The Charleston Troubles.
Everybody who knows anything about Mr. Shoaff, of the Decatur Magnet, knows him to be a thoroughly upright, impartial and truthful man. Mr. Shoaff has himself served in the army, and is now publishing an independent paper, and his word is good evidence upon any subject on which he speaks positively. Mr. Shoaff was at Charleston on the day of the late riot, and in the course of an article upon the affair, gives the following account of the origin of the affray:
"We left Charleston on the 2 o'clock train last Monday, and the difficulty was then brewing which resulted in the terrible disaster. We were not informed as to the cause of the disaffection between the soldiers and citizens, but was an eye witness to many indignities inflicted on citizens by soldiers. The streets were full of drunken soldiers all the morning, and in several cases farmers were taken out of their wagons, when they were compelled to take an oath, manufactured for the occasion. The following is the substance of an oath we heard of administered to farmers by drunken soldiers, on two different occasions: ‘You solemnly swear that you will support the administration, and Abraham Lincoln, all proclamations now issued, and all that may hereafter be issued, so help you God.’"
An extra from the Charleston Plaindealer, a rabid red republican sheet, which would of course, go to any length to criminate the "copperheads" and exculpate the soldiers, given the following version of the commencement of the affray:
"Some of the soldiers, about to return to their regiments were somewhat in liquor, and consequently rather boisterous, but not belligerent — were more disposed for fun than fight. About four o'clock, a soldier, Oliver Sallee, stepped up to Nelson Wells, who has been regarded as the leader of the copperheads in this county, and placing his hand good naturedly against him, playfully asked him if there were any copperheads in town. Wells replied: ‘Yes, God d—n you, I am one!’ and drawing his revolver shot at Sallee, but missed him. In an instant Sallee was shot from another direction, and fell, but raising himself up, he fired at Wells, the ball taking effect in his vitals."
If this is the best apology an abolition sheet published at the seat of war can make for its partisans, we submit that it had better remain discreetly silent. We think we see the soldier "good-naturedly put his hand against?" Mr. Wells, and "playfully ask him" if he were a copperhead! It is a thousand fold more probable that this man approached Wells threateningly, menacing all copperheads with bodily injury. As yet, we have none but ultra abolition accounts of the tragedy, but even these make a clear case against the soldiers. When we hear from the other side, we have no doubt that the action of the "copperheads," if not justifiable, is greatly extenuated by the provocation they received.
No honest and intelligent man, who knows anything about the conduct of soldiers toward citizens when they take it into their heads to get on the rampage, can doubt that this disturbance was brought on by the insolent and insufferable conduct of the soldiers themselves. Previous to the Charleston affair, they had indulged in the same line of abuse and outrage, but had been so strong as to terrify citizens into submission. They had killed two unoffending citizens, and no notice whatever was taken of the crime, and no attempt made by their officers to punish the murderers. At Charleston, when the same game of unbearable brow-beating and intimidation was attempted, they found they had "caught a tartar." In no case will soldiers be molested by citizens if they behave themselves as soldiers ought to do. And the only reason that soldiers attempt such outrages on peaceable citizens, is the fact that they are instigated to do so by abolitionists. We have heard, recently, of several instances in which individuals were pointed out to soldiers as "copperheads," with a broad hint that they needed "attending to." Hereafter, when democrats are assaulted by soldiers, our advice is that after disposing of their assailants, they ascertain, if possible, who it was that incited the attack, and retaliate upon that man sharply, in kind.
Any state of affairs is preferable to these constantly repeated instances of individual violence. Ultimately, republicans are responsible for all of them, and until they are taught that they cannot instigate riots with impunity, we cannot expect that they will cease. It is the real authors of these outrages that deserve, and must receive, punishment, and it may as well be known that democrats are determined that their rights shall be asserted, and any attempt to infringe upon them severely punished. But there will be no trouble whatever unless they shall be first molested.