, cavalry, and artillery.

By the readiness of his initiative he kept the whole campaign before his eye and could strike a blow at a distance of a hundred miles before anybody dreamed it was conceivable.

He could discern the exigencies of the field of battle swiftly and surely. He had the sanest initiative I ever observed, not blind, not foolhardy; balance, when retreat was essential he could perform it with more dispatch and repose than anybody.

It was hard to find a soldier with  intellect so strong and fertile and safe, whose will was so healthy and prompt and resistless, whose organization was so much of the hair-trigger variety, whose military education and military maxims were so admirable.

If he could have commanded the Western Army after Shiloh--but I will not indulge vain regrets.

In a letter to the Cincinnati Inquirer George Alfred Townsend recites an interview he held with Lee at Appomattox C. H., in which he inquired: "General Lee, who is the greatest general now under your command?"

Lee replied with grave deliberation: "A man I never saw, sir. His name is Forrest."

I am no military critic, but my affection inclines me to say that the War between the States developed three incomparable geniuses for war, all on the Southern side--Lee, Jackson, and Forrest.

When I first met General Forrest, he was already a famous man. He was in command of troops raised in Middle Tennessee, some 1,800 men, almost all of them raw recruits.

Colonel Starnes's regiment, the 4th Tennessee Cavalry, had seen much service; four companies of Russell's 4th Alabama were also trained men.

The other were newly enlisted--Dibrell's 8th Tennessee, Biffle's 9th Tennessee, and Freeman's Battery. These made up the famous Forrest Brigade.

General Forrest was a man of remarkable appearance, over six feet tall, somewhat muscular in build, powerful and graceful, giving an impression of solidity and completeness; while neatly dressed and groomed, he apparently took no thought of dress or accouterments and was altogether devoid of personal vanity.


NOTE: This article is verbatim from the original by Rev. Whitsitt in Confederate Veteran except for occasionally breaking up a long paragraph to make online reading easier, and occasionally adding or taking away a punctuation mark. No words or sentences were changed in any way.

Our Confederate Ancestors: A Year with Forrest, by Rev. W. H. Whitsitt, Part One

A Series on the Daring Exploits of Our Confederate Ancestors in the War Between the States.

There were two brigades of infantry close at hand, numbering in all about five thousand men, and the country swarmed with cavalry, but these did not count for much. The Northern generals still proceeded on the sleepy idea that it is the main function of cavalry to serve as eyes and ears for infantry. Forrest had gotten beyond that standpoint long before, and no cavalry trained upon the ancient maxims was able to stand against us.

Part One of
A Year with Forrest

Address by Rev. W. H. Whitsitt, D.D., before R. E. Lee Camp, Confederate Veterans, of Richmond, Va., in Confederate Veteran magazine, Vol. XXV, No. 8, August, 1917.


[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. : Rev. Whitsitt's address recounts a year with Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest mostly in Tennessee and often around the area of SCV national headquarters at Elm Springs in Columbia, Tennessee where Gen. Forrest and his wife, Mary Ann Montgomery Forrest, will be laid to rest in a little over a week.

We are blessed to have one of the greatest cavalry soldiers of all time and his beloved wife back home with us, inspiring us now as he did his compatriots during the war. It is as if Forrest is once again commanding Confederates, charging into the enemy, winning battles, except it is our honor to do so today.

SCV members should pilgrimage every year to Elm Springs and other inspiring places and come away determined to spread the true history of the South far and wide, and obliterate our woke, ignorant enemies.

A good way to celebrate the return of Gen. Forrest and his wife to those who love them, is with the powerful words of another Tennessean, Edward Ward Carmack (1858-1908), in his "Pledge to the South." Carmack was a United States senator from Tennessee and before that a member of the House of Representatives. These words were spoken on the floor of the House:

The South is a land that has known sorrows; It is a land that has broken the ashen crust and moistened it with tears; A land scarred and riven by the plowshare of war and billowed with the graves of her dead; But a land of legend, a land of song, a land of hallowed and heroic memories. To that land every drop of my blood, every fibre of my being, every pulsation of my heart, is consecrated forever. I was born of her womb; I was nurtured at her breast; And when my last hour shall come, I pray God that I may be pillowed upon her bosom and rocked to sleep within her tender and encircling arms.

