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A Turner Bugler, 2004

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The “Democrat” Office.


May 1861

From The Missouri Democrat, Monday, May 13, 1861.


How Narrowly It Escaped an Infuriated Mob.

The excitement on Friday, over the capture of Camp Jackson, increased as night approached, and by eight o’clock the citizens were collected in immense numbers around the Planters’ House, listening to the violent language of several mob orators. “To the DEMOCRAT office,” “Down with the DEMOCRAT,” “Down with the Anzeiger office,” “To hell with the Black Republicans,” were frequent responses of the swaying and excited masses.

We were advised in due season of the spirit of the mob, and with our force of compositors, of about twenty men, made preparations to meet them. About nine o’clock, a detachment of police, numbering about twenty-five, under lead of Chief McDonough, made their appearance, and took position before our doors. Chief McDonough drew the men in line, and gave them very brief and emphatic instructions, ordering them to fire promptly upon the mob should it make an attack. He then left them in command of a sergeant. In less than an hour the mob were heard coming, and soon were in sight pouring down Locust street, yelling and hooting like a set of infuriated devils, waving a secession flag in front, and threatening the office with complete destruction. The police, with muskets, about twelve of them, were instantly ordered in line across the street, and were just numerous enough to take up the space between the curb stones on either side. The body of the mob made a halt at the intersection of Second street, but some twenty or thirty of the leaders rushed down towards the police and discharged a volley of stones at them, howling at the same time like wild beasts. The sergeant of police here gave the order to charge, and with astonishing alacrity and good order the men cleared the street, and drove the mob back to Second street. Here they held it in bay with bayonets presented and guns cocked. To attempt to describe the fury manifested by the mob at this moment would be folly. They waved their flag over the police and blackguarded them in the grossest manner, but the men stood calmly and firmly to their posts until further reinforced from the police office. In the midst of their fury, J. Richard Barret, Esq., appeared on the scene and addressed the crowd in a short an very judicious speech. His arguments, enforced by the spectacle of the glistening bayonets of the police, finally induced the mob to retire, though in leaving they gave parting cheers for Jeff. Davis and parting damns for the Black Republicans, the DEMOCRAT office and the Dutch.

But for the gallant and determined bearing of the police and the timely speech of Mr. Barrett, our office would have suffered great damage and perhaps destruction at the hands of this infuriate mob, though they could not have taken it without the most desperate struggle on the part of our corps of well armed and resolute compositors.

After this demonstration the night passed quietly off, our office being guarded by a company of Home Guards from Co. McNeil’s Regiment until midnight, and a small detachment of police continuing with us until morning.

On Saturday night a strong force of police and Home Guards were quartered in and around the office. Last night the police were on hand again, doing further duty.

The Anzeiger office, we learn, was also seriously threatened, but escaped without injury.