The campaign of 1876 to redeem South Carolina was more than just parading through towns (though that played a good part of it); it also required fighting. In my previous articles I’ve discussed the Battle of Hamburg, but there was many other instances of bloody shoot outs that took place during the summer and fall leading up to Election Day of 1876. On top of this, there was still the upcoming National Election for President.
Charleston was one of the top violent areas in the election of 1876. The city was a stronghold of blacks and usurping carpetbaggers. However, that didn’t stop Hampton’s men from campaigning there. On September 6th, a fight broke out at Archers Hall during a speech between the two parties. Black Democrats and White Democrats (in charge of protecting the Black Democrats ) were followed after their speech by a gang of Republicans to which one White man finally shot off his pistol (perhaps a warning shot though information on this is conflicting) on the stalking posse of Republicans. The shot attracted more Black Republicans to try to jump the small group of Democrats, and soon they began to mob the Democrats. Brutal combat soon broke out between the parties with the Black Republicans outnumbering the Democrats. US troopers were able to rescue the Black Democrats (who were most targeted for since a Black Democrat’s speech had angered the Republicans), and the Whites stayed trying to keep order alongside the cops. Wholesale rioting and looting soon broke out in the area with police unable and scared that stopping it would escalate the situation. Rifle Clubs were also told to stand down by police. The situation soon became an embarrassment in White circles and even in the Northern eyes. Blacks had been allowed to riot and pillage and chaos ruled the day. White Carolinians felt bitterly ashamed at being unable to keep order. They understood that it is our duty to keep events like this from happening even if bloodshed is required to put it down. This event would be a further eye opener for many and perhaps a dreadful foreshadowing of the far off future.
In Ellenton in Aiken County, September 18th, bloody fighting broke out after a White woman was almost raped by a Black (though she saved herself with a gun scaring away the deviant Black reprobate). White paramilitary clubs soon flooded the area once again coming from Georgia to lay down the law on the uppity Blacks. They were sick of rioting and corruption, and no doubt the embarrassment at Charleston. They searched the area for the vile rapist and his accomplices. Many Blacks were “taken care of” as an result for their previous troublemaking (refusing to work ,rape and attacks on Democrats). The number of fallen blacks is somewhat unknown with estimates from 20-30 and the Yankee press went as far to say 100 though that was no doubt an exaggeration to demonize the Southern men. I should note that even in the firsthand account in “Hampton And His Redshirts” The event isn’t really detailed and specifics of this event are blurry and uncertain.
As blood was shed across the state by the conflicting parties the national race was still in the the minds of many. Tilden was named the National Democratic nominee and many in the South saw as weak and were uncertain whether he deserved their support.
However, Tilden was embraced in South Carolina and soon “Hampton & Tilden Clubs” popped up across the state. Banners with both their names appeared in parades and on campaign ribbons. The state soon became a battle ground for national conflict between mentally disturbed Negrophiles and True Americans. The rival parties soon realized that South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana would decide the Presidential election of 1876. Carpet bag Governor Chamberlain and his crooked cronies knew this and Chamberlain was determined to use his powers to keep the nation and state under Republican control. Soon weapons were being smuggled into South Carolina for Blacks to use in the upcoming conflict. Carpet Bag Chamberlain went as far as signing a document on October the 4th which ceded the state over to martial law, and he threatened to bring in federal troopers with hopes to destroy the economy (in the event he was not reelected). Chamberlain outlawed the rifle clubs (October 8th); only to have them reform under new names and put two counties under military rule. The sides were closing ranks and readying themselves for Election Day.
“If they [blacks] remain Republican they were denied help and goodwill formally given to them by the white people among whom they had grown up and on whom they learned to depend. If they [blacks] went to Hampton they were compelled to endure tormenting abuse and taunts as cowards and traitors to their race, threats and real danger to life and limb from their companions of both sexes, expulsion from their churches and societies. They were negroes …. who felt bound to honor and loyalty to act with their own people. ‘I gotter stand by my color’ was their honest argument. They were deprived of their jobs, turned off their little rented farms. This seemed to be, and was, hard and cruel this was real war. Every white man knew that the bridges were burned behind him, that if the fight was lost his condition would be far worse than ever and there would be nothing for the State and its people in the future but permanent military rule or conditions worse than those in Haiti” ( Hampton and His Redshirts 114)
Let’s break down this writing by the author (who actually lived through the events he described). We know that Blacks (just as now) embrace identity politics, and they weren’t the “free thinkers” who wanted only to make their own choices (as described by revisionist bias scholars). This was a racial conflict in which both sides stuck to their guns. Blacks and Whites BOTH punished their deserters who they saw as race traitors. I don’t really even condemn the Blacks in this since I’m no hypocrite. “Identity politics” is natural unlike what the neo-conservatives and liberals (who hypocritically use identity politics in every way possible) say. The White men of the South were realistic and realized to avoid ending up like the next Haiti ― which under Black rule descended into barbarism and chaos ―they must use whatever means they could to win. The old style of honor held by the Southern aristocracy was tossed aside this time. The South Carolina White people were going to retake their state even if that required using quote and quote“dishonorable” methods.
More killing broke out in the month of October when in Cainhoy, during a political meeting, the nefarious Blacks managed to kill 5 Whites and only one Black died.I should note that there was a mutual agreement that neither Blacks or Whites would bring arms (shot guns and rifles as everyone carried some sort of small arms), but the Blacks had hidden their arms in the swamp and were able to use those to get the upper hand at Cainhoy. In Edgefield on October 18th, Wade Hampton and two thousand Redshirts had a march and meeting in the town. General Gary was also present at the time as he lived their and even presided over the prayer at the meeting. When the meeting ended the men left. On their way back the Red Hill Club of (6) Redshirts were ambushed on a local road. Immediately a Redshirt named Gilmore tumbled from his saddle dead,from a head shot. News was quickly relayed to Edgefield and General Gary rounded up some men to head out to the trail where the assassination had taken place. General Gary soon arrived to the scene enraged and ready to fight yelling “Come out of that field [the cowardly killers were in the field] some more of you’ll be be getting your damn fool heads shot off!” No doubt the craven killers had been Black as there was a nearby Black settlement called the “Promised Land” which had been taken by the Negro controlled government. It was later found out that it was two Black brothers who began firing on the Hill Redshirts and were later joined by more Blacks as they hid in the dark cotton field. The Redshirts on the road knew this and were ready to make a raid into the settlement to gain vengeance for the killing of Gilmore. Wade Hampton was able to calm the men down for the night realizing that if they attacked it could give Chamberlain the opportunity needed to call out federal forces. On October the 23rd, a Black mob occupied Mt Pleasant and threatened to harm the Whites of the town. The Whites of the town managed to escape to a single house where they stayed for the night with Black and White Democrats guarding the house outside for safety. In all three examples, we see the hidden facts of the Election of 1876, which are that the Blacks were usually the aggressors and instigators of violence. There was no one sided mass butchering of innocent Blacks, as described by the mainstream, revisionist anti-White history books; instead, it was Whites defending themselves and taking back what was rightfully theirs.
-By Richard Ewell