The Latin phrase, gaudium certaminis, is mentioned in this article and it means "the joy of battle" which describes That Devil Forrest and his Confederate compatriots to the letter.]

Part One of
A Year with Forrest
by Rev. W. H. Whitsitt

I JOINED THE ARMY at Winchester, Tenn., the latter part of April, 1862. Having taken my only sister to school at that place in the autumn of 1861, after the battle of Shiloh I decided to visit her; so about the middle of April I went to Murfreesboro, where the Federal lines were established.

I stopped with Prof. George W. Jarman, who the net morning took me to a lonely spot on the bank of Stone's River, where I took off my boots and small clothes and waded the stream. Replacing them on the farther shore, I waved mute thanks and farewells to my guide and friend and took my way on foot to Winchester, avoiding the turnpikes and traversing the entire distance of sixty miles by dirt roads.

I met at Winchester the cavalry battalion of Col. James W. Starnes, which had just come over from Chattanooga on a scouting expedition, and found a vacant saddle in Company F of this command.

Company F had been raised in the beginning by Starnes, who commanded it until he was promoted to the office of lieutenant colonel and put in charge of the battalion, when he was succeeded in office by Captain McLemore.

The men were recruited in the vicinity of Franklin, eighteen miles south of Nashville, where I was brought up, and I had been acquainted with a number of them in their homes. It was a choice body of troopers, most of them coming from families of wealth, position, and culture. It would have been difficult to have selected in either army a company possessing nobler blood and truer breeding than Company F.

Not long after my connection with it the period of one year for which the battalion originally enlisted ran out, and they enlisted again for three years, or during the war, and were then reorganized as a regiment, Starnes being chosen as full colonel. The following notice of Colonel Starnes is selected from many others found in the biography of General Forrest by Dr. Wyeth:

This man was James W. Starnes, who signally distinguished himself on that occasion and had won the lasting regard and friendship of Forrest, a friendship which endured until at Tullahoma in 1863 the leaden messenger of death brought to an untimely end a career full of the promise of great deeds in war. A new regiment was now organized, with Starnes as colonel, and took its place with Forrest as the 4th Tennessee Cavalry. It was destined to become famous and to sustain throughout the war the reputation it was soon to win west of the Tennessee, ending its career in a blaze of glory in a brilliant charge at Bentonville, N. C., in the last pitched battle of the Civil War.

This estimate of the importance and services of the regiment is not overdrawn. The 4th Tennessee Cavalry was the finest fighting machine I ever saw on horseback.

Our armament at the outset was something pitiful to behold. Nearly the entire command were provided with muzzle-loading, double-barreled shotguns. There were scarcely thirty long-range rifles in the regiment.

The shotguns were fowling pieces that had been contributed by gentlemen in the practice of hunting birds and other game. They were loaded with buckshot and at short range constituted a most effective weapon, but at the distance of two hundred yards they were worse than useless.

This weapon imposed a peculiar sort of tactics upon the Southern cavalry during the first year of the war. Fighting on foot, which subsequently became almost universal in the cavalry service, was rare at this time.

It was the custom during the first year to charge up to a point within twenty yards of the enemy's line and to deliver the two loads of buckshot. Then those who were fortunate enough to own pistols went to work with these, while the others would load their pieces for two rounds more.

But matters hardly ever got to that point. The enemy were generally thrown into disorder by the first two rounds of buckshot. It was a favorite expedient to march all night and at the earliest dawn of day to line up before a camp of infantry and deliver a couple of charges of buckshot into the tents before anybody could wake up. But if the camp was large, the men on the opposite side of it would grasp their long-range guns and drive off the cavalry without much trouble. Indeed, it was a part of the game to run away when the long-range guns were brought into full operation.

The month of June, 1862, was a gloomy period, but the operations of Jackson in the Valley of Virginia and of Lee and Jackson in the Seven Days' battles around Richmond gave sensible relief.

The whole State of Tennessee had previously been imperiled. It seemed difficult to prevent the capture of Chattanooga and even of Knoxville, but shortly afterwards the whole scene had changed. Kirby Smith was preparing to invade Kentucky, and the regiment of Colonel Starnes was moved up to the vicinity of Cumberland Gap, where they scouted the adjacent country in Tennessee and Virginia.

At the opportune moment, when roasting ears were in season, we entered Kentucky at Big Creek Gap and marched upon Richmond. Our regiment was placed in a brigade commanded by Colonel Scott, of Scott's Louisiana Cavalry, and took an active part in the battle of Richmond.

When the defeat of the enemy's infantry appeared to be certain, we were sent to take a position on the turnpike leading from Richmond to Lexington, along which we found the enemy retreating in much confusion.

They commonly surrendered without parley; but on passing through a dense cornfield just before we reached the main road we encountered a party who made resistance and shot through the neck my messmate and close friend, Private James Powell, killing him on the spot.

The weather was intensely warm; but we were not allowed to cease pursuit until we had taken Lexington, Frankfort, Shelbyville, and were in the neighborhood of Louisville.

The soldiers were hopeful and contented as long as they were kept engaged. But after the earliest spurt of energy General Smith seemed to require a season of rest. We did not understand all the details, but we felt that there was need of more activity. Finally it was announced that General Buell had entered Louisville without a pitched battle with Bragg.

It was a special mercy for us that General Buell was not more vigorous and successful in the military art. If he had been a genuine soldier, we might have had some trouble getting out of Kentucky; but after delivering battle at Perryville we got off very light and made good our escape to Tennessee.

Our brigade did not arrive in time to share in the conflict at Perryville; but we covered the retreat for a day or two, and then our regiment was ordered to report to General Forrest at Murfreesboro, the bulk of the army having traveled by way of Cumberland Gap to Knoxville, thence by rail to Chattanooga and Murfreesboro.

When we found General Forrest, he had a handful of raw troops with which he was trying to take Nashville, then held by a garrison of ten thousand infantry commanded by General Negley.

I first saw him about the 1st of November, 1862, when I was ordered to report at headquarters for service as a guide, and I rode with him all day and between the Nolensville and Granny White Pikes. It was my first experience of the grave responsibility of acting as guide for a considerable body of troops.

General Negley was short of provisions and on that day had led a large force out the Franklin Pine as far as Brentwood to replenish his depleted stores.

On this day I got my first conceptions of the gaudium certaminis. It was in Forrest a genuine and extraordinary passion. The whole tone and frame of the man were transformed; his appearance and even his voice were changed. It was a singular exaltation, which, however, appeared to leave him in absolute control of his faculties. He was never more sane nor more cool nor more terrible than in the moment of doubtful issue.

We camped that night at Nolensville, twelve miles away, and were in the saddle almost daily for a week entertaining the garrison at Nashville and trying to worry them into submission before relief might appear.

We had lost our shotguns in Kentucky and were now armed with Enfield rifles, and henceforth fought chiefly as infantry.

Forrest always like to charge on horseback, but he had an unerring judgment in selecting the psychological moment for such an entertainment. He always sent one of his trustiest officers to assail the enemy in the rear, and at the earliest signs of disorder in their ranks he was glad to ride amongst them.

He had likely never studied any maxims of war, but he seemed as if by instinct to understand the value of sending a force to the rear and adopted that method even in this initial fight at Sacramento, Ky.

In the fight at Murfreesboro, in July, 1862, he had also adopted the policy of beating the enemy in detail. He was swift in movement, fierce in assault, and persistent in pursuit. He had not obtained these secrets from Caesar's commentaries; they must have come to him by instinct. He was a born soldier, not made.

If by any possibility he could have succeeded Albert Sidney Johnson at Shiloh, the war in the West might have run a different course. But the government at Richmond never took him seriously until it was too late, and one of the greatest natural masters of the military art was buffeted by outrageous fortune almost to the wrecking of his career and to the entire destruction of his country's hopes.

He was no bully nor barbarian, but a gentleman of such admirable presence that he would be observed among a thousand.

But when the passion of battle was upon him, he was the most inspiring figure in the army.

In religion he was deeply devoted to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and a regular attendant, but I am not sure that he was a communicant. His veneration of his mother's religion and his wife's religion was beautiful to witness, and the Rev. Herschel S. Porter, pastor of the Cumberland Church in Memphis, was his standard of excellent in pulpit performance.

In the opening skirmish at Nashville I found Capt. Samuel L. Freeman, who had been one of my teachers at Mill Creek Academy, on my mother's farm, and later at Mount Juliet Academy, near Lebanon. Just prior to the war he had entered upon the practice of the law in Nashville.

In the autumn of 1861 Freeman raised a company of artillery and on departing for the camps intrusted to me his law library, with the request that I should keep it safe till he returned to claim it.

About noon the General rode up to Freeman's Battery, which at the moment was engaged in a lively duel with Negley's Artillery, and there I greeted my beloved master, six feet in height, a type of friendly dignity, shy, womanly modesty, reposeful courage--every inch a soldier.

In due time we were recalled from Nashville to Murfreesboro, whence we were ordered to Columbia, in Maury County, where Gen. Earl Van Dorn was placed in command of us.

Toward the middle of December we set out for the Tennessee River, and crossing it at Clifton, we commenced operation in West Tennessee with the purpose of crippling Grant, who was then pressing against Vicksburg, and also to prevent him from sending help to Rosecrans to Stone's River.

We had less than two thousand troopers and Captain Freeman's battery of artillery. I was never sensible of the perils of that expedition until I read an account of it in Dr. Wyeth's history of Forrest.

We crossed about the 16th of December, and immediately all the great resources of the enemy were brought to bear to capture us.

The first town we struck was Lexington, where we captured Colonel Ingersoll, of Illinois; but he had not then become famous, and we made nothing of him.

We made a feint against Jackson and after driving the enemy within his intrenchments worked upon the railroads and burned many bridges to the north--south of the town.

We captured Humboldt, Trenton, Union City, and other places of smaller note.

But the problem of recrossing the Tennessee River was ever before us. It was patrolled by gunboats, but Forrest had sunk his two small ferryboats in a secluded spot where no gunboat could find them and had left a guard to watch them.

On the 27th of December we became aware that forces were converging from every direction to assault us.

There were two brigades of infantry close at hand, numbering in all about five thousand men, and the country swarmed with cavalry, but these did not count for much. The Northern generals still proceeded on the sleepy idea that it is the main function of cavalry to serve as eyes and ears for infantry. Forrest had gotten beyond that standpoint long before, and no cavalry trained upon the ancient maxims was able to stand against us.

Instead of moving immediately back to Clifton, raising the sunken ferryboats, and recrossing the Tennessee, Forrest, holding apposition between these two infantry brigades, concluded to attack and capture one of them before the other could come up in his rear, and take them home with him as prisoners of war.

It was a daring conception, but he considered that he was equal to it, notwithstanding the fact that Gen. G. M. Dodge, with  two other full brigades of infantry and some cavalry, was taking position between him and Clifton.

We attacked Dunam's Brigade at Parker's Crossroads by sunrise of December 31, 1862, hoping to beat and crush it before any of Fuller's Brigade might arrive on the ground.

We had done the work for Dunham by twelve o'clock, but Fuller just then closed in on our rear. In thirty minutes the surrender would have been completed, but in that nick of time Fuller charged us and compelled us to retreat without the prisoners who were rightfully our own.

By daylight next morning our advance had reached the river.

The two ferryboats were raised from the bottom and brought over to the west side, and the work of recrossing was begun. It was completed without incident the following morning, and we made our most respectful salutations when the enemy arrived an hour later and began to shell the woods on our side. What Jackson accomplished in the Valley of Virginia was hardly more masterful than the skill of Forrest in extricating his small force from this most perilous situation.

Early in February, 1863, General Wheeler, who was in command of the entire cavalry services of Bragg's army, led a force to attack Fort Donelson and was defeated. The weather was intensely cold, and the enemy was admirably intrenched.

Forrest formally protested, but the attack was made in spite of him.

There was a bloody slaughter, in which our regiment suffered greatly, and Forrest notified Wheeler that he would be in his coffin before he should ever fight again under his command.

Forrest understood better than Wheeler when to risk a desperate encounter.

On March 5, 1863, we fought the battle of Thompson's Station under the command of Gen. Earl van Dorn and captured the entire force of the enemy's infantry, a fine brigade under Colonel Cogurn, of Indiana; but Van Dorn permitted two regiments of cavalry and a battery of artillery to escape.

Forrest got in the rear and rendered the escape of the infantry impossible. It was here that we captured Maj. W. R. Shafter; but as he had not yet been to Cuba, we heard little of him.

In one of the engagement of this day Capt. J. R. Dysart, of Company D, who was standing in a position just above me on the uneven ground, was shot through the head and fell over upon me with a severe crash. I thought for an instant that I myself had been killed.

On the 24th of March, 1863, we left Spring Hill, midway between Franklin and Columbia, and daylight next morning found us at Brentwood, midway between Franklin and Nashville, where we captured and brought away about eight hundred prisoners.

This was a perilous expedition as Nashville, the base of supplies of the Federal army, and Franklin also were held by a large force.

On our retreat we had gotten across the last pike by which we could be attacked from Nashville and, considering ourselves at last somewhat secure, had halted for dinner. While we were thus engaged Gen. Green Clay Smith, who had been sent down from Franklin to pursue us, rushed upon our rear guard and occasioned some confusion.

Forrest soon got a regiment in line, and just then Starnes, who was returning from a scouting expedition down the Hillsboro Pike toward Nashville, fell upon the flank of the enemy.

Observing the confusion occasioned by that incident, Forrest instantly led a charge against the enemy and easily shook them off.

It was the common verdict  that General Smith displayed little stomach for fight. If Forrest had been in his position, he would have fought the Confederates every foot of the journey to Harpeth River. That stream was in league against us, being swollen by the freshets of springtime; and if Smith had shown any vigor, he would have given us much annoyance.

On the 10th of April, under Van Dorn's command, a reconnoissance was made in force from Spring Hill against Franklin, with the hope of relieving the pressure upon Bragg at Tullahoma.

By an unaccountable oversight the enemy's cavalry were permitted to assail our column on the right flank as we were marching down the turnpike toward Franklin. It was the brigade of General Stanley, which was striving to get in our rear.

The first we saw of them the 4th United States Regulars were charging down the hill along the base of which we were marching. They struck Freeman's Battery, and before a single piece could be brought into action it had been captured. Many of the men escaped, but Captain Freeman was taken.

We quickly rallied and recovered the guns and prisoners, but in the melee Captain Freeman was killed. The piece with which he had been slain was held so close to his face that the skin about the eyes was deeply burned with powder.

Some of his fellow prisoners reported that he had offered no resistance; but our pursuit was so rapid that he could not keep up with his captors, and rather than give him up they concluded to take his life.

He was the idol of the brigade, and it was hard to forgive the gentlemen of the 4th Regulars. Possibly the deed was done by no rightful authority; it may have been the conceit of some irresponsible private soldier.

The next day was Sunday, and I officiated at Freeman's funeral.

General Forrest stood at the side of the grave, his tall form bent and swayed by his grief. It was a sight to remember always, the sternest soldier of the army bathed in womanly tears and trembling like an aspen with his pain. The whole army sympathized in the mighty sorrow. . . .


To be continued next week, September 16, 2021.

Facing Racial Realities, Measuring an American Dilemma – Guest Post By Leonard M. “Mike” Scruggs

“Murder rates in these cities showed blacks were at least 18 times more likely to be arrested for murder than whites, and Latinos were about 5 times more likely to be arrested for murder than whites.

Contrary to the supposition of many, violent crime offenders are more likely to be arrested if they are white, for example, 22 percent more likely for robbery and 13 percent more likely for aggravated assault.

There is in reality a bias against whites, probably because greater legal and public relations precautions are called for in dealing with minority offenders. . . . "

Facing Racial Realities
Measuring an American Dilemma

Guest post by
Leonard M. "Mike" Scruggs

[Publisher's Note, by Gene Kizer, Jr. :
Mike Scruggs has given us a good analysis of the latest book from Charles Alan Murray, a brilliant American political scientist who follows facts, science and numbers the way most Americans did before the age of wokeness.

That he is hated by virtue signaling liberals tells you all you need to know. Murray scares the hell out of them because he proves with conclusive facts what everybody knows but many are afraid to say.

Here is the short Introduction to Murray's book, Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America, by the author. It is quickly obvious that Murray is a very thoughtful man asking the right questions and determined to find the right answers for the good of our country.

I DECIDED TO WRITE this book in the summer of 2020 because of my dismay at the disconnect between the rhetoric about "systemic racism" and the facts. The uncritical acceptance of that narrative by the nation's elite news media amounted to an unwillingness to face reality.

By facts, I mean what Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan meant: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts." By reality, I mean what the science fiction novelist Philip Dick meant: "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it doesn't go away."

I do not dispute evidence of the racism that persists in American life. Rather, I reject the portrayal of American society and institutions as systemically racist and saturated in White privilege. What follows is a data-driven discussion of realities that make America a more complicated and much less racist nation than its radical critics describe.

Of the many facts about race that are ignored, two above all, long since documented beyond reasonable doubt, must be brought into the open and incorporated into the way we think about why American society is the way it is and what can be done through public policy to improve it.

The first is that American Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians, as groups, have different means and distributions of cognitive ability. The second is that American Whites, Blacks, Latinos, and Asians, as groups, have different rates of violent crime. Allegations of systemic racism in policing, education, and the workplace cannot be assessed without dealing with the reality of group differences.

There is a reason that reality is ignored. The two facts make people excruciatingly uncomfortable. To raise them is to be considered a racist and hateful person. What's more, these facts have been distorted and exploited for malign purposes by racist and hateful people.

What then is the point of writing about them? Aren't some realities better ignored? The answer goes to a much deeper problem than false accusations of systemic racism. We are engaged in a struggle for America's soul. Facing reality is essential if that struggle is to be won.

Following Mike's bio and article are links to The Times Examiner website, Mike's outstanding columns, and to his books.]

Mike Scruggs is the author of two books - The Un-Civil War, Shattering the Historical Myths; and Lessons from the Vietnam War, Truths the Media Never Told You - and over 600 articles on military history, national security, intelligent design, genealogical genetics, immigration, current political affairs, Islam, and the Middle East.

The abridged version of The Un-Civil War sold over 40,000 copies and won the prestigious D. T. Smithwick Award by the North Carolina Society of Historians, for excellence.

Mike holds a BS degree from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Stanford University. A former USAF intelligence officer and Air Commando, he is a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam War and holds the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, and Air Medal. He is a retired First Vice President for a major national financial services firm and former Chairman of the Board of a classical Christian school.

Facing Racial Realities

By Mike Scruggs

(First published in The Times Examiner, 12 July 2021)

Measuring an American Dilemma

Charles Murray’s just published book, Facing Reality: Two Truths about Race in America, comes just as Neo-Marxist Critical Race Theory (CRT) doctrines have become major social justice engineering ideology and policy for the Biden Administration and Democrat Party leadership.

Facing Racial Reality 396 Pixels 56K

Murray is one of the most renowned and courageous political scientists in the U.S. and the world. He has a BA degree from Harvard and MS and PhD degrees from MIT. He is also the author of Losing Ground (1984), The Bell Curve (1994), Coming Apart (2012), and Human Diversity (2020).

Charles Murray speaking at the 2013 FreedomFest in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Charles Murray speaking at the 2013 FreedomFest in Las Vegas, Nevada.

CRT is not a cure for racism, it is racism of the most vicious, hateful, and unforgiving kind. It is flagrantly anti-white, anti-Christian, anti-family, anti-capitalist, anti-history, and knows no truth or moral standard but power.

CRT is an immediate threat to our military effectiveness and the integrity of our educational institutions. It is a protection racket that is corrupting American corporations and university administrations, and a divisive threat to public order and safety.

Murray points out, however, that CRT follows over 60 years of misguided affirmative action policies that have been weakening American commitment to what he calls the “American Creed.”

Samuel Huntington described this American Creed as “embracing the political principles of liberty, equality, democracy, individualism, human rights, the rule of law, and private property.”

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights….”

Jefferson meant by “equality” that all men were of equal human dignity in the eyes of God and thus must be treated with equal human dignity and consideration under the laws of men. This was understood by his peers. He did not mean that all men were equal in every personal characteristic or entitled to equal outcomes in life.

Murray further points out that an essential understanding of the American Creed is that people should be judged according to their character, merit, and work as individuals rather than circumstances of birth or status.

The most dramatic words of Martin Luther King’s momentous August 1963 speech to 250,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington were that his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” He was pleading for a more complete fulfillment of the American Creed.

But it only took a few years for the transformation of well-intentioned affirmative action policies into a political bargain that made race and gender more important than character and merit.

Under the cloak of civil rights and virtue-signaling political rhetoric, American civil rights and opportunity were slowly being molded into a race and gender conscious system of government pressured preference. Moreover, those who dared protest were shouted down by lockstep government, academia, and the media.

Murray summarizes the transition from affirmative action to blatant racial, ethnic, and gender preferences in three paragraphs:

The phrase ‘affirmative action’ originally referred to initiatives by colleges and corporations to seek out qualified Blacks who were being overlooked for educational and job opportunities.  It was a needed policy in the mid-1960s and legally innocuous. But it soon morphed into aggressive affirmative action, meaning government-sponsored affirmative preferential treatment in determining who gets the education and the jobs.

Working-class and middle-class Whites who now see themselves as second-class citizens in the eyes of the government are not making it up…They are now told by government officials, college administrators, and corporate human resources managers—to get in line behind minority applicants for admission to elite colleges and for employment and promotion in attractive white-collar jobs. Well-to-do Whites can find ways to circumvent this problem, but working-class and middle-class Whites cannot…It has long been my view…that aggressive affirmative action is a poison leaking into the American experiment. We are now dealing with nearly sixty years of accumulated toxin. It is not the only cause of the present crisis, but it is a central one.

I think it is fair to conclude that the American job market is indeed racially biased. A detached observer might even call it systemic racism. The American job market systematically discriminates in favor of racial minorities other than Asians.

The main purpose of Murray’s book, however, is to inform the public and policy makers on two important truths that cannot be ignored for a rational and just society.

First, although the overlap of cognitive abilities (intelligence) among self-identified racial or ethnic groups is tremendous, many decades of careful scientific research give overwhelming evidence that there are persistently significant differences in the averages and distributions for cognitive abilities in these groups.

Government, academic, economic, military, and other policies that do not consider this give unwise and unjust advantages to the lower testing groups and unjustly disadvantage higher testing groups. A society that rewards racial and gender preferences hurts itself and will probably decline.  The American Creed emphasizing individual character and merit benefits the nation and most individuals.

Most Americans would like to believe that all races and ethnic groups have the same average and distribution of cognitive abilities, and this wishful thinking is almost an ideology, but it is not based on decades of data and analytical, fact-driven science.

A large component of these differences is thought to be genetic, but some are rather obviously due to selective migration. There are other important factors that are not fully understood.  It is possible that these things will gradually change for reasons we do not now comprehend, but we cannot base near term decisions on uncertainties many decades away.

Cognitive tests are valuable because they are predictive. If they are not predictive, they fail the bias or practicality tests.

Cognitive ability tests are not only predictive of academic achievement, they are positively predictive for every job but especially analytically demanding jobs. They are also modestly predictive of income levels.

Perseverance, hard study, and hard work can overcome a lot of cognitive ability points but cannot move someone from average to a competent test pilot, doctor, chemical engineer, or accountant.

Murray gives the average scores and percentiles for Americans of Asian, European, Latin American, and African origin on page 38 of his 151-page book. I would prefer not to risk over-sensationalizing such numbers, but only to say that, for example, if we analyzed the most recent medical school graduates in the United States, we might find Asians the most over-represented, whites over-represented, Latinos a bit under-represented, and blacks under-represented but still common.

This would not be the result of discrimination but of differences in the upper ranges of cognitive abilities.

Non-Hispanic whites and Asians make up 66 percent of the U.S. population, but we could expect them to be 85 percent of those with cognitive abilities competitive for medical school.

Most people insist on knowledgeable doctors with good judgment. If we do not include cognitive ability as a variable in evaluating human resources, we are headed for academic, economic, military, and health services ruin.

Again, differences in average cognitive ability can change for various reasons over time, but usually a fairly long period of time. The gap between white and black test scores shrank by one-third from 1972 to 1987 but then leveled off. What was happening from 1972 to 1987 that stopped?

Two parent families apparently make a big difference in educational achievement.

Latino scores are getting better because recent immigrants include many with higher skill levels.

Asians continue to improve because Asian migration is highly selective for high technology jobs.

The simple solution is operating according to the American Creed of judging individual character and merit and tossing quota pressures in the trash can of failed and dangerous ideas.

The Second reality that we must face is that there are significant racial and ethnic differences in the incidence of violent crimes. Most people of all races are generally law-abiding, but the differences are important for evaluating public law enforcement policy.

Murray studied the violent crime arrest rates for thirteen cities. The ratio of black to white arrests averaged 9.6 to one. The worst cities were Washington at 19.9 to one and Chicago at 14.5 to one. The ratio of Latino arrests to white averaged 2.7 to one. Many Hispanic crime rates, however, are quite low.

Murder rates in these cities showed blacks were at least 18 times more likely to be arrested for murder than whites, and Latinos were about 5 times more likely to be arrested for murder than whites.

Contrary to the supposition of many, violent crime offenders are more likely to be arrested if they are white, for example, 22 percent more likely for robbery and 13 percent more likely for aggravated assault.

There is in reality a bias against whites, probably because greater legal and public relations precautions are called for in dealing with minority offenders.

According to the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, black violence against whites is 5.7 times more common than white violence against blacks. A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black assailant than an unarmed black man is to be killed by a police officer.

There are many other considerations and many nuances that deserve more mention on these subjects, but they cannot be adequately covered in a single short article.

Our task now is to reject false narratives and virtue-signaling and seek truth measured by reality.

We must, of course, reject CRT, which insists on equal outcomes that lead only to folly, misery, and tyranny.

Wisdom can only be found in truth. In that spirit, we must embrace the principles of freedom that preserve the dignity and rights of individuals and the common good.


Link to The Times Examiner website:

Link to Mike Scruggs's columns at The Times Examiner

Link to Mike's book website: His books are also available on Amazon and other places.